A Beginner’s Guide to Camping – What You Need
Camping has once again become hugely popular, and as a great way to spend some time with your family or friends. For many, there is not one reason why they go camping. It can be for a multitude of reasons and many of which are now down to having exciting times, away from home. Or the thrill of getting away from the regular 9-5 and getting back to nature.
These thrills that you can seek can be from bicycle riding, lake fishing or kayaking or even a combination of these two. Whatever pastime you could think of most of these can be accessed on a camping trip.
No matter what reason you have decided to go camping, there are things you need to know and things you should take with you. So if you are after camping ideas for kids or you need a beginners camping guide read on.
We have tried to list what equipment do you need for camping, that can offer all you need. From camping clothing, to compound bows, it might be you are in for some target practice or hunting and catching your dinner.
The type of camping trip you will be taking dictates what actual gear you will need to take with you. There are some essentials for camping that you should take no matter how long or where your camping trip.
This is the most obvious as, without one, you would not be going camping. To help decide on the best camping tents for your trip, there are a few things to look for when purchasing.
Elbow room – Tents quickly become crowded if the weather is terrible. Make sure you have enough space for the number of people who will be staying in your tent.
Three Season – your tent should be suitable for three seasons that people span for camping trips. These have the tent body, mesh panels, and a rain-fly. These make sure you have plenty of airflows, and you will not feel stuffy.
Camping with Kids Essentials – if you are taking young children, you can opt for a cabin style tent that will give them plenty of room. These designs will house a specific number of people.
These can be as important as a good tent. They have to be warm and comfortable enough so you can thoroughly enjoy your camping trip.
A few things to think about when purchasing your sleeping bags are:
Gender-specific – these are shaped to fit men or women’s body differently.
Rectangular or Mummy shaped – for warmer conditions a rectangular sleeping bag is enough. If you are venturing into colder temperatures, opt for a mummy type as these have a hood that helps retain body heat.
Filling type – these can be synthetic or down insulation. Artificial is the cheaper options and more cumbersome, yet they dry quickly when wet. Down, on the other hand, is lighter and more comfortable to carry with backpacks, but they take longer to dry if wet.
Temperature rating – You should choose a bag which will quickly meet the coldest temperature you are going to encounter. For added warmth, you can also purchase bag liners that give that extra little bit of insulation.
A camping equipment list beginners would not be complete without mentioning cooking equipment. There will be no fast food places where you are going so you need to know what camping cooking gear and what kitchen equipment you will need.
Stove – these differ if you are backpacking or traveling by car. They vary from dual burners to the smaller canister stoves and integrated canister systems.
Utensils are the things many people forget (can opener). For many of these you need to choose durable and ones that can pack away efficiently and are light to carry. Mugs, bowls, plates, plastic cutlery and that can opener.
These can be a real lifesaver while out camping, and there is a good chance it will be the one tool you will use more than any other. From cutting your potatoes or skinning a rabbit down to cutting ropes and branches. A good knife is essential. There are many types available from fixed blade to a folding pocket knife. You can also take along a multi-tool such as a Leatherman which can prove invaluable.
Enough lighting equipment be it a torch or a lantern. Anything that will fit in with the style of camping you are doing. Moreover, don’t forget, something as simple as eating might require two hands so a torch might not be enough. Headlamps are small and can free up those hands.
There are many types of water bottles available for all kinds of camping. It is wise to check which one suits you the most. The most important thing is you have a water bottle, and it is big enough for your needs, as you might not know when your next water supply fill up point is. It is also worth checking water filtration tablets. You might have to use water that is not from a faucet, so clean water is essential.
Stings, cuts and other things can put a damper on a camping trip. You can build your first aid kits, or you can buy ready bags. As long as you have the essentials to cover most eventualities.
If you are hiking, you need a good pair of boots that are durable and will give the best support to your feet. Stepping on a rock can quickly twist your ankle, so good support is essential. A good pair of hiking boots will not only be comfortable, but they will also (and should) be waterproof.
Heading into the Yonder
That was essential equipment for camping. Now we can look at what to take camping if you are looking for that bit extra. Rather than only sleeping out under the stars. These options will need a vehicle, and if this is the case, you might be taking camping trailers to fit all the equipment into.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is they get overwhelmed with the amount of equipment that is available. You do not need all of it in the beginning, and that is one of the best camping tips anyone will give you. Take what you need.
Two of the most common pastimes that people go camping for are fishing, or for kayaking. Both can offer an exhilarating time, yet they need different equipment to do it properly. Regardless though of which one you are choosing, you do have to research where you are going.
Both will be in the wilderness, and should anything go wrong; you will need to check your paper maps to make sure you know the best way back to civilization.
Fishing and Camping
This can be lake fishing, river fishing or even kayak angling There are no ends of places you can fish if there is water, there is a good chance there is fish. Catching them, on the other hand, can be entirely different.
Lake fishing or river fishing is the most common forms, and for either of these, you have a vast range of fishing equipment to choose from. There is also the matter of what you are catching the fish for. If you are looking for a healthy dinner, you might only need a small amount of equipment. Yet if you love catching fish (as many do) for a pastime, you might opt for more specialized fishing equipment.
The one item that you will have for both types is your fishing tackle box. These can come from small to quite large that have many drawers and compartments. You can even use a larger one to keep some of your camping essentials in, that way you are not likely to misplace them with all the other gear you have around you.
If you opt to kayak fish, it is likely to be on a calm lake. Here you can take advantage of using a portable fish finder. Although a few might say, this is cheating if you have a hungry family to feed they will not think you are cheating by getting dinner quicker.
Kayaking and Camping
Although quite similar there are two significant differences between kayaking vs. canoeing, these are, one. The sitting position.
In a canoe, you can sit or kneel whereas in a kayak you would sit on a low seat with your legs stretched in front of you. The second difference being the paddles. One a canoes paddle, you have a blade on one end, on a kayak paddle you have blades on both ends
If you decide for a spot of kayak fishing, you will more than likely be carrying your kayaks on your vehicle. This although simple and is as easy as carrying a bicycle on a car. You will need a kayak roof rack for cars. This is specially constructed that will firmly hold your kayaks in space while you are traveling.
As for kayak brands and which is the best, that is way beyond the scope of a beginner’s manual. There is so many and so extensive a price range; it is nearly impossible to add the best one here.
The best thing is to check out all of the brands and see which one suits you, and suits all of your needs, the budget included. Once you have decided on the brand and design you like, there is one crucial bit of equipment that all kayakers should have with them.
Dry bags – These can be a real lifesaver, especially if you are kayaking down the river. These can hold all of your gear and make sure it is 100% dry when you reach your next camp.
The Best for Last
We mentioned that you can quickly become overwhelmed with the range of equipment and accessories that are available to take with you when you go camping. This is actually against what camping is all about when you decide on just taking everything, one of each so to speak. These are the campers who are unable to do without the mod cons of home and makes sure they have everything that you can think of.
We all like to be comfortable on our camping trips, yet there are limits of what you will need, and what soon turns out to be a waste of money, especially if you are new to the camping experience. Good quality items do not have to be the most expensive, and in a lot of cases, they are not the most practical.
By looking around, you can just follow the items listed in the essential section and get the best for your money. Who knows, if you have budgeted well and you find that you have money, a kayak that you had your eye on might just find its way onto the top of your car.
Be reasonable with your hard earned money. Tents, boots and your sleeping gear are worth spending a little extra on to get good quality. Everything else can get broken, or as they generally do, they get left in the woods where you camped.
There is one other reason for not buying everything, you have the other campers to consider. They have gone camping for all the right reasons. Relaxation with their families or friends. They have not gone glamping, which unfortunately is the name that has been given to these campers.
A home from home is okay, but being tarred with a brush where everyone looks at you differently. No thank you. I would much rather have a good light, a good tent and a nice comfortable place to sleep. All the mod cons can wait until I return home. After all. That is what camping tries to help us escape from.