We love camping! Getting out into the great outdoors, disconnecting from modern life and just being free to clear our minds of all our worries! But sure, camping can be uncomfortable at times and with some it gets unfair criticism. I hear many people say they hate it or they would never do it because they maybe don’t know what’s involved or they’re a little intimidating! So we’ve put together a post, Camping Tips for Beginners, for those seeking some advice before heading out on their first camping adventure as well as some alternative ideas such as glamping too!
Camping Tips for Beginners: Do a Test Run in a Controlled Environment
Get all your gear out, pitch your tent/ car/ RV and spend the night somewhere local to your home, ideally your garden or a campsite in your town. This way you can see any potentially issues you might have with your set up and rectify it before you’re in the middle of nowhere for a week!
Does your tent leak? Is your sleeping bag colder than expected? Is your car in fact too small to comfortably camp in the back of? Is your RV too big for small campsites? Is your cooking equipment outdated and too complicated to use? Before planning out your trip a test run in a similar environment is an ideal place to start!
Doing a test run is probably the most useful of our camping tips for beginners because it really allows you to fully prepare!
Research the Right Gear for Your Trip and Make a List
Camping in iceland in winter, or in the Australian Outback in Summer!? Driving across isolated countryside or planning an urban adventure? There are several different types of camping and countless places to do them! Each one requires a different set of equipment to make the most of your time, be comfortable and safe.
If you’re heading to a festival chances are you want to take the cheapest gear you can that will still keep you dry! Sleeping bags will get muddy and its likely to be summer as well as there usually being food carts on offers. So gear wise you can relax a little.
Wild camping in the mountains? You will need a good quality and light tent and sleeping bags that you can carry uphill for miles but will keep you warm in a storm! You’ll also need light but efficient cooking gear like a jetboil.
Heading into the Outback? Check your car can make it, take lightweight and cool sleeping bags and be sure to map your route and take plenty of water!
Each camping trip has different requirements. Research the weather conditions for the time of year you are going. Plan your route and camping spots as well as what facilities are available. Also remember to stock up on cooking equipment, food and water whenever you can and try to workout how much you will need. Always bring more water if you can!!
Making a list before hand is also useful so you don’t forget anything and one of our most useful camping tips for beginners!
Research Campground, Access, Facilities and Fees Before You Leave and Have a Backup!
Before heading off into the unknown you should have a campsite in mind and if possible book at spot beforehand. Some countries have strict rules about free or wild camping especially if you are in a car, van or RV so getting caught out might be costly or mean driving into the night which is never ideal. Plan out how long it will take to get there, what time they open and research the cost, facilities and requirements for staying too (some campsites don’t allow tents or sleeping in cars, others no large RVs).
You might need somewhere with a shower or toilet, dump point or running water. Do you need a power hook up or just somewhere basic. There are some great apps like CamperMate and WikiCamps that show a lot of info and map out each site. Always try to have a backup location in mind and reachable incase your chosen site is full, won’t let you stay or unexpectedly closed.
Camping Tips for Beginners: Always Presume You Won’t Have Signal or Electricity!
Camping by its very nature is all about getting out into nature and escaping the chaos of the modern world. Switching off from the internet, constant calls and messaging and living a simpler life even for just a few days! So this means that often those places are going to be cut off from mobile/ data signal and possibly even electricity and water too.
You should prepare for this by knowing how to contact someone if you need to, such as locating the nearest town or bringing an emergency satellite phone or letting people know where you will be beforehand. Also try to preserve battery and bring along portable chargers. Always bring enough food and water to last beyond your expected timeframe.
Camping Tips for Beginners: Tell Someone Where You Are Going!
Like all adventures in the outdoors you should let someone know your plan and when to expect you back or a call from you. This is more useful if you are heading into somewhere more isolated or dangerous but it’s always a good idea to let friends or family know your plans before you go. This means if you get trapped or stuck anywhere they can alert the right people to come and look for you and hopefully in good time! This has to be one of the most important camping tips for beginners because you really never know what might happen out there!
Prepare for All Weather and Conditions
Even in the middle of summer or in a country you might consider to be hot the weather can change either way in a short amount of time, especially in the mountains. Bring warm clothing and extra blankets if you can carry them as well as always bringing extra water. We were caught out camping on the Great Ocean Road one year in Spring thinking it would be hot as it was nice during the day and we were in Australia! We were freezing at night once the sun went down!!
Camping Tips for Beginners: Check if you Need Permits or Other Legal Requirements!
Some countries have certain rules and laws when it comes to camping. For example in New Zealand we found that freedom camping is widely clamped down on and now there are only certain places you can do it with strict rules. Being “self contained” too in NZ is a big deal and opens up many more places to camp. Technically wild camping in England is illegal but it’s not often enforced if you are in the mountains and only stay for a night in each location. However stay close to a town and you might get in trouble!
Before heading to a new country always read up on what the laws are with camping, they often differ to according to what you’re staying in so be sure to research thoroughly!
Camping Tips for Beginners: Why Not Try Glamping!
Maybe you’re new to camping and you’re not quite sure you’re ready to be living in a tent in a muddy field for a few days yet. Or maybe you’re a veteran camper who fancies having a taste of the camping high life for once! Either way the concept of “glamping” is becoming more and more popular. It gives you all the trappings of camping such as being in the outdoors and a sense of adventure but also means you can actually stay somewhere nice with most of the conveniences we’re used to at home or on other holidays.
One of the most incredible glamping experiences to try is at the Yelloh! Villages which can be found in Spain, France and Portugal. Here you can choose from any of the 80+ locations across the three countries with luxury outdoor hotels in the form of mobile homes, cabins or just sites to pitch your own tent or RV. Facilities across these sites include swimming pools and slides, kids clubs, wellness centres and evening entertainment. Locations vary from alpine retreats to beachside resorts and rural getaways! So if you’re on the fence about camping or you have kids and want to keep them entertained then glamping is always another fun option to consider!
Have Fun in the Great Outdoors and Escape the Complexities of Modern Life!
Camping can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable, it can be harder doing the things we take for granted at home like cooking, washing, sleeping etc. But rather than see those as a bad thing, that is what camping is all about! Roughing it and living a simpler life where you have to rely on yourself a little more and you can escape the complexities of modern life such as social media and work! For this short amount of time it’s like stepping into the world of our ancestors or those less fortunate than us. Try to embrace this alternative way of living on your trip and realise the freedom that comes with it!
We lived in our car in NZ for 2 months! Sure, it was cramped, uncomfortable at times and we had to find places to wash our pots, shower and go to the toilet! But it allowed us to see the incredible landscape of NZ and we had total freedom to just go where we wanted!
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Hey, You’ve Got Your Travel Insurance Sorted Haven’t You?
Travelling and especially backpacking is a wild adventure, but make sure you are covered just incase something goes wrong, which if you’re living it up to the fullest it’s always a possibility!
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