Camping is a unique way for getting away from the humdrum life of the urbanized and getting in touch with nature and experiencing a quiet and intimate time with your friends and family. A serene night spent with loved ones around a campfire will melt your stress away like roasting marshmallows.
But as any experienced outdoorsman will tell you, going out camping without having any experience in it before might get too overwhelming for you. So, for you to appreciate the pleasure of camping outside, it is a good idea to learn the tips and tricks about tent camping for beginners.
A Beginners Guide to Tents
Types of Tents
You may find these types of tents in your nearest camping supply stores:
- A-frame tent
It’s the iconic, most classic-looking tent we know and love. These tents, when pitched up, look like a small house (similar to an ‘A’ shape). These are durable against moderately strong winds but might lack room.
- Tunnel tent
These tents, when completely raised, resemble a tunnel or a tube. Tunnel tents rely on guylines to stay up, and as such, require a lot of stakes. They are very spacious, but aren’t very stable and can be a bit weighty.
- Dome tent
Domes are lightweight modern tents that are easy to set up and are extremely portable. They are inexpensive compared to other types but can lack structural strength in the face of harsh wind.
- Pop-up tent
These tents are the easiest to set up as they only require you to yank a string or pull a rod for the tents to raise completely. However, they aren’t very strong at all and can only be used for calm weather camping.
Pitching Your Tent
Every tent is different, and even tents of the same model can behave differently. So, the best idea is to get hands-on experience on setting up your tent before going on the camping trip. When you are comfortable with setting up and then bringing down and packing up your tent, you’ll be ready for camping.
Let’s discuss a few things you should look out for when pitching your tent on your camping trip.
- Find Dry and Flat Ground
You need a large enough flat and level ground to pitch your tent most comfortably. Check to see if the ground is dry as you’ll have to sleep on the ground. The site should also be large enough to hold other campsite necessities.
- Clear Loose Debris
Debris can get in the way and make life extremely difficult when using stakes to stabilize the tent. So, it is better to clear out the debris before you do so.
- Prepare the Tarp
Now, you can lay down your tent tarp on the ground and prepare to pitch your tent over it.
- Pitch the Tent
Using your tools and your manual, carefully pitch the tent as instructed and as you’ve practiced before.Every tent is going to be different, so there isn’t any specific step-by-step guide for this.
Step by Step Guide for Tent Camping
1. Fix a time and a location
Selecting the location is the most crucial part of planning your camping trip. All the items you need to bring and the tool you might need will depend on which place you want to visit and when.
Depending on the weather of the area, you might need to bring additional equipment with you. If the weather is too cold, you should bring warmer clothes and a specialized sleeping bag for cold weather.
Here are a few tips for selecting a location:
- Choose a place that’s close to where you live rather than farther away
- Make sure the place is a popular camping spot
- Try to select a location that won’t require you to buy high priced items
- Get informed about the security and emergency response situation of the area
- Search about wildlife activity and dangers from animals and insects in the area
2. Prepare an item list
This is vital as it will allow you to keep a checklist so that you don’t forget any important items. For a camping trip, you need to bring enough food and water for an emergency situation too. Here’s a basic items list that you can use:
- Sleeping bags
- Source of light (flashlights, headlamps, electric lantern)
- Swiss army knife or a similar multi-tool
- First aid kit
- Adequate food and water
- Environment appropriate clothing
- Hygiene products (soap, toilet paper, menstrual hygiene items)
- Emergency medication (inhalers, epinephrine shots, etc.)
Campfire, Cooking, and Eating
- Electric/gas stove
- Firewood forcampfire (can be collected at the site)
- Lighter or matches
- Firestarter and Flammable fuel
- Cast iron pan or pot
- Cooking essentials (salt, oil, seasoning)
- Kitchen towels
- Eating utensils
- Insect repellent
- Mosquito repellent
- Flare gun/flares
- Emergency glow sticks
- Small hatchet/ bushcraft kit
Depending on your specific needs, you can add or remove items to this list. But this should give you a good starting point to prepare for your camping trip.
3. Acquire your items
At this stage, you should make sure that you have all the things you need at your disposal, including a big enough tent for everyone going on the camping trip. It might require you to buy a few items, especially if you’ve never camped before.
If you want to try out camping before you commit to purchasing expensive camping gear, you can always rent the bigger items on your list and try them out. Now, if you end up enjoying the experience, you can go all out and buy all the best equipment.
4. Get familiar with your tent
The one thing people most struggle with on a camping trip is setting up their tents properly. This generally happens because most people have never set up a tent before or they aren’t familiar with the tent that they brought.
It is a good idea to learn as much as you can about that specific model of tent beforehand. There are videos you can watch, and instruction manuals come with the tent. Try pitching the tent and taking it down neatly by yourself as a test run a few days before you go on the trip.
At this point, you should be well and ready to get going on your tent camping trip. Before you depart, use your checklist and make sure that all the items are there with you.
6. Selecting a campsite
A good campsite will improve your camping experience by a significant amount, so you should think carefully before you settle for a campsite.
If your chosen campsite is a secluded park or forest area, then make sure to find a flat grounded clearing for setting up camp. If it is an organizationally maintained camping ground, make sure the campsite is near the facilities of the camping ground.
7. Set up camp
Now all that is left to do is set up the tent and prepare a nice campfire to roast those marshmallows that we mentioned before.
Don't Do These Mistakes While Tent Camping
Hopefully, this guide on tent camping for beginners covers all your inquiries about tent camping and gives you a plan of action to well prepare you for an amazing camping experience with your loved ones. Now, put on your outdoorsman hat and get busy collecting wonderful camping stories.