I started camping as a very young child, somewhere around a few months old. We camped what seemed to be every weekend, but was told later in life it was only about 10-15 times a year. Camping has always been an activity that I enjoy. It is a time to get back to the basics, be outdoors, and slow down from the daily hustle and bustle of life. I have also come to realize that camping is not something that everyone has experienced.
Meet my friend Kim. She grew up in the heart of a metropolitan area and had limited outdoor experiences. She had never been camping, but after some convincing and a few white lies, she agreed to come out for a weekend. I soon came to realize that camping with a first-time camper was going to be a trip in itself and that I had many lessons to learn.
As a person who camps often, preparing to go camping is now second nature. I take out my camping tubs, create a menu for meals, and check off the items on my trusty packing checklist. But for a first-time camper, preparing for camping is an overwhelming task. Here are the three things I learned to make this easier for the first time camper.
Watch and Learn
Allow the first time camper to watch how you prepare for a camping trip, what food is packed, what equipment is needed etc. Don’t put all the pressure on them to prepare everything they may possibly need for a camping trip if they have never been on one.
Let them borrow or use the equipment you already own. It will give them the chance to ease into the activity. By going with them camping you will be able to show them how to properly set up a campsite. Buying equipment such as a tent, cooking stove, and utensils can be an investment and will deter some first-time campers from taking the plunge.
First-time campers are often nervous about what they may encounter out in the woods. Make sure to address fears of poisonous plants, bugs, wild animals and any other apprehension a new camper may have.
Ways To Make The Experience Better
After a full weekend of camping and our fair share of first timer mishaps, we made our way back to civilization. That evening I took a moment to reflect on how I could have made her first camping experience better. I came up with a few simple things that would help a new camper truly understand what they are in for.
What to expect
Before you even pack the car there are quite a few things a new camper needs to know. All campgrounds are different and it is advised to take a new camper to a place you have been before and feel comfortable with. Give the newbie the lay of the land. Are there flushable toilets or do you use outhouses? That was a rude awakening for Kim, who was not a fan of the outhouse. What are we going to eat? Going through the meals that are planned will help them understand what types of meals work best when camping.
If you are sleeping in a tent there are a few things to know. Kim reacted to every single sound outside the tent, which kept most of us awake all night. Knowing what to expect as you sleep outdoors is very helpful. She was also quite taken back when she woke up to her sleeping bag feeling a bit damp in the morning, which is common.
Going through the checklist of items you bring on each camping trip will help them understand the equipment it takes to make life enjoyable while camping.
What to wear
This is something I should have gone over with Kim, as she wasn’t prepared for the nighttime temperature drop. Since you are not just able to walk into your bedroom and grab an article out of your closet you have to be prepared for different situations. Temperatures can shift quickly in some areas. Make sure that a new camper knows to bring warm clothes – even in the middle of the summer. Rain gear is also a necessity, as you never know when you may need it.
To make the experience more memorable for a newbie plan some fun activities to get them out of the campsite. Hiking, swimming, and geocaching are some great activities that will help broaden their outdoor horizons.
If you are able to prepare the first-time camper for what to expect on their first trip there is a good chance they will have a memorable experience and be in favor of going out on another trip.