Camping Guide For Beginners: Things You Must Know Before You Go Camping

Camping Guide For Beginners: Things You Must Know Before You Go Camping

Camping can either be a win or a fail. It all depends on your expectations, skills and how well you plan your camping adventure.

Thinking about going camping for the first time? Our camping guide for beginners will give you plenty of first-time camping tips to have a worry-free adventure. The following paragraphs will discuss camping essentials and practical tips for your first camping trip. Go ahead and read on to find out how to make your first camping experience easy and fun.

What Are My Camping Gear Needs?

A camping guide for beginners must start with a list of camping essentials. Firstly, what kind of gear does one need to spend a night under the stars? Here’s are the most basic items.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad & Sleeping bag
  • Camp stove & Cooking utensils
  • Small lantern & headlamp or flashlight

Besides these there are many more essentials you might need during your camping adventure. To learn what those are read our Must-have Camping Equipment blog.

Although it’s a short list, the price can quickly add up, so first, you should consider what are your camping needs. To do that ask yourself these questions.

  • What is my camping budget?
  • Which camping style do I prefer?
  • How often do I plan on going camping?
  • Is buying brand-new gear worth it?
  • Am I going to change campsites during my trip?

There are different options for a beginner camper who doesn’t want to break the bank on brand-new stuff.

For example, if you’d like to have your own gear first look for secondhand equipment. Checking online or asking friends and family for camping gear can be a good frugal option. Then, once you know where you’ll get your gear from you can start building your collection. Start with sleeping essentials, and then continue to camp kitchen basics, before you invest in other things such as camping furniture.

Instead, if you’re not into the idea of owning bulky camping equipment go ahead and check for rental options around you.

So much for the camping gear introduction, however, if you’re looking for more specific advice go ahead and read our Must-have Camping Equipment blog post. 

What Should I Wear For My First-time Camping Trip?

Our best first-time camping tip regarding clothing is that comfort and functionality are the key. Additionally, keep in mind that the weather forecast is the most important factor in deciding what you should wear. Here is a short bullet-point guide to clothing essentials for camping beginners. Feel free to adjust the list but try to avoid unnecessary overpacking.

  • Layers: Temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day, so it’s important to dress in layers that you can easily add or remove.
  • Camping-friendly materials: Breathable, quick-drying, and sweat-wicking fabrics are the best at keeping you dry and comfortable. 
  • Comfortable shoes: Choose shoes that are worn-in, comfortable, and appropriate for the terrain you will be walking/hiking on. 
  • Rain jacket: Just in case it rains. You never know. 

How Do I Plan My Very First Camping Trip?

Since first impressions are important, we advise you to plan your first camping trip well. Lack of organization and planning can make it overwhelming and stressful, which is something no camping beginner needs. So let’s see what can be done to avoid that. 

You should always keep your needs and wants at the forefront and work from there. These questions are a good start:

  • Do I want to camp at a campsite or out in the wild?
  • Does my destination allow wild camping?
  • Which amenities do I need and which I can survive without?
  • What are the necessities that I need every day? (see more in the next section)
  • Which meals can I cook that are filling and easy to make? (see more below or in our camping meals blog post)
  • Do I have a plan B in case something doesn’t work out? (weather, closed trail, broken gear, car trouble)
  • What is there to do around my destination?

First-Time Camping Planning Tips

  • Campground: Look for a campground that has amenities that are important to you, such as showers, toilets, a kitchen, and fire pits.
  • Make a reservation: Many campgrounds require reservations, so be sure to book your site in advance.  
  • Create a packing list: As a beginner camper you should make a list of everything you will need for your trip. Include your gear, clothing, and food to avoid forgetting the important stuff at home.
  • Plan your meals: Decide what meals you will be cooking and make a grocery list. Read our blog post to help you out with meal planning for your camping adventure. 
  • Have a test campout: Set up your tent out in your backyard (or even living room) and spend a night there. A practice run will test out your gear and help you learn to work with it.
  • Have a backup plan: To avoid unpleasant surprises and have a plan in case something unexpected happens.
  • Plan activities: Make sure to add some activities to your itinerary to make your first camping trip fun and unforgettable. 

How Do I Pack for My First Camping Trip?

In the first place, we admit that packing for a camping trip can be a daunting task. However, with a little organization, it can be a breeze. Firstly, our best tip for camping beginners is to use your imagination when packing. Seasoned campers will tell you that your camping gear should be versatile and serve more than one purpose. This will help you pack lightly and make use of the limited space your car offers.

First-Time Camping Packing Tips

  • Make a checklist: Make a list of everything you will need for your trip and check items off as you pack them.
  • Pack strategically: Pack your gear and clothing in separate bags or storage containers to stay organized. It will make it easier for you to find what you need.
  • Pack Multi-purpose items: To help you pack lightly take things that can serve more than one purpose. Some examples are:
    • Enamel mugs
      • for cooking as well as eating/drinking.
    • Swiss knife
      • the obvious one.
    • A Flying disc
      • a plate, a cutting board, a fan on a hot day, or even a signaling device in an emergency, just add some reflective tape.
    • A bandana
      • a sling for a broken arm, a water filter, a rag to wipe stuff with, and a make-do hot mitt for cooking, it can be also used to clean glasses and sunglasses, or to cool off on a hot day, just dip it in some water and put around your neck.
    • Duct tape
      • gear repair tool, prevention against blisters, and a band-aid replacement. 

How Do I Set Up Camp on My First Camping Trip?

Setting up camp is perhaps your most important non-material camping must-have. That’s because camping for the first time without knowing how to work with your gear can be a nightmare. Let’s look at the challenges of a campsite and learn to set up camp on your first camping trip.

Tips for Setting Up Camp for the First Time

  • Find a flat spot to pitch your tent: Look for a flat spot to pitch your tent. Avoid slopes and areas with rocks, roots, or other obstacles that could make sleeping uncomfortable.
  • Make sure there are trees in your camping spot: They’ll provide you with shade and protection from unpleasant winds.
  • Check if the trees are healthy: You don’t want to risk a falling branch, do you?
  • Make sure your tent window is not facing East: You wouldn’t want to be woken up at sunrise with sun blazing in your eyes, would you?
  • Set up your tent away from the cooking area: That way you’ll avoid potential wildlife encounters.
  • Keep headlamps or lanterns in your tent and your cooking area: That will make it easier for you to navigate around your campsite in the dark.

How Do I Cook Meals While Camping For the First Time?

Cooking while camping for the first time can be fun, you just need to know some basics. If you haven’t, go read our blog post about camping meals, it will help you make outdoor dining a breeze. Regardless of that here are some general tips to guide you:

First-Time Camping Cooking Tips

  • Plan your meals: Plan your meals and bring all the necessary ingredients and utensils.
  • Use a camp stove: Using a propane or gas-fueled camp stove is a great way to brew coffee and cook meals while camping. 
  • Use designated fire pits: You can enjoy fire roasted dinner but avoid setting up fires outside of designated fire pits. 
  • Keep perishable food cold: Use a cooler to keep your food from going bad.
  • Clean up well: Do not leave scraps and crumbs of food lying around as they can attract animals to come visit your campsite. 

Other Camping Tips for Beginner Campers 

Safety First

  • Bring a first-aid kit
  • Follow campground rules

Be Respectful

  • Keep noise levels down
  • Leave no trace
  • Respect wildlife & nature

Keep Good Hygiene

  • Use biodegradable soap
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Use baby wipes if a shower is not an option
  • Pack a quick-drying towel

Now that you read our guide for camping beginners you can go put these camping tips in practice and enjoy your first camping trip to the fullest. Happy camping!


learn glamping news camping ideas and RV life tips

Join our newsletter

Be part of Campsaround community and learn first about RV life, glamping trends and camping ideas.