12 Tips for Beginner Campers to get started in the great outdoors
By Nicole Anderson of OutbaxCamping, Australia*
*(Not the Nicole Anderson of Camping for Women)
Australia is a haven for campers and backpackers. With its vast wilderness and the great outback, the country would give you a hard time deciding which campsite is ideal for you and your family.
There are numerous recreational parks and camping sites to choose from. If you are a first-time camper, here are 12 tips for beginner campers that could help make your first camping experience a most memorable and enjoyable encounter.
1. Choose a camp close to your home
Instead of being on the road and exhausting yourself on a long drive, make your first camping trip at a nearby park. This way, you would save precious hours which could be spent enjoying the scenery, making new friends, or bonding with your family. You can also consider it as your training ground for more challenging sites.
2. Check out the site of your choice
Make sure you have made thorough enquiries about the campsite where you are headed. Aside from knowing which route to take to easily reach your destination, you must also know the available amenities or make a reservation ahead of your trip. This would help you prepare the right camping gear and supplies you should bring.
3. Be mindful of the weather
Weather forecasts are not 100% accurate, but generally, they can help you decide which days are ideal for outdoor activities. Nonetheless, it would not hurt to pack a thick jacket and extra blankets in case it turns colder especially at night. Rain gear should also go into your pack to protect you from getting soaked in case there is a downpour. If you really want to enjoy your first camping trip, schedule it during summertime. A soaked camp is no fun for a beginner.
4. Make a checklist
With proper planning, even if you are a beginner, you will be able to pull off a first camping trip successfully and with less or no hassle. How can you do this? List down everything you need and group them into categories such as camping gear (tent, sleeping bag), camping supplies (flashlight, torch, matches), and other camping essentials (food, cooking tools and utensils). You can refer to your list as you shop and tick each item in it as you get them. Pack items in appropriate containers such as your personal gear in your backpack; cooking supplies in durable plastic bins; and electronic items in waterproof bags.
5. Choose the right-sized tent
Aside from looking at the quality when buying a tent, you should also consider the size if you are into family camping. A nicely-sized tent should have enough moving space for the number of people that are supposed to sleep in it, ideally with allowance space for two more people.
6. Power up
If you are looking to spending a few days camped out, bring your own power source. A 160-watt solar panel is perfect to generate enough power for your electronic gadgets like smartphones and laptops. This would help you maintain connectivity especially if there are things you need to check back at home or at work. The smell of percolating coffee inside the coffee maker would also make a perfect start for a day in the campsite.
7. Pack a sleeping bag
A sleeping bag must be in your checklist. This can help you spend your first night at camp comfortably. You can also bring sleeping pads to protect your sleeping bag and extend its usability. If you are a summer camper, a lightweight sleeping bag would do.
8. Bring extra sets of some items
An extra set of clothing and towels would be handy in case rain pours down. If you are bringing children, make sure to pack extra clothing for them, too, regardless of whether it rains or not.
9. Prepare food and hydration packs
Whilst you can grab supplies on your way to camp, it would be wiser to pack your food and water supplies ahead. This way, you would no longer have to strain your eyes trying to spot a convenience store and just focus on enjoying the ride.
10. Clean up
Don’t forget to bring your own garbage bag and dispose of your trash properly.
11. Bring an emergency kit
Whilst you would not want any untoward incident during your camping trip, accidents may still happen. Make sure to pack an emergency medical kit to treat wounds and scratches or even some pills for an aching head or an upset tummy.
12. Be a smart buyer
There are several stores that carry camping gears and supplies. Be choosy when you buy, though. Avoid cheap and low-quality products. Check websites especially product reviews.
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