Camping 101: 4 Tips for the First-time Camper - Panergy

by Regina Wu
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Camping 101: 4 Tips for the First-time Camper - Panergy

Camping 101A good camping trip requires a lot of planning, some hard work, and a little bit of luck. Before you get out on the trail, we've got a few quick tips to keep you from embarrassing yourself in front of your more experienced friends. Check out our list before you pack up, and you'll look like the consummate outdoorsman, even if you're not.


One of the most common mistakes new campers make is waiting until they get to the campsite to get acquainted with their newly-purchased gear. As easy as it may be to convince yourself that everything will just work out once you get started, that's rarely the way that it actually works out in real life, and there are few things more embarrassing than having to admit that you don't know how to set up your tent.

In the weeks leading up to your camping trip, take all your new gear out of the boxes it came in, and take some time to make sure that you're familiar with how everything operates. Set up and tear down your tent a couple times. Make sure that new headlamp has batteries, and try to get comfortable enough with it that you can operate it without having to see it (After all, it'll be dark when you need it, right?). You may even want to spend a night sleeping in the backyard in your tent and sleeping bag, just so you can get an idea of what it'll feel like.



The next most common mistake of new campers--second only to the one explained above--is getting to the campground too late. Many first-time campers going on weekend trips will leave for the campsite after work on Friday, only to arrive at their destination just as the sun sets. Though this may sound picturesque, what it means in reality is that you'll be trying to set up camp in the dark, all the while noisily annoying your neighbors who arrived earlier, and are trying to relax or get some sleep.

If you're taking a weekend trip, a better idea is to get a good night's sleep at home on Friday, then get up early on Saturday to travel to the campground. This way, you'll have plenty of daylight by which to set up camp. Arriving at the campground earlier will also allow you to stop by the main office, where you can learn about rules and regulations that you'll need to follow, as well as take a stroll around the campground to locate necessities like showers and trashcans.


As we mentioned above, one of the reasons that it's a good idea to show up early is that it gives you the opportunity to check out the rules and regulations of the campground you're visiting. These can involve anything from when quiet hours begin and end, to where you can and can't build fires, to how to contact park authorities should it become necessary.

Regardless what the campground's rules are, learn them and follow them. Being loud during quiet hours can quickly make you an unpopular camper, while breaking rules pertaining to where and how to build fires can put you and the other campers at the site in serious danger. Even if you don't understand why a rule is in place, it's a good idea to follow it. Failure to follow any of the rules--even the ones that don't put lives in danger--can cut short your camping trip by getting you and your friends kicked out. Now that's pretty embarrassing.



Though it may be tempting to plan a grand adventure for your first camping trip, it's a good idea to start small. Try a campground close to home. That way, if a problem arises, you might be able to remedy it without calling off the camping trip altogether. The list of possible complications is pretty much endless. You could forget something. A piece of your gear could break. You could run short on a particular ingredient for dinner. You could run out of food altogether. You may encounter weather that you weren't prepared for. Whatever the problem, camping closer to civilization--and more specifically, your own home--can make correcting potential problems much easier.


By the same token, you may encounter a situation that makes it necessary for you to go home. Whether it's a medical emergency or you just decide that camping's not for you, taking your early camping trips close to home will make any of these potential problems much more manageable.

by Regina Wu


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