Beginner Camping Tips: What to Bring Camping and How to Enjoy it!
As a kid, me and my family went camping all over Europe. And I still love it, although usually we now book a hotel or Airbnb when we travel.
Camping for me is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors and slow down. Also, while I’m usually cold all the time at home, whenever I camp I seem to adjust to the weather very quickly and have no problem with cold at all. Just at night an extra blanket perhaps, but that’s it!
What I also love about camping is that you’re free to come and go whenever you feel like it. I will always remember that noisy and crowded camp site in France that turned out horrible and our neighbour telling us they “had to stay, because they already booked 3 weeks here”. We happily ‘escaped’ the very next morning, onto a camp site where it was quiet and much more spacious.
Camping for Beginners
If you’ve never camped before, you’re probably wondering why you should even consider it. Is camping fun? What do I need to camp? Let me share some of my own experience first, before I give you my best camping tips for beginners.
Camping, first of all, is far cheaper than any other way of celebrating your holiday. If you don’t need a powered site, you pay even less. Making your own dinner on top of that, can really half the budget that you would normally spend in the same time!
Most camping equipment can be bought for a good prices as well these days and if you go to a proper outdoor shop, you’ll get solid advice and quality products that will last you for years.
By camping, you can be smack in the middle of nature. In Australia, for example, we drove right up to the beach with our car. And the next day, we parked in a quiet spot right in the forest. Perfect!
If you’re wondering how to camp and don’t know where to start, keep reading for my top 5 camping tips.
Driving right up to the beach to camp in Australia
My Top 5 Camping Tips
If you don’t really know if camping is something for you, here are some of my best camping tips that will hopefully help you make the decision a bit easier for you:
1. Think about your own camping needs first – What is the reason you want to go camping? Do you want to make a road trip and stop wherever you feel like? Are you bringing the entire family and do you need specific facilities like entertainment and pools? Are you going camping on a hike to push your limits? Do you want to pitch a tent and stay somewhere for a few days, or set it up every day in a new spot? There really isn’t one ‘right way to camp’, so look at what your own preferences are and build the camping holiday that fits with your own travel style.
2. Pitch your tent wisely – Usually, you’ll get an assigned spot on a camp site, but it’s still wise to consider for a bit what way you’re facing your tent on that pitch. Think about where the wind comes from (you want that in the back of the tent, look around what other tents are facing), which part of the pitch is most level and soft, look up to see if there is nothing that could probably fall on your tent (from trees, etc.), if you want to make a fire (if that is allowed) you want to move the tent at least 10 meter away from that, etc.
3. Practice pitching your tent – There is no shame in practicing pitching your tent in advance of your camping trip, actually that is really quite smart. Not only will you look like a pro on the camp site (there are always people bringing out chairs and drinks to watch you, haha), you can check if there is anything missing right away as well. You don’t want to arrive and realize you have no tent pegs or poles with you!
4. Bring the right camping gear – Coming from a camping family, I grew up knowing the importance of bringing the right gear with you, but also to get creative and make your own camping hacks when there is some problem to fix. I will never leave without superglue, a sewing kit and duct-tape, for example :) Thinking about the 3 key elements of a successful camping trip when shopping: Sleeping, Cooking and Storage.
5. Visit a knowledgeable outdoor shop – Especially if you are camping for the first time and you’re not quite sure what to bring or do, having the advice from and expert can save you money and a lot of frustration. Whenever I buy expensive things, like tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and shoes, I go to an outdoor shop to ask for advice and to make sure I don’t end up with cheap products that will break halfway through my trip.
Camping with my family on the East Coast of Australia
Essential Camping Equipment
If you’ve decided that camping is something for you, the next step is to think about what to bring camping with you. And you have to be selective in how many camping supplies you’re going to bring, especially if you’re just travelling with a backpack and have to carry everything yourself.
When you have a car, it’s tempting to just throw everything and the kitchen sink into it as well, but think about the space you need to sitting in your car and tent comfortably as well.
Here are some items that I recommend bringing at all times:
A Quality Tent
This is one of the most important buys for your camping trip, so you want to think it over well. Start by thinking exactly for what type of camping holiday you want to use it, what to weather conditions in your destination are and how many people you need to fit in it.
Consider the shape, material, poles and pegs you will need: tunnel tents are usually easier to pitch, geodesic tents are better for heavy wind conditions, soggy ground requires and extra groundsheet. Cotton tents are sturdy but heavy, polyester is light, but can become quite hot due to condensation, simple skewer pegs are weak but cheap, metal stakes are gripping better, but heavy and need a hammer, and so on and so forth.
Getting advice from an expert at your local outdoor shop is the best way to start!
My brother didn’t quite fit the tent we got with the car rental… #fail
A Good Sleeping Bag
Just like having a good tent, you really don’t want to cut yourself short on buying a quality sleeping bag. Being cold at night in a tent is the worst! There is a wide range of sleeping bags available these days, suited for every body type and climate. Check ratings, insulation material, lining fabric and the shape of the sleeping bag.
The ratings of a sleeping bag will tell you how the bag should perform in certain weather conditions, so that is a good start to look at. Of course, how colder the weather, the thicker and heavier the sleeping bag will get.
As you probably know, there are sleeping bags in various shapes, from envelope to mummy-style. This affects the bags ability to trap heat. I’m always a fan of the mummy bags, as you can put your pillow into it and really close it off around your head and be warmer, but not everyone will like this. Again, get advice on what is the best for your situation.
A Pair of Flip Flops
I never, ever, travel without flip flops. Even if the destination isn’t even hot. I use them mostly when taking a shower in the public bathhouses. With some many happy campers walking around there, I don’t want to risk any germs or molds sticking to my feet, so I flip flop happily around the camp site. And it’s always easier to put these on after a damp shower than socks, anyways.
A Cooler Box
This was our life-saver during Nick and my camping road trip through Australia. We filled it up with ice every time we had the chance, keeping our meat and dairy nice and fresh. It doesn’t have to be massive, but if you are travelling with a car, I would definitely bring at least one of about 25+ liter.
If you’re just backpacking, I suggest to see if you can buy a smaller, portable cooler bag. They come in many different sizes! I always had a small cooler bag the size of a lunchbox with me when I was solo backpacking around the world, just enough for on a long bus journey.
Cooler Box (or ‘eskie’ as they say in Australia) in the back of our car
Download your FREE Camping Checklist
No more asking yourself: ‘What do I need for camping?’. Here is the easy answer. Download my free Camping Checklist and make sure not to forget the most important things on your next camping trip.
I’ve got a couple more handy and inspirational posts for you about camping, you can find them here:
Glamping Europe: Unique Camping Options in France, Portugal and Spain with Yelloh! Village
Pinspiration: Essential Camping Gear
Driving That Is Out Of This World – Spaceships Campervan Rental Review
Easy Camping Recipe: Flatbreads Made With Just Flour & Yoghurt
5 Travel Picks: Fun Travel Items March – Happier Camper
There are also some great resources on Camping already written by my fellow travel bloggers, here are a few good ones:
Camping Tips for Spain and France – The Planet D
Camping and Outdoors Hacks – Her Packing List
Camping in the Red Center, Australia – Wild Junket
Destination Unknown: Five Tips for Camping with a Toddler – Skimbaco Lifestyle
89 Camping Tips to Elevate Any Campsite – Trail Sherpa
On my Pinterest Account, you can find two boards that will help you with your next camping trip:
Are you a fan of camping – or does it make you shiver just thinking about it alone? Let me know either way :)
And if you’ve used the checklist, I’d love to hear it as well!
Thank you for sharing this post on Pinterest: