August 17, 2020 5 min read

 Table of Contents
• Preparing for Camping
• Beginner Camping Gear Checklist
• Beginner Camping Food Checklist
• Where to Camp
• Top 5 Camping Safety Tips

A Guide to Having an Incredible Adventure

Camping immerses yourself in nature and allows you to experience the outdoors more intimately. Whether you’re traveling to a different state or simply seeing what your own home has to offer, camping for the first time requires some preparation to make sure you’re ready to take on the wilderness.

Preparing For Camping: What You Need

There are many factors to consider when preparing for your first camping trip. Regardless of if you’re planning on camping on the summit of  Mount Rainier, or simply venturing to your nearest State Park for an overnight adventure, supplies ranging from gear to food is necessary to have the best first-time camping trip.

Camping for beginners

Beginner Camping Gear Checklist

Are you uncertain what gear to bring with you on your first camping trip? Let us help!

  • Tent: Tents come in a variety of sizes. Depending on how many of your friends or family members are going on your camping trip you will need to select the right sized tent. Camping tents are often sized per person. If you have two people camping, then you should purchase a tent that sleeps between 2-3 people. A good rule of thumb is to aim at the larger side so that everyone in the tent can sleep comfortably.
  • Sleeping Bag, Cot, or Air Mattress: If you really want a true hiking experience, then a sleeping bag will allow just that. Otherwise, a cot or an air mattress are two great (and oftentimes more comfortable) options for sleeping (just don’t forget your air pump and a blanket to stay warm).
  • Pillow: While sleeping bags usually provide extra padding near the head of the bag, it is also a good idea to bring a packable pillow with you. After a day of hiking, resting your head on something soft and comfortable will ensure you have a restful night’s sleep.
  • Flashlight: While the moon will illuminate your campsite, having a flashlight handy will help if you need to go to the restroom at night or are searching for something in your pack.
  • Cooking Utensils/Equipment: A long day of hiking and prepping your campsite calls for a nice meal. Make sure you pack cooking equipment (like a stove), utensils (like a spork), and something to drink from (like a mug for a warm beverage) to make enjoying your meals hassle-free.
  • First Aid Kit: When camping, safety is always the top priority. Each camper should have their own first aid kit consisting of bandaids, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and anti-inflammatory medicine.
  • Clothing Layers: From day to night the temperature can drastically change. While you may have been on the warmer side while hiking, at night the temperature is likely to drop. Packing a few extra layers of clothing with you will keep you warm and comfortable at nighttime.

People on a hike

Beginner Camping Food Checklist

Before venturing out to camp, it’s a good idea to plan out your meals beforehand. You don’t want to travel with too little food, and you also don’t want to travel with too much food (food can make your pack heavy!). Planning out what you want to eat before you leave for your camping adventure will ensure you have the perfect amount of nutrients without going overboard.

Here are some camping food must-haves:

Breakfast

  • Granola
  • Quick Cook Oats
  • Granola Bars
  • Dried Fruit

Lunch

  • Crackers
  • Sandwich Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Canned Fish/Chicken
  • Canned Beans
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Hummus

Dinner

  • Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Sandwich Bread
  • Canned Beans
  • Canned Vegetables

Snacks

  • Trail Mix
  • Dried Fruit
  • Energy Bars
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Applesauce

Friends camping

Where to Camp: Picking the Perfect Campsite

Depending on where you venture, the campsite offerings will vary. It’s important to make sure that you’re camping at a chaperoned campsite, rather than setting up your tent in the middle of the wilderness and trees. When picking the perfect campsite there are a few things to consider:

  1. What type of scenery are you looking for? 
  2. Do you want to be near other people or isolated? 
  3. Do you want amenities (such as electricity and bathrooms)?

By answering the above questions you can determine which type of campsite is suitable for you. Many campsites that are chaperoned and owned by the State Park have amenities (which can be helpful if you don’t feel comfortable starting your own fire or digging a hole for a restroom). However, if you want a gritty camping experience, you can find your own plot of land ensuring that you follow all of the park’s camping guidelines. Regardless of if you’re staying at a chaperoned campsite or your own, here are some rules to follow to stay safe and keep others safe.

  • Clean your campsite at the end of each night and before you leave
  • If you start a fire, put it out as soon as you’re finished with it
  • Be respectful of your noise levels at night so other campers can sleep peacefully
  • Don’t cut through other campers campsites and be courteous of your surroundings
  • If camping with your pet, keep them on a leash and clean up after them

Top 5 Camping Safety Tips

Safety when camping goes beyond just packing a first aid kit with you. Camping safety is important for yourself and other campers. Here are some of the top camping safety tips for beginner campers.

  1. Plan Ahead: Planning ahead will ensure you have all of the necessary equipment and food needed to enjoy your camping experience without any stress.
  2. Weather: Check the weather beforehand to see if there are any storms or inclement weather expected. If so, you may want to think to reschedule your camping trip so you don’t get stuck in any storms.
  3. Store Your Food: Depending on where you plan on camping wildlife can be present. Animals are drawn to the smell of food and in order to keep you and other campers safe it’s important to store and stow-away any food that is at your campsite.
  4. Hydrate: Whether it's the hot summer months or you take a long hike before camping, hydration is key to staying healthy while camping. So make sure to pack extra water bottles!
  5. Follow Campsite Signs: Campsite signs and warnings are there for a reason. While it can be fun to go off and explore, make sure you follow the signs and stay on the campsite and trails to prevent getting injured.

Now that you know how to prepare for your first camping adventure, it’s time to go out, have fun, and enjoy the beautiful scenery while camping.

Enjoy the outdoors