So, you haven’t camped much, if at all. You’re not really sure where to start, and for that matter not really sure if camping is for you. No worries, because we’re here to help you with some useful tips and hints so you and your family can enjoy an awesome time outdoors.
First, realize that it doesn’t have to be a two-week excursion into the deep wilderness. Chances are there are many places within an hour or so of home that will do just fine (if you’re in the Midwest, or are looking to vacation there, check out Midwest Outdoor Resorts for five awesome camping destinations). As long as you’re prepared, camping is simple and one of the best ways to unplug from the daily grind and get back in touch with nature.
Here are a few useful tips to follow when embarking on your first camping adventure:
1. Choose a good campsite for you
This is key. There are almost always a large variety of places to choose from, but not every site is made equal. Do they have bathrooms and showers? Are they considered child and/or pet-friendly? Is there a town close by where you can get supplies if needed? You’ll want to do your research before just picking somewhere random. If you’re a beginner, we’d recommend choosing somewhere not too far off the beaten path, so you can get to town for things if needed. Also, make sure you book early. Campgrounds can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. As always, feel free to contact us if you need help.
2. Choose a good tent
If you’re planning on doing a lot of camping, don’t skimp on this one. You definitely want one (or two) you know will fit everyone comfortably. Here’s a handy guide if you’re having trouble choosing. Some quick tips: always set the back of the tent to the wind, and drive in the pegs at a 45-degree angle. You’ll also want to find a level spot that’s clear of a lot of debris. Practicing in your backyard is recommended if you’re trying this for the first time.
3. Choose good sleeping bags
Some areas that are considered extremely warm year-round can actually get really cold at night. Always have sleeping bags for everyone, even if the temperature isn’t supposed to be too bad. Sleeping bags will generally have a temperature rating that can help you make your decision, otherwise here’s another guide to help you.
4. Know what to take:
Obviously this is key. You don’t want to overburden yourself, but at the same time you don’t want to be caught without something necessary. Depending on where you go, it’s usually a good idea to pack some of your own food (research the animals nearby and seal everything tight so you don’t have something trying to get into your cooler at night!). If you’re going on a short trip, you can easily plan each meal beforehand, and semi-prepare every meal at home.
As far as camping gear, here’s a quick checklist of stuff you’ll definitely want to have:
Tent, Poles, Stakes
Ground Cover (for the tent)
Flashlights with Extra Batteries
Cooler with Ice
Matches and/or Lighters
Gloves and Hats
Remember, this is a short trip checklist. If you’re going somewhere for a longer period of time, or outside of peak camping season, you’ll want to bring more.
Hopefully this gives you a rough guide to one of the most fun ways to vacation! Camping season is coming up shortly, so give us a ring at (800) 231-0425 and we’ll be more than happy to help you plan your trip today. Happy exploring!