Heading out to the great outdoors and spending your nights around a campfire with pals before retiring to your tent to sleep under the stars is a life-affirming experience. If you’ve never been camping before, you may have thoughts of endless mosquito bites, critters finding their way into your tent and maybe even flashbacks to the Blair Witch movie. Don’t worry, it’s not that bad. As with any trip away from home, you just need to make sure that you’re prepared. Take a look at these top tips that will make your first time camping experience a positive one.
Practice With Your Kit
If you have never put up a tent before, make sure you have a good few practices in your back garden. There’s nothing worse than being overconfident and assuming that the poles, pegs, and canvas are all highly intuitive only to find out when you set up camp that it takes you five hours to pitch your humble abode for the weekend. Whip out the instructions and follow them to the letter. Go slow the first time and see if you can get through the construction of your tent without error. Then take it down and put it up again. Hopefully, the more times your canvas goes up and down, the less reliant you’ll be on the instructions and the more confident you’ll become.
Be Prepared For Any Situation
Even if you’re heading to a little patch of scenic woodland with friends rather than venturing on a trek across the Rockies, it still pays to kit yourself up with some free survival gear. Making use of a flashlight, sharp knife, map, food, water, waterproofs and compass as a bare minimum will ensure that you can encounter any eventuality with ease. If you get lost (and many people do) it’s ok to whip out your smartphone and fire up the GPS. There’s no shame on relying on technology to get you out of a pickle. If you don’t have a cell phone or your battery has died, you must have your trusty paper map and compass as back up. Ensure that you learn how to use these tools prior to hot-footing it into the woods otherwise they become obsolete.
If you’re heading to a well-maintained campsite rather than somewhere off the beaten track, make sure that you consider your fellow campers around you. Sound travels far when there aren’t any walls so don’t be the sort of camper that plays their music at ungodly hours and rustles chip bags when they get the midnight munchies. There will be campsite rules wherever you go, and it’s vital that you stick to them.
It’s important that you keep checking the weather schedules. While a trip to the forest with your mates in the snowy season sounds idyllic, you need to be sensible. It’ll be cold, communications could go down, and you could get caught in a severe blizzard. It may pay to wait for the rubbish weather to pass before heading off on your first camping adventure.
Whether you venture out in the winter or the summer, it’s vital that you have adequate clothing. For winter camping, you should invest in a good set of thermals. That inner insulating layer can make all the difference between you spending a weekend building snowmen and making snow angels or shivering for 48 hours huddled around the campfire or inside your tent. In the summer it’s a good idea to refrain from shorts and opt for longer linen style trousers with a spray of insect repellant instead. This wards off the Lyme disease-carrying ticks and mosquitos leaving you bite free.
Food And Water
It goes without saying that you need to take plenty of food and water to ensure you’re adequately hydrated and fuelled for your jaunt. Should the worst happen and you become separated from your campmates after going on a hiking adventure, you’ll need water. It doesn’t take long in the midday sun to become dehydrated, disoriented and even lose consciousness. Be a smart camper, don’t venture off alone and always carry a bottle of H2O.
If you’re a fan of breathing in clean, fresh air and feel revitalized at the mere thought of spending some time in the great outdoors, then you will adore the freedom that camping can give you. By following these tips and keeping your wits about you, you will soon become an old hand at the art of camping.