The Non-Camper’s Guide to Camping
Camping is often seen in two different lights. On one hand, some say they’ll never ever go camping because it’s dirty and difficult, and why would anyone want to put themselves through this on purpose? On the other hand, seasoned campers absolutely love traveling around camping, backwoods hiking, and communing with nature. I find those in the first category just haven’t had a good camping experience. In this post I’ll review a bite-sized beginner’s guide to camping, so you can start planning an adventure into the wilderness this spring.
Camping is about more than uncomfortable tents and not showering for days. In reality, camping can be quite comfortable if you have the right setup. Keeping that in mind, here are a few tips for all you beginner campers out there who like the idea of glamping (and all those awesome instagram pictures that come with it!), but haven’t actually stepped foot in nature for a long, long time.
Sleeping Comfortably …in the Woods
Sleeping on the ground might be the most common excuse for not enjoying camping. But, this doesn’t need to be an issue if you have the right gear. Simply bring an inflatable mattress that you can blow up in your tent – a full-size inflatable mattress if you are car-camping, or a compact inflatable or foam one if you are hiking in. This makes sleeping a lot more comfortable, and you don’t have to lie on the ground.
Five-star Cuisine… in the woods
Clearly, you need food and drink if you’re going camping. Make sure you have enough supplies for the duration of your trip, as you might be too far away from a grocery store to stock up – this includes water too, unless you have a water source at your campsite/campground.
Plan your meals in advance so you don’t overpack food, and plan for meals using lightweight ingredients such as polenta, pancakes and hot dogs – or foraged or caught ingredients like fish, shellfish, berries, fruits and greens, depending where you’re camping and what is available. My favorite camping recipe is clam polenta, which can easily and quickly be made in a single pot and tastes amazing.
When you’re camping for a few days, then you need to have somewhere to store all your food and drinks. If you’re car-camping and driving up to your campsite, a cooler is your best bet as it keeps everything nice and cool for days. This ensures everything stays fresh. If you are looking for a Yeti-type cooler without the massive price tag, you can choose your RTIC cooler here. Coolers come in all shapes and sizes.
You’ll likely want to keep your cooler outside and away from your tent, in case any curious animals spell the food inside and decide to try to break in. A tightly locking cooler lid should keep most animals out, but you can use a bungee-cord or ratchet strap to secure it just in case.
If you run out of food – or if the animals ate it all – and your campsite is close to a town, you can also order take out!
Showers and boats… in the woods
When people think about camping, they tend to assume you just pitch up a tent anywhere. Now, you can do this in someplace (and in other places, you’ll quickly be arrested), but your experience is way better when you rent an actual campsite. In the US, you’ll find loads around the country, and you’ll find tons of campsites abroad as well.
They all have designated camping areas with firm level ground, most of them have real bathroom areas and showers too! Some have recreational rooms and playgrounds for children, fire pits and grills, beaches and lakes for swimming, and bike and boat rentals. You see, you can have a lot of amenities when you go camping, you just need to know where to camp!
There’s Always Glamping
If you’re still unsure about pitching a campsite on your own, clamping might be more your speed. These campsites are pre-assembled, fully furnished and usually quite posh. You can sleep in a yurt, a teepee, a tiny house, an RV, a boat, or many other offbeat glamping sites.
Camping doesn’t have to be a wild off-grid adventure that you do out in the middle of nowhere. You can easily camp somewhere with great cell phone reception, toilets, showers, mattresses, real food, and other campers around you. So if you’re looking for an inexpensive and fun summertime getaway, try spending some time travelling around a new country, camping out in different places along the way.
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