A lot of newbie campers who go on a first time trip end up making it a disaster. My tent camping dummies guide in which you will find throughout this article is going to get your ready for the outdoors.
First and foremost, this is basically a crash course to the outdoor world – how you will need to do everything so it all functions smoothly, and ultimately make your first camping trip a fun and successful one, with many memories to share with your friends, even for years down the line.
Keep in mind – This guide is strictly created for 3 season use, if you are wanting to go camping in the winter then I suggest you check out this guide, however – do it after you have read this article first.
Gather Your Equipment
Before your outdoor endeavor, you will need to gather some equipment first. Here’s a basic checklist, this is if you have as little time as possible to get ready.
- Large cast iron pot
- Portable stove + fuel
- Waterproof matches
- Can opener
- Cutting board
- Disposable cups and plates
- Spatula + oven mitts
- Soap and sponge
- Dishwashing basin
- Dishtowel and paper towels
- Plastic bags (resealable and large ones for rubbish)
- Water filter + 5 gallon jug
- Nylon cord + bungee cord
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag
- Blankets + pillows
- First aid kit
- Folding chairs
- Flashlight and batteries
- Activity items – Nerf ball, board games, cards, Frisbee, football etc
For a more comprehensive list, check out this article.
How To Pack The Car – The Correct Way
Most of the time when we go camping we have to travel over many miles before we get to our destination, and without a properly-organized vehicle, you will be stressed out before you even arrive at the campsite.
This is how I pack my vehicle for a successful car camping trip 🙂
- A goodies bag will have to be given to the kids, this will keep them busy instead of restless
- All your equipment, the cooler, food, portable stove + fuel will have to go in the trunk (make sure that liquids are secure so they don’t fall over and leak)
- Place some removable sun screens on the inside of the rear window for a more comfortable travel
- If you can, put a car rack on top of the car to help with the overflow of the trunk
- Don’t make the silly mistake of putting gear on the floor of the passenger seat. It just makes a more restless travel and it shouldn’t have to be that way. If you really have to, borrow a car or rent one if possible
- Blankets and pillows should be inside the car. These are great to use for nap-aids, especially when the kiddos get tired
- Plastic rubbish bags should be within easy reach of all travelers, with every bag being disposed of at every pit stop
- The map should be at the front of the car, so the the driver and navigator has quick access to it
- Keep spare change handy for tolls
- The stow boat will have to go on the roof rack if you are taking one
- Don’t forget to leave a small cooler on the inside of the car for snacks and drinks. A towel or two will also need to be kept inside the car to clean up spills
- If there’s no more room on the roof for your bikes, you can rent a bike rack to mount on the back of your car
Simple Rules For Your Tent
Avid campers (like me) have some important rules set in place, and you will learn these as you go along with your camping journey, and as you go on more trips these will become second nature to you.
- Pitch your tent on a hill and (preferably) under a healthy tree, not in a ravine, ditch, or at the bottom of a hill where flash floods can happen and WILL wash your entire tent and campsite away
- Keep all shoes and boots outside of the tent. Your tent is meant to be tidy and safe, leave out as much of the great outdoors as you can
- DON’T bring food or beverages into the tent. Wildlife can smell it a mile away and aren’t afraid to go in for a bite
- Never light matches inside the tent, or any other flame-powered device for that matter. Before you tell me to lighten up, tent fires are real and can be deadly (however rarely)
- Always walk in and around the campsite, don’t run! Tent guy lines and stakes are no joke when it comes to tripping over them. All the more reason to use my tent glow stick hack to prevent it from happening in the first place 🙂
Last But Not Least – Starting The Campfire
Thousands of people get this wrong, so I thought I better cover this right here and right now.
And the easy part about it is, you only need a good firestarter. There are hundreds of potential firestarters you can take on your trip. I suggest that you take at least two different kinds, since some work better in different conditions.
Here are a few that I like:
- Petroleum-based tablets
- Shred some newspaper up – small pieces, place it in an egg carton slot, put a few spoons of sawdust inside the slot too. You will then need to pour melted wax on top of each filled slot, this will make the saw dust and paper into a lump. When it hardens, it makes a perfect firestarter
- An empty toilet paper roll filled with lint from your clothes dryer. It will have to be from wool, fleece or cotton though. Lint is known to be amazing firestarters
- You can even find dry kindling at the base of tree trunks, downed logs, inside tree hollows. Even a small log can be split open, where you will find very dry wood that you can chop into kindling
My Final Notes
Just because I have finished up with this article, that does not mean that is all you need to do, of course safety tips will have to be followed at all times.
While there is also a bunch of camping activities waiting for you and your family to play and enjoy.
Other than that, I want to say that your camping trips can be a lot easier if you are prepared and fully organized the entire time, helping you maximize your relaxation time and eliminating stress altogether.