Research where you’re going.
Know what to expect from where you’re staying. What facilities do they have or more importantly, don’t have. For the camping novice, you might like to consider a campground with ensuite bathrooms. Yes, a big, shiny, beautiful bathroom with a steamy hot shower and toilet can be right beside your campsite, camper or van. It’s also great for those with young families to avoid late night or early morning jaunts to the amenities block.
Do a test run.
Make sure you know how to set up and pack up your equipment. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out how to put up your tent, especially when all you want to do is relax. Check that everything works before you pack it!
Just in case camping isn’t for you, start with the basics. You don’t want to spend a fortune to then find out camping just isn’t your thing. Here’s a list of essentials:
- Waterproof tent
- Cooking device
- Table and chairs
- Picnic set
- Washing tub
Suit the season.
Ensure you pack the right clothes and bedding for the season. There’s nothing worse than spending a night freezing in your tent. Pack plenty of warm in Winter and keep it light in Summer.
Find the joy in going slow.
Everything takes longer when you’re camping. From boiling a kettle to making toast. Take a deep breath and enjoy the process, it’s all part of the fun!
Let there be light.
Cooking, cleaning, eating… everything about camping is difficult in the dark. Whether it is a torch, gas lamp, LED lights or solar lighting, don’t underestimate the importance of light.
Secure your belongings.
Sadly, no matter where you are, there can be thieves around. Make sure you keep your valuables locked away in the car or van. This includes alcohol, otherwise you might find people using your Esky as their own personal bottle shop.
Plan your meals.
Think about the type of equipment you will have access to. Do you have your own cooking facilities or will you be relying on the park’s camp kitchen? Will there be an oven, stove, BBQ, etc? You don’t want to plan an oven baked meal and find out you don’t have access to an oven. HOT TIP: Make a big batch of something like a Bolognaise or Chilli Con Carne (both can be made vegetarian, vegan and GF) for your first night so all you need to do is reheat and serve. The leftovers are even better on a toasted sandwich the next day. YUM!
Travel with family or friends.
For your first trip, tag along with someone who has camping experience who can give you lots of hot tips, share their experiences and their equipment. If this isn’t possible, make some friends around camp and ask lots of questions.
Go with the flow.
Some things will be out of your control, mainly the weather. Instead of getting upset or frustrated, see it as a good excuse to stop and really relax. Don’t forget the most important thing… camping is supposed to be fun! Enjoy your time together, your surroundings and remember what happens while camping… gets laughed about all year!