Top 10 Camping Tips For Beginners
The thought of a camping holiday often splits opinion between the general public. For the initiated, it is a chance to throw off the shackles of everyday life and return to nature – absolute bliss. However, for many others it is a daunting concept, with images of camping disasters coming to mind. While it is true there is potential for things to go wrong, the correct preparation will ensure budding campers have a holiday they will never forget – for all the right reasons.
Practice putting up your tent
This is my most important tip. It cannot be stressed enough. You should always have a ‘dry run’ at home when it comes to assembling your tent. Tents could be missing stakes, polls and other essential items for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the manufacturer made a mistake and they were never included. Perhaps the tent had been previously used and the items disappeared in transition. Regardless of the reasoning, it is better to realise your tent is missing key components before you arrive at your destination. In addition to this, many new campers will not be familiar with how to assemble tents. It is key to familiarise yourself with your tent in a relaxed, familiar environment, then you stand much more chance of mastering the technique.
Create a check-list for items
Being organised is always good practice when it comes to camping. A check-list ensures you have packed all of your essential belongings: tent, sleeping bags, pillows, cooking utensils, food. But remember, travel as light as possible – your possessions will be taking up room in your tent. An overcrowded tent can be the difference between camping heaven and hell.
Ensure you have the correct tent for the occasion
There are many different types of tent. Some are rugged and durable, others are designed for convenience and may not withstand the elements as well as others. Think about your camping destination. Is it likely to rain, making good waterproofing essential? Are you going to be carrying your tent around with you, in which case a lightweight tent will be better suited? It is also key to buy the correct sized tent (and to allow enough room to store your luggage!)
Research the area in which you are staying
Doing research on your destination is a good idea. Determining what the typical weather is during the time of year of your visit will help you decide what to pack. You should keep an eye on the current weather forecasts too. Also, having a good knowledge of your camp site is a smart idea. Is there a supermarket nearby? Does the camp site have any noteworthy facilities?
Food – keep it simple
On your first camping excursion, you want it to be as hassle free as possible. Planning your meals beforehand can help eliminate one of the worries new campers often face – ‘but what will I eat?’ On your first camping trip, you should keep food simple. Tinned goods, such as beans and fruit are good ideas as they remove any complexity from the equation. All you need is a camping stove and a pan and you are good to go. As you build camping confidence, you can begin to factor in more complex meals.
Take appropriate clothing
As with most things on this list, the issue of clothing is related to common sense and good preparation. Packing a spare set of waterproofs can bring the camper happiness in even the most sodden of conditions. Similarly, hats and sunglasses are essential in the warmer summer months, especially if camping on the continent.
Another important factor that is often overlooked by rookie campers. It is important to remember you will be staying in the great outdoors, where, frequently, all the mod cons which we take for granted are not available. That includes electrical lighting. A good camping light will serve you well and is a good investment to make.
Campers are not the only inhabitants to dwell in the outdoors. When camping you may come into contact with some friendly (or not so friendly, depending on your opinion!) creepy crawlies. You may suffer some bites due to these critters, but it will not be anything that a good insect bite cream, anti-septic wipe and bug repellent combination can’t rectify. Taking a medical pack with plasters, painkillers and bandages is also highly recommended.
Camping holidays are about having time to yourself, free from everyday strains and stress. Books, board games, jigsaws and other such items will offer you plenty of entertainment (besides your natural surroundings, that is). Many campers also enjoy taking in their scenery with a glass of their favourite tipple, and who can blame them!
And finally – persevere any unpleasant weather!
Should the worst happen and the weather is poor, do not let this dishearten you or ruin your experience. Share the moment and connect with those around you, you may even form greater friendships and relationships due to the experience!