Getting back to nature and spending some time in the great wild outdoors can leave you feeling calmer, happier, and with a better appreciation for life.
Most people who enjoy camping have been doing it for years, usually from the time when they were kids. But what do you do if you’re an adult and you’ve never gone camping before?
Don’t worry – as a complete beginner there are things you can do to ease yourself into camping as a hobby. You just need a handful of things – and a handful of things to keep in mind – and you’ll be camping out like a pro in no time.
A Barbecue with a Sleepover
Camping isn’t all that complicated. In the end, it’s nothing more than going to a barbecue that ends with a sleepover.
If you think about it: at a barbecue you’ve got you and your friends or family gathered around a big fire, grilling up food and enjoying drinks plucked from a cooler. Maybe you play a little volleyball or frisbee, go for a swim, and then plunk yourself down in a lawn chair, put your feet up, and watch the stars come out. At the end of the night, you go on inside and crash on your friend’s couch in their basement.
Camping isn’t that different. You’re outside enjoying the company of the people you’re there with, eating food cooked over a grill or an open fire, and engaging in outside activities. The only difference is that instead crashing that couch, you get to sleep out under the stars.
“Roughing It” Doesn’t Have to be Rough
There’s not much to the whole “roughing it” thing when it comes to camping. Newbies should pick a nice, warm, clear weekend, and bring the same things you’d bring to any cookout – food, drinks, and so on – just with some added essentials.
1. First up is light. There’s not likely to be any electricity on site, so you’re going to need a good, solid flashlight along with some extra batteries. Lighting the way from the campfire to the tent is important once it gets full dark – even if it’s just a few feet! If you’re afraid you’ll take a tumble in the dark and skin your knee, it’s good to have a small first aid kit on hand as well. (I found mine at the Dollar Tree)
2. Secondly, a tent. Speaking of tents, unless you’re staying in a cabin on site, you’re going to need one. Simple nylon tents can fit anywhere from two to four people and their gear, and they come with everything you’ll need to pitch them.
Make sure you bring a mallet to hammer those tent pegs into place. That part’s important for when you leave your site during the day and you don’t want your tent to blow away. Of course, you’ll also need a good sleeping bag and possibly an air mattress or a folding cot if you don’t want to sleep on the ground.
Just a Few Extra Touches
Finally, you’re not just going to be sleeping – you’ve got to eat too.
3. Bring something for cooking. You’ll need a camp stove – which usually runs on a small bottle of natural gas – or at least a grill that you can lay across a fire pit. Some camp sites have an abundance of dry wood you can use to make a fire with, whereas others are picked clean so you’ll have to buy your wood. Just don’t forget the matches.
These are the essentials for camping- just the bare minimum so you can survive in comfort, no more. If you’ve visited the camping good section of Dick’s or Eastern Mountain Sports lately, you’ll know that there’s no end to the gear that’s available to take with you.
Before you load up, however, start out small and through the process of discovery, find out what you really need beyond the basics you’ve learned about here. After all, the idea is to get away from it all, not take it with you!
Did I miss anything? Please feel free to add your comments below. Thanks for reading!!
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