5 Tips for First-Time Campers
Camping is a fun activity that allows you to connect with Mother Nature and your loved ones. If you’ve never spent a night under a camping tent or canvas, then you have missed a memorable experience. The freedom associated with spending quality time outdoors is something that can’t be beaten, whether you do it alone, with friends, or even with family members.
There’s always a special thing about embracing the outdoors as you enjoy a simple life and keep in touch with what nature provides. Even if you’re scared about camping, the whole activity will turn out to be a rewarding experience with good preparation. Planning for a camp may seem like a simple task, but it plays a key role to determine your overall experience.
If you’re a first time camper, you’ll have several essential items to carry, which could be a daunting task for some. However, nothing should scare you. We were beginners at a certain point in life, so you can as well make it. Having said that, let’s look at the 5 tips for first time campers.
Table of Contents
Make (and Use) A Checklist
The checklist is one of the most important things that new campers often forget. There’s no reason to rush to the campsite only to find out that you’ve left behind some essential gears at home. How do you overcome that? Get a checklist to help you while packing, stay organized, and ensure no item will be forgotten.
Putting together isn’t just meant for beginners, but even experienced campers use checklists to ensure they have all essential accessories. Just imagine heading to the campsite without a shower towel or enough lights. Also, if you intend to camp with children, a checklist will help you pack all the essential items that children will require like toys, snacks, and extra clothes.
It’s obvious that the list of essential items differs from one person to another. However, you should still endeavor to use a standard checklist. Forgetting some vital items such as tent poles could juts signal the end of your excursion. Still, the list will help you carry the fun items that you intend to use while camping.
Apart from making a checklist, it’s also important to check it twice. This will help you update the list and make the necessary corrections. You can have an extra member to read it for you just to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything. If something breaks, ensure you replace it. Safety is critical to any camper, so don’t compromise on yours by carrying faulty or worn-out items.
Organization is a crucial determinant of any fun trip, and a checklist will help you achieve that. Using a checklist, you’ll end up with a fully-stocked kit for you camping expeditions. Even people with sharp memories still have to write a few things to memorize them, so why not apply the same? As a first time camper, be smart, use a checklist, and you can be sure of a memorable camping experience.
Become Familiar with Your Gear
No person will smile at the prospect of arriving at a campsite and start experiencing issues while setting up the tent. Save yourself from these embarrassing situation by familiarizing yourself with all the camping accessories. Simply ensure you have all the required tools and practice at home before going out for camping. The practice will equip with all the necessary skills that you require to set up the camping equipment without any troubles.
New campers are mostly affected when it comes to familiarizing themselves with camping gear. Most of them often wait to get to the campsite before trying out different tools. Why wait until the final minute to start fumbling with the camping gear as you try to figure out how to use them. As the adage goes, ‘Practice makes perfect,’ so help yourself by practising how to use these tools.
When it comes to specifics, the tent is the most crucial item for any camper. As a first time camper, ensure you know how to install the tent in a hassle-free way. Use your backyard to practise setting it up. Tents vary from one manufacturer to another, so it’s essential to go through the instructions for your specific model. If you’re experiencing issues with larger tents, then you can ask for help from a friend.
Remember, if you don’t set up your tent properly, then it could get damaged or even collapse, thus leading to accidents. The effects could ruin what seemed like a happy outdoor experience. Also, you can’t determine the weather conditions, and is your tent isn’t strong, then it could be blown away by winds.
If you’re carrying bedding items, ensure you check the camping cots and sleeping and familiarize yourself with their operation. These are crucial camping gear more so if you plan to visit cold areas. Try using the sleeping bag on your living room floors and get to know how to operate it. These items might appear to be easy to use, but don’t risk anything. Take your time and ensure you’re well-equipped when it comes to using the essential camping gear.
Other vital tools to check are portable stoves and camping lanterns. Check the requirements for these accessories and ensure they’re in a perfect working condition. Other items that you should familiarize yourself with include water treatment systems and the camping hammock. Don’t set off for any camping expedition with a tool or gadget that you don’t know how to operate.
Choose Your Campsite Wisely
The selection of the camping ground will make or break your trip. The place that you select has a significant impact on how you’ll enjoy your trip as a first time camper. Therefore, take time and do the necessary research to find an ideal place for camping. To start with, decide on how far you plan to travel and the kind of facilities that you’ll require while camping.
Most first time campers often don’t put much focus on the site selection, and this could affect your whole experience. In most instances, campers tend to select the campground based on two things: the first open area that they’ll come across and the moment they start getting tired while hiking. However, there’s more to that in regard to camping ground selection. Let’s take a closer look at the guidelines to a perfect campsite selection:
The size of the campsite will vary depending on your specific requirements. If you have a large tent, or you have several tents that you plan to set up, then it’s obvious you’ll require a bigger area. Also, if you have chairs, tables, or you need a space for your camper trailer, then choose places with an open space to accommodate you and all your essential gear. Think about the space requirements before deciding to settle for any given camping ground.
Before choosing any specific area, ensure it is level. Sleeping on a hilly area will just increase the chances of accidents, and you might fall and even injure yourself. As such, check to ensure your preferred area is relatively flat. In areas where level spots are quite challenging to find, you can opt for a gentle incline. Just ensure the level is good enough to avoid spilling your drinks or sliding off the table. The level of your campsite will also help you during rainy periods. A dipping site will allow water to create pools and cause inconveniences.
Accessibility to water
As a first time camper, it’s important to look for areas with close proximity to water sources. Water is vital to any camper, so it makes sense to stay near a water source. However, this doesn’t mean you should stay next to a water source. This could be dangerous because of the likelihood of floods. Besides, water bodies attract different animals that could be potentially harmful. If you’re a beginner, stay around 200ft. away from water sources.
All in all, take time to select your camping ground because it will determine your experience as a first-time camper. Just remember, good campsites are found, not created.
Meals are crucial for any camping expedition, where you’re a beginner or a professional camper. However, most first time campers don’t put much thought to how they’ll prepare and organize their camping meals. As a starting point, determine the number of people that will go camping and try to create some menu ideas that will serve all of you. After this, do the necessary shopping a day before departure to ensure the food remains fresh.
Besides, don’t concentrate on campfires as the only way to prepare your food. It’s good to be flexible and try out some other convenient options. It’s true that campfires are the main highlight for most camps and first time campers often look forward to these experiences. However, they aren’t ideal for meal preparation because they often take a lot of time, more for beginners. Also, weather conditions like rain and wind could hamper your meal preparation plans. To help you, here are a few ideas for first time campers:
Cooler bags are essential items to carry, more so for first time campers. When you invest in a good model, your drinks and food will stay fresh for an extended period. If you’re planning to go for long trips, you can freeze various foods like chicken to serve you on the journey. Apart from that, these cooler bags will keep your water cold and ensure you remain hydrated all through your journey.
Carry a gas stove
There’s no harm in carrying your own fire. As earlier stated, campfires are not always reliable for cooking, especially if you’re a first time camper. These stoves will come in handy when you want to prepare quick meals like a cup of coffee. It’s a much quicker way if you need those fast foods.
Cooked and uncooked foods
As a first time camper, it’s important to strike a balance between cooked and uncooked foods that you’ll carry. You won’t always have time for preparing meals while camping, so you should carry some packaged foods. Take foodstuffs like meats and rice for cooking in the evenings when you don’t feel like taking packed foods. Besides, ensure you pack some nuts and fruits to help you keep the hunger away.
Still on food preparation, don’t complicate your meal plans and make them as simple as possible. Don’t get over-ambitious while camping and start trying out some engaging recipes. Camps are meant to be social events, so there’s no point in spending most of your time on meals while you should be interacting with friends and family members. Always opt for simple recipes.
Observe Campground Rules
Just like any other ground, camping sites also have their own set of rules that should be followed. As a first time camper, it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the set rules before settling in. This step is important, more so for rules regarding garbage disposal, campfires, as well as the off-limit zones. Here are a few guidelines for first time campers:
Setting the camp
One fundamental rule for campers is following the set rules. Check if the campground has rules limiting the maximum number of people allowed and ensure you adhere to the set number. Also, set your tent in established places. Campgrounds have specific areas for building camp sites, so ensure you use them effectively. If the area has some established structures, don’t tamper with them. Just set up yours and continue with your business.
Most people who go camping want to get an ample quiet space away from the busy life that’s experienced in cities. As a responsible camper, ensure you keep reasonable noise levels, both during the day and night. Be a civilized person and remember that the space is shared, so acknowledge the presence of other people without disturbing their peace with noise. As such, even when listening to music, it’s vital to keep the noise levels as minimal as possible. Enjoy yourself without affecting other people’s comfort.
First-time campers may not be away that there’s nothing like real privacy in a campground. As such, your actions may impact negatively on other people within the same site. So, ensure you have read the set guidelines to avoid getting into conflict with other people. Failure to follow campground rules could result in expensive fines. So, save yourself from this hassle by following the rules. For a comfortable stay at the campsite, don’t litter, keep low noise levels, and be courteous to other people.
Wrapping it up!
Camping is an exciting adventure to get away from the daily stressful life and have a cool time with friends and family members. However, if you’re a first time camper, expect a few challenges, but that shouldn’t kill your morale. It has happened to other people, so you can also overcome them by following the tips highlighted in the above article.
There you have it. By following these tips, you can be sure to enjoy a memorable camping expedition. Follow these guidelines and set yourself on track to become a happy camper.