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In case you’re new to Campfire Chic, I need to tell you something…I love to camp. Shocking? Probably not, based on the name of this blog. Even though I’ve been camping since birth, I had to learn a few things along the way.
If you’re new to camping, or your friends are threatening to take you out into the wilderness because they think you’ll freak out, this post is for you. Camping brings your life from between four walls and into the wilderness…sometimes into the middle of a forest, or along the coastline, or in stall number five in a sea of RVs. Whatever your story, if you’re new to camping, have no fear, I have 5 tips for you:
#1 Know the facilities
Very few things are worse than showing up at a campground to find out that it is a vault toilet instead of a flush toilet…or maybe that’s because I’m a shorty and I don’t particularly ‘fit’ when it comes to vault toilets (TMI? Probably). How about finding out that there is no fresh drinking water in your campground? Or that the nearest sightseeing is clear across the park? Know what you’re getting yourself into. View the campground map before booking, call ahead if there is a phone number and you have more questions, heck, check out the Yelp! Reviews, if you are particularly interested. Check the information for the particular site you are reserving, as well, while it may be a tree-filled campground, it will be less comfortable if you book the one spot without shade and don’t bring something to create shade with you.
#2 Bring Extra Batteries
You may be up in the middle of the night and if the batteries in your flashlight die, you may not make it very far! The same is true for your GPS unit, small camp radio, headlamp, and lantern. Whatever takes batteries and makes your first camping experience a little easier, bring an extra set!
#3 Clean Up
Cleaning as you go will make things a lot easier. A light breeze can stir up the trash on your picnic table and you’ll be running around the campground trying to not be one of those campers. Also, pretend that every campground has an active bear population and keep everything super clean. Put your coolers away at night, throw your trash and recycling away in the appropriate containers, and leave the place cleaner than you found it. Also, ask before washing your dishes in sinks or fresh water sources. Most campgrounds will have a special place for you to clean your dishes…or bring disposable or simply wipe off your dishes before the next meal.
#4 Go with the Flow
Things probably won’t go the way you envision them to go. The kids may get bored. You may get stung by a bee. The family next to you may decide to have a family reunion at 10 p.m. and a group of bikers may arrive at 4 a.m. Just go with it and focus on the fun things you are able to do. I’ve had enough camping adventures that didn’t go smoothly (like the time a parent thought it would be a good idea to store coolers next to the area a bunch of us were using to sleep outside…and a bear showed up next to me or the time the wood we bought turned out to be damp and we couldn’t have a fire) and yet I still go.
#5 Bring an extra blanket
It may be 90 during the day, but it will probably get colder than you are expecting at night. If you have a 40 bag (the usual temperature rating for a sleeping bag you buy at Walmart or Big 5) and it gets cool at night, you may be a bit chilly. The blanket may also come in handy if your sleeping pad just doesn’t cut it, or if you decide to stay up to watch a meteor shower. The blanket will be used, just bring it.
What other tips would you give to first-time campers?
For more reading on camping, check out these posts:
- 10 Roadtrip Essentials
- 11 Camping Essentials
- 8 Tips for Camping with Kids
- A How To Guide: Camping for Beginners
- How to Camp with an Infant
- 6 Survival Tips for the Anti-Camper
- A Non-Outdoorsy Girl’s Guide to Being Outdoors
- 3 Reasons to Use a Camper Van on Your Next Adventure
- FREE Printable Camping Supply Checklist
- Overcoming Cabin Fever