How to Prepare for Your First Camping Trip

Camping for the first time

Going camping is a fun, classic pastime. You can do so many great things and enjoy while camping, but you need to prepare correctly to make the most of your time. If it’s your first time camping, you may not know what is required to prepare. But don’t worry, we’re going to cover all the things you need to know about how to prepare for your first camping trip right here.

We’ll cover important stuff like what to pack to eat, how to prepare for emergencies, sleeping bags or blankets, valuable tools, and more. So, if you’re ready, let’s dive in.

Know Who’s Coming

A significant first step to prepare for your first camping trip is to plan around who is attending. Will you bring the children? Will you be bringing grandparents? What are the ages of the people coming? Do any family members who are camping have special medical considerations? Will you need to bring medication along?

To properly plan for your first camping trip, you’ll want to consider each person who is coming along carefully and any special needs they may have. You’ll also want to consider activities they may enjoy participating in and things to prevent boredom in downtime.

You’ll want to create some rules for the camping group, such as what to do if anyone gets lost, what to do in the event of an emergency, or if someone gets hurt. It’s recommended to create a buddy system and then stick to it. Always travel in pairs when going away from the campsite, to bathrooms, or recreational areas.

Know Where You’re Going

Another big part of your camping preparation is to know where you’re going. If this is a place far from home, learn about the climate and what kind of weather expectations you can have during your visit. It would be best to know the terrain and what is located near the area, you plan to camp in.

Even if you’re going to be camping close to home, which many people do for the first time, it’s still important to learn the lay of the land. This will also help with your safety plan. Next, let’s take a look at another big concern for first-time campers: What will you eat?

Packing Food for Camping

For traditional camping, you want to bring food with you that you can enjoy. Although, many modern campers do go out to town and buy food while they are camping. If you’re camping in a very rural area or far out in the woods, then this may not even be an option.

You’re going to want to be sure most of your food is nonperishable unless you are going for a short trip, like just an overnight camping stay. But if you have a large icebox or a fridge, you may be able to bring more perishable goods.

Learning to pack your cooler practically will help you fit more inside. Remember that foods and liquids will require containers, and these take up valuable space. You can fit more items into your cooler if you use freezer bags for storing some of your food.

Many people also like to bring canned food, snack bags (like 100-calorie snack packs), trail mix, energy bars, Pop-Tarts, and other foods that do not need to be kept cold and can be eaten quickly on the go.

Items to Bring

Here are some items you will want to bring on your camping trip:

  • A tent/ multiple tents with enough room for everyone who is coming
  • Tarp
  • Blankets/ sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • Food
  • Food storage, like a cooler
  • Air mattresses and sheets/covers
  • Air pump for air mattresses
  • Lots of water (for drinking and cleaning)
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Snacks and healthy foods
  • A map of the area
  • Cooking source, such as a grill or stove
  • Cookware and cooking utensils
  • A fire source – matches and lighters
  • Flashlights and lots of extra batteries
  • Trash bags – always leave your campsite clean
  • Tissues, toilet paper, paper towels
  • Aluminum foil
  • Dish soap – can also be used for cleaning hands
  • Personal care items
  • Clothing – plan to dress in layers
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First Aid kit
  • Prescription medications


This is not an exhaustive list, of course. And if there are other must-haves, do add them to your list. You might also consider bringing recreational items like fishing poles, balls to play with, and more.

Plan for Safety

It will be equally important that you sit down with the family and discuss a safety plan. Most people have a fire and safety plan for home, but when you leave for vacation or camping, your family may not know what to do or how to react in an emergency. So, part of how to prepare for your first camping trip should include a safety plan. Be sure everyone knows it and how to follow it.

With this, everyone can have fun on their first camping trip, and you’ll surely want to go again soon!