A Camping Guide for Beginners

Camping can be an enjoyable escape from your daily grind. With thousands of campgrounds around the nation, it's certainly a popular one. You'll have your choice of public or private campgrounds. There are also the options of camping in a tent, renting a cabin or renting an RV if you don't already have one.

Years from now, you want to make sure you look back at this camping trip with a smile on your face. If you're new to camping, following the advice below will help you accomplish this. Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Let's get started to ensure that it is.

What Kind of Camping Trip Interests You?

Before picking your destination or getting prepared, you have to know what type of destination you're getting prepared for. Are you camping on your own and want to have the ultimate outdoor experience? Backpacking along picturesque trails may be your best option. Do you want to stay connected to some modern amenities while enjoying the outdoors? Then bringing an RV to a campground will be an excellent option. You need to know what kind of outdoor adventure you're after to be able to plan it.

Choosing Your Destination

OK, let's say you've decided whether you'll be pitching a tent on a campground or bringing an RV. You'll have a ton of destination choices among the thousands of public and private campgrounds. If you're taking an RV, you'll obviously need grounds with electrical hookups. If you're keeping it simple with a tent, consider what kind of amenities you'll want within easy reach.

When bringing your kids on their first camping trip, you may want to pick grounds with a convenience store. You'll also want to check reviews to see if a potential campground is a popular family destination, so you'll know there will be other kids for them to play with. It's also smart to choose a destination that's not too far from home. If things don't go as planned and you need to bail, at least it won't be a long trip home.

Preparing for Your Trip

This step can only be done after the first two. For example, if you know you're bringing an RV, then you don't need to go tent shopping. Let's assume you're camping out with a tent and sleeping bags.

First of all, don't go too cheap or you might jeopardize your enjoyment. If you don't have the money for a big enough high-quality tent, then rent one rather than buying a bottom-dollar one. Also, get a tent that's a size bigger than what it's recommended for. It's better to have the extra space and not need it.

Beyond a tent and sleeping bags, you'll need a lantern, flashlight, two-burner propane camping stove, cooking supplies, a cooler, cups and utensils, food and a first-aid kit. Campsite bathrooms can run out of supplies, so be sure to bring toiletries. Also, you're in the great outdoors, so don't forget the bug spray!

Setting Up Your Campsite

After checking in at the campground office, you'll need to find a good spot to set up your tent and other equipment. You should follow “leave no trace” principles when setting up your campsite and when you get ready to leave. These are simple rules that everyone should follow to leave campgrounds as pristine as possible for future campers.

Set your tent up before night falls, so you can see what you're doing. If the campgrounds don't have tables and benches, make sure you brought some folding chairs and a table with folding legs that you can set up next to your tent. By following this advice, and scheduling your trip when there's good weather at the site, you should have a fun time that you'll remember fondly.


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