By Katrina Hatchett
Camping is such an iconic activity that can be really enjoyable for all sorts of different people of all different ages. It gets you outdoors, it tests you just the right amount and it can bring you closer to the people you camp with, or to yourself if you camp alone. However, it’s the ‘classic’ nature of the activity that means that some people can underestimate its difficulty and how prepared you need to be for a successful trip. So, let’s take a look at ten things to help you before your maiden voyage!
On a first-time trip, it’s easy to be misguided about how much gear you should get and how high-quality it should be. Whilst it can’t be a single piece of tarpaulin, you definitely should be looking for a starter tent, or even a hammock - not going all out on the eight-bed portable living room. At this stage, you want the real experience to know whether you even enjoy camping.
Being familiar with the gear before you take it out for the real expedition is important. “There’s no point driving for 4 hours out into the woods only to realize that you needed a specific screwdriver to assemble your stove, or that you left the tent construction guide or your hammock’s Spectra cord at home and have no idea how to do it. Test everything, get comfortable”, advises Jack Clover, blogger at WriteMyx and NextCoursework.
Having said that don’t splash out, the other thing not to do is to get too small a tent or buy a deluxe type hammock. Being cramped and uncomfortable in your shelter or gear or, worse, having to share gears specifically made for one, is always a disaster. Camping is already a little bit rough, so you ought to do your best to make sure that at the very least you have enough space to rest and sleep properly.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to forget something when setting off to go camping. If you’re lucky, it’s the 3rd set of spare batteries for the torch, if you’re unlucky it's your whole shelter gear. Don’t leave this to chance. Use a checklist and tick things off as they go into the trunk of your car to avoid disaster.
Camping is a chance to abandon the modern world for a bit and get in touch with nature. And, it’s also a chance to relax. Gadgets don’t let you do any of this since being able to check your office email whilst toasting marshmallows is a bit of an atmosphere killer. You ought to definitely bring a cellphone or two, but leave them switched off unless needed, preferably in your car.
This is an important one, particularly with kids. Don’t let yourself go hungry on day three because you held a banquet on day one. Ration out your supplies equally.
You never know what will befall you when out in nature and the old maxim ‘Better safe than sorry’ definitely stands. You need to be ready for high winds, bad rain, snow, anything that will disrupt your trip.
Just because you’re living in nature, doesn’t mean you have to smell. “It’s important to have changes of clothes so that, if you get wet, or you tear some clothing, you have some to replace them. Don’t pack your whole wardrobe, but be intelligent”, says Cosmo Elwin, travel blogger at BritStudent and Autralia2Write.
This is a no-brainer. When people aren’t wanting to camp, say in December or January time and the outdoor stores are a barren wasteland, that’s when you should strike to close in on the bargain. Camping supplies make good Christmas gifts!
One of the biggest considerations is where you camp. Remember, as a first timer, give yourself something a little easier, a little closer to home to start with.
Camping is an amazing way to spend your time, with so many fun elements and so much to offer you and anyone you choose to go with. Hopefully this list will ensure that you are ready for your first adventure!
Katrina Hatchett, a blogger at Academic Brits and writer for Origin Writings, is involved in many business projects. She enjoys identifying project problems and find solutions for these, and her goal is to improve the effectiveness of our communication. She also writes for PhDKingdom.com blog.