Even in this online age, getting out into nature has retained its appeal - and especially in this time of pandemic, it's the perfect "socially distanced" travel experience. I understand, however, that it can be quite intimidating for first-timers. It is challenging to plan your first camping trip, especially if you don’t know what to expect. So here's a rundown of everything you need to know to go on your first adventure.
The first thing you’d want to do is to research where you’re going to camp. There's a huge world of choices out there, of course, but here are some guidelines to help you choose:
- Pick one that’s close to home: For your first big adventure outdoors, don't go too far afield. It's best to ease into the experience in a familiar area, where you know where to easily find stores, a hospital, and so forth - and of course if anything should go wrong, you can drive right back home easily and quickly.
- Stay close to water: Water, of course, is something we all need to live, so make sure you're close to a stream, river, pond, or lake. And of courseyou'll want to make sure you have the means to purify that water (for a rundown, click here).
- Pick a safe spot: Choose a site that's flat, sheltered from wind, and also one that’s not near cliffs or dead trees that can suddenly fall on you or possibly even catch fire.
Now that we’ve decided where to camp, let’s start packing. Here’s a quick checklist of what you’ll need:
Basic Survival Gear
- A tent
- Sleeping bags
- Flashlights (with extra batteries)
- A multitool
- Duct tape
- A repair kit for your tent
- A small ax or saw (for chopping firewood)
- A small broom and dustpan (for cleaning)
- A fire starter or flint
- Camping stove and fuel
- A cooking pot
- Utensils (for both cooking and eating)
- A knife
- Plates and bowls
- Cutting board
- Biodegradable soap
- Scrubber or sponge
- Dish towel
- Trash bags
- A cooler filled with your favorite drinks (choose those that are in easy-to-open cans)
- Canned food and other snacks you want to enjoy
- Digital devices
- Navigational tools
- Solar devices and power banks
- Comfortable clothes (depending on the weather)
- Grooming essentials (like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, etc.)
- A first aid kit (don’t forget your prescription meds, sunblock, and insect repellant)
- Proper identification
The last thing we need to do now is to plan what you’re going to eat. For beginners I recommend sticking to one-skillet recipes and those with ingredients that don’t require a lot of prep. You can bring meat or fish to cook as long as you keep them fresh with a cooler filled with ice. Or you can always prepare sandwiches in advance.
Camping should not be that difficult, if you keep things simple. Just remember to prioritize the experience (and of course your safety). Choose a safe location, pack all the necessary items for your comfort and survival, and plan all the details of your trip in advance, including your meals. With these in mind, I'm sure that you'll have a wonderful camping experience. Have fun and stay safe!