13 Camping Tips For Beginners (+ 3 Easy Hacks!)

There is no Wi-fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection. -Unknown

​For beginners, camping can be a daunting prospect.

Deciding what to bring camping, what the essentials are, what gear to pack, and what food to cook...can be enough to put most beginner campers off for good.

​But don't fret!

ZipOutdoors is here to help you on your merry way. In th​is post you'll learn the best camping tips for beginners, including ​our special camping for beginners checklist, and a whole array of camping tips and hacks to make your first camping trip one to remember.

Related Post: How To Stay Cool While Camping

13 Life Changing Camping Hacks For Beginners

​Camping Tips For Beginners -- Before You Go

1. Always Be Prepared

Your preparations can make a huge difference between a comfortable camping trip and a miserable one. It's wise to plan the trip thoughtfully, pack for it carefully and make backup plans in case something unexpected happens.

2. Beginner Camping Checklist and Packing Guide

​You can simplify your packing, campsite setup and teardown by differentiating between luxury items and essential camping supplies. It's up to you to decide what's a luxury versus what's a necessity for the trip you have in mind. Consider the following items as essentials you'll want to take with you on any camping trip:

  • Tent and a tarp to put under it
  • A sleeping bag and sleeping pad for each camper
  • Matches or a lighter for starting a campfire
  • Light sources: lanterns and / or a flashlight or headlamp for each camper
  • ​A decent backpack
  • Camping stove or Dutch oven
  • Cooking gear: pot, pan and utensils
  • A cooler filled with food and drinks for everyone
  • Pet food if there are any pets making the trip
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Map and compass or a GPS
  • Utility knife
  • Rope
  • Soap
  • Enough cash for campsite fees, gas for the car and possible emergencies

3. What to Wear on a Camping Trip

You'll usually want to dress in layers when you go camping. Your choice of clothing will depend largely on the destination, time of year and local climate.

If it's a summertime beach camping trip; shorts, t-shirts, sandals and swimsuits are probably what you want to pack.

If you'll be trekking through the snow in a winter camping trip, you'll need multiple layers of clothing including a base layer, a middle layer that acts as an insulator and a waterproof outer layer. Waterproof mountaineering boots are a good investment. So are heavyweight merino wool mountaineering socks. Additional necessities to complete the outfit include mittens and a hat.

camping tips for beginners

4. Camping Food For Beginners

​Campsite cooking is easier if you prep your meals in the kitchen at home before you arrive. Make a meal plan with a checklist and run through the checklist as you pack each item. Pack ingredients in clear plastic when possible so you can see the contents of each container. Organize your food in the cooler beforehand and label your containers if it isn't immediately obvious what's in them from the outside.

If carrying a cooler is out of the question because of the campsite's remote location, freeze-dried meals are a popular solution. In that case, your cooking gear can consist primarily of a teapot or other dish for boiling water. You would then use the water to reconstitute each freeze-dried meal.

camping food for beginners

6. Bear Safety for Beginner Campers

​When camping in bear country, there are a few things you need to know before you head out. You should never leave your food locked in your car. Bears often break into cars in search of a meal. Instead, you'll want to pack your food inside a bear bag that you can tie high up in a tree out of ​their reach. Use a reflective cord to tie the bag with so you can easily see it in case you need to access your food any time between sunset and sunrise.

Further Reading: Bear Safety (How To Stay Alive)

camping hacks for beginners

7. Check The Weather Forecast

​If rain is forecast, you may want to add some waterproof gear to your list of things to pack. A few extra tarps, a raincoat, rain pants and waterproof boots are all useful items to have when camping in the rain. Don’t let rain put you off – a little bit of preparation will allow you to embrace the elements and have a fantastic time whatever the weather!

8. Learn Your Beginner Camp​er's Knots

​It's important to learn how to tie knots such as two half hitches.

Camping Tips for Beginners -- When You Get There

​9. Evaluate Possible Tent Sites

Pick level ground that's free of rocks, sticks and debris. When pitching your tent under trees, do a careful check for dead branches to avoid camping underneath tree limbs that could fall and injure you. You especially want to beware of limbs that don't have any leaves if the rest of the tree is vibrant and blooming.

10. Keep Bugs Away

​You can use a mixture of water and ordinary tea tree oil to keep bugs away while camping. Sage is an excellent mosquito repellent that can be tossed in your campfire instead of using toxic chemical repellents. You can light citronella candles to repel flies. There are many other botanical oils such as mint and eucalyptus that repel bugs.

​11. ​​​Safety Tips

While camping might seem like harmless activity to enjoy with friends and family - and it is - there's still quite a few things that can go wrong. And they often do when you least expect it. A little bit of preparation and ​brushing up on your survival skills will give you peace of mind to relax and enjoy your camping trip.

​​And if you're camping in the wintertime, you'll want to be alert to the possibility that avalanches could occur. Avoid venturing up any slope that is steeper than 20 degrees unless you have been formally trained in avalanche rescue.

​12. Prepare Your Entertainment

Planning to tell some ghost stories? It can be fun to have a member of your group sneak off into the woods to provide a scary soundtrack to accompany your tales of terror. Have a friend bring a guitar or compact keyboard along to accompany the songs your group will sing around the campfire.

What do you need to go camping for the first time?

13. Expert Advice from Camping Pros

Here’s some awesome ​camping tips for beginner (from some well-known pros):

  • Get Organized. Losing important items can really complicate life once you're out in the wild. Prevent disaster by creating a system to organize your camping gear before you go.
  • Pack Gear That Does Double Duty. Your hardshell can also be your pillow at night. A bandana can morph into lots of other things - a dust mask or a can cozy, for example.
  • Choose the Right Firewood. To achieve the most flavourful fireside meal, you want to avoid cooking with firewood like pine that has a lot of sap in it. Firewood like oak and maple are better choices for cooking with.
  • Plan an Epic Adventure. Camping can be the sole focus of an enjoyable trip, but it doesn't have to be. Some campers take to the outdoors as part of a larger vacation package.
  • If you enjoy hiking, it can be fun to plan a combination hiking and camping trip.
  • Want to learn how to rock climb? Why not incorporate rock climbing into your camping trip?
  • When you're headed to the beach, camping can be an affordable alternative to a hotel stay. A beach camping trip could also be a fantastic opportunity to go fishing.
  • If you're competing in an outdoor sporting event like a mountain bike race or triathlon, you'll often find suitable camping accommodations near the event. Camping can be a fantastic way to build camaraderie with teammates or other event participants.
  • If an epic adventure is what you want, the secret is choosing a suitable destination. We recommend this because the destination influences the range of activities that will be available to you once you get there.

14. Bonus Tips: 3 Amazing Camping Hacks

1. Make Your Own Campfire Starter

Method #1 (Sewmanyways): Fill each cubicle in a cardboard egg carton with a charcoal briquette of the variety that can be easily lit on fire with matches. Prep and pack one of these for each night you plan to light a fire in your campsite.

Method #2 (Reddit): Stuff an old toilet paper roll with dryer lint from your latest laundry session.

2. Leave the Spice Rack at Home

You can have flavourful food in your campsite without bringing all your seasonings along for the trip. Instead of packing all those heavy jars, make a tasty mix of your favourite seasonings. Then place the mixture in a lightweight, easily packable breath mint container​.

3. Stash Some Duct Tape

Duct tape is helpful to have on hand for making emergency repairs to just about anything. Since an entire roll of duct tape is heavy, you definitely don't want to bring it all with you. Instead, you can wrap a short length of duct tape around your water bottle. That way the tape will be available if you need it, but it won't add a lot of extra weight to your bag.

Trail End

​We hope these camping tips for beginners - thee little tricks and hacks will help you plan and execute the best camping trip ever! What are your favourite camping tips and activities? Let us know in the comments. =ZIP​=

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