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What Do I Need For My First Camping Trip?

If you’re not used to outdoor living, camping might seem like an intimidating adventure, but with the right and mostly obvious — essentials from your local camping shop, you’ll be well on your way to pro status in no time!

On the list of what you should bring to the campsite are the following things.

If you’re looking to embark on your first camping excursion this year, here’s the must-have gear you’ll need to begin.

1. Tent

The most simple thing you’ll need is a tent and of course. The need for shelter is obvious since you don’t want to be in a position where you are vulnerable to elements -or bugs. The type of tent that you choose is essential but it’s largely based on the length of your camping adventure as well as the nature of your excursion, and the amount walking you plan on doing in order to reach your camping site. If, for instance, you’ll be walking some distance to your camping spot, you’ll need an ultra-lightweight tent that can easily stow in a backpack. If, however, you’re at a drive-up site it’s possible to purchase a bigger, more heavy-duty tent with larger space, and possibly luxurious amenities. In any case, if this is your first trip, stick with a tent that’s simple to unfold and set up with the bells and whistles for the next year. Before you embark on your trip, try your first run at home so that you’re familiar with the setting up process and know you’re not being overwhelmed or unsure.

2. Sleeping Bag

A second essential requirement is having a sleeping bag. Also, the type and size of the sleeping bag you’ll want will vary significantly, mostly based on the area you’ll be camping and what the forecast is like. It’s important to take into consideration the time of year when you’re camping in and what the temperature is, particularly during the night. Be aware that even hotter climates can be cold at night, which is why you’ll need an outdoor sleeping bag that has plenty of insulation to withstand the cold. To combat this, the multi-season bags for sleeping are a great option since they’re specifically made in order to provide warmth at temperatures of above 20°F. In this way, as the temperature isn’t too high and you’re camping in a cold tundra, you should be fine, and since this is your first time camping and you’re just starting out, you’re probably not going to be hoofing it into the tundra, anyway.

3. Sleeping Pad

Set up your sleeping bag on an incredibly comfortable sleeping pad for no matter how comfy and soft the sleeping bag is, it will still feel like you’re sleeping in the dirt without adequate padding. In reality, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for an enjoyable camping experience for the first time. Like sleeping bags and tents there are various designs and sizes to pick from. These will vary based on the length of your stay and the location in which your camping. You can choose from lightweight foam pads to air-filled compact pads to the more heavy self-inflating pads which are better suited for drive-up campsites.

4. Pillow

Round out your sleeping situation with a different essential for comfort such as pillows. Of all the things you can do it’s the one that’s the most easily ignored, which leads to using untidy clothes as pillows. Especially for first-time campers, pillows are more of necessity. As when you’re not hiking, they’re quite easy to tow along in your car. Of course, you’ll have plenty of options for pillows to pick from, and since they’re comparatively small and compact it’s a good idea to take a few options, or simply try them out for a ride at home.

5. Foldable Chairs

Now is the time to decorate the rest of your camping area, starting with the campfire set-up. For those who want to lounge around the fire, or the campsite in general simple folding chairs are the most ideal. You can certainly lay out on the ground, or string up the hammock, but chairs are more practical, and they make a huge difference with regards to the comfort during the day when it’s time to read or eat or simply relax. Depending on how fancy you’re looking for, you can spring for chairs that are able to stretch out and have leg rests, or even come with cups holders. The size of the chairs you choose to go with will depend on how much walking or hiking you plan on doing before making camp.

6. Portable Stove

If you’re planning to cook at the very least one or two meals over the campfire, it’s best to buy a portable stove. So unless you plan on having a full-time diet of s’mores, a simple two-burner camp stove can do amazing things and allow you to prepare full-on meals with relative ease. For something even more lightweight and basic just a single burner can be sufficient, allowing you to tinker around making fun dishes without taking up too much space in your car or backpack. While some foods could be cooked on the fire, little stoves of this kind allow you to heat up your favourite foods such as stews, coffee, pasta, rice dishes and beans. Also, you’ll need to make sure you have fuel on hand as well as, based on the stove you choose, this typically means gasoline or propane.

7. Utensils and plates

If you’re now ready to cook, don’t forget the dishes! In addition to being eco-friendly, reusable dishes and utensils great for the environment, they also can make a big difference when it comes to dinner time. For a simple weekend getaway, look for a set of bowls, plates, and utensils per person and a shared set of dishes in cases. Bring a sharp knife specifically for cooking meals, along with a cutting board. Also, when it comes to cleaning it is recommended to bring at least two small or medium tubs for washing and rinsing.

8. Bug Spray and Sunscreen

In terms of fundamental conveniences (and protection) bugs, bug spray and sunscreen are two items you don’t want to leave without. Most of the time, when you’re camping, these are two easy-to-pack things that you must have regardless of what the forecast or temperature might appear to be a bit off. On cloudy days, for instance it is still important to shield your skin from sun damage when spending ample time outdoors. And when it comes to bug spray, it’s always safer to be secure than being sorry.

9. Lighting

As the sun sets, you shouldn’t count on the fire in the campfire to light. Particularly after the fire has gone out and you’ve had enough, when you have to leave the tent for bathrooms, then you don’t want to be wandering through the darkness. Headlamps are not only lightweight and very easy to pack, but they make it much easier to navigate around the campsite in the dark or to sit and read inside the tent. For illuminating the body of the tent or a table in the outdoors, small camping lamps are useful too! Even if the flame is still roaring, they’ll be much more comfortable for the eyes if you’re playing board games or eating.

10. Toiletries

In spite of whether your campsite has shower and bathroom facility or no, toiletry essentials like toothpaste, toilet paper, toothbrush, and toilet paper are items you shouldn’t need to miss even though the campsite is likely to have some of these items in the first place. This is another case of being safer instead of sorry. Bonus: If you have the space to do so take the time to fill a small toiletry bag that contains other items you may need or want, like comb, toothbrush, travel-sized size shampoo, chapstick and soap.

11. Proper clothing

The last thing to prepare for is clothes which is largely contingent on your location for your camping trip, the forecast, and the weather conditions. However, one most reliable guideline is to avoid cotton in all ways, since this tends to retain moisture, but not offer enough insulation against the cold. Instead, use synthetic or wool fabric. The most basic options to search for include long thermal shirts and pants, which are lightweight while still providing layers of warm insulation. Bring a couple sets, and keep one specially for sleeping. Other essentials include thick socks along with a puffy jacket and gloves. Scarves and hats aren’t necessary It’s not bad to have them in the car for backup. It is generally recommended to pack your clothes with convenience and layers in your mind. When you’re out in the sun, when you’re most likely to be hot it is best to wear relaxed-fitting, loose fitting hiking trousers, hiker’s shoes, a couple pairs of athletic shirts or T-shirts and a waterproof jacket in case of rain.