How To Camp For Beginners

Camping is fun, adventurous, and relaxing.

But it can be challenging for someone who has not done camping before. So let us discuss some tips and tricks to make your first camping experience stress free and enjoyable.

Here you will find:

  • What to take
  • How to set up the campsite
  • build a perfect campfire
  • be comfortable during your stay
  • cook delicious camp food
  • What essentials to carry
  • Do’s and don’ts of a good camping trip

We have a lot to unpack here. So let us dive in.

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1. Setting Up The Tent

A tent is your home, away from home. A good tent is a difference between a good camping experience and a bad one.

There are various types of tents in the market, but there are some similarities in their setup procedure.

You will need a flat ground, a base layer (that will protect you from moisture, grass, sticks, stones, and holes), and a tent that protects you from weather and small critters and animals.

Tents come in various shapes, sizes, and designs.

Some are inflatable, some have rods on their seams to keep them upright, some use anchors on grounds and trees, and some are plain simple sheds you hang by a string.

All have their pros and cons. Whenever you are purchasing, renting, or borrowing a tent, always look at your requirements to assess whether it will work for your purposes or not.

save money on camping gear
Setting Up a Tent

2. Tips For Comfortable Sleep

Sleep governs your entire being. How well you perform, your energy, vitality, activeness, and good decision-making power depend entirely on how well you have slept in the night.

When you are outdoors in a tent, you are already in an alien environment. Some people already find it difficult to sleep in an unknown environment.

Adding the discomfort of improper sleeping gear can ruin your good rest at night.

But you can not carry your bed in the wilderness. So here are a few things you can do instead.

Use the blow-up mattresses or a mattress pad that you can buy from any store or even online. These mattresses are comfortable and very travel-friendly. They do not occupy much space.

You can also choose any comfortable mattress pad as per your comfort.

After a blow-up mattress or a mattress pad, the next thing is a sleeping bag.

Get a sleeping bag rated 20 degrees colder than you expect at the campsite. You can not predict the weather, and it is crucial to stay warm.

The last thing for comfortable sleeping is a pillow. You can carry your own or buy an inflatable one to save space.

3. Setting Up A Campfire

For many people, a campfire is synonymous with camping. Any camping trip feels incomplete with a campfire.

However, it can be challenging to set up a campfire, especially when you are a beginner.

There are fire starting kits that consist of fuel, an ignition rod, and a flint. They do not cost much, and you can use them in any weather.

Another thing you can do is to carry instant light charcoal. It catches fire fast. You can then fuel that fire with thinner twigs and with thick logs.

It may sound obvious but ensure that nothing flammable is near the campfire.

Also, buy some shovel or leather gloves to move the wood around and to protect your hands from burning.

4. Preparing The Camping Food

Cooking can be easy and fun or a terrible mistake if not handled correctly.

Choose simple food items for your first camping trip. Do not go on to try different methods and cuisines because if you fail, you will starve in the wilderness.

Hotdogs, sandwiches, potato dishes, and bagels are easy to prepare food items.

However, if you are going for a longer duration, you can carry pre-cooked or packaged food items. Heat them over a fire or stove and they are ready to eat.

They save time and have less chance of going wrong. There is not much you can do to mess up heating a food packet.

Another set of food items you can carry is dry foods, fruits, and nuts. Biscuits, snacks, energy bars, chips, buns and bread, canned fruits and veggies, and nuts fall in this category.

They will help you replenish your energy throughout the day. They also have a long shelf life, so if you have to survive outdoors more than you initially planned to, you will be able to keep yourself in working condition to seek help.

Water is a must, but you can also bring whatever you like to drink. A portable cooler or a mini refrigerator can help you carry plenty of fluids.

However, do carry a portable water filter. There are many types of it, and you can choose whatever works best for you. They are of use in emergencies.

Additionally, do not forget to bring:

  • plates
  • some utensils
  • Thermo bottles
  • spoons and forks
  • foil wrap
  • paper towels
Food For 3 Days Of Camping
Preparing camping food

5. Do’s And Don’ts For A Camping Trip

5.1 Always Plan For Bad Weather

Weather, no matter how much you have studied, can be unexpected. And unexpected weather can ruin your trip very fast.

However, there are not many things that you need to be well-prepared for the weather. Only a few things can take care of adverse weather, such as wind, cold, rain, and bugs.

For them, you can:

  • Carry extra clothes
  • Take proper insulation to stay warm (tent, windproof jackets)
  • Carry waterproof cloths (and waterproofing sprays)
  • Add bug spray

5.2 Plan The Activities

Not everyone wants to have a minimalistic, basic style of camping. Some may want to do more during the outdoor trip.

You can engage in plenty of activities and sports. Common ones are cycling, trekking, walking, playing a sport (volleyball, soccer), or cards.

Plan and bring along equipment and things to enjoy those activities during your trip.

5.3 Make A Checklist

If you are like me, you are already in a habit of creating checklists for every little thing in your life. So making them for a camping trip will come naturally to you.

However, if you are not in the habit, then consider making a checklist for at least your first trip. You will thank me later.

Checklists have a magic power. Surgeons to pilots rely on it for a reason. They take away all the load of your trip and keep you worry-free.

You are less likely to forget anything crucial if you work via a checklist.

5.4 Be Aware Of The Campsite Rules

Most of the campsites have their guidelines and rules. Get informed on them. 

They are for the safety and comfort of fellow campers.

5.5 Being A First-Timer, Borrow Stuff

If you are new to camping, buying every piece of equipment, gear and trinket will be fairly expensive.

Especially if you are only testing the waters and are unsure whether you will be going on camping trips regularly.

Thus, you can borrow or rent stuff to reduce the monetary load on yourself.

Alternatively, you can buy used gear. You will shave off a considerable chunk and limit your spending.

5.6 Ask For Help

As a beginner, you may find yourself in sticky situations at times. Do not hesitate to ask for help.

Most seasoned campers will be more than happy to help you out. Additionally, you can also ask for help from locals where you are. Most of them will be accomodating.

5.7 Choose A Campsite Near Your House

For the first time, choose a campsite near your home. You will have a safety net in that case.

There may be situations where you may decide to cut short your trip. You may forget some essential item, be ill-prepared for the weather, or feel bored.

An exit strategy will relieve you of the anxiety of going through a bad camping experience.

Essentials for camping in a tent
Choose a campsite near your home

6. Other Tips

  • Check the weather forecast
  • Do not set the tent under a tree
  • Plan for entertainment
  • Carry a small table chair set
  • Respect others privacy
  • Avoid cooking inside your tent
  • Plan the meals and carry extra food
  • Take plenty of water
  • Research well about the campsite before leaving
  • Pack extra insulations
  • Reach the campground in the daylight
  • Carry an umbrella or a raincoat

7. Other Essentials To Carry

  • Keep some extra wood for the time when it gets dark.
  • Carry flashlights and a torch to see in the dark and light your campsite a bit
  • Always bring a topographic chart and compass
  • Carry a first aid box for an emergency
  • Always carry warm clothes, even if it is not cold


We have given a lot of information you can chew on. But there is a lot that can only be learned by experiencing them firsthand.

Remember, any new endeavor, no matter how complicated it may seem, is just a series of modular steps.

If you can envision an entire trip in bite-sized steps, you will be able to prepare for loads of things.

However, do your research and use this article as a reference to make a solid plan for a successful camping trip.

Happy camping!


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