The Guide to Camping for Beginners

download-16Camping is a recreational activity taken up outdoors, usually amidst mother nature. Campers go for camping trips to a forest, national park, in woods, near a river and stay there for one or more nights. There are private camping grounds too that are owned by people who encourage campers to come and enjoy the nature. People have taken up camping with great gusto. Camping trips can be fun when organized properly.

There are many questions that you may want to ask. Following is a list of common questions that every beginner for camping will ask. I’ll recommend not to take up camping, till you get all your questions answered and understand the requirements of camping.

Where do I camp?
There are two types of camping grounds, public and private. Public camping grounds offer a variety of places to choose from like national parks, national forests, Bureau of Land Management Areas and state parks. Each one of these, in turn, have many campsites within themselves. All of them, more or less, offer the same amenities like restrooms, hot water for showers, shopping areas, etc., which are very helpful for beginners. You can get a list of the different camping grounds online and it is always better to book a place for camp beforehand. It is not very costly to camp at such places. They may charge anywhere between $10 to $25 per night. Private campsites may or may not offer the amenities and they may also charge more. Moreover, they allow only a certain number of campers on their grounds.

Another alternative is to pitch a tent and camp at a hillside or in wilderness. However, you should take care to find out if it is allowed in your selected place. In such cases, remember that there are no amenities like a laundry, toilets, shops, etc. nearby. You will need to carry all the basic necessities with you when you go camping. If your family is not comfortable being out in tents, you can always hire or buy a camping trailer and have a nice time camping in the wild.

What camping equipment do I carry?
The answer to this question will depend on where you camp. If you camp in wilderness, you will need to carry a tent, a cooler for your camping food and drinks, sleeping bags and pads, cooking supplies like charcoal and spatula, kettle, cups, plates, spoons and a pot or two. You can buy all the camping gear in sports stores or at Walmart. Don’t buy expensive equipment as you are not yet experienced in taking care of them.

If you camp at public campgrounds, there is a good chance that you will get a grill or a barbecue and all the cooking ingredients in the shops. Apart from that, you will have to carry the other necessities like clothes, tents, sleeping bags, etc.

What clothes do I carry while camping?
Make sure that you wear full sleeves while camping. It is important to carry some sweaters with you so that you are protected in case it becomes cold in the night in the woods. It is better to take some extra change of clothes with you. Rain gear is also important.

How to set up a camp?
While setting up your camp, you will have to consider a lot of things. Pitching tents at an elevated spot is essential, but make sure that you don’t select a spot on a slope. It would be best to choose a spot close to a water source like a spring to avoid wasting time in getting water. While looking for the above two conditions when setting up your tent, also look for a shade to shelter you throughout the day. See to it that you have adequate area to cook your food.

Beginner or otherwise, you must carry the following articles with you while going on a camping trip. Make sure that your camping trip checklist has all the following articles.

  • Enamel plates and cups that can be heated to heat food and water.
  • Food for breakfast, lunch and dinner to last as long as your trip. Also carry extra food like snack bars for safety sake.
  • First aid kit with all the necessary medication and bandages.
  • Tent for you to stay into.
  • Sleeping bag to sleep and rest in. Go with a good squashy sleeping bag.
  • Flashlight is a must. Carry it always.
  • Camp stove to cook your food on and to heat up the water.
  • Matchbox for lighting the stove as well as for the campfire.
  • Water is to be carried plentifully, so that you do not face a shortage while camping.
  • Sweater and some rain gear for extra protection.
  • Machete to assist you to chop off the shrubs while going towards your campsite or for a walk.
  • Swiss knife is always useful.
  • Good hiking shoes should never be forgotten as you are going to be walking on uneven ground with lots of vegetation and small animals around you.
  • Biodegradable soap should be preferred over the other soaps as it is more environmental friendly.

A Few Tips

  • Don’t buy a big and expensive tent for your first camp. Use a cheaper but a good quality one till you get a hang of using a tent.
  • While lighting the campfire, take care of not lighting it close to the tent as the tent flap may catch fire if there is a strong breeze.
  • While throwing the garbage, please ensure that you throw it in the dustbins and not around the campsite.
  • While washing the utensils or yourself, use biodegradable soap as it is environmental friendly.
  • Plan the meals before you go for a hike. You might be back late and may be very hungry. Also, carry enough to last you till the end of your trip.
  • Get used to the camping gear when you buy it for the first time. An ideal thing to do will be to camp for a night in your backyard to get a feel of camping.
  • Camp close at home for your first camping trip to enable you to reach home faster in case you do not like the experience. Also, closeness to your home will provide first time campers with some security.
  • Lastly, store the gear for your next camp. Don’t neglect to take proper care of it as the gear can be used for several camping trips before you can discard it.

There are several benefits of camping like staying closer, no television to intrude into the family time and a walk in the nature. The above were the important camping tips for beginners.