In this post, we are sharing an epic list of essential camping tips. You will find everything from what and how to pack, keeping warm, cooking food, preparing your tent and so much more.
Whether you are an experienced camper or a complete beginner, there will something for you to learn in this list to make your next camping trip even more fun and enjoyable.
1. Plan for bad weather
Depending on where you are camping in the world, the weather may be unpredictable. Always bring whatever you need to stay warm (or cool), dry and protected so even if the heavens open or a massive sandstorm comes in, you will be comfortable and happy.
We recommend always bringing more layers of clothes than you think you need, a warm hat, water and windproof clothing and sun protection.
2. Don’t worry about being over-prepared
We think it is always better to be over-prepared than underprepared when it comes to camping. So don’t worry about spending time and money making sure that everything is organised and sorted. You will be able to relax and enjoy your actual trip much more!
There’s nothing wrong with packing your car to the brim with essential items needed for a number of situations that could possibly happen (which could be many depending on where and at what time of year you go camping!).
3. Write and check off a packing list
This is absolutely essential for camping, especially since you will likely be far away from any shops to pick up things you forgot. As we mentioned above, being overprepared is actually a good thing and writing a list that you then tick off as you pack is one of the best ways to be prepared.
Write out a detailed list of every little thing you need to take. Note down what things you need to purchase (such as food or batteries etc), purchase those items and then tick your list off as you physically pack to make sure you don’t forget a thing.
4. Don’t pitch up under a tree
Tents pitched under trees may look cute but they are a bit of an issue. Falling branches can become a hazard and may cause damage to the tent or injuries. Avoiding pitching under a tree also means you’ll avoid cleaning up any bird poo or tree sap that will land on the tent.
5. Pack appropriate lighting
Don’t forget that there’s (usually) no electricity or lightbulbs around when camping, so when it gets dark, it gets really DARK. So it is essential that you come prepared with adequate lights. We suggest a handheld torch, a lantern torch to hang in the tent and a headlight torch with a red light setting. Red light makes it easy for you to see where you’re going but won’t be blindingly bright to others who may be trying to sleep.
We also think it's nice to set up some solar or battery powered fairy lights around your tent to create nice ambient light and good vibes!
6. Don’t forget to bring a portable charger (or two!)
Portable chargers are essential for keeping your devices powered at a campsite as you will likely have no access to power. While it is nice to fully switch off from technology when camping you may want to keep your devices alive for photos and essential communications. You can also use the portable charger to charge other electronic devices such as a camera.
If your campsite does offer phone charging facilities you may prefer to charge your power bank there and always have your phone charging portably with you for ease of use.
8. Pack camping chairs and a small table
Trust us that when you are camping you will seriously appreciate that basic luxury of being able to sit on a chair and eat at a table, as opposed to on the floor! Camping tables and chairs are inexpensive and are collapsible so are easy to carry. You will really love having access to basic furniture while camping and will feel more at home in the great outdoors.
9. Give the kids something to do while you’re setting up the tent
Arriving at a campsite and getting everything set up can be a real pain point if you have kids. Boredom may strike while you are busy setting up so come prepared by giving the kids something to do. Older kids can be given jobs to help set up and give younger kids activities that they can do on their own while you get everything ready.
10. Pack your car in the right order
Ahhh packing a car is an art form in itself! And packing the car up for a camping trip is probably the highest form of this. Make sure you pack your tent and essential items last so that they are the first things you can easily grab when you arrive at your campsite.
Pack the car in a logical order, taking up every piece of free space like Tetris! You may even want to take pictures of your packed and stacked car so you can remember how you did it when it's time to pack up and go back home.
11. Always bring earplugs and an eye mask
The sounds of nature when you are in a tent can be deafening if you’re not used to them. Wind, rain, waves, insects and animals can make a tent a noisy place (not to mention you may have noisy neighbours and kids!). So it is always a really good idea to bring earplugs so that you can have a better night's sleep.
We’d also suggest bringing an eye mask, especially if the sun rises super early. While an eye mask won’t protect you from the heat of the sun, it will help you get a little more sleep in the wee hours. Plus you won’t be blinded by other people's flashlights in your tent at night.
12. Borrow camping gear if it's your first time camping
If you’ve never been camping before and this is your first time, you may want to borrow camping gear before going all out and investing in your own. Getting all of your camping gear set up can actually be quite the investment so you’re better off borrowing gear the first time around just in case you realise it's not really your thing.
13. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It’s likely that you will find yourself in a situation where you could do it with a hand or if you have a question. Don’t be shy to ask your fellow campers or campsite staff for assistance or for any questions. Chances are they will be able to give you what you need and you may just make a friend in the process!
14. Take wet wipes
Wet wipes are the ultimate camping essential so make sure you bring a bunch with you. Food messes and mud can be cleaned up easily. And if you don’t have easy access to showers (or they are cold!), you can give yourself a quick clean up with wet wipes to help you stay fresh.
15. Meal plan and prep before you go
Preparing food at a campsite is a completely different game from cooking in a kitchen so don’t wing this part! Plan out what meals you are going to make, get the ingredients and do any prep beforehand. This will make cooking a breeze once you arrive and you will be super happy you did it.
16. Set up a handwashing area next to your cooking area
Having a place to wash your hands next to your cooking area will save you the hassle of going back and forward to the facilities.
18. Take food that doesn't need to be cooked
Whether it is rain, a broken stove or a little bit of laziness after a full day, it's always good to have food handy that's ready to eat without cooking. Give yourself a break! Avocado, bread and precooked rice are great ways to fill up without cooking.
20. Keep warm!
Nighttime outside may be colder than you think, even in summer in certain places like the UK. You’ll struggle to sleep well if you’re cold. To help keep you warm bring plenty of loose layers that you can easily add to and remove, extra blankets to go on top of you and on the floor. Amp up the warmth, cosy and comfort factor!
Get an idea of heat loss and how to prevent it for example don’t sleep with your mouth inside your sleeping back as the water vapour from your breath will make the sleeping bag damp and even colder.
21. Get a bigger tent than you think you’ll need
The size of the tent is based on the maximum number of people who can sleep in it and doesn't take into account any room needed for the storage of belongings. Buy a tent that sleeps one or two more people then will be sleeping in the tent so there is plenty of room for you and your things.
22. Arrive during the daytime
Pitching a tent in the dark should be avoided as much as possible, especially if it's your first time pitching a new tent. Check what time sunset is before you leave.