Are you new to camping and don’t know where to begin? You’re not alone yourself!
Camping is one of the absolute best ways to escape your daily routine and explore nature. That is why, over time, 40 million people go camping each year !
But spending the night in the wilderness can seem overwhelming if you’re a total beginner. But, I’m here to assist by sharing a a thorough collection of camping advice for novices like you !
This guide covers everything beginners need to know about camping. You may find advice on how to plan your first camping trip, how to choose camping gear , and camping safety basics .
Plus, I’m sharing my favorite tips on camp cooking , getting a good night’s sleep , and staying clean in the outdoors !
By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to conquer your first camping adventure! Now, without further ado, let’s get started.
Fair warning, this is a 30-minute read made for total camping beginners. If you’ve been camping before, utilize the table of contents to get to the area that interests you!
How to Choose the Right Gear: The Tent Camping Essentials for Beginners
Here’s how to discover the greatest tent camping gear at the best costs.
1. Choose the best camping gear for beginners
As a beginner, buying gear can feel overwhelming, particularly when you’re starting from scratch. To make things easy for you, I’m going to spell out exactly what you need and how you should get it.
When you begin shopping for camping gear, consider the following:
- Is it my intention to share a tent with anybody (even pets)?
- Do I want to improve my camping abilities and ultimately go into other sorts of camping, such as backpacking?
- What’s my budget for camping gear?
When you’ve gotten your sleeping necessities, start saving for your camp kitchen. The first cooking item that campers should purchase is a camp stove. , the most practical of which are propane stoves.
Coleman is the most well-known producer of camp stoves. The Coleman Triton 2-burner stove is an excellent value for first-time campers.
Although it lacks the temperature control of more costly stoves, it is enough for most camp cooks.
I also have a Jetboil Flash burner for quickly boiling water (ideal for coffee!) or as a lightweight hiking stove.
Headlamps and Lanterns
Getting around camp at night requires added light. I suggest purchasing a headlamp and a lantern in addition to the basic iPhone flashlight. or two for cooking and in your tent.
The Black Diamond Storm 400 headlamp is my fave. The best lanterns for hanging from your tent or illuminating your cook surface are the Black Diamond Moji lanterns. I love that they have hooks to hang my tent from!
A tent is the single most important thing you need when it comes to camping. That is where you should put your money. As a newcomer, you’ll be fine with a 3 season tent (meaning it’s good for Spring to Fall).
I recommend choosing a larger tent than you need. For example, if 2 people will be sleeping in the tent, opt for a 3 person tent. You’ll appreciate the additional space!
If you want a lightweight tent that could be used for backpacking too, choose the Big Agnes Copper Spur tent. Consider the REI Grand Hut 4 person tent for those on a tighter budget.
The second item you should have is a good sleeping mat. A sleeping pad provides cushion and insulation between you and the ground.
R-value, a statistic that evaluates the degree of insulation and warmth, is used to grade sleeping pads.
As a beginning, an R-value of 2 to 2.5 should enough.
For tent campers, I recommend choosing an inflating pad with more cushion. Your back will be grateful afterwards!
I have the Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro. It is available in both long and broad widths to meet your specific requirements! I have the wide version because I roll around in my sleep, even when camping.
Your sleeping bag is the second most critical piece of equipment. You should choose a down-filled sleeping bag to keep you comfortable in inclement weather.
In warm weather, unzip the sleeping bag and use it as a blanket, or just lie on top of it for an extra layer of comfort!
I suggest the REI Magma 30 sleeping bag for beginners. It is available in both a women’s and a men’s version and is rated for temperatures as low as 30 degrees (more than you will likely need as a beginner).
A campfire is a vital part of the camping experience. And it all starts with a great camping chair (and making sure the park you’re visiting allows fires)! There is something else you could have lying around the home.
For novices, the Coleman Camp Quad Chair is an excellent option.
The last camping item you should get is kitchen dishware. When I initially started buying my own camping equipment, I went a little crazy and ended up with items I don’t actually need.
I recommend going camping once and bringing things from home, like paper plates, plastic silverware, and your own pots and pans. Although less ecologically friendly, it will assist you in determining what you truly need.
My camp kitchen gear includes a Lodge cast iron skillet, a set of sporks, basic plastic dishware, and a few mugs. Spatulas, wooden spoons, pot holders, and dish cloths are items I bring from home.
You should also carry a reusable water container, such as a Nalgene, to drink from.
2. Look for gear from reliable brands
While shopping for camping equipment, consider goods that will last you for years. While it may be a big upfront investment, you’re better off choosing high-quality gear from reliable brands at a slightly higher price.
The most-trusted camping brands include MSR, Big Agnes, Therm-a-Rest, Coleman, and REI. For budget-friendly but reliable gear, look at REI’s store brand or Coleman .
3. Find discounted camping gear
Camping equipment is pricey. But there are ways to get it for cheaper, like waiting to buy on sale or by shopping through online outlets.
Here are a few ways to save money on camping gear:
- Become an REI member. REI is a major outdoor shop in the United States. As a REI member, you are entitled to a 10% dividend each year. You also gain access to member-only promotions and gear rental savings. It’s only $20 for a lifetime membership to REI ( hint: that means you only have to spend $200 in your life to make the money back!). Click here to join REI.
- Buy from REI during their big sales. Wait to buy gear from REI until their big sales, which happen throughout the year. Following are some of their most successful sales:
- Winter Clearance in February
- Anniversary Sale in May
- Summer Clearance in June/July
- Labor Day Sale in August/September
- Pre-Holiday Sale in November
- Holiday Clearance in December
- Discounted gear may be found at REI Outlet or Steep and Cheap (Backcountry.com’s outlet store). Both sites are great for finding discounts on top brands but have limited selections. Once you have a specific piece of gear in mind, watch these sites, and wait for a good price. Steep and Cheap also allows you to establish price alerts! Here you may shop REI Outlet as well as Shop Steep and Cheap.
- Buy pre-owned gear from REI. REI has some of the greatest used gear discounts I’ve discovered. You can read about the condition of the product, ranked from Well Worn to Excellent Condition. Most of the gear is in excellent condition, sometimes only used once, and often you can get more than 50% off. REI sells used equipment.
- Rent gear from REI. If you’re interested in trying out camping but aren’t willing to buy your own gear yet, consider renting gear from REI. They provide everything you’ll need for a weekend camping excursion, including tents. REI members get 30% off all rental equipment! Rent Gear from REI.
What to Wear Camping for Beginners
It is essential to wear the appropriate attire while camping. You want comfortable and durable apparel that stands the test of time.
Here are some pointers to help you choose the ideal camping attire.
4. Wear durable, quick-drying materials
Since you won’t be cleaning or changing your clothing every day when camping, it’s important to dress appropriately.
You should dress in odor-resistant, quick-drying merino wool or polyester mixes.
Avoid using heavy, moisture-absorbing fabrics like cotton and denim.
I suggest products like for long-lasting, sturdy outdoor clothes. Patagonia , North Face , Arc’teryx , and REI .
5. Choose the best shoes to wear camping
Plan for your shoes to get dirty while camping. If you want to go trekking, I suggest purchasing an excellent pair of hiking boots. as the Columbia Newton Ridge boots.
The Newton Ridge boot is available in both men’s and women’s sizes. These are the greatest boots under $100 and are quite durable! I just replaced my pair after 3 years and hundreds of miles with the exact same pair.
Slip-on shoes, such as Chacos, are ideal for fast restroom visits or informal evenings around camp. Nothing is worse than worrying about lacing up shoes in the middle of the night for a midnight toilet run!
6. Choose the best camping apparel for beginners
I’ve refined my camping attire over the years. These are some of the finest clothes for first-time campers.
- Patagonia Capilene T-Shirts are ideal for camping. They have built-in sun protection and come in both long sleeve and short sleeve. They are excellent substitutes for cotton t-shirts, which absorb smells and moisture. Get the Women’s Patagonia Capilene Tee or Men’s Patagonia Capilene Tee.
- REI Merino Midweight Half-Zip is ideal for an additional layer in the evenings when temperatures fall between 50 and 60 degrees. Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant and lightweight, making it ideal for all-day wear. Either the Women’s REI Merino Half-Zip or the Men’s REI Merino Half-Zip.
- Patagonia Better Sweater is ideal for cooler nights and fashionable enough for everyday wear! I wear mine to work, at home, out to dinner, and even on hikes and camping trips! >> Purchase either the Women’s Patagonia Better Sweater or the Men’s Patagonia Better Sweater.
- REI XeroDry GTX Rain Jacket is the most cost-effective rain jacket. The REI XeroDry is waterproofed with Gore-Tex for a complete water resistant coating. >> Grab the REI XeroDry Rain Jacket for Ladies or the REI XeroDry Rain Jacket for Men.
- Exofficio Underwear is ideal for camping. They are quick-drying and odor-resistant, unlike conventional underwear. When you’re skipping showers while camping, you’ll be thankful for odor-resistant underwear. >> Get the Women’s Exofficio Underwear or Men’s Exofficio Boxer Briefs.
- Smartwool 150 Base Layers are ideal for sleeping. The layers are made from merino wool, making them quick-drying and odor-resistant, perfect for wearing a few nights in a row. Smartwool produces shirts and bottoms for both men and women. >> Discover your ideal Smartwool base layer.
How to Plan Your First Time Camping Trip
Unlike other types of travel, with camping, you can’t just show up and go. Camping requires a little extra preparation!
The initial stages in arranging a camping vacation should include selecting a campsite and studying the ideal time of year to go.
7. Choose the right camping style for you
Camping comes in a variety of forms and sizes. Before you can start planning your first adventure, think about what kind of amenities you want and choose a camping style based on that.
These are a handful of the most common camping types:
- Tent Camping is the most common type of camping, typically at a campground in a state or national park. Most tent parks feature running water bathrooms and enable you to drive up to your pitch.
- Car Camping may have many meanings. Generally, it refers to any type of camping where you can pull your car up to your campsite. This may include sleeping in a tent at a campsite (like tent camping above). Sometimes it means blowing up an air mattress and camping in the back of your car.
- RV or Trailer Camping This may range from a modest converted van to a full-fledged RV to a teardrop trailer towed behind your automobile.
- Primitive Camping Located at a well-established campsite with limited amenities. While there are designated spots to set up a tent, a primitive campground is unlikely to have restrooms or running water.
- Dispersed Camping is also known as free camping or boondocking. Here is where you may camp for free on public lands by finding your own free location. Not all parks allow dispersed camping, but it is allowed on Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Service lands.
- Backcountry Camping or backpacking is where you carry all your camping equipment in a backpack to a hike-in camping location. This is the most isolated sort of camping and offers the greatest opportunity to get away from the throng.
Tent camping is the best option for novices. It’s inexpensive, simple to organize, and most campsites include basic utilities.
8. Pick a campground you can drive to
After you’ve decided on the ideal sort of camping for you, it’s time to organize your first camping trip!
For your first few trips, I suggest looking for campsites within a 4-hour drive of your house. , perfect for a 1-2 night camping adventure.
9. Research the best time to visit your chosen campground
How much you enjoy your camping experience will depend on the weather. Before you reserve a campground, Investigate the weather by month at your preferred camping.
- Are there months where it rains a lot?
- Which months are the coldest? Does it snow in the winter?
- Is it unbearably hot in the summer?
Be sure to Check the weather forecast for the campsite you want to visit. Elevation might vary throughout the park, influencing overnight temperatures.
Several campsites begin taking bookings six months in advance. Investigate the reservation window for your preferred campsite and aim to reserve at the start of that time.
For first-timers, I suggest scheduling your camping vacation during months with nightly temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees. .
The finest camping weather can vary according on where you reside. For example, in Yosemite National Park I’d recommend that beginners camp from June to September.
10. Book a campground well in advance
Just like a hotel, you should book campgrounds in advance.
Recreation.gov handles all national park camping reservations.
You can establish an account and store your payment options, so all you have to do when the reservation window opens is add a campground to your basket.
Check the park service’s website for state or municipal parks, since the booking procedure and reservation periods vary by area.
11. Pick the best campsite in the campground
The majority of campsites give maps. When picking a campsite, use the map to:
- Pick a campsite further away from the bathrooms , especially if you sleep lightly. You’re more likely to be kept up a night from the noise of others using the restroom than to need to use the restroom yourself.
- Choose a bigger campground or one that can fit a few automobiles. if you’re traveling with a group.
- Choose a campsite in the tent-only area of the campground. This may not be an option at every campsite, but some offer dedicated tent-only sections apart from RVs, which will save you from the cacophony of generators.
As a bonus, Look for campsites with a nice view or extra seclusion. . I use the website Campsite Photos to check out campsites ahead of time.
When it comes time to rent your campsite, you may not have many options if it is a busy campground.
If you’re looking for a campground in a popular area, such as Yosemite National Park, I suggest taking the first one you find!
12. Make note of the amenities available at your campsite
Fire pits, picnic tables, and food storage lockers are all standard facilities.
- If your campsite does not offer fire pits, you’ll need to bring a propane stove to cook.
- If your campsite does not have picnic tables, bring your own lightweight camping tables.
13. Read up on campground regulations before you go
This is especially crucial for residents in wildfire-prone states. Most campsites have restrictions on when and where fires may be started during fire season.
Check in with the park’s website ahead of time.
Bathrooms and water faucets may be closed due to construction or drought.
Organizing and Packing Tips for Camping
Once you have all your gear, you need to get it organized and ready for your first camping trip. Here Here are a few organizing suggestions to help you save room and get ready for camping.
14. Organize your gear into clear bins
Clear plastic boxes are the finest method to store equipment. You can instantly view what’s in each container without having to unpack it.
All of my camping stuff is stored in two Sterilite 70-quart containers. They are inexpensive and sturdy enough to hold the heavyweight of my camping stove, tent, and more.
I recommend keeping your camp kitchen gear in one bin, including your camp stove, plates, cutting boards, and propane tanks. Separate your tent and sleeping gear from your lanterns and other accessories in a separate container.
15. Bring sealable bins for food
Cooking outside attracts bugs and other creatures. While food storage lockers provided at most campsites will keep out animals, small bugs can still get in.
Instead of supermarket bags, the easiest approach to safeguard your food from pests is to store it in sealable plastic containers.
A modest container, such as the Sterilite 18 quart transparent bin, can fit in most camping food storage lockers and carry enough dry food for a few days.
16. Bring a backpack or small overnight bag for clothes
While suitcases with wheels are great for plane travel, they aren’t good for camping. Suitcases take up much too much valuable room in both your vehicle and your tent.
Use a compact overnight duffel bag or a backpack instead. It carries a change of clothing, something to sleep in, and your toiletries.
17. Transfer your sleeping bag to its stuff sack before your trip
Most sleeping bags have a big storage bag as well as a stuff sack. A stuff sack is a small bag that compresses your sleeping bag for transport.
To keep the down filling of your sleeping bag in good condition, always store it in a loose, mesh bag. Even better, you can keep it totally unfolded beneath your bed.
Nevertheless, hauling your sleeping bag unrolled and uncompressed takes up an inordinate amount of room! Transfer your sleeping bag to its little stuff sack the night before your journey.
To put your sleeping bag into its stuff sack, start with the foot section of the bag and stuff it into the bag. Rolling or folding the sleeping bag is better for the down filling than randomly packing it.
Finish packing the bag with the hole at the top, letting any air to escape before closing it with the drawstring.
18. Pack only the essentials. Don’t overpack!
For your first few camping trips, don’t stress about having everything! You’ll probably just be gone for one or two nights.
You’ll be OK as long as you have a place to sleep (tent, sleeping bag) and food (take out and snacks count too).
Are you going on a trek but don’t know what to bring? Download and print this free hiking gear checklist. This guide covers the 30+ items you need for your next hike, from the 10 hiking essentials to the luxury items to enjoy your adventure.
How to Practice Setting Up Camp at Home
I’m a huge admirer of dry runs as a planner with anxiety. Once I’ve practiced at home, I feel a lot more confident that I can handle whatever comes my way when camping.
Before your first trip, make sure you understand how to utilize your equipment to minimize unnecessary tension and worry. Here are some pointers to help you practice at home before your first camping trip.
19. Practice setting up your tent
A practice run might assist you figure out how to put your tent up, especially if you’ll be doing it alone.
Set up your tent in your yard if you have one. If you don’t, find a place in your apartment or house with plenty of room (at least 6’x6’).
Most tents come with setup instructions, but I find Youtube to be the most informative for tent setups. If you require a guide, search for your tent model +’setup’ on YouTube.
If you want to be extra prepared, stage an at-home campout , whether it’s in your flat or in your garden. Treat it like the real thing and sleep outside the entire night – no going inside to use the bathroom!
If you’re training on hardwood flooring, ensure sure the poles don’t scratch them. .
20. Check your headlamp and lantern batteries at home
There’s nothing worse than pulling out your headlamp only to realize it’s barely emitting light. Test your batteries ahead of time to prevent this.
You won’t be able to see the real brightness of your gadgets while driving, so test them all at night. Wait until it’s dark, then switch off all lights and verify the brightness of each headlight and lantern.
If any of them are dim, replace them with new ones. Most headlamps and lanterns take AA or AAA batteries.
21. Practice using your camp stove
If you’re new to using a portable propane stove, it’s especially important to practice cooking on it ahead of time. This will help you understand how to connect the propane tank and how fast the stove cooks meals.
Another fantastic resource for camp stove lessons is YouTube. Look for your camp stove model + ‘setup’ or ‘review’ on Youtube to find a custom tutorial.
Pro Tip: Camp stoves do not come with propane tanks and most states do not allow propane to be shipped. Alternatively, go to your nearest outdoor shop or Walmart’s camping area to get some gasoline.
The green Coleman 1lb propane cylinder is ideal for beginners and is compatible with the majority of propane camp stoves.
Camping Tips and Tricks for Setting Up Camp for the First Time
It might be scary to set up camp for the first time. But I’m here to make things easier for you! With these suggestions, You’ll be ready to tackle your first camp setup!
22. Arrive in the daylight to set up camp
The biggest tip I can give beginners is to arrive while the sun is up. Attempting to set up camp in the dark makes things ten times more difficult!
Most campsites allow you to check in as late as the afternoon. so plan to arrive early to mid-afternoon. Confirm the check-in time on your camping registration.
Spend roughly 30 minutes setting up camp exactly way you want it. Arriving early has the extra benefit of allowing you to prepare supper before it becomes dark!
23. Find a flat spot to pitch your tent
In most campsites, there’s a flat spot with matted down grass or dirt. This indicates that it has housed a large number of tents. Pitch your tent in this flat area.
Pitch your tent perpendicular to the slope if there isn’t a level place. If you pitch your tent parallel to the slope, you’ll be sliding downward all night.
24. Set up your tent away from the cooking area
If you’re camping in a large area, try to keep 100 yards between the location where you cook and where you sleep. This is due to the fact that cooking scents attract creatures such as raccoons.
This isn’t always practical, especially in busy campsites. Instead of 100 yards, make sure all of your food is adequately secured within a food storage locker. Your camp stove is included with this.
Keep a minimum of 15 feet between the food storage container and your tent.
25. Keep headlamps or lanterns in your tent and in your cooking area
Having a light or headlamp with your cooking supplies guarantees that you can continue to cook and clean after the sun goes down.
Putting a lamp in the tent makes changing clothing and reading before bed easier. Headlamps are ideal for late-night restroom visits. The Black Diamond Moji lantern appeals to me since it has a hook for hanging from the tent’s roof.
The Black Diamond Storm 400 is a long-lasting and dependable headlamp.
26. Don’t leave food or toiletries in the car in bear country
If you’re camping in the mountains, you’re almost certainly in bear territory. Encounters with bears can be scary, but there’s little to fear if you follow general safety guidelines.
Bears have very acute noses and can detect even the smallest crumbs. Bears have been known to tear doors off cars for food or toiletries left inside.
Food, deodorant, insect spray, and toothpaste are all examples of fragrant things that should be kept in a food storage locker. These lockers are designed specifically to keep bears out. Never leave these goods in your vehicle or tent.
When I’m camping in bear territory, I keep anything that isn’t clothing in a storage locker.
Cooking Tips and Tricks for Camping
Cooking outside isn’t much different from cooking at home, as long as you’re adequately prepared and carry the necessary kitchen equipment.
These are my top cooking suggestions for learning while camping!
27. Make next-level coffee while camping
If you’re like me, coffee is an integral part of your morning routine. So, why not enhance your coffee game while you’re camping?
I’ve nailed the camp coffee routine after experimenting with several approaches!
What you need:
- Aeropress Go coffee maker
- Filters for the Aeropress Go (included when you buy the Aeropress Go)
- Boiling water method (I like the Jetboil Flash)
- Drinkable water
- Coffee beans that have already been ground (either grind at home or grind at the store)
28. Cook simple meals
Although it’s tempting to get lost in Pinterest’s rabbit hole of complex camping dinners, it’s wise to start simple. Hamburgers and one-pan skillet dinners are two of the greatest quick camping meals.
Try to stick to recipes with few ingredients that you’ve tried previously. Don’t try cooking a brand new meal your first time camping!
29. Plan your meals ahead of time
Meal planning ahead of time allows you to create a precise shopping list and prevent overpacking food. I know when I show up to a grocery store without a shopping list, I buy way too much.
You can use Pinterest to get camping meal inspiration. After you’ve found some inspiration, build out a meal plan , including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
30. Prep ingredients for your meals ahead of time
Preparing parts of your meal ahead of time can save lots of time when camping. Her Here are some ideas for preparing ingredients for camp meals at home:
- Measure out spice blends ahead of time and keep in small snack size Ziploc baggies
- Coffee beans should be pre-ground and stored in a mason jar.
- To keep vegetables fresh, chop them and store them in reusable silicone bags like these from Stasher.
- Marinate your meat the night before and store it in a gallon Ziploc bag. For best flavor, suck the air out of the bag before sealing.
31. Decide how you’ll cook your food before arriving
While camping, you have a few alternatives for preparing your meals. The option you go with will depend on your campsite’s amenities and what you pack.
- Campfires are ideal for foil lunches or roasting hot dogs on sticks.
- Charcoal grills are best for cooking meats and vegetables, like a grill at home. Bring skewer skewers if you’re preparing veggies!
- Propane camp stoves are ideal for dishes prepared in skillets or pots. While this can also be done on a campfire or charcoal grill, it’s way easier on a stove.
- Dehydrated meals Backpackers often utilize them. These meals are ideal for campers who don’t want to deal with the trouble of cooking and cleaning. Remember to carry a Jetboil Flash for ultra-fast boiled water!
32. Bring the right camp kitchen gear
In Tip #9, I discussed the necessary necessities for camping cooking. Nonetheless, you’ll need a little extra to prepare complete meals when camping. Don’t worry, you probably already have a lot of stuff at home!
Here’s what I bring on every camping trip:
- Aeropress Go coffee maker
- 2 camp sinks (more on this in Tip #37)
- Camp stove and propane fuel
- Long lighter
- Cast-iron skillet or nonstick skillet
- Clear plastic bin for food
- Clear plastic bin for storing camp kitchen gear
- Small pot and lid
- Plastic mixing bowl
- Set measuring cups and spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Chef’s knife with a sheath
- Cutting board
- 1 plastic plate per person
- Plastic or aluminum mugs
- Sporks or utensils
- Paper towels
- Aluminum foil
- Cooler with ice
- Trash bags
- 1 sponge or brush for cleaning dishes
- Biodegradable soap
- 2 dish towels
33. Bring a cooler
A cooler is the only way to keep your food cold when camping, so it’s important to have a good one. You may choose between a soft-sided and a hard-sided cooler.
A soft-sided cooler is best for those with limited space because it collapses to take up less room when not in use. A soft-sided cooler, on the other hand, is less insulated and does not keep food cold for as long.
A soft-sided cooler, on the other hand, will enough for most 1-2 night camping outings.
If you’ll be camping for longer than 2 nights, invest in a hard-sided cooler. A Coleman cooler is an option for those on a tight budget.
34. Bring a large container to store drinking water
Although most campsites provide drinking water, bringing your own water source as a backup is usually a smart idea.
You have two options here:
- Get a reusable water container and fill it at home.
- Purchase 5-gallon water jugs from the grocery store prior to your journey.
If you want to go camping more than a few times, purchasing a reusable container is the most cost-effective option. It’s also great for road trips or sporting events!
35. Cook before sundown
As someone who has cooked dinner at a campsite after dark, let me say that this is not fun, especially if you’re new to cooking outdoors. Cooking is easier when you can see what you’re doing.
Moreover, bugs are more active at night and are drawn to light (and food).
Just save yourself the trouble and Begin preparing supper at least one hour before dark. Give yourself plenty of time to cook and clean up before it gets dark!
36. Buy local firewood
If you’re planning on having a campfire, make sure you buy local firewood . You should also check local fire regulations first.
Firewood can host invasive insects and diseases that aren’t harmful to humans but can be harmful to plant life. You reduce the chance of spreading a non-native bug or disease to the surrounding plants by purchasing local wood.
Local firewood is also typically less expensive!
37. Perfect your dishwashing routine
When I first began camping, this was one of my major concerns. Dishwashing is something that’s very different from home because you don’t have a drain!
You’ll need at least two camp sinks to wash dishes outdoors. (collapsible, leakproof containers).
Bring a third container and a little bit of bleach if you wish to sterilize your dishes (recommended for longer camping excursions).
When I go camping, I simply pack the two camp sinks and then wash my camp dishes in the dishwasher when I return home.
- Fill both containers with a small amount of water.
- Add biodegradable dish soap to the first sink.
- Wash and scrub dishes in the first sink.
- Rinse dishes in the second sink.
- To dry and store dishes, use a quick-drying hand towel.
Beginner Camping Hygiene Tips
It is important to keep clean when camping. You’ll feel better, smell better, and everyone around you will appreciate it!
These are my favorite cleaning suggestions for camping. (hint: baby wipes aren’t just for babies).
38. Pack the essential toiletries for camping
For short camping trips, the toiletries you truly need are limited. You’ll be able to survive a night or two outside if you have the essentials.
These are the essentials that I carry with me on every camping trip:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Face wipes with makeup remover
- Baby wipes
- Face moisturizer
- Toilet paper
- Essential medications
- Baby powder or dry shampoo
- Contacts or glasses
- Hand sanitizer
- Ziploc bag for collecting spent wipes, disposable contact cases, toilet paper, and other such items.
39. Learn to go to the bathroom outside
One of the more intimidating parts of camping is going to the bathroom outdoors. But, you may not have to deal with it at all!
Many campgrounds have bathrooms with plumbing. They have pit toilets, at the very least. You’ll really only have to go outdoors while hiking, primitive camping, or backpacking.
But, if you really need to go #2 outside, just follow these easy steps:
- Dig a small ‘cathole’ with a trowel (small shovel). Make this hole approximately 6 inches deep.
- Conduct your business in the hole and cover it with the earth you just dug out.
- Use a sealable Ziploc bag with a tiny bit of baking soda inside to pack your toilet paper or wipes. This will reduce odors and make sure you’re following the Leave No Trace principles. Never leave your toilet paper out in the wild.
Don’t bother about excavating a cathole while urinating outside. As a woman, I usually merely shake my hair dry. If you choose to use toilet paper, be sure to keep a Ziploc bag with you to pack it out and dispose of it in a trash bin.
40. Learn how to handle your period outdoors
Don’t cancel your camping trip just because it coincides with your period! Periods when camping are similar to periods at home, particularly if you’re in a campsite with facilities.
Keep additional tampons or pads in your bag if you’re camping in a more remote location or going on a lengthy trip.
You should also bring a Ziploc bag filled with baking soda for disposal. The baking soda helps keep odors down.
If you don’t want to use a transparent bag for disposal, cover the contents with duct tape!
Just remember to bring enough tampons or pads for your entire trip. A menstruation cup is another popular environmentally friendly solution.
41. Take a baby wipe shower
Most often, you won’t be showering at the campground. Yet, this does not imply that you must remain filthy! Baby wipes are not just for infants. They are also the perfect way to scrub off dirt, sweat, sunscreen, and bug spray after a long day!
Carry a bag of baby wipes with you to clean your body and sweaty regions. This is something I do twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. It’s most important to get the bug spray and sunscreen off at the end of the day.
In my tent, clean off with baby wipes before changing clothing for the day or night.
I suggest using a different kind of wipe for your face, such as the Neutrogena face wipes, if you have sensitive skin.
42. Practice eco-friendly toothbrushing
If you are camping somewhere with a decent bathroom, this is another aspect of camping hygiene that will be comparable to home.
If you’re camping in an area without running water or sinks, you may brush your teeth outdoors by following one simple guideline.
Wet your toothbrush with drinking water from your water bottle and clean your teeth as usual.
When you’re ready to spit, just shut your mouth and spray the toothpaste rather than spitting it all at once. When someone hears something surprising, this mentality reminds me of a classic comedy spit take.
This keeps toothpaste from pooling and harming animals or plants.
Camping Tips and Tricks for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Your camping experience will be miserable if you can’t get a quality night’s sleep. As a light sleeper who cannot operate without enough rest, I’m going to provide my top camping sleep advice based on personal experience.
43. Buy a larger tent
While a tent is promoted as a 2-person tent, it only accommodates two people! As someone who regularly camps with my significant other, I can tell you that you’ll want a 3-person tent.
I recommend sizing up when choosing a tent. When driving to your campsite, you don’t need to worry as much about the added weight. My 3-person Big Agnes Copper Spur tent, on the other hand, weights less than 4 pounds.
A larger tent will ensure you have space for people, pets, and your bags. But keep in mind that food should never be kept in a tent!
44. Use your rain fly the right way
A rain fly is a piece of cloth that goes over your tent to waterproof it and protect you from rain.
But here’s an expert tip: you can utilize your rainfly to strategically manage the temperature inside your tent.
In hot, dry weather, leave the rain fly off! You can sleep under the stars and get extra airflow. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast for rain!
In chilly weather, you may completely cover your tent with the rain fly. , trapping in your body heat and reducing airflow.
If you’re in between storms or anticipating light rain, put on your rain fly but stake it out to allow for some ventilation.
45. Sleep in merino wool layers
Merino wool, as you may know, is one of the finest clothing fabrics for camping. It’s lightweight, odor-resistant, and breathable while still providing warmth and insulation.
I suggest sleeping with a light merino wool base layer on. , such as Smartwool 150 base layers. Even in cold weather, I only sleep in a light merino base layer.
This enables your down sleeping bag to insulate you by using your radiated body heat.
Merino wool layers are also lightweight enough to wear in hot weather. In the summer, I’ll simply wear a short sleeve base layer and lightweight Smartwool pants.
46. Invest in a thick sleeping pad
While camping, your sleeping mat has the greatest influence on your sleep quality. If you’re a sensitive sleeper and like a soft mattress at home, I recommend investing in a quality sleeping pad.
I suggest an inflatable sleeping mat for beginners. It takes up less storage space and is lighter in weight. Sleeping pads are rated on the amount of insulation they provide, called the R-value.
You should opt for a sleeping mat with an R-value of 2 to 2.5.
Therm-a-Rest is one of the most popular sleeping pad providers out there. Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro sleeping pad is what I use.
When it comes to obtaining excellent sleep when camping, it has been a game changer for me. It’s silent when I roll around at night and provides plenty of cushion with both an inflatable body and memory foam.
47. Bring a real pillow
I tried using an inexpensive, small camping pillow when I first began camping. Some campers even skip meals! But a real pillow has become a non-negotiable for me when I go camping.
When I bring a pillow from home, I sleep much better. It even fits inside my sleeping bag!
Remove the pillowcase before leaving home and place your pillow in a trash bag to keep it from getting dirty. Pack your pillowcase and put it on once you’ve set up your tent.
48. Bring earplugs
Earplugs will be a game changer if you’re a light sleeper like me. Campgrounds may be loud, especially if your neighbors are rude (for more on campsite etiquette, see Tip #58).
A simple pair of earplugs may filter out sounds from surrounding campers and nighttime rustles. Whether it’s the wind blowing around leaves or a raccoon snooping near my tent, I sleep better when I don’t hear it or know it’s out there!
Safety First Time Camping Tips
Safety is no laughing matter. Camping, like other outdoor hobbies, may be risky and entail risks. It’s incredibly important to brush up on your camping safety before heading out for your first camping trip.
Continue reading for key safety precautions you should be aware of as part of your camping education.
49. Practice proper fire safety
Since wildfires are becoming more prevalent, it is more necessary than ever to observe fire safety principles in order to safeguard people and the environment.
A few general rules of thumb are:
- Never light a campfire in designated places, such as grills or fire pits in campgrounds.
- Extinguish any campfires and douse the embers with water.
- In campsites, do not smoke or leave cigarette butts.
- Disconnect propane tanks from grills after use
During fire season, many campsites will restrict where, when, and what sorts of fires are permitted.
50. Know how to purify water
Although most campsites supply filtered water that is drinkable without filtration, knowing how to purify water in an emergency is always a smart idea.
A water purifying system is one of the ten trekking requirements, and it is also vital for campers.
I suggest something basic for beginners since you’ll only need it in an emergency, such as if you get lost or wounded on a trek away from camp.
The Aquamira Therapy Drops are ideal for first-time users. You just need to squeeze a few drops into your container. The drops, which are tiny and portable, filter out 99.9% of germs and viruses.
This isn’t the most cost-effective filtration approach for backpackers who need to filter large amounts of water. Yet, it is completely enough for emergency usage by novice campers.
Since most of us rely on our phones for navigation these days, it’s critical to ensure that you can travel without cell coverage.
The simplest method to do this is to utilize the Google Maps app to create an offline map. Google Maps enables you to create a personalized map of any location on the planet. You can then navigate within that area without cell service, like to your campsite, grocery stores, or even hospitals.
Navigate to your Google Maps app, click your profile symbol, and then pick Offline Maps from the menu to download a personalised Google Map.
You can then click Select Your Own Map and drag the box to select any area. I suggest choosing a location that includes the whole region you will be going through.
52. Check the weather forecast before you go
Before you go for your camping vacation, always check the weather forecast. If thunderstorms or severe winds are predicted, you may want to postpone your camping vacation.
I don’t advocate canceling if rain is in the forecast. Instead, make sure you have a rain fly, a tent footprint, and a waterproof rain jacket with you.
53. Know best practices for wildlife safety
For first-timers, wildlife interactions might be one of the most scary aspects of camping. But if you follow these simple tips, you can try to avoid wildlife encounters and know how to react if you do have one.
- The first thing to know is that all animals are more scared of you than you are of them. When animals are shocked, they often become violent. Make a lot of noise while trekking or going through the bush around your campsite to prevent surprise an animal.
- Animals drawn to the smell of food may sometimes invade campsites. To prevent attracting animals, keep all food in the food storage lockers provided. After cooking and before going to night, you should also dispose of all rubbish in the campground’s dumpsters.
- If you come across an animal, be calm and gently back away. Keep a minimum of 25 yards away from less violent species. Keep at least 100 yards away from more hostile creatures such as bears and mountain lions. For more on how to react in wildlife encounters, check out my fellow outdoor blogger Renee Roaming’s guide on bear safety.
- Keep any scented goods in the food storage container supplied. Never store scented items like food and toiletries (including deodorant, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer) in your car. When sniffing fragrant objects, bears have been known to break into and damage automobiles.
54. Pack extra food and water
You never know when you may get stuck due to weather, road closures, or injury. While camping, be prepared for the unexpected. always pack extra food and water.
- If you’re camping close to home in warmer months, Pack one additional day’s worth of food and a gallon of water for each person.
- If you’re camping in a distant location or during the colder months, Pack at least 2-3 days’ worth of additional food and water for each person.
55. Have a car safety kit
Since you’ll be driving to your campground, you should pack a few road trip items.
If you’re going to be in a remote place, make sure you carry a comprehensive roadside kit. This should at the very least contain everything you need to starting your vehicle or replace a tire.
If you’re searching for a quick fix, I suggest AAA’s roadside aid package.
56. Have a first aid kit
Injuries are an unavoidable feature of spending time outside. Every camper should carry a basic first aid kit with the materials to treat minor cuts and patch up wounds until you can seek medical help.
I suggest the Adventure Medical Kit for any outdoor activity. It’s made specifically for the outdoors and has supplies to treat common hiking wounds.
It also includes treatments for burns, allergic reactions, insect bites, and stings. The kit is lightweight, compact, and fits easily inside of a hiking backpack or overnight bag.
They also manufacture a medical kit for canines, which is essential if you want to bring your canine companion!
Campground Etiquette: How to Camp for Beginners
Nothing is worse than nasty neighbors at a campground, so don’t be that person! These are some basic guidelines regarding campsite etiquette.
57. Follow the Leave No Trace principles
The most crucial aspect of spending time outside is adhering to the seven Leave No Trace rules. These are rules for protecting nature from human damage and preserving the outdoors for future generations.
While camping, there are a few things you must do to adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles:
- Camp on previously camped on surfaces. This includes camping in your assigned place and minimizing your effect on adjacent regions.
- Dispose of all trash. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘load it in, pack it out’. This means that every time you leave your campsite and before you go to bed, you should pack up all trash and put it in the campground’s dumpsters.
- Leave wildlife alone. If you happen to see wildlife on your camping trip, be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the animal. Never feed wild creatures such as birds, squirrels, or racoons. To prevent attracting animals to your campground, stow your camp stove and dispose of any crumbs after cooking.
58. Respect other campers
Most campgrounds have set quiet hours when campers are expected to put out campfires and lights and keep noise levels down. This also limits the number of hours RVs may operate generators. Check with your campsite to see if they have quiet hours.
Other ways you can respect fellow campers include:
- Only setting up camp in your area
- avoiding wandering through other people’s campsites
- Limit playing music
Final Thoughts on the Best Camping Tips for Beginners
If you’ve made it this far, you should be feeling confident and prepared to take on your first camping trip! But keep in mind that you will not become an expert overnight – practice makes perfect!
What is the first rule of camping?
Remember the old adage: you get out what you put in. 2. Put your fire out: Because you can endanger those around you, this is one of the most important camping rules, regardless of where you go. Be care to extinguish your fire before going to bed, leaving for the day, or leaving the site at the conclusion of your stay.
What should I know before going camping?
10 Things To Know Before Your First Time Camping
- How do I pitch a tent? …
- How do I prepare for unpredictable weather? …
- How do you build a solid campfire? …
- What’s the best approach to cooking on a camping trip? …
- What if I get lost? …
- What’s the most comfortable way to sleep? …
- What’s the most efficient way to pack?
What are 5 camping safety tips?
5 camping safety tips you should follow
- Plan safe physical activities.
- Prevent bug bites.
- Protect yourself from the sun.
- Practice campfire safety.
- Prepare for the unexpected.
Do and don’ts of camping?
Camping Do’s and Don’ts
- Do check out the gear reviews at campist. …
- Don’t forget camping essentials. …
- Do leave behind a copy of your itinerary. …
- Do confirm the campground’s pet policy. …
- Do arrive before nightfall. …
- Do follow fire safety protocol. …
- Don’t limit your meal variety. …
- Don’t leave food unattended.