Camping Tips for First Time Campers

04 Jul 2013

Today on the C4 Caravans blog we welcome this first time campers advice piece kindly contributed by Nick from Silver Travel Advisor – a travel advice and holiday reviews website for over 50s.

Organising, preparing and acclimatising to living in the great outdoors is often seen as quite a daunting task for most first time campers. Regardless of age and experience, adapting to living outdoors can be difficult. But persevere, as camping is something that all the family can enjoy together with good humour and happy memories.

1. What to pack

First things first, let’s look at what items should always be packed for a camping holiday:

- A dual skinned tent, tarp and a good quality sleeping bag rated for the temperatures you will encounter.
- Cooking utensils and fire-starting materials.
- Plenty of warm clothing and waterproofs, plus shorts in case you’re lucky.
- Lots of water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
- A utility knife, rope and zip-lock plastic bags.
- Duct tape!
- Hiking and fishing equipment.
- A way to lock your tent e.g. combination lock for zip.
- A torch & lamps to light up the tent at night.
- A little bucket to save venturing far during the night. Perhaps this should be a No. 1 tip!

2. Choosing a campsite

Whether you’re pitching a tent in the wilderness or within the grounds of a campsite, it’s imperative to always look for the best spot possible. Target soft and flat soil or grass, avoiding slopes and valleys. Remeber your physics, water doesn’t flow uphill. Use the tarp under the tent to avoid flooding too!

3. Pitching a tent

Aim to pitch up two hours before you thought you would. Two hours disappears very quickly whilst wrestling with a tent. Avoid late-night pitching, and make sure you practice or at least have a test run at home in the safely of your garden first. A rubber mallet saves ruining your shoes banging in tent pegs.

4. Too much water ruins camping

Be prepared for the sometimes-inevitable curse of waterlogged campsites and muddy fields. Bring lots of waterproof clothing, and a dry sealed container of sorts to store your clothes in. Wellington boots are a must & can be a fashion accessory.

5. Duct Tape mends absolutely everything

It’s true! Duct tape can be used to repair most items on a camping trip from patching up a hole in the tent to mending supporting poles, patching up shoes and fishing rods.

6. Zip-lock bags help keep food fresh

Whether it’s for keeping leftovers fresh, storing herbs and spices or marinating meat; the zip-lock bag is a camper’s best friend in the ‘kitchen’. These bags are so useful; they can even be used to hold fragile liquid containers such as toothpastes and insect repellents.

7. Don’t be wasteful

There are many tricks of the trade when it comes to camping, as seasoned veterans will know. Things like cutting empty soft drink bottles to make DIY cups and bowls, using Frisbees as plates and saving cardboard tubes from kitchen roll for firewood helps cut down on waste, and saves precious space.

8. Always dress in layers

No matter what time of year or whatever the weather; it’s always a good idea to at least carry an extra set of clothing. Dressing in layers is the easiest and most effective way to control your body temperature. If it’s not too hot, you could always wear said extra layers to and from the tip away too to save on bag space.

9. Keep the bugs at bay!

Bring repellents and sprays to sooth stings and bites, and repel nasty bugs away. Rub the inside of an orange peel or any other citrus fruit on your face, arms and legs to keep mosquitoes from biting.

10. Bring some playing cards!

Whether it’s a game of Go Fish, Spoons or Crazy Eights; playing cards can provide up to 12 players with hours of evening and in-tent entertainment, especially when it’s raining and miserable outside.

Thank you again to Nick at Silver Travel Advisor for this contribution to the blog.

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