If you want to know all that camping entails before you go for your first camping experience, do not worry, everyone who goes for camping has gone through the same stage of learning that you are in right now. Even though there is a lot to learn, being a happy camper does not involve rocket science, so relax.
Nobody was born an expert, and the same applies to those who go camping. Every camper out there was once a beginner, and if given an opportunity, they will share all the funny experiences involving one or two campsite mishaps.
Sometimes new campers learn things the hard way, and from time to time, the experienced campers tend to overlook things. To avoid campsite mishaps, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with some of the most common mistakes that first-time campers usually make and in the process learn how to be a smart camper. Below are tips for you as a first-time camper.
Essentials may be important, but there is no need to pack as if you are going on a six-month voyage to Antarctica. Be sensible when packing by making a checklist. The checklist will ensure that you only carry the most important items. Without the list, it is easy to be carried away and take too much or forget to bring something important. A checklist also helps you to be efficient when packing.
The same rule when you are buying your camping gear. It is easy for first-time campers to go overboard and spend fortunes while shopping for camping equipment. Remember to always keep it simple by only purchasing the essentials and build your camping gear as you continue to go camping. Don’t intend to buy all your camping gear for the first time.
For you to have an easy time when looking for spare parts, remember to choose a campsite within a close range of a hardware store. This helps you to quickly get the spare part you forgot to carry. The following are the must-have camping essentials:
- Tent (if you are not camping in an RV or campervan)
- Sleeping mat, air mattress or cot
- Sleeping bag
- Lanterns or flashlights
- Campfire supplies
- Citronella Candles and Bug Repellent
- Bottled water and non-perishable food
Familiarize yourself with your gear
Avoid the mistake of waiting until you get to your campsite for you to try your gear by familiarizing yourself with the equipment even before you start your journey to your camp location.
If you wait till you get to your campsite for you to try your gear, you are likely to waste the first hours just fumbling with the equipment while trying to figure out how to set it up. The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ applies here. The following are some of the things you do before setting out:
- Tent- Make sure you try out your tents by setting them up in your c=backyard before you go camping.
- Lanterns and camp stoves- Check their operations to ensure that they do work properly.
- Sleeping bag- Try out your sleeping bag for one night in the living room so that you see how well you sleep in it.
If you do the above, you will be a smart camper.
Arrive on time and adhere to camping rules
You do not want to arrive late when it’s almost dark and then start fumbling with your gears trying to set up your tent in a rush. As a new camper, you are likely to be unfamiliar with the rules of camping as well as camping amenities and no one will blame you because you are new, how are you to know? But remember to arrive early at your campsite so you can get enough time to learn about the layout of your campground. It is always much safer to set your campground during the daylight hours. This will not only give you ample time to set up correctly, but it will also make your campground neighbors happy. So be smart, keep time.
As a first-time camper, you may not realize that there is no such thing as real privacy when it comes to camping. While in your campsite, you can hear whispers from the next site so way remember to keep your voice down so you don’t disturb your neighbors who may be asleep already. The following are some of the unwritten campground rules:
- Keep yoursite clean
- Put out yourfire once you are done using it by ensuring that the coals or ashes are cold
- Clean up after your pets
- Don’t wash your dishes in the bathroom
- Respect quiet hours
- Don’t cut through campsites
- Use lowlights
Ditch the electrical devices
Not only is camping with an electric hook up (EHU) expensive, but it also limits your pitch voice and your campsite options. Instead of the EHU, get solar chargers. Not only are the solar chargers inexpensive, but they are also more capable of powering any of your essentials such as your smartphone. On a side note, in case you are planning on taking devices such as hair straighteners with you, no one is going to care how straight your hair looks, so just leave them at home. Also, instead of taking your tablet or laptop with you, why not leave it at home and just take a digital detox. Trust me; you will enjoy the camping experience better without the electronics
Besides, the entire point of camping is to get away, so how are you going to do that if you constantly plugged in? Your favorite TV shows can wait till you get back, you do not need to keep up with the news while away and besides, is knowing the news going to change anything? And you most definitely do not want to stress yourself by regularly checking your e-mail, you can do that once you get back home. In addition to the electronics, the following are some of the things that you should not carry when going camping:
- An ax- You do not need an ax to get firewood, simply pick up the fallen branches you find o your way as you take your walk.
- Toys- Toys can distract your children from enjoying nature
- Perfumes and deodorants- You certainly do not want to be chased all day by mosquitoes and bees, do you?
- Mirror- Your looks are not the priority, spending time with nature is your priority.
- Ceramic or glass items- Besides being heavy, glasses and ceramics bring with them the fear of injuring yourself from broken pieces of either of them.
- All those extra toiletries like different types of soap (face, body, hand, etc.), cream and conditioners
Camp close to home
For your first time, it is advisable that you don’t camp far from your home. This is so that you can get back home just in case you find out that camping is not your thing after your first night of sleeping on the ground. As a first-timer, you are also likely to have gear trouble which may leave you without a tent. Running out of food is also another possibility or the weather may change for the worse. These are just some of the reasons that can make you want to return home early. So for the first few trips, be smart and camp close to home.
Even though the thought of camping may elicit a scarier prospect than a visit to the dentist, with proper advice and preparation, camping can be extremely rewarding. Nothing compares to the feeling of being outdoors as you enjoy the simple life while interacting with nature. The above tips should inspire you to embrace the tent and have yourself an amazing first-time camping experience.