The Camping Guide For the Clueless

Posted Mar 24th 2011 06:00 PMUpdated Mar 25th 2011 11:59 AM

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warmsunnydays, Flickr

Beer and BBQ aside, relaxing with the fam in The Great Outdoors (not the movie with John Candy) is an excellent way to leave everyday life behind. Not everybody knows how to camp though. For some it has been but merely a dream of green and toilets dug in the ground. Dream no more! Read on for our beginners guide to camping

Gear Up Little Trooper
One of the first things to consider when planning a camping trip is what kind of camping equipment to take. Start out with a well-made tent that will be easy to assemble. Well no kidding.

A good one is the Marmot Earlylight tent. Easy to set up, mid-range in cost, and made well so it will last years if its taken care of. Don't use the tent poles as javalins alright?

Water repellent for the tent. Buy it. Pack a sheet and a few blankets – and use the entire sleeping bag to sleep on if the ground is rocky.

A portable propane grill is beneficial but not necessary if the campground has fire pits or grills. Remember a lantern and flashlight for late night trips to the bathroom (hole in the ground?)

For those heading out near a lake, a fishing pole and tackle is a must. Fairly obvious to say, but even seasoned campers have forgotten their poles and regretted it when they smelled freshly cooked fish wafting from a nearby campsite.

For more on what to gear up on, check out our must-have camping gadgets.

Pick a Spot, Pitch Your Tent

Flickr/martinamor

When searching for a camping site, for the love of all things make sure to look for flat ground that does not show signs of water rushing through during rainstorms. Some campgrounds have raised wood platforms for a tent, but they're not everywhere.

Oh yes, don't pitch the tent close to the fire-pit. Sounds silly to suggest, but you really don't want to find yourself on fire in the middle of the night.

Some campgrounds are almost like a family resort, like at a KOA, where there are often swimming pools, activities for kids, and a camp store where you can purchase supplies. Whatever level of comfort you have for being outdoors you can find a campground with camping sites to suit your needs.

Grub

jasonnipolito/flickr

Even for the camping newbs, it is recommended to pack your own food and drinks. While some campgrounds may have a small on-site eatery or restaurants nearby, many campgrounds are isolated in the wilderness and it's good practice to be prepared and even better form to at least attempt to rough it a little bit.

Canned foods won't get as much attention from the local wildlife (bears and such) as would raw meats and fresh foods. Plus you're really not camping unless there's at least one can of baked beans consumed. Just be careful who you share your tent with after dinner.

Hang any non-perishable goods from a tree branch and don't keep them in your tent unless you want to be bear food.

For those looking to camp near a stream or lake, and have packed fishing gear, there's always the option of fresh fish for dinner.

Camping is nothing to feel apprehensive about for you first-timers. So get out there, breathe in fresh air, and embrace the healing powers of nature!

Filed Under: Tips & Tricks, Budget