So you have decided to take the plunge into camping? You want to adventure into the wild, using only the bare minimum to make it for a few days. It is an inexpensive, calming experience that relieves the mind of all worry. Each night you will stare up at the stars and ponder to yourself, gasping in awe of all the overwhelming beauty you are about to enjoy. A breeze will blow by and you will take in smell of the trees, breathing in deeply to the scent of pine. Birds will chirp. Squirrels will sing. Deer will gallop. Now all you have to do is learn how to prepare.
Where to Go?
More than likely, there will be plenty of spots near you to choose from. To find the perfect place to go, simply search online or ask someone you know. Ask yourself, what do I want to see? What kind of environment do I want to spend my days in? Where would I go take someone to show them nature’s beauty? Questions such as these should guide you before deciding on a place to go to.
Generally for your first camping trip, you will want to go to a place that has a camp site and plenty trails nearby. A park with a lot of options for things to see and do is ideal.
Make a Plan
Now that you have decided where you want to go, you need an action plan. Am I going to hike each day? Or will I simply read a book? What activities do I want to do? You can hike, kayak, explore, and more. These are all great possibilities for your trip. Be sure to allow for free time. It is important to allow room to let serendipity take over. You are relaxing and enjoying the simple life. You can use the time to reconnect with people and make new friends.
What are you going to do when you arrive? Have I left my itinerary with others? Is there a place to park my car? Questions provide the impetus for creating the framework for a great trip. Have a clear road map for all that you want to do.
For any camping trip to be a great one, there are a number of supplies listed here. Your first trip will probably just be a park and camp, so this list was made with the thought of plenty of room in mind.
- Tent, depending on whether you are going in a group or alone, you are going to have a different tent size. Larger tents are great for bigger groups, but lack in privacy. You will be sure to want one with a rain fly in the event of rains.
- Food cooler, this is perfect for keeping food cold for later. Any food that will go bad if not cold can be thrown in a cooler with ice. Store your beer and bacon in here.
- Food, the amount of food you take with you will vary depending on your group size and length of stay. Pack a mix of dry and wet foods. Be sure to plan each day’s meal accordingly, so you do not have to run into town to stock up again.
- Water, since you will have a base camp, bring plenty of water. If exercising or in a warm environment, you want to have five liters a day available because you will be burning a lot of calories.
- Camp Stove, this item is used for cooking your meals. Usually, they are propane fueled. Ideally, you want to get one that is a two burner, so you can cook different foods at the same time.
- Clothing, two pairs of clothes should be plenty. One for wearing around and the other is just in the event of rains. Be sure to bring a rain jacket. The weather can change in an instant.
- Flashlights and/or lantern, when it gets dark out (and it will), a flashlight will guide you through the night. As well, they work great for reading.
- Batteries, these serve as backups for your flashlight and lantern.
- Fire starter, usually a lighter will do, but there are other alternatives such as flint and steel available to you.
- Firewood, trust me there is no greater feeling than sitting around a camp fire and looking up at the stars. It is a great feeling to gather round and tell stories to one another. It is an experience that forms brotherly bonds. Firewood will provide the crackle and warmth you need for a wonderful camping experience.
- Tarp, tarps are a versatile item for camping. One option is to place this on the ground underneath your tent to protect it from any tear that might come to it. Another, if camping on a tighter budget, is to use it as the roof of a makeshift tent.
- Sleeping bag, this depends on the weather. Some are great for cold, while others are more meant for warmer weather.
- Sleeping pad or air mattress, when you are camping, the ground will be hard. Place a sleeping pad underneath you, so you can have some comfort. Air mattresses, though, are larger and take up more space, but are much more comfortable.
- Cooking utensils, forks, knives, spoons, and pots will help you cook a delicious meal for friends and family.
All of these items are important for making your trip a great one. You, of course, can always bring your non essentials, but that is up to you.
This is by far the most important aspect of camping. Understanding how to set up your tent is critical for a great trip.
- Choosing a Tent, when camping, there are a number of factors to think about when deciding what to camp in. Consider these qualities when choosing a tent:
- Seasonality, for a starter tent, a three season tent should work fine. If going to a colder climate, get a winter tent to keep you warm.
- Single or Double Wall, weigh whether you want a single or double wall tent. A single wall is lighter, but offers less protection. A double wall is more sturdy and warmer, but heavier.
- Size, this is your primary concern. How many people do I want to fit in my tent? If there are three to four people in your group, then you may want a larger tent. If traveling alone, aim to get a one-two person tent.
- Materials, your tent needs to be made of tightly woven, rip-resistant material. Nylon is the best as it protects against rain water. Strong zippers and aluminum tent poles are important as they hold up the best.
- Set up your tent at home, this is important to practice before going to a campsite as it ensures that your tent works. Do it first thing when you get to the camp site, so you are not caught with your pants down when you arrive.
- Keep your tent zipper up, if there is one thing you do not want to do, it is to leave your zipper down. In doing so, bugs, snakes, and critters can get in. Nothing is worse than waking up to see about ten bugs too many in your tent. Minimize the bugs in your tent.
- Arriving at the camp site, when you first get there, find a hilly spot to place your tent. In the event of rains, you will not be camping in a puddle. On top of that, it needs to be the first thing you do when you arrive. When you get tired at the end of the day, you are going to want to crash.
Congratulations! You now know the basics of choosing and setting up a tent. You now are fully prepared to camp in the wild.
A Final Word
Camping is a great hobby for everyone to enjoy. If you spend enough time out in the wild, you will realize how great our natural world is. Birds glide through the wind and deer gallop through the forest. Scenery takes your breath away with its massive outcrops and soaring trees. The sun cuts through the tree leaves. It all culminates into an astounding experience. Thank you for reading and, if you have any thoughts on this, please be sure to mention it in the comments section.