By Ashley Nielson.
Remember your first-time camping experience? Going camping for the first time is exciting but can also be scary, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing. Being alone (even with friends and family) in the wilderness with nothing to protect you but a tent means you must prepare beforehand.
Camping is good for you, and being out in nature is relaxing and can help you forget about all the stress back home. However, even experienced campers experience mishaps from time to time. New campers must learn things the hard way. We bet if you forget your flashlight once, you’ll never forget it again. So, to help you remember everything you need to do and have prepared before camping, check out these tips and tricks for first-time campers.
Know How to Set Up a Tent
If you’re camping with someone who knows how to set up a tent, you don’t have to learn beforehand. However, practicing how to set up a tent in your backyard can be helpful if your more experienced camping buddy runs into any issues.
Setting up tents looks easy when someone else does it, but it can be quite hard, depending on your tent type. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to test your tent a few days before your camping trip to ensure you know how to set up your tent properly.
Buy the Right Tent
Knowing how to set up a tent is half the battle, but if you buy the wrong size tent, you may not fit in it. Tents can get crowded when sharing with others, so if you need to pack the entire family inside, consider getting a larger tent than you think you might need. Space and comfort should always be a priority.
While you may use your tent only for sleep, your kids and spouse may have to sleep in different positions throughout the night to stay comfortable, and no one enjoys sleeping with someone else’s knee in their back.
Always try to get to the campground as early as possible to give yourself time to get to know the amenities and rules while becoming familiar with different trails. Now is also the perfect time to find the bathroom or outhouse so you don’t get lost in the dark at night. Setting up your camping space early also prevents you from pitching a tent in the dark, which can be quite annoying for your neighbors.
Arriving early also allows you to get the family prepared. Since pitching multiple tents takes time, you’ll want to ensure everyone has everything set up before bedtime.
While you might think you have enough food for your camping trip, you should always plan meals to ensure you’re eating enough and getting the nutrients you need to stay active. Consider how many meals you need to make for how many people and plan each meal accordingly. You can do your grocery shopping a day before you leave to ensure the food is still fresh.
Pack the Right Clothing
If you’re camping in the summer, you might think you only need a few pairs of shorts and shoes. However, the weather could change at any minute, and you don’t want to be left without something warm if the rain hits.
Unfortunately, far too many new campers fail to bring enough clothing and don’t consider the types of weather that can happen. Weather conditions require different types of clothing, so always bring pants, shorts, raincoats, and swimsuits to ensure you’re prepared for the day, hiking shoes, and rain boots, no matter the weather.
If you go during the summer, it’s best to pack for the summer heat, get laser hair removal if you prefer, and bring plenty of sunscreen. For the colder days you want to ensure you have layers, blankets, and a suitable pillow.
Avoid Bad Weather
While some tents can be durable and strong, you don’t want them to be the only thing between you and a falling tree branch. High winds and rainfall can be detrimental to your camping experience and health. You can’t put up a tent in the rain, and if you put up your tent wrong, rain could seep in from the bottom or come in through a hole in the top of your tarp.
The whole point of camping is to get out in nature; you can’t enjoy nature if it rains the entire time. Therefore, you should always try to avoid severe weather when possible. While you might be excited to experience camping for the first time, you don’t want to catch a cold or sit in soggy clothing the entire time.
Camp Near Home
Your first camping trip doesn’t have to be far away for you to enjoy it. In fact, you should camp closer to home the first time since you’re bound to forget something. Additionally, you don’t yet know whether or not you like camping. If you decide camping isn’t right, you can always pack up and go home easily.
Protect the Family
Always protect yourself from bugs while you’re camping. While you might not have that many mosquitoes where you live, you’ll find tons of them in the woods. Additionally, you may run into ticks and fleas that can cause severe itching and skin irritation and carry disease. You can deter these pests with regular bug spray or bug-repellent lanterns. If you’re bringing your dog along, make sure it’s protected, too. You can get flea and tick prevention products from the vet to keep the creepy crawlies away from them.
Spending time in nature is good for you and your family, but camping can be stressful, especially for first-timers. The best thing you can do is prepare well in advance for your trip. Plan your meals and ensure there’s something for everyone to snack on while camping. You should also bring a cooler to store your food and bug repellent to keep pests away. In addition, you should consider comfort and space.
Your family will already be spending the entire trip together, so you don’t need to squeeze into a tent. Instead, you can get a tent that’s big enough for the entire family or let older kids share a different tent to give you enough space to get the sleep you need for the hike in the morning.
Your thoughts on first-time camping?
What challenges did you face and what stories could you tell? Let us know any first-time camping stories in the comments below.