Camping 101: The Guide For The Beginners
Nothing compares with a night out in the fresh air under the starry night, huddled around a bonfire and listening to the strange sounds in the woods. For many people around the globe, camping is the ultimate escape from the routine. While you can simply pack up your bags and go camping with your friends, nothing compares with a well thought out and planned trip.
For instance, I wouldn’t go camping without my favorite camping percolator, and you can take a look at this guide for the right options. But of course, that’s a matter of personal preference. That said, you just need the essential gear and knowhow of camping, and you will be all set for years of unforgettable experiences.
So let’s get started with Camping 101: The Guide For The Beginners!
The essence of camping is in building a temporary shelter in the outdoors. Most of the time, this shelter is a tent. So we will start with tents. Not surprisingly, tents come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and prices. From ultra-portable and high-performance tents for backcountry camping experiences to more spacey and heavy models that need to be carried in a vehicle.
Most tents today are freestanding that come with guy lines for staking. They are made of light fabric material with mesh windows held high by lightweight poles. The waterproof cover known as the fly is partially or fully removable. Some of the tents come with a footprint – ground cloth, while others require you to purchase one separately.
If you are a beginner, I recommend setting up your camp in your backyard once before you head out into the wild. This way, you will come to know what you might need for a comfortable outdoor night.
Sleeping Bags, Air mattress or tent cots
From high tech sleeping bags to basic ones, they come with comfort ratings based on temperature. Before camping, it is crucial to get an idea about the night temperatures of the region as nights can get chilly. Air mattresses offer an alternative to sleeping bags. They provide a great way to sleep comfortably, just as if it was your home.
To inflate them, you will need either a foot pump or a battery-powered pump. Carrying extra goodies can be a hassle, though. On the other hand, tent cots create an entire private sleep shelter that stands above the ground. They protect you not only from the insects, stones, and rocks but also from the damp soils. So you can select either of the three options depending on your budget and preference.
In addition, you will need a pillow for every camper. Toss a blanket in the car, too, just in case you want to picnic away from your base camp.
Cooking involves food preparation, storage, and the cleanup process afterward. Always do your food preparation before leaving your home. It prevents you from overcooking and minimizes the cleanup amount. Marinate your meat, slice the vegetables, and pack the fruits (if any) in your cooler. This way, you can effortlessly grab everything you may need without sifting through the entire meals.
Oh, and don’t forget your camping percolator for coffee. For storage, get the right sized cooler, depending on your stay. Freeze as many items as you can. Frozen goods stay fresh for extended periods.
For cooking, while everything tastes excellent on a campfire, it isn’t always convenient. If that’s the case with you, take a portable propane gas stove along with you. They will save a lot of time in cooking.
Now, cleanup can be a bit tricky. Remember, there won’t be a slop tank nearby for you to clean up your cutlery and pots easily. Therefore, you need to be mindful to use as little of your pots as possible. You can also use a portable sink bucket or use rainwater stored in the empty plastic tote.
I personally don’t like bringing furniture on a camping site because I prefer traveling light. But for some people, it can help set up their campsite. A few folding chairs and a foldable table can offer great help. While some public campgrounds provide a picnic table, it’s not the same everywhere.
And especially when you are camping in the wilderness, you may want to bring your table. Folding chairs are most useful for sitting around the campfire. They are lightweight and compact for secure storage. Tables on the other hand are useful for food prep, playing card games and for having meals.
Lastly, you will also need an LED lantern to illuminate the site. No! Campfire is not a good source of light. And what do you think happens when it is put out?
Read more: Best 8 Games to Play While Camping
In addition to the items mentioned above, you will need appropriate clothes (Yes, an extra pair), bug sprays, duct tape, camping knife, scissors, and a first aid kit. Small hatchets can also be quite useful. I know, you won’t be chopping down any trees, but they’re handy to chop down lower tree branches from the trail, make way, and cut that odd-shaped firewood that doesn’t quite fit on your fire pit.
Moreover, keep in mind the laws of the area you are visiting. Some places have stringent rules against bringing firewood. They discourage it from preventing imported insect infestation. On the contrary, some other regions levy hefty fines and penalties on cutting down any live branches or trees. So it’s better to stay on the safer side. Read the laws regarding lumber beforehand.
When you are a beginner camper, it’s better to be cautious. Start small. Learn how to make longer trips more memorable. Camp local to get a feel of the experience. Give yourself time to set up your campsite. Keep your tent, sleeping bag, cookware, furniture, camping percolator, or any other stuff close by. Don’t set up in the dark. Similarly, give yourself enough time to pack everything back up.
Most campsites won’t have cell phone access and it’s better this way, in my opinion. Why even go camping if you cannot unplug from the matrix for a couple of days? Oh, and don’t forget to breathe deeply. Nothing compares to that experience.