I love to go camping. I love being outdoors all day and night, eating outdoors, sleeping in a tent. Being surrounded by nature thrills me and feeds my soul.
The first time I went camping, I had no clue how to set up the tent and I have to admit that I came highly unprepared. Needless to say, this wasn’t a great trip. But I persevered and gained experience over my camping weekends. I can now finally fully appreciate the joys of camping.
Because I enjoy it so much I try to encourage other people to go camping. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years. It’s a good place to start.
1. Start simple
The first time you go camping, have a garden campout. You’ll learn important lessons that will serve you well when you are far from home.
2. Make a list
You need to do some planning when you go camping, especially if you are camping with children. I always have a list. Separate the list into food, supplies, equipment, and play. I keep the list on my computer and print it out before each trip. Here is one that I made for you to help you the next time you go camping! Click here to download the PDF file you can print at home.
3. Practice with your equipment
There’s nothing worse than getting to your campsite and finding you can’t figure out how to set up the tent, or there’s a big rip in the rain fly. (Yes, it happened to me.) Very embarrassing. Practice makes sure that doesn’t happen. Also, check out this clever infographic I found on the top 10 tent tips!
4. Expect rain
It might rain while you are camping. Bring raingear and activities for inside the tent: games, books, and puzzles. Keep dry clothes in the car so you can change for the ride home.
5. Plan your food
I like to eat, but I don’t like spending all my time cooking when I go camping. The more you prepare in advance the less you’ll have to do at the campsite. Sometimes I prepare entire meals and heat them up over a campfire or camp stove. I always pack breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods separately and bring plenty of treats.
6. Prepare for emergencies
Bring extra batteries and food you can eat without cooking. Bring a first aid kit and make sure you know how to use it. Make sure everyone knows what to do if they get lost: stay where they are and wait for help. Before you go camping tell someone where you will be and when to expect you back.
7. Go alone and go with others
I like to go camping alone and I like to go camping with friends and family. If you are a novice camper, it is not wise to go alone. But when you gain experience and confidence you might want to try a solo trip. Camping alone is very special.
It’s important to be prepared, but part of the fun when you go camping is that you don’t know exactly what is going to happen. Everything might not go as you planned. Expect the unexpected, and learn from whatever happens. Not every camping trip is a peak experience, but when you go camping it’s always an experience you will remember.
Use these tips to prepare, so you can enjoy the unexpected. And share them with your friends, maybe it will inspire them to go on a camping trip with you!
Follow Sarah Williams on Twitter for more outdoor living and gardening tweets! Follow @SarahW_ldn
Featured image: Adapted from Sharat Ganapati
Image 1 : Michael McCullough
Image 2: Bridgman
Image 3: Colleen Proppe
Image 4: Yamanaka Tamaki
Image 5: Peyri Herrera
Image 6: Jessica C
Image 7: Arup Malakar