Camping is truly an amazing hobby, as this lifestyle offers a great opportunity to constantly explore new places and gain unique experiences and impressions.
At the same time, any trip to nature requires careful planning. The more information you have, the fewer problems you face while camping.
Experienced travelers can often go camping in a variety of locations: setting up camp either in campgrounds with amenities or pitching a tent somewhere in the wild in remote areas. In addition, with sufficient skills and knowledge, traveling at different times of the year or even solo camping will not be a problem for such travelers.
However, what if you are a newbie and this is all new for you? After all, planning a trip may look too complicated at first glance since it is not clear where to start, how much and what items to pack in a backpack, how to choose a tent, and what tent accessories for camping you may need — all this can complicate the process and reduce your enthusiasm. But, with each new trip, you will learn more and more useful information, as well as determine your needs and preferences, so planning new camping trips will no longer be such a difficult task, and the process of packing things will happen as quickly as possible!
We have prepared a short guide that will give you a better understanding of where to start and how to plan your first camping trip to enjoy it and avoid any unpleasant surprises!
Choose a tent
The first thing to start with is choosing a tent. Here, you should focus on your budget and expectations. For example, if you plan to visit campsites only in the summer with a couple of friends, then a regular tent for 2-4 people may be enough for you. At the same time, if you are interested in traveling in the fall or spring, then it is best to choose a 3-season tent. For winter camping, a 4-season tent with a stove is a perfect option.
Also, the shape of the tent matters. You can find such types as cabins, domes, teepees, pyramids, etc. Each of these has its own features: some give you more space in the tent (e.g. cabin), while others are more resistant to strong winds and stormy weather (e.g. dome).
In addition, it is useful to purchase other accessories, such as a footprint and tarp. You can line a footprint underneath your tent to create an extra layer of insulation and use a tarp to protect your shelter from rain, snow, and humidity.
For your first summer camping, any type of tent is suitable. Then, knowing your preferences over time, you can choose exactly the tent that you need.
It is also helpful to ask advice from more experienced travelers, as they can briefly describe the different types of tents, which will make the buying process easier for you.
Book a spot
The next step is to find an interesting location that you would like to visit and book a site there in advance. Typically, campgrounds are the best starting point for beginners, as there are various amenities available to you, and campgrounds allow you to safely build a fire and avoid dangerous predators.
It is best to make a reservation several weeks or even months before the intended trip, especially when it comes to popular locations. Also, the principle of first come, first serve may apply in some places.
Booking early gives you more options and allows you to save money, as prices in popular areas can rise significantly during the high season with an influx of visitors.
Research the location
Once you’ve booked a place in a location you like, research the area. Take note of what’s nearby. For example:
- Grocery stores
- Cafes and restaurants
- Pharmacies and hospitals
- Nearest hotels
- Gas stations
- Routes to get to/from the campsite
In addition, pay attention to where the connection is best, where Wi-Fi points are located, as well as where you can get water and firewood, take a shower, throw out trash, get help (emergency room), etc.
Plan your meal
Usually, when planning a trip, you can choose between the options of cooking your food or eating in cafes/restaurants. Some campgrounds may have food shops available on the territory. In other cases, cafes may be located quite far from your camp. Therefore, find out in advance about the available services and food places in the location you are going to visit.
When planning your menu, give preference to food that does not spoil and is easy to prepare. It is best to pack canned food, ready-made meals, snacks, noodles, etc. You shouldn’t take too many perishable foods, as you will most likely have to eat it all on the first day. The only exception is if you have a mini fridge with you.
Also, don’t forget about drinks. Take enough coffee stickers and tea bags. Sugar, sweets, and cookies are best kept in containers to avoid ants and insect invasion.
Get a gear checklist
Find a camping checklist a week or a couple of days before your travel date. This can speed up the packing process and avoid the risk of forgetting something important.
It also matters how exactly you get to the location. If you are planning to travel by car, then you can take quite a lot of items and equipment to enjoy your camping. When backpacking, you only have to take with you what you need. Therefore, look for those checklists that correspond to your ability to transport things first of all.
Finally, research travel forums or ask other more experienced people for advice. When camping, it’s not so much about bringing as many things as possible but rather about not forgetting the basic items.