In your everyday life, you’re a city dweller. You like the feel of concrete under your feet and the sound of night traffic to lull you off to sleep. You’ve been invited to your first camping trip by friends who do that sort of thing all the time.
You agree to go, after all, you want to try something new and you only live once right? Except…how do you go about preparing for a camping trip?
Talk To More Experienced Campers
In just about every sphere of life, you’ll benefit from talking to someone who knows more about it than you. Camping is no different.
Start with the friend who invited you. Get detailed instructions on what to bring in terms of gear and clothing. Find out what is likely to be your most challenging experiences as a newbie and prepare for them. Don’t forget to ask them to introduce you to activities that they liked. Maybe you can include those in your second camping experience.
Cut Costs By Renting Or Borrowing Your Gear
Doing camping right can be costly. Especially if you are starting from scratch. This is only your first trip, and you’re not even sure you’ll want to repeat the activity. What are you going to do with the gear and the clothes if you don’t like them?
The solution here is to rent your gear or borrow it from a friend who isn’t likely to be using theirs soon. The only possible exception here may be your hiking watch, which depending on the model, can tell you the temperature, has a built-in barometer, altimeter, and even GPS. This is a piece of gear that you may want to purchase yourself and get comfortable with its features before going on that trip.
Arrive Early At The Campsite
If you get the opportunity to get a lift with the friends who invited you, it’s likely they’ll be experienced enough to know what’s the best time to get there.
Should you have to go alone, make sure that you get there with enough daylight to assemble your tent. It’s considered bad campsite etiquette to set up your tent at night and disturb your fellow campers. Leave home early enough so that you won’t arrive too late if you take a wrong turn and have to backtrack.
Observe Campsite Rules
As your friends will let you know, campsites have formal and informal rules. The formal ones will let you know where to park your vehicle, how to set up your campsite, or if you are allowed to create a fire and the likes.
The informal rules are a little more ticklish. It’s considered bad manners to walk through other people’s campsites, almost as bad as walking through a stranger’s living room. Be observant and ask when in doubt. Or, you might cause offense unintentionally.
Don’t Stray Too Far From Home
Your friends are experienced campers. If they’ve invited you on a trip, it’s likely they’ll be going to a remote location that’s difficult to negotiate and doesn’t have many amenities.
As a newbie, you may want to think long and hard about this. You aren’t your friends. You need a Wi-Fi signal like you need air. You also like to be close to modern conveniences. What happens if you can’t get to either in a short space of time?
It may be better if you sit this trip out and go with them when the campsite is closer to home.
Prepare For The Weather
People who have never camped tend to underestimate the ill effects of the weather. So they tend to pack the wrong clothes. Ask your friends what the weather is likely to be, or pay attention to the weather forecast for the area you know you’ll be camping in.
Don’t Forget, You Have To Eat
This is a mistake, those new to camping make it all the time. They tend to underestimate how much they’ll need to eat and usually bring too little. Consider how you’ll handle the logistics of preparing your own meals over a campfire or on a camp stove, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Buy food a day or two before the actual trip and have a meal plan that will help you organize what to cook from day to day.
Leave No Trace Behind
The reason the great outdoors is so great is that it is pristine. Enjoy your stay with your friends and your first camping experience, but don’t leave any garbage or pollution behind.
There, that camping trip doesn’t seem so intimidating, does it? Let these guidelines take your pre-trip worries away so that you can enjoy your time.