Mastering Your First Camping Trip
When going on your first camping trip there is so much excitement and nerves built up. Just to be able to go into the wilderness for the weekend, exploring, examining nature on a level you haven’t before.
Being free of the daily banter of work, school, family, just a sense of freedom and no reasonabilities.
Whether you’re 15 or 30, your first camping trip is one that you’ll never forget. Maybe it’ll be the trip of a lifetime or the horror story of your life, either way, you’ll never forget! I’ve had my share of both, and no matter what, I love every single one of them. There is no other feeling like being in the middle of the woods and just having the overwhelming feeling of peace and happiness. Unless you’re in a Friday The 13th movie, then you better run….
In this blog, I’m going to try to help you Master Your First Camping Trip. From tips, tricks and just some basic advice that I would have liked to have known on my first trip.
Especially on your first trip try to leave early morning. You don’t want to arrive late and attempt to set up camp in the dark. It’s a challenge finding the tent pad making sure it’s clear of rocks, sticks and so on. Also, many campgrounds are a first come first serve basis. Even with an online reservation, many parks won’t assign you a select campsite until you arrive. If it’s inevitable to leave late, try to send the other part of your group early so they can select a decent campsite and start setting up camp.
With being out in the sun so much you need to be sure you’re properly keeping your body hydrated. Take plenty of water, Gatorade, juices etc. Try to stay away from sodas and drinks high in sugars.
Take A Good Backpack
If you plan on doing any Hiking during your trip, try bringing a backpack that is lightweight yet durable with plenty of pockets and a place to hold a water bottle. You want to be sure to take gear for an emergency if one were to happen.
Lighting Your Campground
Seems frivolous, but having a good campsite is a must have for the first-timers. It makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, navigating around camp and keeping from tripping on your tent stabilizers. Check out our blog on lighting up your campsite for the best lighting options!
Use A Camping Checklist
Use one of our many Camping Checklist to be sure you’re fully prepared for the exciting trip ahead. From Cooking supplies to water activity gear we’ve got a list of it all.
Site Near the Water?
Taking the kids camping? Why you shouldn’t get a site by the water. First timers usually always want a site near the water, yet this isn’t a promising idea if you’re a family group with young kids. Unless you’re able to keep your eyes on the kids the whole time, being right on the water can be very dangerous. There have been many drownings just because the parents lost sight for a moment. There, of course, can be some awesome benefits to being right on the edge. The sound of the water at night, being able to just run and jump in! Especially if you’re just a group of young adults going out for a fun weekend, then heck yeah! Campsite on the lake!
First Aid Kits
This is obviously a very important item for any trip. They are cheap, lightweight and easy to carry. I recommend you have 1 First Aid Kit per 4 Campers. An accident can happen anywhere at any time so be prepared, better safe than sorry. Use our First Aid checklist to be sure you have everything you need.
Watch out for the Rain!
Check the weather for the time and area of your trip. Be sure you’re checking for rain, snow and wind speeds. This way you know ahead of time what type of clothing to pack, special gear for high winds if you need heavy warm blankets or light thin ones. The more you prepare ahead of time the more amazing trip you’ll have.
Keeping Contact with Camp
Even though you likely won’t lose cell service, bring along a pair of Walkie Talkies. If you get separated from camp, you know that you’ll be able to get ahold of someone. And decent Walkie Talkies are affordable too, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank for safety.
If you’re not used to roughening it out, sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag is a struggle. No matter how well you clear the tent pad you’re going feel bumps, twigs and all that. Then you have to try to get up early the next morning and have a fully active day, that’s hard. So, try bringing a sleeping bag or cot. This adds a whole lotta comfort and you’ll have a great night’s rest to be energized for the day ahead.
Don’t Chose the Wrong Gear!
For first-time campers finding the right sized tent can be more of a struggle than you would think. Tents are designed for campers using sleeping bags and that is how companies determine how many people can fit into one. Example a 4-person tent can fit 4 persons in sleeping bags or 2 twin air mattresses with almost no room for anything else. So, when shopping, think about what you will be sleeping on and how many people will be in your tent. PS check out the Instant tents! Best tent I’ve ever owned! And always practice setting them up at home! Like I say around this blog be prepared! Know your Gear!
Trees or no Trees above The Campsite
When you think camping you usually think of trees, but many people don’t like trees around when camping for a few different reasons. The most notable is spiders… Spiders thrive during the night making webs connecting all over the place, so when you get up bright and early you can be pretty sure to walk into a few. Finding a campsite with no trees atop is usually difficult unless you’re just going somewhere that doesn’t have many. Many people prefer to camp without them above for many different reasons. Main two are for stargazing from the tent and if there’s a storm if it got hit by lightning it could fall on you. While the second is very unlikely, it has happened before.
Picking the Right Location
As for your planning your trip, start by determining how far you are willing to travel. Then just google camping grounds within xx miles of me. I would recommend that you stay at a state park or national park so if there are any problems you can find a ranger. For a kid, activities look through all the events the park has to offer. Many parks have wildlife shows and group events, while others don’t. Also, read through reviews about the park and see what other campers are saying. If you are traveling to another state, check their local laws and advisories.
Know Your Campsite
When going to a new Campgrounds it’s always exciting to explore and find all its hidden glory. Getting to know the area is not just an excitement but a necessity, you need to know where the bathrooms are, dumpsters, trails, beaches all the good stuff. When you first arrive if most parks will give you a map, study it. Check with a ranger if there is anything you need to worry about. Just get all the information you can to better your trip.
Take some fun stuff with you! If you have space, try to bring a couple of bikes to take a ride on the trails. Set up croquet around camp, bring horseshoes and have some fun friendly competition. A few board games, water guns anything like that just to have a little extra fun!
Wear the Right Gear
When you’re going camping always remember Comfortable walking shoes, your averagely daily step count more than doubles or even triples when on an outdoor adventure. You don’t want to be walking 5 or 6 miles in shoes that cause blisters and pain. As well as comfortable clothes, depending on the weather choose clothing that is either breathable or insulated to keep you warm. Try to always wear pants when you’re out in the wilderness, this way your legs will be safer from chiggers, thorny vines and other bugs and such.
Test Your Gear
Knowing your gear is a huge asset. Always give all your gear a test run a few days before your trip. This way if something is broken or you just can’t get it to work you still have time to return it and grab a new one to test out. You don’t want to show up and some of the gear is broken or you have no idea what to do with it. Do a quick test drive and be prepared.
Plan Your Meals
Planning each meal and even snacks! Know what you’re eating every meal for the entirety of the trip. Even if it’s just simple as ham and cheese sandwiches, have it in a checklist and pick up the items ahead of time. Be sure to have everything you’ll need to cook and store food properly. Items like plates, bowls, utensils, baggies, napkins, foil, containers, propane for cooking and so on. It’s not only a pain but also takes away time when you have to go to the store (if there’s even one near you). Be smart and plan ahead so you don’t take time away from your camping trip.
Protecting Your Skin
Many people don’t think about skin cancer, but I’ve had family that has developed it from being outdoors all the time and not wearing sunscreen. When planning your trip be sure to have sunscreen and plenty of it. Many people assume that because you’re usually surrounded by woods that you won’t need it, but that alone will not stop a sunburn. Be sure to have 1 or 2 bottles as you’ll probably go swimming or be outside hiking most of the time.
The Things We All Hate!
Dealing with the bugs and pest is the main downfall to camping. Especially Mosquitoes, but there are some tips to help. If you’re like me, you can’t stand Bug spray. The smell, how it makes you feel sticky and icky, so I go to other alternatives such as Citronella candles. Citronella is an odor that Mosquitoes naturally don’t like so it drives them away. Mosquito repellent wristbands, these are some great alternatives and kids don’t mind wearing them.
With possums and raccoons, skunks and other wildlife you must be vigilant with trash and leaving food items out. They’re attracted to the scent and come out at night while you’re asleep. So, just remember to either hang your trash, place it in your car or take it to the dumpsters each night.
There’s also health benefits
Going out into the woods for even a short walk has been proven to have extraordinary health benefits. From relieving stress, getting essential vitamins and memory improvement. Within just as little as an hour in the woods, your heart rate begins to lower, which in return reduces stress. There have been studies done that show a 10-minute walk outdoors shows great memory than a 10-minute walk indoors.
Just Have a Good Time!
There’s a variety of campsites you could choose, some with no water or electricity, some with only one and then some with both. You can always find running water or just run down to the lake, so take some fun things with you like Water Guns and Water Balloons. Take your bikes for the trails and some board games so during downtime you can play a game of Monopoly. Anytime I come home from a Camping trip I’m refreshed, relaxed and ready to be completely stressed out by life again. Just remember, when you go camping, you’re in natures house, so be respectful and take care of our environment, clean your campsite and leave it better than how you found it.
Camping is truly a life-altering event, it can bring you closer to your family and friends even when you didn’t think you could. Hopefully, with some of the basic information, you can Master Your First Camping Trip and have the adventure of a lifetime with loads fun! Just remember all the things we’ve talked about bugs, skin care, food, clothing, shoes, location, having the proper gear and testing it out thoroughly. Do all this and your Camping trip is going to already be better than most. Stay vigilant, yet enjoy your time out and try to destress! Take photos and enjoy the memories for the rest of your lives.