Where Do I Go To The Bathroom
Specifically, whats the protocol for going number two?
Most official campsites have toilets and showers. But if youre in the wilderness and really need to go, find a secluded spot, dig a cathole, and cover it up when youre done. You can bury the toilet paper with the poo or store it in a wag bag to dispose of later. Dont forget to check for critters and poison ivy before you squat!
Bring Sealable Bins For Food
Cooking outdoors tends to attract bugs and other critters. While food storage lockers provided at most campsites will keep out animals, small bugs can still get in. The best way to protect your food from pests is by storing it in sealable plastic bins instead of grocery bags.
A small bin, like the Sterilite 18 quart clear bin, will fit in most campsite food storage lockers and hold a few days worth of dry food.
My First Time Wild Camping
I love animals. I have animals. I work with animals. Animals are great.
But theres a time and place for everything.
I tried wild camping once before, in a field near my house when, during lockdown, my four-bedroom walls got too familiar to bear. In retrospect, utilising only a yoga mat, two bottles of beer and a rolled-up overcoat for a pillow meant I probably wasnt giving it my best shot.
But the thing that really made it difficult to get any sleep at all was that Sussex is apparently the Serengeti of England. Deer barking, territorial owls, young badgers at play and a host of small rodents all played their part in what I still regard as one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life.
So, Im off to a remote woodland location to give it a second try. Properly. It cant be any worse this time around, can it?
Recommended Reading: Camping World Michigan Rv Sales
What To Bring For Food And Drinks While Camping:
A medium frying pan, a pot and utensils
A dish towel to double as a pot holder
Tin mug for water/coffee
Plates and bowls
Meat and veggie kabobs for the first night
Bagels and cream cheese
Smores ingredients : marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, and skewers
Snacks for the afternoons: look for items that wont spoil easily and dont need prep: chips, salsa, grapes, granola bars, healthy cookies, homemade trail mix, dried fruit and nuts
How Do I Get Help If I Hurt Myself
If you havent noticed by now, Im a worrywart. Im also very clumsy. What if I hurt myself during a hike or get really sick? Is there a way to get help when youre in the wilderness? First things firstpack a first aid kit.
If your intention is to disconnect by leaving the phone at home, pack a personal locator beacon or satellite messenger instead. It lets you call for help regardless of cell service. These devices use a network of satellites that notify national search authorities and the closest first responders of your GPS location within 3-5 minutes.
You May Like: State Park Camping Near Albuquerque
How Do You Get There
Navigating to a campground is easy. Finding your own dispersed campsite is harder.
Exploring the labyrinth of dirt roads that cross BLM land and national forests used to involve paper maps and a fair bit of trial and error. There was no way to tell if something that started off as a simple dirt road might turn into a challenging trail that could damage your vehicle a few miles later. And even if you could get through it, there was no way to know if thered be a locked gate at the end, preventing you from reaching that sweet alpine lake you wanted to camp by.
A new app called OnX OffRoad has solved those problems, and taken the guess work out of traveling off-road through public lands. Itll tell you everything from what kind of vehicle can use which roads and trails to how difficult those roads and trails will be to drive. It also works offline, which is vital because you will likely not have cell phone service in those remote places.
Of course, you will still need to find a camping destination. Recommendations from friends, exploring on Google Earth, and searching social media and the Internet can often turn these up.
Tips For Buying A Camping Tent
We borrowed a neighbors old tent for our first camping experience. Borrowing a tent is a great way to try camping and save money.
When you are ready to buy a tent walking into a sporting store to look at camping tents can be overwhelming, but remember that most new tents will do a good job of keeping you dry.
The costs will rise as the materials and construction become lighter and designs become easier for setup and more sturdy in high winds.
Knowing what kind of camping you plan on doing can help you make those decisions as the needs of the casual camper are certainly not the needs of someone hiking in 10km before setting up camp.
If you are not planning on backpack camping, lightweight and size doesnt matter. I would go with a big camping tent when so you have more room for your gear and more space for each camper. Our borrowed tent on our first trip was not light, but it got the job done.
When we knew backcountry camping was for us we decided to invest in a better tent.
Buy a tent you can afford, but remember that the last thing you want to discover is that your tent is not exactly waterproof during a 3am downpour.
If you are new to camping it might be a great idea to rent your tent from an outdoor retailer or outfitter they are great resources for tent camping tips. This is a great option to try out gear and make sure you enjoy tent camping before making the investment.
Read Also: Best Winter Camping East Coast
Know How To Purify Water
While most campgrounds provide filtered water that is drinkable without purification, its still a good idea to know how to purify water in case of an emergency.
A water purification device is one of the 10 essentials of hiking and its essential for campers too.
For beginners, I recommend something simple since youll only be using it in an emergency, like if you get lost or injured on a hike away from camp.
The Aquamira Treatment Drops are great for beginners. All you have to do is squeeze a few drops into your container. The drops filter out 99.9% of bacteria and viruses and are compact and portable.
This isnt the most cost-effective filtration approach for backpackers who need to filter large amounts of water. But its perfectly fine for emergency use by beginner campers.
Read More:What to Pack for Hiking
Sleep In Merino Wool Layers
As you know by now, merino wool is one of the best clothing materials for camping. Its lightweight, odor-resistant, and breathable while still providing warmth and insulation.
I recommend sleeping in a lightweight merino wool base layer, like the Smartwool 150 base layers. Even in cold weather, I only sleep in a light merino base layer. This allows your down sleeping bag to use your radiating body heat to insulate you.
Merino wool layers are light enough to wear in hot weather too. In the summer, Ill simply wear a short sleeve base layer and lightweight Smartwool pants.
Also Check: Free Camping Near Port Angeles
Give Yourself Some Space
As I caught the two little pyromaniacs in their second act of butane combustion, a string of profanities escaped my lips.
Chances are, on your first camping-with-kids experience, youre likely going to lose your cool at some point. Better that there isnt a nice retired couple, honeymooners or another family 20 feet away.
Were assuming that your first camp trip with kids isnt into some remote outback. If you have that kind of confidence, good for you. But most likely, youre at a family campground with other folks around.
On a busy weekend, youre probably not going to be able to find a private spot. But maybe ask for a site that isnt right on top of other campers. You wont have a bunch of college kids playing music and tossing beer cans in the fire a few feet from your family and no one else is going to hear your kids when they have a lost-marshmallow meltdown.
Practice Putting The Tent Up
Youve bought your fancy new tent and you cant wait to go on your trip and sleep in it. But before you take it with you, you should practice pitching it in your garden. This is especially important for first time campers who dont have experience in pitching tents. This will save you time when you go to the campsite as youll already know how to put it up. You can also check for any tears in the tent or missing parts.
Read Also: Is There Camping On Mackinac Island
One: Before You Reach Your Campsite
Pack wisely: While its important to have the essentials, theres no need to pack as if youre going on a six-month voyage to Antarctica. Avoid stress and be sensible and efficient when packing. And make a checklist.
The same rule applies if purchasing camping gear. First-time campers can be like novice golfers, feeling the need to spend a small fortune on every single gadget available, down to the ZX4000 ultra-fast tent peg sharpener. While we hope you have repeat usage from your camping gear, its costly if you dont use the equipment much. Keep it simple: buy only essentials items and build on your camping gear as you go.
An ingenious suggestion we received through the BIG4 Facebook page was for first-time campers to choose a campsite within close range of a hardware store. This way, you can easily grab a spare item or three in case you are ill-prepared.
Be prepared for rain: Conspiracy theorists will tell you Mother Nature likes to play havoc with campers some even suggest their mere presence at a campsite could provide relief to drought-stricken areas. To ensure the scoreline is You 1, Mother Nature 0, be prepared for wet-weather camping.
Firstly, check that your tent is rainproof before departure. Pack a raincoat and boots and place a spare set of clothes in a waterproof bag for extra insurance.
Year-round items worth packing when camping include earplugs and a comfortable chair.
Arriving At The Campsite
At most campgrounds, you will be required to stop at a registration office before continuing on to your site. If the campground allows it, make sure to explore all possible sites before selecting the one youd like to camp at.
Be on the lookout for level ground and proximity to other campers and amenities. Also, dont forget to check out the quality of smaller features within the site, like a fire ring or picnic table.
Also Check: Ponderosa State Park Camping Reservations
Eight Experts Share Their Top Tips For First Time Campers
12 May 2017
If you have never enjoyed a night under canvas, then you are missing out on a wonderful experience. The freedom of sleeping outdoors is something that simply cant be beaten, and its a great activity for families, friends, or even solo adventurers.
Often the reason people havent tried camping yet is that they think they wont enjoy it. Or they dont know what to expect, so weve reached out to some seasoned campers who know the ins and outs of every aspect, from years of experience.
Read on to find out their top first time camping tips, and youll discover that whoever you are, you can tailor your experience to suit you and have a fantastic time!
How To Choose A Family
We went around and around about the campground and ended up choosing Inn Town Campground because it seemed like the safest bet for us camping for the first time together. It is definitely a good choice for kids. The campground is clean, quiet, and very family-friendly. They even havemovies on a big screen some nights its pretty cool to close out the night with a movie under those big trees.
Based on our experience, I have the following criteria when choosing a campground:
- Flush toilets
- Campsites that are not too close together and have a little nature adjacent to the site
- A creek or stream running next to the campground hours of fun for kids and relaxing sounds for us all!
- Depending on your kids, kid-friendly activities at the campground
- Ideally not more than 2 hours from home
- Activities/hiking within walking distance from the campground. This is often a given at state and national park campgrounds.
- Restaurants nearby so that we dont have to rely on camp cooking the whole time
- Reviews that show that its good for families
- Private bathrooms: Many California state parks have private bathrooms!
- A kitchen: not necessary but nice for tent camping so you can store cold food & easily do dishes
- A shop for buying snacks, ice cream, etc.
- Foosball/table tennis/pool/other fun stuff for the kiddos
- Near water for swimming on a hot summer day
Have you gone camping as a family? Any favorite California campgrounds? Tips for first time campers? Id love to hear!
Read Also: Free Camping Near Bend Oregon
Take Practical Simple And Healthy Food
While spending three days eating potatoes, bars, cookies, and apples is tempting, your experience doesnt have to be this way. What to bring depends on whether you have a stove, you know how to cook over the campfire or how hard you want to work, but in general, you can opt for canned or dehydrated food , as well as foods that keep well without refrigeration , such as pasta, rice, and vegetables.
A very good option is to plan your menu before packing, to ensure that you have everything you need. Remember to pack spices to give your food something extra!
Make A Checklist What Should I Bring
New campers often overlook using a checklist. Its not fun to get to the destination and discover that you have forgotten something. Stay organized and make sure you dont leave anything by keeping all the necessary equipment checklist. Use it while preparing luggage and marking each item. Update and review the list as necessary. If something breaks or wears out, replace it. If you think you wont really use some things, remove them from the list.
Its clear if you are going to camp you need a tent before anything else. It should be large enough to fit people, luggage and bags. In addition, if you have a covered porch you can leave your shoes without finding them wet in the morning. Its very important to tie the tent with the stakes, so its advisable to bring a hammer so that they do not leave the ground when the wind blows. Putting a large plastic cover on the floor before assembling the tent will insulate you from moisture.
If you feel capable of cooking outdoors, then dont miss a good easy-to-wash pot, in addition to a portable kitchenette, or a grill for cooking over fire. Its also desirable to carry a good quality knife with you. In case you plan to make meals at the site, in the long run you may miss sitting on something other than the ground. Therefore, a good option is to bring a small table and folding chairs, but only if theres enough space in the car or the vehicle you came by.
Recommended Reading: Camping Near Headlands Dark Sky Park
Store And Dispose Of Properly Essential For Camping For The First Time
No matter where you are, it is very important that you store your food well, whether it is because it is at risk of being eaten by bears, dogs or even ants, the last thing you want is to run out of dinner.
So bring airtight containers or, if applicable, look for bear shelters .
In the waste area, the phrase When you travel, do not leave more than your footprint, do not take anything but photos and do not take with you more than the memory. Make sure you dont leave any trash or debris before you go. Take care of nature!
Watch For Trees When Parallel Parking
Watch for tree obstructions. In my article called Big RV Mistakes I Made With My Trailer This Year, I discuss the trouble with travel trailers and tree-lined streets. See, I live in a neighborhood with mature trees lining the streets. Its beautiful, but a nightmare for travel trailer parking. For instance, I once pulled up alongside the curb in front of my house to load the trailer and BOOM! The trailer contacted a branch that was hanging lower than Id thought. The tree versus RV collision caused some damage.
Also Check: Camping Near Bullhead City Az
What You Dont Think You Need When Camping:
A good tarp can save the day as it can be used as extra shelter in rain or sun. Wet wipes make it easier to keep yourself clean when out tent camping. Headlamps are perfect so you can work with you hands. I like to bring extra plastic bags for trash, dirty clothes or waterproofing.
Why Should We Go Camping
There are many ways for us to go explore the outdoors, from trekking to backpacking or hiking and camping. All of them are interconnected to each other, for instance, a camping trip usually involves hiking while a trekking trip normally involves occasional camping.
But camping remains a popular activity that works for everyone. You dont have to be a hiking expert to go camping. So, is camping worth trying? Should we or should we not do it?
The answer, in short, is yes. After all, camping promises us plenty of benefits and rewarding experiences that you wont find elsewhere. For a person who has never camped out before, we can see how he or she may feel reluctant about the whole camping thing.
One may be afraid of stepping out of their comfort zones, or worried about bugs, wild animals , or even getting lost, while some are turned off by the idea of sleeping on the ground.
All of the concerns above are valid, however, with proper planning and preparations, these issues can easily be avoided. Thus, you should not let these concerns hold you back from trying out camping, otherwise, you will be missing out on a great deal of benefits that camping brings. Lets see what they are.
Recommended Reading: Free Camping Spots In Flagstaff Az