Many people are curious to try camping for beginners, but actually getting started can seem difficult to those who have never gone. Camping really is fun even for beginners and amateurs. Read this beginners guide to camping for some easy tips on getting started without spending a lot of time and money.
Camping for the First Time
Above all else, a first-time camping trip must be relaxed and fun. An unsuccessful first-time trip may turn even the hardiest soul away from trying again. Therefore, do not try anything too challenging or try to fit too many activities into one trip.
For a successful beginner camping experience, it is best to stay fairly close to home, go during nice weather, and plan to stay two nights. One night does not allow enough time to get organized and have fun. More than two nights can seem stressful if things are not going as planned. Also, allow at least two hours for initial camp setup, preferably when it is light outside.
Beginner Camping Tips
For those who have never been camping, it is hard to predict personal camping-style preferences. Some people enjoy bringing an RV with all the luxuries while others like to carry a tent way out into the backcountry. Of course, there are many variables between these two extremes, and each style of camping requires different camping gear.
Give a little thought to camping preferences by answering these questions:
- What type of amenities are necessary to having a good time? Primitive camping typically means digging a hole for a toilet and packing out all trash. Campgrounds offer a wide range of facilities, anywhere from pit toilets to flush toilets and showers, depending on the location. RVs have many nice amenities right on board.
- What type of outdoor activities sound fun? Plan to simply hang out in camp or locate a camp site near things like hiking, swimming, hunting, fishing, or visiting tourist sites.
- How important is privacy? Some large campgrounds are simply crowded and noisy fields that are best designed for getting together with friends or having a family reunion. Smaller campgrounds may offer reasonable amenities and a quieter atmosphere. Hiking into the backcountry may not be realistic for a first-time camper, but it may be an eventual goal for those who enjoy quietly communing with nature.
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Don’t Purchase Tons of Camping Gear
It will be easier to decide what type of camping gear is worth purchasing after the first couple of trips. Here are some ways to try camping without buying all the gear:
- find a campground that offers rent-a-tent or rent-a-teepee camp sites;
- borrow camping gear from a friend;
- go camping with a friend who has extra equipment;
- rent an RV motor-home.
Do not try to get away with going to Walmart and buying the cheapest tent and sleeping bags available. Lack of comfort may mean lack of fun.
Remember Camping is About Having Fun
Many people are turning to camping as a way to enjoy a relatively inexpensive vacation. With a little planning, this is exactly what it can be. Just be sure to set a goal and plan for the right camping experience.
How to Prevent Starting a Wildfire While Camping: “How-Not-To” Outdoor Guide to Avoid Becoming an Accidental Arsonist
About 10 percent of wildfires are caused by lightening, according to the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology.
While there’s nothing that hikers and campers can do about the natural causes, it’s easy to avoid being part of the 90 percent caused either directly or indirectly by humans.
Accidental Wildfire: Easy to Prevent
While the largest fire in Los Angeles history was ruled arson in September 2009, at least five of the 20 worst fires in California history were directly caused by humans in preventable ways, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention.
The most obvious ways of preventing wildfire on the trail are simple:
- Pay attention to fire danger warnings, both on the trailhead and online.
- Make sure cigarettes and matches are cold to the touch before disposing.
- Burn brush only when the burn risk is low, in a clear area and with water to smother the flames if they get out of hand.
- Create controlled campfires and extinguish them safely.
Building and Extinguishing a Safe Campfire
According to the Boy Scout Handbook, the first question is not how to build a safe campfire, it’s whether a campfire is even necessary. If cooking is the only need, the fire risk is high, and there’s no need for warmth, consider using a camp stove only and not lighting a campfire at all.
If lighting a campfire, choose a spot where nothing will catch flame except the fuel that’s intended to burn. If a campsite has a designated campfire area, use that area. If one is not available, choose gravel, sand or non-organic soil (such as silt, clay or sand found along riverbanks) to build the fire on. Clear away all needles, leaves twigs and anything else that could catch fire. Make sure that the fire is well clear of bushes, grass and trees, including overhanging branches.
Do not use any sort of fuel to light the fire (such as gasoline or lighter fluid). Once the fire is lit, make sure that someone is supervising the fire at all times and that a bucket of water is nearby to douse the flames if they get out of hand.
When done with the fire, douse the fire with water and stir it with a stick. Continue to douse and stir until every part of the fire is completely cold to the touch.