Guide to Camping for Beginners
Camping for the first time can seem like a daunting prospect but it needn’t be. All you need to do is be prepared! The following guide will help you get the best out of your trip.
If you’re new to camping you may be borrowing a tent, make sure you have all of the pieces if this is the case! Being short of pegs can be easily fixed, missing the inner lining not so much!
Select your spot carefully, check for any large or awkward rocks in the ground that could be uncomfortable to sleep on before pitching.
If you forget a mallet, to help with the pegs use the bottom of a tough shoe – such as a walking boot.
If you’re limited for space, prioritise bedding. Nothing will make or break your trip like a good nights sleep or lack of. Roll mats are useful, but a double-sided blanket with waterproof material underneath can be reused for picnics, the beach or outside of the tent in the day. Easy to dust off, they make for a great extra layer to sleep on. Also bring extra blankets, at night it can get very cold and these will double up for warmth or extra layers underneath.
If you prefer the idea of an air mattress, bring a puncture kit. Can’t find the hole? Place it in a bucket of water – where the air bubbles come out is where you’ll find your puncture.
If you’re a beginner, you’re probably camping in summer so you won’t need an expensive sleeping bag. A lightweight rectangular sleeping bag will do just fine. But don’t forget pillows!
Bring comfortable clothes that can be layered. Extra socks and jumpers are small things that will make a big difference if it gets cooler in the evening. Jeans are fine but can take a long time to dry if they get wet and aren’t the warmest material. Having a spare pair of leggings, tracksuit bottoms or shorts for when you get back to the tent will keep you comfortable even if there is a surprise downpour.
Check out what facilities are available at your campsite. Some will have BBQ areas or restaurants onsite. If you’re planning to use a camp stove for the majority of your trip, check out our top recipes.
Bring the basics like salt, pepper, butter/oil, teabags and UHT milk with you or pick up at a store nearby or onsite. A lemon is a great extra, the juice can be used to season food and keep salad from going limp! Camping cutlery and crockery can be metal or plastic, leave any china at home as it can be easily broken. Bowls are best as they catch any mess if you’re eating off knees, be it burgers or pasta! A set of mugs are also essential for cups of tea, soups or any drinks. To save packing too much, bring saucepans with a pouring lip as this will make for easy pouring and double up as a kettle for boiling water. Tupperware is also useful to keep food fresh or for saving any left overs for the next day.
A torch will be very useful once things get a bit dark in the evening. A gas lighter is also good for any fires or BBQ’s without the risk of matches or short lighters.
If you’re short of space, microfibre towels are a great investment as they dry super quick and can be rolled up very small.
And there you have it, some basic tips to make sure your first camping trip goes as smoothly as possible!
Image via Pat David