Camping for beginners can come across as intimidating and may seem like a lot of work. Regardless, camping allows you to experience the great outdoors and the beautiful sites of nature.
We have created a beginner camping guide filled with tips to help you feel more comfortable during your first camping experience. Once you are able to camp for the first time, you’ll have the chance to explore the great outdoors, get some fresh air, and enjoy open space.
Step 1: Choose Your Campsite Carefully
First things first: You can’t just pick any campsite during your first trip. You’re going to need to do your research to determine which campsite really fits your needs. During my first time camping trip (which was actually how David and I first met!), we chose a beginner-friendly destination. By that, I mean one that had a bathroom nearby, not remote, and located inside of a park. The group we went with were mostly “newbie” campers, so we chose a site that was a bit less overwhelming.
Ask Yourself These Questions Before Making a Decision: Do you have a family? Do you have a dog? Are bathrooms important to you? What about showers? Or, are you looking to be a bit more remote in the middle of nowhere? Do you prefer woods or an open space? Consider these questions and then pick a site that can accommodate you.
Step 2: Get a Tent That Fits Your Lifestyle
Tents come in all types of sizes and shapes. But, don’t just pick one that looks the most visually appealing! You’re going to want to analyze what each offers. Also, be sure not to cheap out on your tent. Durability, functionality, and comfort all play a role when choosing a tent.
We’d suggest picking a tent for 2 more people then what is actually sleeping within it. That way, you’ll feel like you have enough space for you and your things. However, if you are looking to eventually get into more backpacking, you’re going to want to look into light, compact options.
Step 3: What Season Do You Plan On Camping?
Camping for beginners can be most intimidating due to a lack of understanding of what kind of weather warrants specific types of equipment. Depending on where you live, picking which season you choose to partake in your first camping experience is vital to your overall satisfaction. Do you prefer warm or cold weather? What is your favorite season? We personally love camping in the fall. The colors of the leaves are changing and it’s much cooler weather (but, not too cold!). Be careful with camping in summer: We live somewhere with warm temperatures, and being stuck in a tent when it’s hot outside is NOT fun, especially when you’re a beginner!
Step 4: Choose Your Sleeping Bag Wisely
Anyone else gets cold easily? I prefer a much warmer sleeping bag while David prefers a cooler one. Think about what the temperature is going to be when you go, and then choose a sleeping bag that will accommodate the lowest possible temperature at night. Trust me, you do not want to feel cold or uncomfortable while you’re sleeping!
Step 5: Know How to Pitch a Tent
Pitching a tent isn’t any type of rocket science, but it’s always best to come prepared. Instead of having no idea how to pitch the tent when you get to the campsite, practice at home! Practice will definitely make camping for beginners a bit less stressful!
Step 6: Bring the Essential Camping Gear for Camping Beginners
Camping beginners shouldn’t forget all the little (and big) things that will make your camping experience as comfortable and rewarding as possible. Headlamps, flashlights, and cooking materials are just a few items you’ll need. If you’d like to read more information about what gear you’re going to want to have, check out our Camping Gear Checklist of must-have items!
Step 7: Before Pitching Your Tent, Remove Debris
If you’re camping in a heavily wooded area, chances are there will be twigs, sticks, and rocks around you. Make sure to clear the spot you plan on pitching your tent before pitching it. Otherwise, you risk damaging or slicing your tent open!
Step 8: Plan Your Food
You’re going to want to have your meals planned ahead of time (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). This way, you can guarantee that you’ll have enough food to last you the duration of your camping trip.
Step 9: Start Simple & Don’t Get Complicated
Starting simple during your first trip makes camping for beginners a much easier process. Maybe consider just an overnight trip for your first camping experience. That way, you can really identify what you need to make your next camping trip a bit more comfortable.
We’d also recommend staying close to home and not partaking in a backpacking trip for your first time. Staying close to home allows you the flexibility to grab something you may have forgotten.
Step 10: Enjoy Your First Camping Experience!
Camping has become such a fun experience for us to do as a couple! We love to appreciate the outdoors, especially for overnight trips! Camping for beginners will be just as rewarding and we hope that our camping guide and camping tips for beginners will help you enjoy camping while being as comfortable as possible!