Beginner campers tend to get snagged with a bunch of unexpected gotchas. Some of these gotchas are nuisances; while others are show stoppers (like pack up and go home). But it doesn’t have to that way for you, since you made it here.
First of all, I just want to say thanks for dropping by. With my experience, here are a few beginner tent camping tips to make your trip more enjoyable… if that’s what you’re looking for.
1. Bring a tent that suits the type of camping you plan to do. Rent or borrow if don’t have one, if possible.
If you’re going to buy, just keep in mind there are loads of choices, but only a handful are right for your needs.
2. Bring a ground cloth slightly smaller than the base of your tent, to protect the floor of your tent. Camp sites are rarely perfect, and the off rock, root or debris can shred up your perfectly good tent. If you’re on a budget, any old canvas (like a painter’s tarp) should do.
3. Bring a mat to wipe off your feet or footwear treading inside your tent. Tracked dirt and mud in your tent only gets worse after you’ve rolled up your tent with all the debris sandwiched between the walls, roof and floor.
4. Have a good light, and not just a flashlight. Light dispersion from something like a lantern makes a big difference in all around visibility.
5. Don’t leave your food out. Unwanted hungry wildlife in your camp site can really suck. For that matter, don’t keep food in your tent, because some wildlife don’t care but to get at the food.
I haven’t had the pleasure of a bear foraging for food in my tent, but I did have an uncomfortable experience when I left my dog food out at night.
I happened to be the last one up having a beer by the campfire, when a couple skunks decided to stroll through my site, under chair and then my legs to get to the dog food.
I didn’t move an inch… didn’t even breath, which is probably why I didn’t get sprayed.
6. If your tent is new, set it up at home… in your backyard or whatever, before taking it in your trip. Get to know the tent, and make sure you have all then necessary parts.
7. Get to your camp site before the sun goes down. Setting up a tent in the dark is no fun, especially if it’s new to you.
8. An air mattress goes a long way for good nights rest for the back in most cases. Those half inch thick light foam pads for backpack camping are best for just that. If you’re going car camping, go for some comfort unless you want to prove a point by toughing it out.
Personally, I doubt my four year old son would appreciate sleeping on the paper thin foam pad I used years ago for my roughing it Rocky Mountain trip.
9. Now I shouldn’t have to give this tip, but I’m sure some folks have done it before: don’t burn stuff in your tent. Even it’s a control flame from a gas heater or stove, don’t do it because it’s not safe.
If you don’t set the tent on fire, the carbon monoxide will probably claim you for the Darwin’s award.
10. While I’m the topic of stoves, bring one of those or a BBQ because you can’t rely on getting a good fire pit grills at the campsite. The fire pit grill is usually the last resort in my opinion… after finding a decent restaurant nearby.
11. If you’re staying in a developed campground with shower facilities, bring slippers and a waterproof bag you can hang up or leave on the floor and not getting wet or muddy.
I do this enough to get a large outdoor waterproof bag that I can rinse off if it gets muddy… and I kid you not, busy campground shower can get extra grimey fast in the morning.
The last words
And that’s about it for the tent camping tips in this short blurb. I’d love to share more, so drop by again to look for new articles. Until next time, stay safe and have fun!