Are you planning to go camping for the first time this summer? Although camping is definitely a fun experience that will make an impression on you, there are a few things you should know before pitching your tent. Check out these things that every first time camper should know.
There Will Be Bugs
Unfortunately, bugs are everywhere when you go camping. Depending on the season you go camping, you’ll need to watch out for such insects as mosquitoes and ticks. Because these insects can carry diseases, it’s important that you know about them before heading out so that you can prepare for them by bringing bug spray. Don’t forget to reapply your bug spray often so that you have 24/7 protection from these little insects. Leave your fragranced lotions and perfume at home – the scent will only attract bugs to you.
Aim for Comfort
Camping can be uncomfortable which means that even the smallest of comforts can help make your experience more pleasant. Because of this, aim for comfort when preparing for your camping trip. Only bring clothes that will keep you comfortable while also protecting you from the sun, bugs, and any thorns or poison ivy. If tent camping, you will likely find yourself sleeping on a root or stick you may not have seen when setting up camp. If possible, try bringing a sleeping mat or air mattress so that you can get a better night’s rest.
Plan Your Meals
You will need to do some meal planning here as you will need to bring along only what you need to cook. Plan easy meals for your first trip so you can get a hang of campfire and camp-stove cooking.
Bring Playing Cards
Although you hope for the weather to cooperate while camping, nature tends to do its own thing. Due to this, you’ll want to be prepared to stick it out in your tent. Bring playing cards to help pass time during a rainstorm. Playing cards are perfect for being stuck in a tent for a few hours because there are many different kinds of card games you can plan, from poker to euchre to Go Fish!
Pack an Emergency Kit
If you’re a first time camper, you need to be prepared for any circumstance. Without a doubt, someone on your camping trip will get hurt or need a bug bite or rash treated. Be prepared for these instances by packing an emergency kit. Your emergency kit should include everything, especially bandages, ointment, anti-itch cream, and anything else you might need.
Nights Are Really Cold
Even if you go camping in the middle of summer, nights can get chilly when sleeping in a tent in the middle of the forest. As a first time camper, you might not know this from experience, but you can prepare for it. Bring proper bedding for your camping trip, including a well-insulated sleeping bag.
It Gets Really Dark
It gets really dark in the forest at night as the trees tend to block out even the brightest moonlight. You can’t rely on your campfire as it will only illuminate part of the campsite, so you will want to bring along a lantern. You can find LED lanterns for pretty cheap and they are bright and easy to use compared to propane lanterns. Personally I prefer propane lanterns but the LED lanterns get bonus points for ease of use.
Stow Away Your Food
Do not leave your cooler out at night or if you leave camp to go on a hike or to the beach. Stow your cooler in the trunk of your car and not in your tent. From experience, animals – raccoon and bears mostly – will do their best to get into coolers left out in the open or even seemingly hidden away in a tent. The trunk of your car is the perfect place to keep your food stored in a way that will not tempt visitors. Likewise, your garbage should be stored up out of reach in a bag hanging from a rope between two trees. This will help deter visitors further.
Going camping is well worth the troubles you might encounter. Simply be prepared and accept advice from experienced campers!
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!