Tips For First-Time Campers

If you are a lover of the outdoors and nature, it is hard to beat a camping holiday. Camping allows you to unplug and be at one with Mother Nature and this can be an incredibly rejuvenating, eye-opening experience which helps you to appreciate the great beauty all around you. Camping can also be intimidating if you have not done it before, but this should not stop you from trying this amazing type of holiday. So, if you want to get out into nature but you have a few concerns, here are a few tips and tricks for a smooth, safe and enjoyable experience.

 

Choose Destination Carefully

 

There are many incredible places to camp in the United States during the warmer months of the year, but if you are just starting out then venturing out into the middle of nowhere isn’t the best idea. Instead, choose somewhere near civilization and not too far from home. A campground can be good for newbies as it does not put you in the deep end as these facilities often have showers, toilets etc. In addition to the destination, make sure that you choose a good length for the trip too. A weekend is perfect for newbies as it will give you a taste without being too challenging.

 

Tent Purchasing

 

There is nothing worse than camping in a crowded tent, so always buy one which will be big enough for you and the people you are sharing with (remember you will be storing items in here too). As a good rule of thumb, buy one that is double the number of people going – a four-person tent for two people, etc.  If it is too complex to set up, be sure to get the instructions and always practice putting it up in the garden before setting off. It can even be a smart idea to spend a night in the tent in the garden if you are a first-timer – this will give you an idea of what it is like and whether or not it is right for you.

 

Familiarize Yourself With Equipment

 

It is no good having all the latest camping gear if you have no idea how to work it. Spend some time before you go trying out any equipment that you plan on taking, such as lanterns, camp stoves, etc.

 

What To Take

 

Create a checklist of everything that you need to take with you before you go. This should not be too long, but it should include a tent (obviously), sleeping bags, a roll mat, spare clothes, outdoor furniture, food, cooking equipment, cutlery, toiletries, duck tape (serves a million purposes!), a torch, ear plugs, plastic bags, batteries, a penknife, first-aid kit, etc.

 

Prepare For Bad Weather

 

No matter what the forecast says, always prepare for bad weather as you do not want to be caught out. Pack waterproof clothing, extra layers and boots.

 

Plan Meals In Advance

 

Always plan your meals in advance so that you do not end up eating everything on the first night. You need to make sure you know how many meals you will require and for how many people. In addition to this, remember to pack plenty of snacks so that you do not go hungry. Do your shop the day before you leave so that food will not expire while on your trip.

 

Arrive Early

 

Whether you are staying on a campsite or out in the wild, always arrive early so that you have plenty of time to get set up and learn the lay of the land. If at a campsite, familiarize yourself with the rules and introduce yourself to your neighbors. If camping in the wild, check the surrounding area before setting up your tent to make sure that it is safe (and legal).

 

Activities

 

You won’t want to spend the entire time sitting around the campsite, so have a few activities planned whether it is fishing in the local lake, a hike or playing games. Do not stray too far from your campsite, though, and always return to the campsite before the sun goes down. In the evening, you can pass the time with card games, music, games and food and drink.

 

Respect Your Surroundings

 

Camping in the wilderness is very different to staying at home and it is vital that you respect your surroundings. If you happen to find a wild or injured wild animal, do the smart thing by keeping your distance and contacting The Humane Society. It may be a wise move to pack up and find a more suitable place to camp in this situation. Never approach wild animals, destroy the natural surrounding or disrupt the habitat.

 

Enjoy Yourself

 

Many first-timers end up constantly stressing or worrying about aspects of the camping experience. Camping should never be stressful, and you should always return home feeling refreshed, so if there is something that has not gone according to plan then simply let it go. As long as you have your tent set up, enough food to last and warm clothes, then you can have a great time.

 

Tidy Up After Yourself

 

When it is time to leave, do the responsible thing by tidying up after yourself no matter where you are camping. It is disrespectful and can harm the surrounding wildlife and environment to leave litter, so always spend time tidying up. Camping is all about respecting nature, and this is an important step in doing this.

 

Follow this advice and you are sure to have a fun, safe and valuable camping experience. It is very easy to fall in love with camping as it is a great way to escape your daily life and reconnect with nature. If you are a first-timer, it is always best to start off simple until you feel confident enough to plan longer trips to wilder places. Wherever you decide to camp, always remember to check your equipment, pack plenty of food and clothing and to respect your surroundings – this is what the experienced campers do every time and will guarantee for a good trip.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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