For many of us, camping is an activity that conjures vivid childhood memories of nights spent in tents. But for those of us who only got into it as an adult, camping is an exciting getaway from the humdrum of ordinary life. Whether you’ve been camping since you were a kid, started recently, or are planning your first trip, there are many ways to ensure your next (or first!) camping trip is one to remember for all the right reasons. Here are 4 tips to set you off on the right foot.
1. Prepare for the Cold
Depending on where you’ll be setting up camp, temperatures can vary from what you’re used to in your daily life. Particularly if it’s your first time camping, you may be surprised by just how cold it can get when you’re in all of mother nature’s glory. In summer, make sure to pack some warmer clothes, like a sweater or light jacket, even if you don’t think you will need one. In winter, you’ll need to bring along even warmer clothes—thermals are a must.
And then there’s sleep to think about. When you’re camping, you won’t have the comfort of being tucked up in a nice, comfy bed under piles of sheets, blankets, and cushions. Your sleeping bag will be your bed, so an extra blanket can go a long way. Remember, even a bright sunny day can turn into a cold and wet night, so be sure to make adequate preparations if you don’t want to come back with a nasty cold.
2. Get the Right Tent
A good tent is to camping as good shoes are to hiking. Having a reliable, comfortable, and spacious tent will make all of the difference. While you could borrow your neighbor’s tent again—which is well past its prime—if you’re serious about camping it may be time to get a proper tent of your own. Depending on how many people you’ll be camping with, you’ll have to get a tent that is accordingly sized. You should also look for tents that will be durable to withstand a range of weather conditions. That means that while a basic $20 tent may seem like a bargain, you may pay for it later when it gets proves to be less than reliable.
Another kind of tent that you’ll be glad you brought along is a versatile canopy tent. This type of tent is incredibly versatile and can serve a range of purposes. It basically acts as a room in the middle of your campsite that offers respite from the burning sun, harsh winds, rain, and debris. What you do there is up to your imagination. You can serve and eat your meals there, soak in your surroundings, or socialize. The best part is that they’re quick to assemble and disassemble, and can easily be carried around and stored away when you’re done.
3. Bring Some Entertainment
Many of us love camping because it allows us to be removed from the stresses of everyday life. So it’s the perfect time to make some memories with your family or friends. While sitting by the campfire telling ghost stories can be fun, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Plus, if you’re going for a few days, it’s always nice to shake things up a bit.
That’s why bringing along some entertainment is essential. What “entertainment” means to each person in your camping troupe will differ. Some may enjoy getting lost in a book or a crossword, or others may love to draw or listen to music. Make sure to bring a few communal forms of entertainment along too so everyone has a chance to bond. A deck of cards can provide hours of entertainment, and there are plenty of games that can be played (or even invented!) with just pens and some sheets of paper.
4. Pack Plenty of Food and Water
When you’re camping, it can be confusing to know what foods and drinks to take—let alone how many will be sufficient. If you have the luxury of a car, you really can’t overpack. After all, it would be far better to have a few too many cans of food than not enough. Any extras you end up with you can simply keep in the car and use when you get back from your trip.
If you’re lugging everything in backpacks, you’ll have to be more strategic. You definitely won’t want to overpack, but underpacking will also pose problems. Packing only the essentials will be the way to go. To make this easy, refer to a camping checklist when you’re ready to start packing.
About the Author:
Jenny Jarvis is a frequent contributing author for Adventure Digest. She’s originally from Central Ohio but has lived all over the world with her family, including Texas, Florida and Germany, among other places. She’s grown her family along the way and currently calls Eastern PA home with her husband, dogs, and children. Jenny is a camping enthusiast and has been writing about outdoor adventures since 2015.