The camping tips in this article will be helpful when planning your next getaway!

There are few experiences in life more fulfilling than a camping trip. Spending some free time with good company in all of nature’s splendor — what could possibly be better?

That is, as long as you’re prepared for the various demands that camping presents. Beginner campers who think the expedition will be a total breeze have another thing coming.

In order to enjoy the natural relaxation of a camping trip, you need to go into it with some knowledge, preparation and a willingness to do a bit of hard work.

For the total beginner looking to take on the outdoors, here are some important camping tips to keep in mind.

Camping Tip #1: Make a Checklist

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You don’t want your first expedition ruined by the lack of some crucial items on the campsite. To avoid this, take time at home to prepare a list of everything you’ll be needing.

Keep your list handy while preparing for your trip, checking things off while packing them up. Add new entries as they come to mind, and scratch off any that might not be necessary.

Here are a few items that should definitely be included:

  • Tent 
  • Sleeping bag
  • First aid kit 
  • Pocket knife
  • Gaffer tape
  • Canteen and water filter
  • Cooler 
  • Flashlight
  • Lantern
  • Rain jacket
  • Umbrella 
  • Blanket
  • Camp stove/burner 
  • Garbage bags 
  • Compass
  • Fire starter

Pro tip: don’t forget the marshmallows!

Camping Tip #2: If Foul Weather is Forecasted, Take a Raincheck

Your first camping trip is likely to present you with enough challenges to occupy yourself with, so there’s no need to make things harder for yourself by camping in heavy rain.

Every step of the trip will be exponentially easier under fair weather. Stormy camping is for seasoned veterans, so leave it to them.

Camping Tip #3: Get Familiar With Your Gear at Home

You should aim to enjoy every minute of your time spent on the camping ground. In order to avoid wasting time fumbling around with your new gear, ensure you try it out at home.

Practice setting your tent up in the backyard. Familiarize yourself with your lanterns. Test your camp stove to ensure its proper function. It’s also a good practice to spend a night in your living room on the sleeping bag, just so you get the feel of it.

A well-prepared camper is a happy camper, and a camper who gets to the site unprepared will likely be an unhappy one.

Camping Tip #4: Choose the Right Tent

It’s important for a tent to supply enough space and comfort during a camping trip. While tents vary greatly in terms of cost and quality, there are plenty of options for first-timers that are well within budget.

Choose a tent that can comfortably fit everyone you’ll be taking on the trip with you. If you’re looking to get a decent night’s sleep, the last thing you want is to cram a large group in a tiny tent!

If this is a family trip, ensure that you find a tent with a listed capacity higher than the number of people you’ll be bringing. For a family of four, for example, choose a tent that purportedly holds at least six people.

Even larger tents fit quite well in the trunk of a car, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

If your tent isn’t inherently waterproof, be sure to spray the tent cover with a thorough coat of silicone sealant.

Camping Tip #5: Bring Enough Lighting

Depending on where you’re going, your campsite might be equipped with enough lighting for you to avoid going overboard. If not, it’s best to come prepared or you’ll be wandering around in the dark.

When it comes to lighting, it’s better to bring too much than not enough. Bring extra flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps. Be sure to pack some extra batteries in your bag, too. 

Camping Tip #6: Prepare Your Food Beforehand 

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With no prior preparation, chances are that you’ll be digging into some pretty bland meals during your first expedition. 

On the other hand, with some dedicated home prep, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy great meals like pizza, marinated chicken and tacos by the fire. 

Don’t forget to pack some of your favorite snacks to munch on throughout the day! 

Camping Tip #7: Get There on Time

Getting there late and rushing through the necessary setup will surely dampen the mood of your first trip. It’s better to get there a little too early than a little too late.

Ensure that you have enough time to scope the layout of your campsite. It’s a lot easier to set up camp during daylight hours, when it’s clear to see exactly what you’re doing.

Camping Tip #8: Pitching the Tent

Some campsites allocate a designated plot to campers. If this isn’t the case with your first trip, take your time choosing the right stop to pitch your tent.

If it’s a windy day, look for a spot surrounded by trees — this will provide a natural windbreak.

Likewise, if it’s an especially bright day, the trees will provide some well-needed shade.

If possible, avoid spots at the bottom of a field. If it rains, you might find your tent seeped in a couple inches of water. This is definitely something worth avoiding, to say the least.

Camping Tip #9: Respect the Space of Others

Popular campsites will usually have you sharing the great outdoors with a number of fellow campers.

Always ensure that you respect your neighbors’ space. Don’t walk through their boundaries to get somewhere. Respect noise levels during quiet hours.

Really, this just boils down to having good manners.

Camping Tip #10: Use Fire Responsibly

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Sitting around the campfire is a staple of the experience, but it’s also important to keep in mind how dangerous fire can be if not responsibly tended to.

So that you have all your bases covered, check out our guide to camping fire safety.

Camping Tip #11: Pack All Trash Neatly in Bags

It’s important to respect campsite etiquette by packing up all your trash as you go, storing it in garbage bags to be disposed of on your way out.

Camping Tip #12: Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Camping is great fun, but it’s also quite exhausting. Once your belly is full, the fire is safely put out and all trash is neatly organized, it’s time to finally tuck in. 

We don’t recommend sleeping directly on the floor, as this is bound to lead to a morning backache later on. 

The ideal setup is to have a roll up foam pad, sleeping pad, camping cot or inflatable mattress separating you from the ground by a few inches. If not, stacking some spare blankets will do. 

Kick back and enjoy some well-deserved rest. You’ll need it when it’s time to pack up tomorrow. 

Or, if this is a multi-day expedition, new adventures await come morning!

Rocco Bambace