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Going camping for your first time is a great experience, especially if you already love the outdoors and everything that it has to offer. However, being unprepared can leave you in a world of trouble! The tips below are suitable for beginners, and are also applicable to seasoned campers.
1. Keep Warm
Camping can get quite cold, especially during the winter months, and knowing how to stay warm can make all the difference from a great sleep or a shivering all night.
Don’t go to bed cold. Have a warm drink, go for a light run or do some jumping jacks to increase your core temperature. If you get into your sleeping bad while you’re already cold, you will probably stay cold.
Wear appropriate clothing. Merino wool is a great temperature regulator and is a good option for your first layer of clothing. Thermals, socks and beanies are also recommended. Don’t wear cotton as it will absorb moisture, and make sure not to wear too many layers as you could wake up drenched in sweat. Too few layers and the opposite may happen, you’ll remain cold and irritated.
Get off the floor. Sleeping on the ground will only make you colder. Invest in a sleeping mat, down insulation, or a camping bed. If your camping location isn’t too cold, you may just get away with a good quality sleeping bag.
Tent heaters. These are a great option to warm your entire tent up. There are battery, gas and electric tent heaters available, with the most popular option being electric. Choosing one of the best tent heaters is a sound investment as they are usually much safer, more reliable and can heat up your tent in an instant. The portable nature also allows you to share your heater with friends, or even heat up your room at home.
2. Practice Setting Up Your Tent
When you first get your tent, don’t wait until you’re at the campsite to learn how to put it together. The instructions may say that it’ll only take 15-30 minutes, but for beginners, in most cases it will take much longer.
It’s a good idea to set up your tent in advance at home, in the yard or an open area inside your house. This will ensure that you have a good understanding of the design, and it will prevent the awkwardness at the campsite if you can’t construct it. There’s nothing worse than struggling with your tent on a hot day!
If there are any defects or faulty areas of the tent, it’s also best to consult the store in advance, rather than wait until you’re at the campsite. Poles can snap, and fabric and tear, resulting in a leaking mess.
Pop up tents are also a good option if you want a hassle-free solution. They are much easier to install and don’t require fiddling with all the bits and pieces of a regular tent. They are generally lighter and some may be lower quality, but the convenience of having it up and ready within 5 minutes makes it something to consider.
3. Keep dirt and sand out
Filling your tent up with sand, dust and dirt can be annoying! You’ll have sand all over your clothes and gear, and then you’ll need to clean your tent before packing it away.
To combat this, make sure to maintain a no-shoe rule and keep your shoes outside. If you predict rain on your camping trip, you could also look into tents that are suitable for wet conditions, with some including a front shelter to keep your shoes dry.
4. Staying clean
Staying clean and camping at the same time can be quite difficult, even at festivals, it’s a challenging task. Make sure to bring baby wipes as they are a great DIY option. If you’re more serious about staying clean, you can look into shower tents or portable camping showers. These provide water flow and are good for rinsing off.
Shower tents are much more expensive, but they include everything a normal shower would. Portable camping showers, however, are more of a DIY solution but they are cheaper and generally do the job.
5. Tent stakes!
Don’t forget your tent stakes. In windy nights, you’ll want to make sure that your tent is secured into the ground. Strong winds can pick up a tent, even with you inside it. Tent stakes are almost always included in your purchase of a tent and are quite simple to use. There will be multiple dangling pieces of rope coming off your tent, grab each one and tie it around the different stakes, and then hammer or stomp the stake into the ground, securing it into place.
6. What to do with your trash
Don’t leave your trash behind! Clean up all your mess before you leave and ensure that your camping spot looks the same to what it was before you pitched your tent. Trash is harmful to the environment and can kill animals when they mistake your packet of chips for food.