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Are you a total camping novice? Do you know the essential skills for camping?
Whether you’re an experienced camper or on your first camping trip, making sure your camping basics are up-to-date never hurts. Outdoor spending is a great way to relax and interact with nature, but if you’re unprepared, it can also be unpleasant.
Let’s face it, anyone can camp and be miserable. But a bad experience of camping is typically the last experience of camping.
We hope that by teaching you the basic skills, your first camping experience will be unforgettable and awesome!
Through learning the necessary skills and most importantly putting this knowledge into effect, you will concentrate more on nature and surroundings and less on the stress and frustration of not understanding the basic skills of camping.
For the first time, I strongly recommend camping with someone who is an experienced camper. But even then, before planning your first camping trip, there are some essential skills you need to know about.
1. how to plan a camping trip
Not planning is also planning to fail
The main cause of most missed camping trips is lack of planning. The answers to these basic 5 questions depend on successful planning:
- Where you are going?
- How long are you going to be staying at that location?
- What is the weather forecast?
- What gear do you have and need?
- And, what you will do when you arrive?
You will start collecting your gear once you answer the five basic questions.
You’ll need to learn where to get water as well.
Is it ready to go or do you need to carry 5 gallon jugs?
If required, do not forget to make reservations for campsites.
Make a list of the equipment you take as a guide for each ride. Edit your lists after each trip, develop them and save for future trips.
Finally, plan to show up for Murphy (Murphy’s Law). In other words, if things go wrong, have a strategy.
2. what should you bring
Most new campers make the mistake of bringing too much material. You don’t want to forget and say “just in case” right?
Overpacking, however, can be an unwelcome danger for your first camping trip.
Let me help you avoid this blunder by providing you with an appropriate checklist that you can tailor to your needs. Cooking, sleeping, and some creature comforts will be included in this article.
It can be expensive to buy supplies. For your first few journeys, borrow or rent equipment to get a sense of what you really need.
3. learn basic first aid/CPR
It’s always good to carry a basic kit of first aid.
But if you don’t know how to use what’s in your bag, it’s not really useful to use your first aid kit.
You don’t need a full blown complete crash kit, just a range of bandages, ointments and simple medicines like Benadryl and a pain reliever.
When you schedule your trip sensibly, there is a significant reduction in the likelihood of facing a true medical emergency.
Using the tools and training just in case, however, is always easier.
4. wear appropriate clothing
The number one way outside to be unhappy is to wear the wrong clothing.
Remember to bring comfortable, breathable and warm multiple layers. Search for fabrics that are non-cotton and you don’t mind getting dirty.
Start with a base layer (t-shirt) and then add a mid layer like a sweatshirt or a light fleece. Finish with a quickly added or optional warm coat.
A big down puffer coat is important, and when the sun goes down it will keep you from getting chilled.
If you get warm, until you are comfortable, you can always remove layers.
Don’t forget the gloves and hat.
Also camping in summer can get cold, and you never know when you might need some extra warmth.
5. pick the right spot
It can be overwhelming for beginners to find the perfect place to set up camp.
Follow these simple rules and you’re going to feel like a master camping designer: when you arrive at your campsite, your first job is to pick the spot where you’re going to pitch your best tent.
Instead, inspect the area to ensure that there is enough space between other campsite components such as the fire pit and picnic table.
Note, if you are not in an existing camping area and choose a spot from scratch, you will have many factors to consider such as: finding a level area for your tent, proximity to the car, distance to the campfire, accessible water and wind and sun safety.
The ideal spot has a soft soil or ground cover flat, level surface.
Remove areas that are rugged. Set up your tent as far away as possible from the cooking area and the fireplace to prevent odors from the campfire or food.
You’ll get better at picking an ideal location every time you set up a campsite.
Look at this video to find a great campsite spot:
6. pitch a tent correctly
I love all outdoors, but I like having my tent outdoors.
Find a flat even surface with plenty of room to move around before you pitch your tent.
Make sure there are no bumps, rocks, sharp objects or any other obstacles that would be it difficult to sleep in your tent.
You may need to learn how to stake down the corners, mount the poles, add the board, and put on the rain-fly depending on the tent you chose.
Most tents come with instructions before you’re at the campsite, so read and understand.
You should practice a few times setting up your tent in the backyard to gain skill and feel more confident when you’re away from home.
Note that the aim is to sleep like a newborn, wake up well and dry.
7. how to build a fire
I see a fire as an integral part of the experience of camping.
Understanding how a campfire can be constructed, started and managed is a valuable skill that takes practice. Not only does a campfire cook, but it also offers heat and warmth.
Three main points to remember:
- Wood, dry and not wet
- good airflow
- consistent temperature
Watch this video on starting a campfire:
Begin by clearing the area of flammable debris, gathering tinder (e.g. dry grass, leaves, and pine needles), some lighting (e.g. small twigs), and wood before building a campfire.
It seems like a no-brainer to get a fire started, but for beginners it can be difficult.
Start by putting in the center of your pit a small amount of tinder. Leave enough space for the tinder to light up and allow airflow to help with the start process.
Heat the tinder from the bottom and add lighting progressively, slowly increasing the material’s diameter as you go.
Once the fire is burning steadily, you should gradually add larger pieces of firewood until a useful size fire is reached.
At first be sure to use dry wood and then moist wood should be fine to use once the fire is built.
You don’t need a bonfire to cook or stay warm when you build your first campfire.
When building a fire, all campers will obey these safety precautions:
- Never leave an open fire unattended.
- Only burn tinder, kindling and wood.
- Always extinguish the fire completely.
Campfires are not allowed always, so check with your campsite before.
Until leaving, make sure that you are completely aware of the rules, regulations and restrictions on campfire for your destination.
8. basic knots
It may not seem important to tie a knot, but on a camping trip it can be a valuable skill.
When you tie a tent, hang your bear pack, or secure your transportation equipment, clothes and knots are essential tools.
There are many knots, but only those that you regularly use will be recognized. A few basics to learn are a clove-hitch and a bowline.
These are the most suitable for beginners camping.
There are many online resources teaching knot tying, just looking for YouTube, or finding a pocket guide in your local bookstore.
9. Use a knife safely
Most new campers do not want to carry a knife, but for many things, from cutting rope or steak to opening food containers and spreading peanut butter, carrying one is handy.
The best camping knife is the one with which you feel most comfortable.
Pick one you like and learn to take good care of it, so when and if you need it, it’s set.
10. Cook over an open fire
You can’t take your kitchen to the campsite with you.
So, you’ll need to learn how to cook simple recipes either with an open fire or on a camp stove.
For the first night, a simple no hassle dinner is a must. Once you arrive, set up your site to enjoy some snacks.
We usually bring ready-to-eat cheese, bacon, crackers, hummus, veggie sticks and pita.
Then for dinner, we’re going to heat up a chili or stew on a pot over hot embers that we prepared at home.
Make sure that when handling hot pots and pans, you wear an oven mitt or gloves.
Simply bring some campers canned goods and the best camping stove, and that’s perfect too.
Practice at home using stoves and burners, and when you’re out there with hungry mouths to feed, you’ll know exactly what to do. And if you’re like me and want coffee every morning, it’s important to have a reliable French press. Warm up some water, scoop in the press your favorite roast and enjoy hot coffee in minutes.
Also store food securely in animal-proof containers at night or hang food in a tree if you’re in a bear country.
11. how to leave a campsite
If you follow the “Leave No Trace” rule, when you leave, your campsite will be in better condition than when you arrive.
Go through the site thoroughly, clean up once all your gear is packed.
Take all the trash, food scraps and debris (including the trash left by others), then double check just before you leave.
Pack all your trash and put it in suitable containers.
Most importantly, make sure you wiped out your fire completely before you hit the road.
12. learn to tell one great campfire story
Nothing beats gathering and telling epic sagas or spooky tales around a roaring fire.
A great storyteller will take you into the adventure, and when you’re comfortable around a warm fire, no one worries about that.
Once you hit the road, it doesn’t hurt to have some ideas in your head.
How many of these talents do you already possess?
How many updates do you need?
Camping is an experience involving some simple know-how and some important gear parts.
And, it’s also important to share these basic skills with your entire family.
After learning and practicing the basic camping skills, you will quickly discover that camping is an amazing adventure regardless of place, weather or length. What’s your thinking? In the comments, let us know.