Does anyone have any camping tips?

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So, my father bought a tent to try camping despite always saying how he would never get one, and found camping pointless. However, he wants to try it, and we're all going camping soon for a night or two to try it out. If we like it, it will become a more regular thing. I've googled tips, though they all say the same things.

Does anyone have any tips on how to not make it a disaster, and just general advice? We know virtually nothing about it, and I know that there are many camping/backpacking veterans here. I really enjoy camping, as I've done it before, but I know very little, and want to learn as much as possible, so it won't fail and we can do it more frequently.

Thank you! 

(Also, if I posted this in the wrong place, please let me know)

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Well sir, I’ll try to keep this short, blankets/sleeping bags, at least2-3 per person, this will help keep you warm and comfortable, a tarp to go over your tent to stop the rain from getting in, just a extra layer of defense from the wet and cold, an extra set of clothes, no not shorts, pants, and a jacket/sweater if it gets rainy or cold out you’ll thank this advice, something to cook with, a small Coleman camp stove of some sort and propane, plenty of clean drinking water, a small first aid kit with tweezers (for ticks) and bug repellent. take something besides hotdogs and marshmallows for food, fruits, and veggies, trail mix, peanut butter, jelly and bread, as well as a good cooler to keep them in.

As for the actual camping place some soft material under your tent, like leaves or sand this will increase the comfort in your tent. Don’t bring food in your tent unless you want a midnight guest, (bears), always put the fire out in the fire place or on the camp stove before you leave/go to bed, if you have an air mattress good, if not place one of your blankets on the ground, the leaves or other soft material and the blanket should make a good bed. Hopefully, I have included everything you may need to have a good trip, if not I apologize for that, have a nice day,

Thank you.

The cabins trapper.

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Something between your sleeping bag and the ground is key, like an air mattress, pad, or blanket as The Cabins Trapper suggested. It will be more comfortable because of the padding and warmth (without it the ground will make you cold and will not provide a good night's sleep).

A towel for drying anything wet in the tent will add greatly to your comfort as it takes a long time to naturally dry water in the tent. Try to keep items from touching the sides of the tent as condensation will collect on the tent walls over night and will run down to meet anything touching the wall (and make it wet).

Prepare everything for bed time before the sun sets so you're not working by flashlight and attracting night bugs into your tent.

If you have space, pack a really comfy pillow (personal comfort preference).

Pick a day with good weather and a location with quick access to amenities such as stores for the first couple of times out. That way you can grab anything you're missing and hopefully have an enjoyable experience that you'd want to repeat.

Have a plan for something enjoyable to do. Some people like fishing, swimming, canoeing, day hiking, geo caching, plant and wildlife photography. I personally enjoy coffee while reading a good book in the shade of the forest. Take all the shortcuts and cheat when it comes to the less pleasant tasks. For example, if you are going to have a fire and that's not something you're experienced with, don't try starting it with flint and steel. Use a roll of toilet paper soaked in white gas in a coffee can to get it going. The goal is to make the first few trips as pleasant as possible and then slowly ramp up your skills on later trips.

Hopefully that's somewhat helpful. I'll try to add more if I think of anything, or if you have any particular questions or areas you want covered. Enjoy your time out and I hope you all have an amazing trip!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Don't pitch your tent in a ditch. I have an excellent Expedition tent. Set it up late without regard to the site itself other than not sleeping on rocks. Overnight it stormed and I awoke in about 5 inches of water. Tent didn't leak but getting out of it was more disastrous than sleeping in it :) What a mess for days. As mentioned, get up off the ground as far as you can. If your dad gets a big tent you can actually uses cots though I never have. An air mattress minimum. I've slept on all the pine bows and homemade beds, Often its fine, often you wake up so sore it ruins the trip especially if you get cold wet AND sore. A nights rest should restore you not deplete you. Well rested and the rest of the challenges can be fun and exciting. A bad nights rest and its miserable drudgery. Do look as obstacles as challenges. Overcome they become the best memories, surrendered to they become the worst. Attitude can be as disastrous as a hurricane.

Fires are fun, coffee is almost a spiritual ritual for me, I'm not into marshmallows but a lot of families/ swear by smores over the fire and helps any girls have some fun. Cooking on a fire is difficult to master but smores are instant success. I like stuff where I just boil water and stir. Bugs spray Benadryl, aspirin and a poison ivy remedy of your choice just incase. I got it on my private parts while camping which brings me to toilet tissue and some wetwipes, luxury I know but toilet paper in outhouses' is notoriously smooth and shiny and better for spreading grease than cleaning up.


Edited by Muestereate
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  • 2 weeks later...

Some simple things I do to help me out when I camp.
Bug Spray. Seriously. Unless your camping in Winter time, Bugs get everywhere. This will help you ignore them and enjoy the Outdoors.

I tend to use the Trunk of a vehicle to store food and trash in. Helps cut down the risk of Unwanted Critters invading your camp.

Doesn't hurt to have extra stuff. As long as you don't overburden yourself. I always have extra batteries for Flashlights, extra water, and extra socks when I do any kind of Hiking or Camping.  I just like to be prepared.

Cheers, and enjoy the Camping Trip!

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  • 3 months later...

Never underestimate the raw versatility of a tarp and a spool of paracord. You can use it as a groundsheet to prevent water from seeping in from below. You can cover your tent directly to help add additional rain protection. Or tie it over the top of your tent like a canopy to serve as a detached rain fly, to improve airflow in the tent while still staying dry. You can angle it a bit to direct the runoff, then leave a bin on the ground to collect water. So if it does rain, boom you've got your water right there to wash up in the morning and don't have to go lugging jugs around. If you tie it high enough you can use it to protect your campfire from rain, and to provide a dry spot to sit outdoors so you're not stuck huddled in your tent waiting out the storm.

Oh and always store your food inside a locked vehicle. If that's not an option, suspend it high off the ground to protect it from opportunistic wildlife. And I'm not even talking like bear country or anything, common campground raccoons desensitized to humans are friggen relentless, and will absolutely figure out how to open your cooler if you leave it unattended. Unless it has a latch or something.

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On 6/13/2021 at 9:43 PM, Catlover said:

So, my father bought a tent to try camping despite always saying how he would never get one, and found camping pointless. However, he wants to try it, and we're all going camping soon for a night or two to try it out. If we like it, it will become a more regular thing.

If you've never been camping I'd highly suggest to try it first in a more civilized settings like an official camping site with toilets, showers and maybe a small shop. There you can test drive your gear like sleeping bags, matress, cooker and so on and also how to pitch the tend and you don't need to bring food and drinks. Once you are confident with your setup and you dare stay out for a few more days in the wild, think about what you intend to eat and how you want to prepare it, where and how you get water, what animals you might expect and how to deal with them and how you want to manage the daily pooping - seriously, the later is not to be underestimated :D Oh and yes, if you are close to water, bring moskito spray or something.

Spending a week or more away from civilization can be a highly rewarding experience but you need to know your gear and be prepared ;) But I see you've started this thread in June, I suppose you were already camping by now, how was it?


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Some very overdue thanks for@ajb1978 @Blackspiral2000 @Jacob32 and @Muestereate! Your tips are very helpful, and I appreciate the help 


And @ChillPlayer, first thank you for your help and also, our first, and only, so far, camping trip was a success. We stayed pretty local in what was basically a large field with toilets as we wanted to test everything, basically like you have suggested. It was just for two nights but we all enjoyed it, especially our dog. Thank you for asking :)


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  • 1 month later...

Nice to hear you liked it. 🙂 I'm teaching my kids (4 and 6) outdoor skills and they love it. We'll do our first Winter trip this Winter. They've started to grasp the finer details of choosing paths and started to pay attention to sounds of birds (mainly that if they suddenly go quiet, it means it's prolly gonna rain soon).

Solid advice above. I'll add a few things I've learned from my outings:

Waterproofing! Can't stress this enough. I tend to put everything important in a ziplock bag, and also use a big trash sack to line my backpack. Very important to ziplock one set of improved fire making gear (along with better quality tinder, like the light cardboardy-stuff they use for egg cartons, coated with melted candle wax), and unless you have a better case, also your phone and possible power bank. Also a good idea to have at least water-resistant first aid pack. Making your back pack waterproof also makes it double as a flotation aid for water crossings. You can even tie a few together to form a rudimentary raft if you aren't alone and have some cord.

If it's a colder season, in addition to the ziplocked improved fire making gear in your back pack, also have on set in the inner pocket of your clothing. If something happens to your back pack, you'll at least have one more set on you. It isn't that heavy and has saved a friend of mine once.

Have a map and a compass and know how to use them. Don't rely just on GPS etc. Complex tech can always fail you more easily. I've learned this at sea, but works just as well on the ground.

It's a good idea to put your topmost clothes inside your sleeping bag for the night. Many bags seem to have a small dividing "wall" in the other end, which I use to divide my clothing and feet into separate "lockers". Much nicer to put on warm and dry clothes in the morning.

That's off the top of my head. Mainly safety stuff, I guess. BTW, if anyone has an idea what to do with your shoes while sleeping without a fire during Winter, I'd much appreciate knowing. If it goes to around -20°C (-4°F) and below, my shoes freeze during the night. Not nice. It's been quite a while I've been camping overnight in the Winter, but I've been thinking that maybe you could just bag them and take them inside the sleeping bag as well.

Damn! Re-reading all that, I think I might have to start calling myself The Bag Man. 😝

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I see that I am a little late to reply to this thread, but as I grew to love hiking and camping only after reaching adulthood, this is a topic I love to talk about. Here are a few pointers that I take from my own experience:

- If you plan to spend time in a tent, especially in colder climates, bring a "pee bottle" Nothing is such a drag as to have to leave the warm snugness of a sleeping bag in the middle of the night.

- Even if it is a dry climate, not a chance in the world of rain or other dampness, waterproof everything anyway.

- Try to bring tools that can function to more than one purpose. For example, a cup that you can also use as a cointainer to boil water. A knife with a serratet edge.

- If you can bring an axe / hatchet, saw and a knife. Great. If you have to choose only one, choose the knife.

- Never leave a smoldering campfire. Take proper precautions to prevent a wildfire.

- Use wool as the innermost article of clothing. Works great in warmer climates as well.

- Try to follow the KISS-principle. "Keep it simple, stupid." Don't overcomplicate things.

- Have a backup plan, think worst case scenario.

What will you do if you yourself or someone in your company breaks a leg, cut themselves severly with a knife, if someone gets burns from fire, what if aliens invade your campground. (Just joking with the last part.) 

I enjoy camping on my own most of the time, far from the usual camping spots  so I always bring tools and supplies in order to be pretty much self sufficient. (First aid supplies, GPS with Inreach capabilities, emergency shelter and so forth.)

Just my two cents. I am not at any rate an expert but these I have learned the hard way, by trial and error.


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Guest jeffpeng
On 7/5/2021 at 11:02 PM, Muestereate said:

Attitude can be as disastrous as a hurricane.

This is so true on so many levels in life, but especially when you don't have the immediate safety net of society.

Plus: Peanut butter really is the best food ever invented. You can literally go for days on that stuff if you have to.


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