2022 How to start your first camping trip
Tent camping is our way of escaping busy lives, taking us to beautiful outdoor adventures where we can disconnect from technology and reconnect with Mother Nature.
However, in order to make your first camping trip comfortable and therefore enjoyable, you need to know what you're doing and have the right gear. Otherwise, your vision of the perfect camping trip might actually be a nightmare.
To make sure you can experience the summer camping of your dreams, we've put together some tips for tent camping. With these tips, you'll be taking your camping trip in the backyard to backpacking in no time.
1. PRACTICE PITCHING THE TENT AT HOME BEFOREHAND
Not everyone is a camping professional, and you definitely won't want to test your camping skills when you only have a few minutes of sunshine left in the woods. If you do pick up or borrow a new tent, be sure to practice pitching at home before your trip. On your first tent camping trip, the last thing you want to do is be in the dark -- or pitch your tent in the rain! - without knowing how the pieces fit together.
2. PICK YOUR CAMPSITES AHEAD OF TIME
Choosing a good campsite is a critical step in securing an area that works for you. Select a scenic spot that offers a beautiful view of the surrounding terrain. Pick an area where you can enjoy a great sunrise or sunset. If it’s within driving distance, perhaps travel there and drive around. Find one that you like the best. And remember, never select one right beside bathrooms, unless you’re the type who only gets a 60-second warning before departures.
3. Prepare for BAD Weather
Never underestimate Mother Nature. Even with a clear forecast, she can still spring up. Have proper precautions, such as canopies or pop-up tents, to wait for the rain. And always hide in more severe weather. And always take cover with more serious weather.
First, lay down a tarp before setting up your tent. This will help create a barrier between your tent and the ground, thus keeping moisture from seeping in. Once everything is in place, be sure to tuck the tarp under the tent. This will help prevent rainwater from accumulating on any parts of the tarp that may stick out. Also, many tents come with a rain cover - so be prepared to attach it to your tent if needed.
As for protecting yourself from bad weather, plan to bring water shoes (or at least waterproof shoes) that tend to dry out after the rain. Bring proper rain gear (and quick-drying clothes) to help you stay dry and warm. Also, always pack more clothes, even if the forecast is fairly warm. Temperatures always drop at night, and you never know when a cold front will pass.
4. TAKE CARE OF YOUR WATER SOURCE
Before your trip, find out if you need to bring water, or if you can get it at your destination. If you’re unsure of the water source, a water filter and/or purifier can help you avoid drinking unsafe or contaminated water.
Also, as a best practice, dispose of any water left over from cooking or bathing, etc., at least 200 feet away from lakes, rivers, and streams. This helps protect and maintain natural water sources from chemicals and other pollutants.
5. LEAVE THE CAMPSITE AS YOU FOUND IT
This is a very important rule, not only to respect those after you, but also to protect our beautiful outdoors. Bring out any trash you generate and make sure your fire is completely out.
Also, be sure you’ve packed up all your own gear and haven’t left anything behind. By following these core principles, along with the above camping tips and all local wilderness area guidelines and restrictions, you can ensure that your first (and all subsequent) tent camping trips will support natural lands and habitats for future generations of campers.