Over 40 million people go camping each year, but if you’re new to the outdoors, spending the night in nature might feel daunting. Don’t let fear or inexperience stop you – with the right camping gear, food and attitude, your first camping trip can be fun, relaxing and unforgettable.
Here are 10 camping tips for beginners to make your next outdoor adventure as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
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1. Choose a good campsite.
When you arrive at a campground, look for sites that are clean and well-maintained, with plenty of trees to shield you from the sun (and bugs). It’s also important to choose a site that is far enough away from other campsites so that your noise doesn’t disturb others. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out our campground guide and contact the camp host if necessary to find out more.
2. Bring a first-aid kit.
It’s important to bring a first-aid kit with you when you go camping, especially for first-timers. This way, if someone gets a cut or an allergic reaction while you’re out hiking, you have the supplies you need to care for them. A medical kit with basic first aid items like bandages, saline solution and gauze is ideal for a hiking backpack or overnight bag. There are also kits made specifically for the outdoors that have everything you need in a compact case that fits easily into your camping gear.
3. Keep toiletries stocked.
Keeping yourself clean while camping can be challenging. You might not want to bring baby wipes, but they’re a must-have for camping trips because they’re quick and easy to use and don’t leave behind a mess. You should also bring hand sanitizer, soap and a garbage bag to hold dirty clothes or bedding. And don’t forget a headlamp or lantern and extra batteries, as well as an emergency water source.
4. Know how to set up a tent.
It may seem obvious, but make sure you know how to set up your tent before heading out on a camping trip. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to realize you can’t figure out how to get your tent up in time to enjoy the day. Before your trip, try setting up your tent in your living room or backyard a few times to get a feel for it and to practice the process.
5. Be mindful of campground etiquette.
It’s always nice to be kind to other people, but camping etiquette is especially important because you’re sharing your space with other campers. Respect your neighbors’ privacy by limiting volume and turning off lights early in the morning and at night, not shining flashlights toward other campsites, and using a fire pit only for cooking.
You should also be aware of campfire restrictions if you’re camping in an area prone to wildfires. Many parks will limit where, when and how you can burn a fire to protect the land and wildlife from fires.