Camping Essentials 101

Camping Essentials

When you’re all ready to go camping outside, but you’re not all that experienced yet with camping, you may not be 100% sure about what you need. It pays to slow down and take some time to research and learn about what kinds of things you’ll need when spending this time outdoors.

If possible, you should seek the advice and input of someone who is more experienced or even invites them along with you for your first camping trip. But if that’s not possible, these camping essentials 101 guidelines should help you out.

First, start with the basics:

  1. Shelter
  2. Warmth
  3. Food

These are the core things that anyone needs to survive when camping outdoors. Most beginners start with tent camping because it’s the easiest to learn, the easiest to acquire supplies for, and can be done in many different locations. It’s also a fun way to explore the outdoors and the camping experiences without giving in to the comforts of home like you might have in an RV.

While tent camping isn’t the only way, it is widespread, especially with newbies. So, that means your shelter will be your tent. But there are many styles and types of tents to choose from, and it can be downright overwhelming to a new camper.

How do you know which one is the best for you? Our guidelines should be able to help you a little bit with that. First, consider how many people are going to be sleeping in your tent. All tents that are commercially sold come with a recommended person limit. For example, a 1-person pop tent, a 3-person tent, a family tent for up to 5 people, etc. So, know who’s coming and if you are sharing a tent or bringing multiple tents, and that will help you narrow down your tent options.

It would be best if you also considered whether you’re keeping your bags in the tent or your car. This will usually depend on whether or not car parking is right at the campsite or a parking lot and you have to walk to your camp. Take some time to research this ahead of time so you can plan for it.

Some other things to consider? Do you want to reserve the tent for sleeping-only, or might it be for recreation and relaxing as well? Will part of your tent be used as a changing area, or does the campsite have bathrooms and changing rooms you can use instead?

It would help if you also thought about what it would be like to sleep on the ground. You may want to invest in ground pads or air mattresses to put your sleeping bags on to give you some cushion from the hard ground below. If this is not an option, you can bring extra blankets, folded, and use as padding.

Next, you look into warmth. Even in the summer, it can get cold at night in most climates. To keep warm, you may want a heater, a fire, extra blankets, extra layers of clothing, etc. Whatever you choose, make sure you are safe with it, especially when dealing with heaters and fires at or near tents and bedding.

And finally, food. Think about what you want to eat while camping and how you intend to prepare it. If you want to keep it simple and you’ll only be out for one night, maybe you can get by with some sandwiches and snack bars, but it’s going to take some added planning for anything more than that.

You can purchase a camping oven or stove, a grill, or another heating device that you can use at your campsite. These typically run on propane, but you can also use electricity if you’re at a campsite with hookups. There is also camping cookware that allows you to cook your food over an open fire if you’d like to consider that as well.

It’s possible to do a lot of your meal prep at home before you come and bring it with you, so it’s easier to make healthy, delicious meals while at your campsite. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is just that you eat and drink plenty of water.

Are there any essentials you might add to our list that we forgot? Let us know in the comments.