Beginners Guide to Camping
Getting outdoors, away from the crowds, and connecting to nature probably sounds even more appealing today than it did a few months ago. But, not sure where to even start?
Here's how to get started:
1. Get the Right Gear
You can buy your own gear, but you can also rent it too. Places like REI or your local outdoor shop will rent you almost everything. It's a great way to get started without putting too much money upfront.
2. Familiarize Yourself with your Gear, at Home
Whether you rented or took the plunge and bought your gear, play with it at home first. This is so important. Pitch the tent 4-5 times so you understand how it works. Try out your stove (if you opted for one), inflate your mattress. Basically, get familiar with it in the privacy of your home so you can mess up without feeling any pressure.
3. Look at the Weather
Catch the forecast a few days before you leave. This way you know to avoid a place that may have a storm coming, or add a breathable hat if the sun is strong.
4. What to Wear
Lay your clothes out on the floor so you can see exactly what you have. You're going to get dirty, so make sure your clothes are durable enough to handle getting dirt and water on them. When packing, think in layers. Layers will keep you more insulated when it gets cold, but also allows you to customize how much you want to shed off as the day heats up.
5. Meal Plan
You can choose to go big, or minimal here. It really depends on what kind of experience you want. If you prefer a no-mess situation, look for packaged foods, like mac-n-cheese or sandwich supplies + chips to keep this easy. But, if you want to elevate it a little, you can do some at-home prep to make cooking outdoors way easier. Plan out your breakfast, lunch, dinner situations for each day you're camping and don't forget snacks.
Tip: think in condiments. This will make it easy to spice up a dish without having to lug around your spice drawer. Jars of teriyaki sauce, garlic dips or pesto make it perfect to open a can of beans and add quick and yummy flavor. Some easy go-to camping favorites:
Cannelini Beans w/ pesto drizzle: Open a can of beans, heat, and add a scoop of pesto for flavor. That's it!
BBQ: Burgers + Dogs are classic camp favorites. We like to grab pre-assembeled gourmet patties from our market and dress it with our favorite condiments. You can pair with a salad (pre-assembled at home) or a rustic baguette. Perfectly satisfying and easy to make.
Chips + Salsa: Always easy and ready to eat when you're starved.
Cheese Boards: Cheeses, dried fruits, nuts and crackers. It's an easy way to open, layout and serve. Plus, add a few flowers or leaves and you'll feel extra earthy and luxurious.
6. Hygiene + First-Aid Supplies:
Hop on Amazon and order a "First Aid Kit for Camping" which will include all your basics, plus some. Here's one we like: First Aid Kit for Camping
Most campsites have bathrooms and showers. Keep natural w/ biodegradable soap, like Dr. Bronners Castile Soap. You can use this for a number of things, like washing your socks, cleaning dishes, etc. Very versatile.
Bring bathroom flip flops.
Tip: If you're expecting your period, or just to be prepared, bring little doggie poop bags so you can dispose of your tampons or napkins in the bag and toss it in the trash. Plumbing is usually very delicate at campsites, plus if you go on a hike, you can change out in a jiffy and toss it in your bag till you get to a trash can.
7. Reserve a Campsite Spot
This is super important. Usually, you can't just show up to a campsite and expect to camp out. Download the Reserve America app and you can view all the campsites in your area and book a reservation. It's usually $5-20 to reserve a spot.
8. Arrive during Daylight
Do yourself a favor and arrive early. Get to know your campsite and landscape with natural light. It'll be easier for you to set things up and you can be relaxed.
9. Outdoorsy Etiquette
Don't play loud music.
Clean up after yourself and keep your site clean
Make sure you leave nothing behind (Leave no Trace)
Be friendly and respectful of your neighbors
Don't take selfies with wildlife. They're wild and just don't be that person.
Enjoy the sounds of nature
10. Unplug & Have Fun
Enjoy what our earth has to offer. It's so much more than we can expect. Enjoy yourself, enjoy with your company and breathe in the fresh air.