When you hear the word ‘camping’, do you think of frolicks through the woods, getting caught up in nature, and waking up to the harmony of birdsong and crickets?
Or maybe the word strikes you with anxiety, instead. You want to go camping, but you can’t get past the insects, the wildlife, and the dirt.
If that stuff totally grosses you out, maybe boutique camping will be more your thing.
But you budding explorers, fear not – we’re here to help. If you’re a first-time camper, or even if you’re a bit of a dab hand, we’ve got six great resources to use when buying your camping gear.
1. Stay Healthy
When you’re out in nature, it often means there aren’t any grocery stores or hospitals a stone’s throw away.
To avoid illness on your first camping trip, make sure you come prepared.
When you’re camping, water’s essential to keep you healthy
Set up camp near a water supply, and always use a filtration system, like the Katadyn Vario. If that’s not possible, boil your water. Never drink water directly from the source, as it could contain germs.
Electrolyte sachets are great too, as they help you get hydrated more quickly.
You’ll need at least a basic first-aid kit as part of your camping gear, but it’s good to invest in some extra items in case you’re hurt:
- Pain medication
- Diarrhea medication
- Topical ointment for wound care
- Bug repellant
- Sun cream
- Antibacterial hand sanitizer
Of course, if you have a health condition or require prescription meds, make sure you pack enough and some spares, just in case you’re caught short.
- Duct tape
Pack your kit into a waterproof container. Seal some items in plastic zip-bags.
2. Pack Your Travel Kitchen
You’ll need to plan ahead for your camping trip grub.
You might struggle to get your campfire or camp stove going, so campers should take along food that can be eaten as-is.
If you have an RV with a refrigerator, you’ll have more options available. But if you’re camping in a tent, here are some no-cook food items you can bring.
- Cereals and long-life milk
- Cured meats
- Tinned beans and pulses
- Peanut butter
- Trail mix
- Pound cake
- Protein bars
- Marshmallows and graham crackers (for smores!)
- Fresh vegetables that don’t need refrigeration
- Bananas and other fruit
Your Camp Kitchen
To get hot food on your camping trip, make sure a travel kitchen is part of your camping gear.
For a short trip, or if you’re low on funds, a travel BBQ tray may be fine. But for a longer trip or fast cooking, you’ll want a camp stove and cookware.
Gas-fueled stoves are your best option, like this one by Camp Chef Everest.
Of course, if you want to have a traditional campfire experience, then practice lighting your fire beforehand. You’ll also want some matches or a lighter, and some other types of fire starters like fire disks, or fire cubes for bad weather.
Specialist camping cookware is not essential, but you can pick up a set like this one by Winterial. It’s inexpensive and very handy.
It’s kind of a no-brainer, but you don’t want to take breakables out camping.
Use melamine, metal, or enamel to eat your food off. Make it feel like a home away from home with something beautiful like this rustic enamelware set by Yinshine.
3. Get Comfy
Camping doesn’t mean you have to rough it out in discomfort.
if you’re in a tent, get the biggest one you can carry. More space means more comfort. Practice putting up your tent at home so you’ll be a pro when you get to the campsite.
Tents with zip-open fly screens and separate compartments like the Coleman Evanston Screened Tent allow you a nice cool breeze. They also have a screened room that you can lounge around in, without the annoying bugs.
A good sleeping bag like TETON Sport’s Celcius will keep you snug and warm. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even take your airbed and quilt.
It’s always good to take a pillow too. This will prevent neck pain during your adventure.
If you’re in an RV, the sun can get pretty strong and heat up the inside, making it pretty uncomfortable.
For cooling shade and an extra seating area outside, Campsmart has a kitchen sunscreen that’s perfect and easy to assemble.
If you’ve got the space, then a pack of cards and some board games are perfect for those relaxing fireside evenings.
Of course, there are loads of games that don’t need any equipment.
4. Keep Scrubbed and Polished
You’ll want to bring your essential toiletries with you. Store them in waterproof baggies for safe keeping on your trip.
If there aren’t any showers in your wilderness home, make a homemade camping shower with just a few simple supplies.
You could go back to basics, though, and wash off in a nearby freshwater stream if there is one.
5. Wrap Up
When you’re outdoors, there’s one thing no one can guarantee: the weather. So make sure you pack enough clothing as part of your camping gear.
It’s easy to take layers off if it gets too hot, but for those cold evening temperatures when the sun goes down, you’ll want to pack extra sweaters.
A rain suit will keep the wet at bay. They surely ain’t sexy, but when you’re all wearing one, you’ll fit right in. Plus, when you emerge from the bad weather warm and dry, you’ll be the last one laughing.
Finally, extra blankets can really help on those colder-than-expected nights and chilly mornings.
6. Don’t Go Too Far
If it’s your first time camping, it’ll be hard to know just what to expect.
Our advice would be not to stray too far from home. Find a campsite near you, perhaps an hour or two away, for your first foray into outdoor living.
That way, if things go pearshaped, you can pack up and head home without too much fuss. Plus, if you’re injured or need to see the doctor, you won’t have to travel far.
Good Camping Gear Pays Off
Your camping experience can be either pretty awesome or pretty miserable. A lot of that comes down to your camping gear.
Proper food, water, and cooking equipment will make sure your trip is full of traditional camp fun. Don’t forget those marshmallows and graham crackers for the best smores fireside snack.
Use our tips and recommendations, and you’ll be sure to get your first camping trip off to the perfect start.
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