Over the years I’ve been camping in a lot of different places and a lot of different situations. Hot weather, cold weather, rain, sleet, snow, sun, mountains, valleys, forests – you name it, I’ve probably camped in it. One thing that these experiences have taught me is that there is a lot to learn about camping, and a lot of people who are new to camping are often not clear on everything they should know before they go. So let’s take a quick look at some simple rules you should know before you head out into the woods.
The most common mistake that I see newbie campers make is that they throw every single piece of camping equipment they could ever possibly need into their car, and then get so loaded down they have a hard time finding anything they need when they get to their campsite. Here’s what you need on a camping trip: sleeping bag, tent, flashlights or a camping lantern, a knife, some rope or twine, a couple of camping folding chairs, and a change of clothes. Throw in some food and water and you’re set. You don’t need to get all of the latest gadgets and gizmos from your camping store before you come.
Another common mistake that I see is people not picking out a good campsite. I generally try to find one that’s away from other people (as much as possible; I’m not anti-social, but I do like to be quiet), and that has plenty of room for my gear. Make sure the site you pick has room for your tent, a campfire, your camp chairs, an eating area and enough room to prepare your meals. If you brought along a camping table, make sure there’s room for that too.
Lastly, expect some thing to go wrong. If you’re new to camping, you won’t get everything right your first time, but that’s OK. Just enjoy yourself and try to make things better the next time around. One thing that I’ve found helpful is to keep a list of everything that I used on my camping trip, and everything that I brought and didn’t need, and everything that I didn’t bring and needed. This way I’m able to remember exactly what I needed on my trip and I’m able to bring it the next time.