Camping is a perfect way to experience the great outdoors, enjoy some fresh air, and spend quality time with friends and family. Camping for beginners and novices can be tricky, but here are our top tips to make camping fun and stress-free for the first time.
Choosing Your Campsite
There is a wide range of campsites suitable for your first camping trip. Items to look at include whether they are deemed 'child safe,' whether dogs are permitted, and the services accessible, such as toilets and showers. As an inexperienced camper, it's a brilliant idea to book a campground with decent quality amenities and a town nearby since there are plenty of places to eat and buy supplies if you miss anything.
Buying Your Tent
Tents come in different shapes and sizes, and you must pick one that's right for you. When buying a tent, it's a good idea to pick one that’s a size or two bigger than the number of people using it; this will enable sufficient space for you to store your gear in the tent and provide a comfortable sleeping area. If you don't know which tent is right for you, look at our tent guide.
Tips for Choosing Your Tent:
Picking the wrong size or style of tent will spoil your camping experience, so you want to take this advice seriously.
The size: Don't depend on the number of people a tent claims to sleep. Don’t use that as a reference.
If the tent says it sleeps four, you can cram a lot of people inside, but you're not going to be relaxed or able to bring your stuff in your tent with you. So, select something a little larger for a family of four and choose a tent that says it sleeps six to make sure there's enough space.
Material: Tents are made of diverse materials for use in more relaxed and warmer climates. If you intend to camp in cold weather, such as in snowy mountainous regions, purchase a winter tent made of thicker material. A three-season tent is appropriate for friendly weather camping to shield you from heavy rain, wind, and cold weather.
Other Considerations for Tent Material:
- Cotton or cloth tents are durable, but they get bulky when wet. This fiber is more durable than nylon, too.
- Nylon or polyester tents are waterproof but inspect the seams to make sure they are covered. This material weakens over time, particularly when exposed to sunlight.
Flooring: The flooring should be long enough to handle traffic while holding you, your family, and your possessions safe. To guarantee that you have decent flooring, you should obtain a footprint made of a piece of cloth or tarp specially constructed to cover your tent's flooring. The impression’s placement is beneath the tent.
Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial to reduce the amount of condensation in your tent. Condensation makes everything moist and unpleasant, mostly when the whole family sleeps inside. Look for tents with well-positioned vents and windows to further minimise moisture.
Weight: The weight of the tent isn't a factor if you're not planning to take it with you while you walk. If you're considering a hike to your destination, find a light but sturdy shelter.
Price: When buying a tent, try to get quality and spend a little bit if you can. Purchasing a cheap tent also costs you more in the long run, particularly if you're planning to use it a lot.
Buying Sleeping Bags
Whatever time of year you want to camp, it's a great idea to carry your sleeping bag, as temperatures will drop at night. When buying a sleeping pad, pay close attention to the season and weather to ensure that you remain at the optimal temperature for the time of year you want to camp. Our sleeping bag guide discusses all the essential aspects of buying a sleeping bag.
Practice Tent Pitching
One of the most valuable bits of advice for camping for the first time is to have a practice tent pitch at home; this will mean that you know how to set up and take down the tent and that you can fix any issues when you're at home, not at the campsite!
Create a Practice Camp
When you've got a practice tent pitch, why don't you have a practice camp? Camping can be intimidating for beginners, but spending a night in the backyard can help you judge how many layers you will need to wear and whether your equipment is appropriate.
Once you have configured your tent, try to pitch it in a place where the land is flat and free from obstacles that could harm your tent. Often position the back of the tent against the wind to give it some traction. You should set the pegs on the floor at a 45-degree angle.
Make an Essential Camping List
Camping for beginners can be a challenge, particularly if you're unsure about the kind of gear you need. For support, check out your camping equipment guide and make your checklist to ensure nothing is left behind.
Plan Meals Beforehand
When preparing meals, consider whether to prepare over an open fire or with a gas stove. When making a meal over an open fire, aluminum foil is a must-have for producing tasty meals. You will cook endless varieties of meats and vegetables by making packages of closed foil and throwing them in the fire.
Cooking foil meals is an easy task. Customize each foil pack with the meat and vegetables that each camper wants to consume. To finish the cooking, add a few ice cubes to seal in the moisture, close them all in the foil, and twist the ends to make handles—you need those handles to make it easier to rotate the food over the flames.
Planning and preparing what you're going to eat and how you're going to cook can save the beginner camper a lot of time and trouble. Check the camping rules to see if campfires are allowed, and search the local area for any restaurants you can eat if things don't go as planned!
Camping for beginners can be fun and unforgettable if done right. Follow those eight tips and your first camping trip is guaranteed to be a success!