Camping is one of the most beloved nature activities around the world. This activity allows you to reconnect with nature, yourself, your friends and the world around you. However, not every camping trip is successful—it requires preparation and knowledge in order to truly enjoy nature. Here are a few things to remember when planning your first camping trip:
Practice makes perfect
Is this going to be your first time elevating a tent? What about lighting a fire outside? Naturally, you’re not going to be perfect at those things the first time, but after a few practice runs, you’ll see that you can pitch a tent relatively quickly while also allowing your fire to start and grow. Use your backyard to examine your tent, study the manual and learn how to use all the items that make up your shelter. The same goes with your campfire—grab some wood, try to light a fire with your fire starter kit and see whether you know how to prepare some food on it.
Pick your spot in advance
Before you actually pack your car and hit nature for your camping adventure, go to your desired location and pick a spot you like. This is much better than going to your location with all your things and figuring out you have no idea where to unpack and set up camp. Use your time in nature to explore the area, pick a slightly elevated yet flat spot in shade. It’s also crucial to be close to firewood and water, if possible. This way, you’ll stay dry and warm, and have plenty of necessary things at arm’s reach.
Play with layers
When packing your things, make sure to pay special attention to clothing. Proper clothing can save your trip and ensure you’re safe and comfortable while camping. Think in layers, so start with sweat-wicking undergarments, go for light t-shirts and pants, and finish with warm jackets and sturdy shoes. No matter how hot it gets during the day, nights in nature can get chilly, so you need to be prepared or face hypothermia. If you choose the right items, they will pack small and leave plenty of space for other things.
Pack the essentials
Packing for your first camping trip can make a difference between a disaster and a success. Make sure to start your preparation with a list so you can tick off items as you pack them. Of course, start with your tent and sleeping bag, then go towards clothing and finish with some smaller yet equally important items. Some small necessities you definitely need are quality automatic knives that will allow you to feel safe in nature and be there to assist with many tasks. You’ll need to rely on your knife for everything from setting up shelter to preparing food. Other things that will fit right in your pocket next to your knife are fire starters, a compass and some first aid items.
Plan your meals
You might be able to wing your meals at home, or even order takeout from time to time, but in nature, you don’t have that luxury. It’s necessary to plan every meal and ensure you have enough food for your stay. If you have a cooler, pack it with necessities like whole grain, meat and veggies, and come up with meals you can make with these ingredients, eating the perishable ones first. Some beloved camping meals include sausages, burgers, potatoes, meat skewers, one-pot pasta, etc.
Prepare something fun for the kids
Kids love camping and spending time in nature—it’s great for their development, mobility, health and learning, so if you have kids, don’t hesitate to take them with you on your adventure. While kids can always find something fun to do around the camp, make sure to also prepare for those cranky days when they might need extra entertainment. You can assign a scavenger hunt for kids and award them with treats if they come back from their hunt with all the items on the list (special flowers, leaves, branches, insects, feathers, trash, stones, etc.). Also, pack some cards or small board games you can play in the tent in case of bad weather.
Don’t push yourself too much
In case you don’t feel good on your trip, don’t think you have to push it and stay until the end. Sometimes, the weather can completely ruin your trip, your tent can get destroyed and your food can go bad—there’s no need to stay in nature and be miserable. You can always come back home early and try to finish your adventure some other time.
If you follow these tips above, you’ll have a perfect first camping adventure. And you’ll pick up plenty of things for your future trips and work on perfecting your camping game. You’ll fall in love with adventure and rekindle your relationship with nature, wilderness and yourself.