Camping is everyone’s favorite pastime. Whether you’re camping as a group or by yourself, it’s the best possible way to leave the stress behind you, enjoy nature, and recharge your batteries.
However, camping can also be a challenging hobby, especially for a beginner. Which is why I have compiled this list of camping tips for beginners. The list was put together after interviewing several experienced camping enthusiasts. I also added a few items from my own camping expertise.
A portion of this article is summarized in the following video:
Table of Contents
- General Camping Tips for Beginners
- Camping Tips for Families
- Winter Camping Tips
- Tent Camping Tips
- Camping Safety Tips
- Beach Camping Tips
- In Conclusion
General Camping Tips for Beginners
1. Start Your Camping Trip with a Checklist
Preparation for a camping can be an overwhelming endeavor, especially for a beginner. Making a thorough checklist can save you from a lot of headache. Make a list of the entire gear and food that you need to take with you. Fill your backpack according to this list. Write down your plans for the camping trips, where and when you are going, what you are planning to visit, and so on. Staying organized is the number one tip. For more information on organizing for a camping trip, you can read this essential camping checklist.
2. Bring Only the Most Necessary Items
Remember that you will probably need to carry everything that you pack. Choose carefully what’s needed and what can be left at home. Don’t overload yourself, otherwise the trip might turn into an unpleasant task. Later I will mention specific items that you should bring, especially if you’re camping with your family. But even with those, don’t bring more than you will use during the trip. Camping trips often last only a couple of days, so no need to pack your entire house.
3. Prepare for Any Situation
While the previous tip suggested to pack only what you need, you still need to be prepared for various situations. This could be something as basic as adding an extra pair of socks or another roll of toilet paper. You should also bring a First Aid kit with your prescribed medications. I discuss the First Aid kit later in this article. Simply take a good look at what needs might arise on your trip, and pack accordingly.
4. Borrow Camping Equipment
If this is your first time, consider borrowing a few camping items from a friend. The very first camping experience should be about relaxing and absorbing the nature’s energies. Therefore, don’t invest too much money into your first camping trip. Just get a feel of this new adventure and don’t rush buying every necessary gear yet.
5. Try a Nearby Camping Site at First
Again, if this is your first camping trip, you shouldn’t go too far. Don’t add a long drive to the list of tasks. As first timer, you might find out that you forgot to pack something, or that the weather is not to your liking, or that you wish to leave the camping site earlier. Selecting a site near your home helps you get back much faster.
6. Explore Different Campsites
To keep this experience constantly fresh, visit different campsites. Don’t get attached to just one preferred location. Explore more possibilities, find exciting new places. Other campsites can offer stunning views and interesting challenges, so don’t be afraid stepping out of your comfort zone. You can use a website such the National Park Service to find more parks and campsites to visit.
7. Pick a Pleasant Weather
A nasty weather can ruin any camping trip. In the spirit of not making the first trip too challenging, pick days with a guaranteed pleasant weather. Don’t camp during stormy or cold seasons, but also don’t choose the hot summer. Late spring or early fall are probably the best seasons in the Northern hemisphere.
8. Bring Chairs and a Table
We usually take furniture for granted, but we will dearly miss it on a camping trip. If possible, get a small folding table and several chairs. You can still enjoy nature, but there is a positive side to having a spot where you can have your meals on a clean and even surface, while comfortably sitting in humanity’s greatest invention – a chair. Not sure what chair you need to get? Don’t worry, I have this covered in my article on choosing the best camping chair.
9. Get a Portable Charger
Although I advised against bringing too much equipment on your camping trip, you will probably still pack your phone, a camera, and other essential tech. Unfortunately, there aren’t any electrical outlets, although some campsites offer recharging stations. In any case, bringing a portable charger can make a huge difference once your devices run out of juice. You can use a reliable portable power station, I have an article on how to choose a power station for camping that you should take a look at.
10. Equip Yourself With Sufficient Lighting
The woods are dark; this should not be a surprise. You will need electric light to navigate next to the tent and inside of it. Pack a flashlight for every member of your group. If you’re not sure what kind of flashlight you need to get, you can check my article on camping flashlights. A headlight is also a convenient gadget that can help you rummaging in the backpack or reading before the sleep. You should probably have some sort of a lantern for the supper, although it might attract too many bugs.
11. Make Use of Plastic Bags
Plastic bags can be your friends. You can use them repeatedly for a variety of purposes:
- Wrapping everything to protect against moisture
- Packing clothes that you’ve already worn and changed, to be washed later
- Packing everything after you leave the campsite
- Picking up trash to dispose of it afterwards
12. Don’t Forget the Earplugs
Having a restful night is a must during the camping trip. However, nature can be quite noisy at the night. And even if the bugs, the birds and the wild mammals are quiet, there are humans to worry about. If this is a popular campsite, there might be some noisy neighbors that camp nearby and disrupt your sleep. Packing good earplugs for everyone will help you have a good night’s sleep.
13. Pitch the Tent Away From the Trees
Pitching a tent under a tree can turn out to be one of the worst decisions ever. Not only will you have to constantly clean the tent from leaves and bird dropping, but there is also the constant danger of falling branches. A strong wind can cause a heavy branch to fall on your sleeping location, damaging your equipment. Trees are great to adore, not to sleep under them.
14. Pitch and Set Up Camp During the Day
Since setting up a camp can be a complicated task for a novice, you better do it during the daytime. Arrive early, while the sun is still up. Pitch the tent, set up the washing and eating areas, get to know your surroundings, and so on. Avoid doing all these important tasks in the dark, when they become less fun and more stressful.
15. Don’t Wear Shoes Inside the Tent
For many experienced campers, “no shoes inside the tent” has become an actual law. Shoes tend to drag mud, leaves, grass, moisture and bugs into the tent’s interior. Your sleeping area should always be tidy and clean. Leave the dirty boots outside the tent. Instead, bring slippers to walk inside the tent, and never wear those slippers on the outside.
16. Protect Your Valuables
Never leave your valuables unattended. There is no way to know who may wander up to your campsite and steal your stuff. If you plan to hike for several hours, take the valuables in your backpack or pockets. If you had arrived at the campgrounds on bikes, don’t forget to lock them before going for a walk.
17. Ask Other Campers and Staff for Assistance
On the other hand, there are many friendly people that can be found at the campgrounds, staff and other campers included. You can’t be expected to know everything about the place, so don’t be shy asking for some help from people. They might know quite a lot about local facilities, activities, trails, stores, rules, and so on.
18. Respect Other Campers
Just as there are other friendly people at the campsite, you can be friendly and helpful to them. However, not everyone comes to a camping trip to make new friends. Some people simply prefer to be left alone. So, be courteous to everyone, but don’t expect too much communication in return. Let everyone enjoy their privacy and their vacation.
19. See if There are Any Restaurants Nearby
Cooking food by the campfire is fun and adventurous. But from time to time, you might want to check the local cuisine and enjoy meals prepared by someone else. Research the area and find out whether there are any recommended restaurants. Do it before leaving for the campgrounds, this might be a deciding factor when you’re choosing between several camping destinations.
20. Invest in a Quality Sleeping Bag
It’s quite impossible to imagine a camping adventure without a sleeping bag. It keeps you warm and cozy during the night, protecting your body heat from escaping. It can be easily folded or rolled up, and then attached to the backpack. Which is exactly why you can’t compromise when picking a sleeping bag. How can you know which sleeping bag to get? See my guide on choosing the best sleeping bag.
21. Tuck a Hot Water Bottle Inside the Sleeping Bag
This neat trick has been probably known and used for centuries. Heat up some water and fill the good old water bottle with it. Seal the bottle with its stopper and take it with you into the sleeping bag. This can greatly help you endure those chilly outdoors nights. Remember not to make the bottle too hot, to prevent excessive sweating throughout the night.
22. Add Next Day’s Clothes to the Sleeping Bag
One of the hardest parts of sleeping outdoors is dressing up in the cold morning. Just imagine being all warm and tucked in inside the sleeping bag, and then crawling out to put on cold clothes in the cold air. Which is why it’s better to have the next day’s clothes neatly rolled inside the sleeping bag. They will share your body heat, and you can put them on while still being inside the bag.
23. Bring More Than Enough Blankets
Blankets are the best! I said earlier to bring less items to save room, but you can afford to bring more blankets than needed. You can cover yourself with another blanket over the sleeping bag. You can sit or lay down on a blanket to insulate yourself from the cold ground. You can even put a blanket on your lap, to feel warm and cozy during the chilly evenings.
24. Pack a Camping Pillow
You don’t have to give up on basic comfort while camping. Get yourself a nice camping pillow or two and use them whenever you go to sleep or just wish to sit down and lean comfortably. In fact, you don’t have to get an actual camping pillow. Any pillow from home will do, as long as it doesn’t take too much space among your equipment.
25. Bring Old Towels
Hand towels, beach towels, any sort of towels. If you have a towel that’s past its prime, take it on your camping trip. Worn towels can find a new purpose around the campsite. You can sit on them, use them to cover something, use them to wipe gear and surfaces, and so forth.
26. Bring Spare Clothes
Wearing dry clothes should be among your highest priorities. Wet clothes are a sure way to catch a cold or worse. You could be walking besides a river, or you could be surprised by rain, and as a result – you are left with wet clothes and must change them. So, take that into consideration, and pack spare dry clothes. I go into more details in my article dedicated to tips on how to camp in the rain.
27. Use Waterproof Containers for Clothes
To continue the previous point, your spare clothes should be stored in waterproof containers. If the rain pours all over your campsite, it’s nice to know that you have a change of dry clothes, snugly hidden in a sealed container. You can use a plastic box for this purpose, or even a bag.
28. Add Duct Tape to Your Camping Checklist
Duct tape is a universal repairment tool. Add a roll of good-quality duct tape to your backpack, and you can use it to:
- Seal bags and containers
- Fix a torn part of the tent
- Fix broken glasses
- Seal any leak
- Close holes in your clothing
- Tie anything you wish to tie together
29. Bring Snacks That Don’t Require Cooking
If you plan to do some hiking, you will definitely need to replenish your energies. Bring food that you can eat on the go, without cooking. I’m talking about such easy-to-carry snacks as trail mix, granola, dried fruit, and many more. These hold enough energy to keep you walking, and you don’t need to bring a pot to stop and boil them. From my experience, I recommend you try snack packs from Blunon, they are both delicious and nutritious. You can get them from Amazon by clicking here.
30. Don’t Open the Cooler Too Frequently
Your food cooler should stay as cold as possible. If you open it too much without adding new ice, the inside air might warm up and the food will spoil. The solution is to actually bring at least two coolers. One cooler can hold all the beverages, and it will be used more often. The other one should be used to keep the meals cold for several hours, until you need to serve them.
31. Bring a Lid for Your Pot
This might sound like a common sense, but we often forget to pack a lid for the camping pot. This is perhaps because of all the images of open pot cooking we see in the Western movies. However, covering your pot with the lid helps cooking the food much faster. Moreover, this will protect your meal from falling leaves, insects, and debris.
Camping Tips for Families
1. Pack the Food That Entire Family Likes
To get your kids more excited about the upcoming camping trip, let them participate when you pack the camping food. Children should have their say about their favorite snacks and meals that they want to eat during family camping. Bringing the food that they recognize and prefer can help them with their first camping experience.
2. Involve the Children While You’re Packing
As you pack for the trip, and not just the food but also the rest of the gear, let children help and participate in the process. Let them ask all sorts of questions about the equipment’s purposes. Familiarizing with the gear helps their integration in the entire camping adventure. Let them also pack their own bag, but with your supervision. Increasing responsibility and involvement ensures a great trip for everyone!
3. Bring Entertainment for the Whole Family
To battle potential boredom, bring entertainment that can serve the entire family. Board games suitable for all ages are always welcome on a camping trip. Electronic gaming devices can also distract from boredom, but don’t make them a priority. They usually offer a single player experience, detaching the player from the rest of the family. Choose entertainment for the entire group. Amazon has a huge selection of fun camping games, which you can check by clicking here.
4. Pack a Few Toys
In addition to board games, there are many fun toys that are perfectly suitable for a camping trip. You can bring whatever your children usually like, like toy cars, dolls, water guns, Lego boxes, and so on. There are also more outdoors-oriented toys, such as butterfly nets, magnifying glasses, several types of compasses, binoculars, and so forth. These will teach your kids how to be explorers and avid outdoors experts. And, of course, there are sports-related toys, such as a soccer ball, or a football, or a bat with a baseball, and the entire family can enjoy some fun athletic activity together.
5. Research Local Activities
In addition to bringing your own entertainment, see beforehand what activities are offered by the local campgrounds. Maybe there are fun and easy hiking trails, where interesting and beautiful views can be encountered. Also see if there is an option to rent bikes or a boat. Kids might get bored of sitting around the campfire, so including them in fun physical activities is always a plus.
6. Establish a Hand-Washing Spot
Nature is a lot of fun, but also a lot of dirt! Since the closest washroom can be miles away, it’s always a good idea to establish a hand-washing station at your campsite. You can attach a faucet to a plastic container, which can be always refilled with more water. You should also pack moist wipes and hand sanitizers, although only the flowing water can really remove unwanted dirt from everyone’s hands.
7. Bring a Screenhouse for Small Children
Babies and youngest children will enjoy their own play area, under a screenhouse or a screened canopy. The canopy serves two purposes: guards the toddlers from walking away from the campsite, and defending them against the bug bites. This is also where you can feed them without worrying about the bugs getting into the food. I would recommend getting a screenhouse with UV protection against the hot sun, such as the high-quality Coleman Instant Screenhouse, which is available on Amazon.
8. Cook the Food Before the Camping Trip
As you know, cooking for an entire family is not an easy task. Now imagine doing all that outdoors. Pre-cooked food can save you from a lot of hassle. Prepare the food at home, and, once you arrive at the campsite, just heat it up and serve to everybody. There are also quite a few easy recipes for the outdoors cooking. I suggest you take a look at my article on how to cook while camping for much more detailed information.
9. Make the Camp Safe During the Dark Hours
Tracking your kids in the dark can be quite challenging. A good camping trick is getting a few glowsticks that kids can wear on their necks or wrists. This way you know for sure where everyone is during the nighttime. You can also give everyone headlamps which can be turned on whenever anyone needs to temporarily leave the tent or to find something inside of the tent in the dark. Giving enough portable lighting to every family member makes the campsite much safer.
10. Keep Everything Easy and Simple
A camping trip should not become an impossible chore. Don’t plan anything complicated, as a camping trip should be enjoyed and not endured. If you’re camping with children, just plan a few easy-to-follow activities. Don’t bring gear and equipment that require too much setting up. Tracking everyone is already a heavy task, so don’t overburden yourself with additional objectives.
Winter Camping Tips
1. Shake the Sleeping Bag
This might sound like a weird tip, but shaking your sleeping bag before going to sleep is a very good practice. By holding the bag’s bottom and giving it a good shake, you actually trap air inside of it. This air will be warmed up by your body heat, creating a great insulation and keeping you protected from the cold during the nighttime.
2. Wear Clothes According to 4 Layers Rule
In order to complete insulate your body during the winter camping, you should wear clothes in 4 following layers:
- Long underwear that covers you closely and wicks your sweat to keep you dry.
- Middle layer, such as sweaters, shirts, trousers, etc.
- Thick upper layer, such as coats, parkas, and hooded jackets.
- Windshell, an outer waterproof layer, which can also add warmth to your attire. There are windshell garments and jackets available in most camping stores.
3. Cover Your Head and Limbs
A lot of body heat can be lost through the extremities: arms, legs, and the head. Whether you’re walking around or sleeping in the tent, these should always be covered. Wear a warm hat, get some insulated gloves, and always have a spare pair of socks. You should have a separate pair of socks just for the night, just make sure they are always dry during the day. Staying warm and dry is number one priority during winter camping.
4. Protect Your Gear from Freezing
Thoroughly check your equipment and figure out what would happen to it in freezing temperatures. For instance, if you have a container with any liquid, be it water or fuel for the stove, its opening might get blocked by ice. The trick is to turn the container upside down. This way the ice will form at the top, while the opening will remain ice-free. And, generally speaking, every single thing that might freeze – should be insulated from the cold.
5. Get Cold-Resistant Batteries
It’s impossible to imagine camping without portable equipment, such as a radio or flashlight. However, NiMh and alkaline batteries don’t function that well in the cold weather. Get lithium batteries instead, they weight significantly less, while last longer, even in freezing conditions. Amazon has a large selection of low-cost lithium batteries, which you can see by clicking here.
6. Know How to Treat Frost Injuries
There are various frost-related injuries, ranging from mild to severe. If it’s a simple frostbite or frostnip, the cure is to simply thaw the affected area. If it’s a deep frostbite that causes pain, you can also thaw the injured area, but in order to avoid permanent damage, you should evacuate immediately and look for a doctor. There are more severe injuries related to the cold weather, and I invite you to learn how to treat them in my article on how to survive extreme weather.
7. Don’t Cover Your Face with the Sleeping Bag
While it may sound counter-intuitive, you should not tuck your head into the sleeping bag. I mentioned that your sleeping bag needs good insulation. If we get completely inside of it and start breathing there, this will create inner dampness and cancel the desired insultation. Your nose and mouth should remain outside the sleeping bag. You don’t want any moisture accumulating in the bag during the night!
8. Place a Blanket Beneath You During the Night
When we sleep at home, we usually sleep on a thick mattress, placed on a bed that keeps us a few inches above the ground. Covering yourself with a blanket is more than enough to keep you warm. However, when you’re camping, there is cold that comes for you from beneath, from the frozen ground. Sleeping under a pile of blankets will not save you from this cold. You need to place something under the sleeping bag, like another thick blanket or a roll-up camping mattress.
9. Pack a Few Hand Warmers
Hand warmers are a great invention. You shake them, expose to air, and in about 15 minutes they are hot and ready to be used. They don’t smell, don’t weigh a lot, and you can get rid of them once you’re done. If they lose heat, you can shake them in the open air again. A neat trick is placing a few of them inside your sleeping bag, instead of the hot water bottle. Hand warmers can be purchased directly from Amazon by clicking here.
10. Bring Food that Helps Against the Cold
Hot soup and beverages are always a good solution against the cold weather. Nonetheless, there are other types of food you can pack to get your blood flowing during the winter camping. Camping food such as peanuts, spy sushi, lean meat and pasta can really improve your blood circulation and help you stay warm.
Tent Camping Tips
1. Keep the Tent Heated
In the night, the temperatures drop, and the sleeping bag might not be enough to keep you warm. There are tent-safe devices that you can use to heat your tent, such as an electric fan heater, electric radiator, or electric halogen heater. In addition, you can even use an electric or thermal blanket along with your sleeping bag. I have written an extensive article on this topic, so be sure you click to read about the best methods to heat a tent.
2. Choose the Right Type of Tent
Different tents are more suitable for different trips. If you plan to hike a lot, pack a lightweight backpacking tent. On the other hand, if you plan to mostly camp at a permanent spot, go for a dome or a cabin tent. They are quite affordable and easy to set up, which makes them perfect for a camping beginner. For more information on how to choose the best tent for you, read my article on best camping tents.
3. Make Sure You Have the Correct Tent Size
If you’re camping as a group, it’s important to ensure that everyone has a sleeping spot, and that there is additional free space for the gear. For large groups, get a family size tent that can accommodate everyone and everything. For instance, if you buy a tent labeled as “4-person tent”, keep in mind that it actually has a room for 2-3 people plus equipment. A “6-person tent” has enough space for about 4 people, while it’s too tight for 5-6 people.
4. Keep the Tent Clean and Tidy
Pack a small broom or a brush and clean the tent’s floor as well as the equipment before going to sleep. A tidy tent creates a much more pleasant environment. Moreso, cleaning the tent removes the pesky insects that you definitely don’t want to share the night with. You deserve a night of good, re-energizing sleep for the next day’s activities, so clearing small stones and acorns from under your mattrasses and sleeping bags should be a part of your routine.
5. Ventilate the Tent Periodically
Unwanted and at times dangerous gases tend to accumulate in closed spaces. Refresh the inside air from time to time, to prevent carbon monoxide’s levels from rising. Some tents come with built-in vents, and you can place a small noiseless electric fan near them to push the stale air out during the night.
6. Set the Tent Up at Home Before Camping
A camping beginner might not be too proficient with the tents. Even if the manufacturer tells you that the tent can be set up in minutes, the task is more complicated than proclaimed, especially in the open air. Therefore, simply practice with the tent at home. Take it slowly at first, understand how the tent works, what parts demand more attention and work. This will prepare you for the real task once you reach the outdoors.
7. Pack Padding for the Tent’s Floor
Sleeping in the nature does not mean you should sleep without comfort. A restful night ensures a great next day. I suggest you bring some extra padding for the tent’s floor. This can be a regular or inflatable mattress, or a special tent floor padding that you can purchase separately. If you bring an inflatable mattress, don’t forget to pack an air pump, too.
8. Ensure That the Tent Is Waterproof
Let’s face it, Nature tends to be damp. Whether it’s the mist, morning dew, or sudden rains, the inside of your tent is very likely to get moist from time to time. Thankfully, a lot of modern tents are waterproof, so you might have a dry night and a safe heaven from a storm. Test your tent before camping to see that it indeed repels water. If not, apply silicone sealant on the entire tent. Spray it on every inch of the tent, including the zippers.
9. Test the Ground Before Pitching the Tent
The ground should be even, don’t pitch the tent on a slope. Once you found the perfect spot, check it thoroughly and remove rocks, debris, and garbage. Make sure that the ground is not moist, and that it does not contain any hidden puddles. See that there are no ant hills or holes dug by an animal.
10. Fold the Tent Only if It’s Dry
After your camping trip is over and you’re about to store the tent until the next one, you must thoroughly dry it out. A moist stored tent will grow mold, which will significantly shorten the tent’s lifespan. Storing the tent the right way will guarantee that you can enjoy it in many more future trips.
Camping Safety Tips
1. Pack a First Aid Kit
You can never know what injury, bug bite, infection, cut, or some other malady maybe occur when camping. Your first aid should include all the essentials that can quickly treat any complications, at least until the professional help arrives. This includes such items as:
- Gauze dressings
- Skin rash cream
- Disposable gloves
- Antiseptic cream
- And a few more items
The first aid kit should also contain everyone’s prescription medicine. I have written a separate article that explains more about what should be in the kit and how to choose the best first aid kit.
2. Avoid Encountering Wildlife
The wild animals are not cute and cuddly as a typical cartoon depicts them. There are predators in the woods, and some of them can be attracted to your food. The first measure is checking whether there are any sightings of dangerous animals in your planned campsite’s area. If the forest is known for its bears and wolves, maybe it’s better to find a different location. Additionally, never store your camping food openly. Use a bear cannister or any lockable food container.
3. Protect Yourself Against Insects
Bugs deserve their own safety tip. In the wild, insects can be much bigger nuisance than the largest predators. They bite, sting, cause skin irritations, and carry diseases. It’s highly advisable to apply waterproof insect repellent. Add it to your first aid kit. Periodically check your entire body for ticks. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, this will give you another layer of protection against the insects.
4. Observe Fire Safety
Never leave your campfire unobserved. Start it at least 5 meters / 15 feet away from any flammable object, such as trees, shrubs, or your tent. The fire should not be big, and it should preferably be restrained within a pit. When you turn in for the night or leave the area, put it out completely with a bucket of water, which you always should place near the fire.
5. Hydrate Constantly
No one can survive for a long time without water. Walking and camping is a substantial physical effort that can make you sweat and cause thirst. However, hydration is not about drinking only when you’re thirsty. You must drink constantly throughout the camping trip, even if you don’t feel any thirst at the moment. Carry enough water to last you for three to five days.
6. Avoid Poisonous Plants
The rule of the thumb is: if you’re not familiar with the plant, don’t touch it and definitely don’t eat its berries. Plants like poison ivy, sumac, and poison oak cause severe skin irritation, similar to an allergic reaction. Should you happen to touch anything suspicious, wash your hands right away with cold water, to remove the plant’s oil from your skin. Add something like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to your first aid kit, to battle the itching caused by a plant.
7. Let Someone Know About Your Camping Plans
You should notify a couple of relatives or friends where you are heading, especially if you plan to camp alone. Someone at home should know where you’re at in case an emergency happens. It’s also important that you tell them when you intend to return. If you’re injured and stranded, and you’re not back by that date, it’s always good that other people know where to send a rescue party.
8. Visit the Local Ranger
In addition to informing your family back at home, make sure you stop by the ranger’s station. Inform them where you plan to camp and for how long. It’s always helpful to let the local authorities know where to find you, should something unusual happen. The ranger station can also provide you with a lot of useful information, what to look out for and what are the best places for a campsite.
9. Check the Car Before Leaving for Campsite
You could be camping for hours or days. The last thing you’d want to deal with is discovering that either your car’s battery is dead, or its tank is empty. This might leave you stranded in the woods. Therefore, even before you start driving in the campsite’s direction, check that:
- You have enough gas for the trip back
- You packed a backup battery that can be used to recharge the emptied one
- The car’s oil levels are normal
- There is air in the tires, and an air pump in the trunk
- You have a spare tire, and there is air in it as well
10. Research Before Going on a Camping Trip
It’s always a great advantage to familiarize yourself with the campsite area before you reach it. Study what animals you are most likely to encounter, what plants, whether there is a water source nearby, where the ranger station is located, and so on. Find out what the weather is going to be in the next few days, and whether or not it’s safe to camp in these temperatures and conditions. Knowing as much as possible about the camping location can save you from a lot of trouble.
Beach Camping Tips
1. Camp Above the Tide Line
Before establishing your beach campsite, observe the sand and notice how high can the tide reach. You don’t want your tent and personal belonging washing away when the water rises. Start the bonfire and pitch the tent well behind the tide’s furthest point. The tide can get particularly high during certain hours, so check an online tide service, such as Tide-Forecast.com.
2. Protect Yourself Against the Sun
The UV radiation is not a laughing matter, and you can get a nasty sunburn during most of the daytime hours. Make sure that everyone in your group has appropriate sun protection, such as sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, hat, and water. Everyone should be well hydrated at all times, and preferably stay in shade. Securing a shaded location is a big plus, or at least bring a big beach umbrella with you.
3. Bring More Than Enough Water
Speaking of hydration, unless there is a fresh water source in your vicinity, you should pack enough H2O to last throughout the entire camping period. Obviously, the salt water from the sea cannot be consumed. And even if you’re camping by a lake or a river, it’s still too dangerous to drink directly because the water may contain parasites and lethal chemicals. You can, however, purify this water using one of the methods I describe in the article on how to purify and filter water while camping.
4. Bring Beach-Safe Items
The beach is a challenging environment, with its waves, wind, and constant sand. If you’re bringing equipment, make sure it can withstand these conditions. It’s also a good idea to pack a brush with a dustpan. This will save you from a lot of troubles when you turn in for the night and find tons of sands inside the tent and the sleeping bags. Another useful item for beach camping is sand stakes. They are specifically designed to secure your tent in the loose sandy surface. There are highly recommended TRIWONDER sand stakes, which you can get on Amazon by clicking here.
5. Don’t Climb the Dunes
While they look pretty and adventurous, dunes are not a safe environment. They are made of unstable rocks and sand, and even the most balanced individual risks falling down and creating a dune avalanche. In addition, dunes often have a delicate biological ecosphere, which should not be disturbed. Just observe the dunes form afar and stay safe.
6. Build Bonfire Inside a Pit
Thanks to the wind, building a campfire can be quite challenging. The trick to this is digging a pit and start fire inside of it. This way the flames are always protected from the wind gusts. Moreover, the pit functions as a wall that keep the embers inside, preventing them from blowing away and potentially damaging your equipment. When you wish to extinguish the bonfire, spill a lot of water on it, and only then completely fill the pit with sand, evening the ground.
7. Pack Away for the Night
Even though beach camping seems hot and dry during the day, staying near water is a damp experience by the night. Everything you leave outside the tent will get soggy once the sun sets down and the mist rises. Protect your belonging from the moisture by packing and stashing them in the tent during the dark hours.
8. Park Within a Walking Distance
It’s always a good idea to have the car parked nearby. This way, you can avoid the bothersome effort of carrying the beach camping equipment for a long time. However, the more important reason is that sometimes you need to leave in a hurry. There could be an emergency situation, like an injury, and a nearby car will save you a lot of trouble. Before choosing a beach, check the parking situation, or use a vehicle that can drive on the sand.
9. Always Stay Aware of the Weather
If you’re camping near the ocean or the sea, expect quick changes to the weather. Pleasant conditions can be replaced by stormy ones in a matter of hours. Either be prepared to sit a storm out, or check the weather forecast before heading out to the beach. Choose the right season for the beach camping adventure, if the region of your choice is known for seasonal storms and strong winds.
10. Don’t Leave Any Garbage
This is a long-term thinking. If you enjoyed this location, make sure that you and others will enjoy it again in the future. Leave it clean by collecting every piece of trash you produced. Estimate just how much trash you might make and pack enough garbage bags. Fill the bags and dispose of them in the appropriate locations. Remember, we must protect nature for our own sake and for the sake of future generations.
Camping can be a fun and energizing experience – as long as you’re prepared for it. I hope that my list of camping tips was useful to you, and you learned a lot of new things. This is a hobby that keeps on giving, and I myself always learn something new each time I go camping.
My blog has several additional articles dedicated to camping. Before you head out into the wild, make sure you know how to plan a camping trip – the linked article will guide you step by step. Additionally, please check out my article on low cost camping gear; it’s the ultimate guide to shopping for camping on a budget.
Safe journeys, my friends!