Nothing is more relaxing than sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and spending the night under the stars. Have you always wanted to go camping, but didn’t know where to start? Keep reading along to find out how you can become a camping expert in no time!
#1: Make a list of everything you will need ahead of time
Making a list in advance will ensure that you have ample time to buy or borrow whatever you need for your first camping trip. Don’t know where to start with your list? Check out this awesome checklist that will help you keep track of everything you need to bring for your first camping adventure. Don’t forget to pack your hiking socks, casual socks, and of course, some warm and cozy socks for those chilly nights. Happy packing!
#2: Find your campsite and plan your trip
Next step is finding where your camping trip will be! You can choose between local and state parks, or a national park if you’re feeling a little more adventurous. If you need some extra guidance to booking your national park trip, go on Recreation.gov to reserve your spot. Most spots get released for booking up to six months in advance, so you can plan ahead! Campendium.com is also a great site to find a campsite, plus it has tons of camper reviews and photos! And if you want a campsite that’s more private, you can scroll through campsite listings on Hipcamp.com, which has private landowners renting out campsites or cabins on their land! The possibilities are endless when it comes to planning your first trip, so choose what works best for you and your travel companions. Also, make sure while you’re looking for campsites that you look at the amenities they have, such as fire pits and picnic tables.
#3: Get to your campsite early
Getting to your campsite as early as you can gives you an ample amount of daylight to get all your belongings unpacked and your tent set up. Plus, getting there earlier increases your chances of getting a better campsite or having other people around to help you out if needed. But the best part is that the earlier you get set up and settled in, the earlier you can start exploring! Some campsites might have a specific check-in time, but if they don’t, get there as early as you can.
#4: Plan your adventures
Here’s the fun part! A lot of campsites will have brochures about different activities in the area you can do, or you can get ahead of the game and Google it before you go! You can go on hikes, explore nature trails, hang out on the beach, and so much more! Some campsites might even have some things you can do on-site, like a sand volleyball court or a nature trail within the site. Make sure you have some comfortable hiking or running socks for hitting the trails and for all your other outdoor adventures. If you’re still looking for some ideas, check out this camping activities guide to keep you having fun!
#5: Prepare your campfire meals
This might sound more intimidating than it actually is, but don’t worry! Cooking while camping will be smooth sailing if you’re prepared for it. Pick out some easy recipes and buy and prep your ingredients ahead of time so you can enjoy a delicious, low-stress meal around the fire. Remember to include all the kitchen utensils you’ll need on your packing list (refer to tip #1) to cook your campfire meals. Don’t forget to bring classic camping snacks like trail mix, and of course you can’t forget your marshmallows for s’mores!
#6: Learn how to start a fire
Make sure the campsite you will be staying at has a fire pit, it will make things much easier if you’re a first-time campfire builder. Gather some firewood (you can either gather your own sticks and logs or getting logs from a general store nearby) and stack the logs inside your fire pit. All that’s left is to light it up and enjoy! For a more detailed step-by-step, check out this fire-building guide. And of course, practice proper campfire safety- make sure the fire is put out before you leave, and only burn things that can be fully burned (do not burn plastic or cans!).
#7: Relax and enjoy your trip
Here's a bonus tip! While there are a lot of steps to take to make sure you have everything you need, all the effort is worth it when you get to be one with nature and having a blast. So don’t forget to take a moment out of the crazy planning and adventure to kick back and enjoy!
Don’t let being a first-time camper stop you! This guide will help you out and turn you into a pro in no time. Happy camping!
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