Tent camping is an excellent way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. It is one of the main reasons why people go camping! That connection to Mother Nature… Having a tent as a place to sleep is also a cheaper way to explore, vacation, and plan overnight road trips. Sleeping in a tent is low maintenance, making it a more freeing experience. Having a tent is way less maintenance than owning an RV, and it costs way less to have and use. Camping keeps things simple making it incredibly liberating! Just pack your gear, throw everything in the car, and go! Keep reading to learn more about the basics of tent camping for beginners.
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If you’re reading this, you are most likely a beginner tent camper and you have probably been curious about everything you need to know before you embark on your first adventure.
So exciting! You’re in the right place! We put this beginner’s guide to camping together just for you!
Camping is our favorite outdoor activity! We will talk about all the basic tent camping gear essentials you should have, personal items to bring along, items to pack to practice good hygiene, what to eat during a camping trip, how to find camping near you, along with tent camping tips and tricks! Keep reading for all the basic details on how to get into camping. We will share all of our camping advice for beginners.
As a beginner camper, you do not want to miss having these gear essentials while preparing for your first camping trip.
Below is a list of tent gear essentials to purchase or borrow:
We have Thermarest, Coleman, and The North Face Gear below!
Click image to buy on Amazon!
Before purchasing your tent, think about the type of camping you plan to do and with how many people.
For example, if you plan on backpacking somewhere, you will want to look for gear made for backpacking that weighs less, so it is easier to carry and compress.
If you plan on tent camping from your car, you do not have to worry about your gear’s weight as much.
Always go a tad bigger on the tent size. My husband and I have a two person tent, but it is not very comfortable for us to squeeze into together unless we are backpacking! So, we also have a four person tent that gives us more room when we go car camping.
Think about what kind of climate you will be camping in—most people camp in the spring and summer during their first camping trips.
Once you have your camping gear, practice setting up the tent before your first trip. Knowing how to use your equipment makes for a stress-free adventure!
Always make sure your tent is rainproof before your first trip.
Before heading out on your first camping adventure, consider which other types of creature comforts you would enjoy having around.
Below are some of our favorite creature comfort items we bring camping.
Along with camping gear, consider which personal items you would like to bring. We recommend trying to pack simple, light, re-wearable, and as practical as possible.
Below is an example of things my husband and I bring camping during the spring and summer. We usually pack synthetically made gear that is warm, sweat-wicking, and anti-odor so we can re-wear.
We each have a waterproof duffel bag with all of our items stowed.
Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, sunscreen, chapstick, and bug repellant!
Now you might be wondering if you should bring toilet tries and what not to stay clean. Yes! Bring your creature comforts!
To remain clean camping, know what kind of amenities the campground you are visiting offers. If you know there is a shower ahead of time; you can bring your showering toilet tries. But if not, then no need to bring showering toilet tries…
Below are the basic items to help you stay fresh!
Alright, we have the camping gear covered and personal items to bring covered. Let’s talk about another vital aspect – eating!
The cool thing about food is you can make it as straightforward or as complicated as you’d like, depending on your camp kitchen setup.
Here are some ideas for easy grab and go meals:
Don’t forget to keep snacks close in the car for your road trip there! We always have the following on road trips:
Yes, road trips are an excuse to eat junk food!
Make sure to bring plenty of potable water to drink. The standard rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water per person per day. We always pre-fill a 7-gallon water jug at home.
Check the campground facilities ahead of time to see if there is also a freshwater supply to drink and wash dishes.
Once you have purchased or borrowed all your gear, you will want to find a place to camp!
Keep reading to find out how to find camping spots near you.
For your first camping trip, we recommend planning a location ahead of time close to where you live to make things more enjoyable and more straightforward. This is why we recommend car camping for beginners during your first time camping!
Plus, car camping allows you to haul as much as you feel comfortable in your car to get familiar with the camping process.
There are lots of different options and types of areas to search for camping. Start by searching the internet for the following places near you.
Nowadays, most places will let you select a campsite ahead of time (unless you are on public lands).
Campgrounds hosted by any federal agencies (National Parks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) will let you book ahead through recreation.gov.
Most State Parks have websites to book ahead as well.
Below is a summary of the 10 most important tent camping tips for beginners.
Below are some tips we have learned along the way to stay warm while camping if it gets cold. Knowing how to get warm is soooo important because being cold just sucks…
The information below includes great tent camping tips to know as beginners.
No one likes being too hot! Below are tips to stay cool while camping.
Consider weather while preparing for your trip. Check the weather before you go on your first camping trip adventure. Be aware of your environment and any potential plants, animals, or bugs to avoid.
Let someone close to you know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
Be sure to practice LeaveNoTrace while camping and adventuring outdoors.
Now you are equipped with all the basic tent camping gear essentials you should have, personal items to bring along, how to practice good hygiene, what to eat during a camping trip, how to find camping near you, along with tent camping tips and tricks!
We hope this guide to camping helps you plan memorable trips for years to come.
Ashlee & Pablo
Embarking on camping is an exciting adventure. Check out our other articles on camping:
Do you have more questions about your first time tent camping or gear to use?
Where are you planning your first camping trip?
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I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!