I remember way back when I first started camping. It was daunting to say the least and I had no idea what to expect. I thought I was looking at the whole camping thing through rose tinted glasses – I was expecting the worst. I was anxious but very excited to get started.
Before I go into the meat of the article I want to settle a few misconceptions about camping. Firstly, it’s not as expensive as people make it out to be. Sure, it costs money initially to purchase your tent, sleeping bags and other gear which I’ll go into shortly, but once you’re set up you’ll have the kit to enjoy many seasons of camping at minimal cost. Much cheaper than checking into a hotel, that’s for sure.
Secondly, camping is far from boring. Camping is supposed to be a time to relax, spend time with family and generally wind down. If you have kids you can go fishing or walk a trail. Consider packing a football, paper and crayons, books and board games. Some camp sites have on site swimming pools, arcades and even evening entertainment. But if you haven’t got access to any of this you can’t beat bringing it back to basics with a good book, board game or ball game to enjoy as a group.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is the misconception of what to pack. Luckily that’s what this article aims to outline but before I get there let’s cover where to camp. If you’re totally new to camping I recommend going somewhere fairly close to home. Choose a camp site with toilet and shower facilities, nearby lakes, trails and woodlands if you can to keep the kids entertained. The good camp sites get booked up well in advance so once you’ve made your mind up reserve your spot!
So what should your camping equipment list look like? Well, you are governed by a) how much room you have in your vehicle and b) how much you want to carry. The basic equipment is a tent, sleeping bags, a gas stove for cooking, utensils, cups and plates, and a torch. Everything else is optional and you can go as far you want. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than this but if you want more luxury consider things like kettles, tables and chairs, wind up radios, a selection of different torches, heaters and air mattresses.
If you want a better night’s sleep use a foam pad under your sleeping bag. This insulates you and stops warmth seeping into the ground from your body. For extra insulation consider using a sleeping bag liner. These help increase the temperature range inside the bag to further aid heat retention. Furthermore you can wear a fleece cap if things get really cold.
Here’s a quick check list to keep handy. You’ll need:
- Tent, poles, groundsheet and a mallet
- Sleeping bags, foam pads and pillows
- Toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, towels etc
- Gas stove and fuel
- Cooking utensils – pans, matches, table cloth, spatula’s, tongs.
- Cutlery including knives, forks, spoons
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
Feel free to add to this list, it’s by no means exhaustive. The more you add the more luxury you’ll have but bear in mind it’ll also take up more room in your vehicle. I hope you find this article useful and I sincerely wish you all the best with your first camping trip. Remember, relax and enjoy the experience.