Camping is fun and cheap! If you don't mind sleeping anywhere you will expand your trip possibilities significantly, making them cheaper and closer to nature. We wrote this post to teach you the basics of camping comfortably. The first time I went camping with my parents back in Brazil I was only 1 month old, and since then I just can't stop doing it.
If you are a beginner we suggest you debut at an established campground, and once you get confident GO WILD! Here goes our top 10 tips:
1. Bring a Reliable and Light gear
A reliable and light gear set is essential to have a good time. Common mistakes that can ruin your camping trip includes realizing that your tent in broken or isn't waterproof when it starts raining; that your sleeping bag is not warm enough or your gas stove doesn't work properly... You should spend some extra money and buy a reliable gear set that you won't trash after the first trip attempt. We prepared a list of essential gear at the end of this post.
2. Fit everything in one bag and Keep it Lightweight
Hands free! That is an important rule when hiking and camping.
Keeping pack weight down is key. Use a light weighted and well framed backpack to avoid back and shoulder pain, where you can place all your gear!
3. Place your tent on a flat spot
Setting up a tent is all about location I: The most important thing to look for when searching for an optimal campsite is that it's flat ground - it can mean the difference between a good night's rest or waking up super tired. Avoid rocks and roots. Established campgrounds will typically maintain leveled and clean sites. While camping in the mountains it's hard to find a completely leveled spot, so prior to setting up your tent assess the conditions by laying your sleeping bag over the area and test the comfort. Make sure your head is not down. Use your feet to brush away any sticks, stones and tree branches that might poke you while sleeping.
4. Be close to the water
Setting Up A Tent Is All About Location II: Camping close to the water makes your life easier: you won’t need to carry that much of it as you can use the natural water to cook (after boiling it) or to clean your stuff and yourself. If it’s a big river be aware of flash floods washes during rainy days. Please, do not use any soaps to avoid contaminating water supplies.
5. Consider sun and wind exposure when placing your tent
Summer: Look for a shady spot, otherwise your tent will become sauna-like.
Chill/Cold Weather: Look for a campsite with natural windbreak. Position your tent so the door faces away from the wind. It’s difficult to get a good night's rest if you tent is flapping all night long and your tent will feel drastically cold because of the poor insulation.
6. Bring a chair or hammock to be able to sit and rest
Sitting on the floor is ok but can tiresome and cool you down. If you bring a light chair (this is our favorite REI Flex lite chair) you will be able to rest, stretch your legs while cooking or chill. Hammocks are also a good options. We always bring both.
7. Cook when camping
Cooking your food at your your campsite is a fun activity and warms you up. We usually cook our dinner and breakfast. But keep it easy - you have a precarious kitchen. For dinner we recommend pasta with sausage or any variation. For breakfast oatmeal with nuts.
We usually bring sandwiches, nuts, fruits and yogurt to eat during the hike/day and try to always cook at night. We enjoy our time during cooking and eating warm food will make you feel comfy for the whole night. If you can do it close to a fire pitch, that's even better.
8. Avoid Rainy and Freezing Weather
If you are used to it and have the special gear, you can deal with freezing weather, but we do not recommend. But definitely avoid rainy weather ! It's just annoying and not fun at all. While raining you are stuck inside your tent with all your gear. After it stops everything is wet, muddy and it's super hard to make fire out of the wet woods to dry out and keep warm. USA east coast (where we live and camp most) can be rainy during summer, so watch out. Drizzle should not be a problem.
9. Dress smart
Remember that by being outdoors the whole day you'll be exposed to the weather and cooler nights. Bring enough cloth to keep you warm and wear your boots during the night to avoid pintching your feet. During warm months we also bring a flip flop to chill in our camp site.
10. Have company and enjoy!
Camping with a partner is safer and you can better distribute the weight and responsibilities while preparing and setting the camp site. Also, happy experiences are always better when shared!
Wondering how we go to the bathroom while wild camping? Ask us!
Have fun in nature, folks!
BONUS: ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT FOR WILD CAMPING
Check out this list and you will be ready to go.
1. SLEEP (3)
2. BASICS (8)
- Water bottle
- Portable charger
- First aid kit
- Flip flop
- Additional bag (for daily hikes)
3. COOK (9)
- Ultralight stove
- Gas canisters
- Lighter and matches
- Steel cooker and nesting cups
- Swiss army knife
- Sporks (spoon and fork)
- Fire starter
- Paper towels
4. PERSONAL (8)
- Toothbrush with toothpaste
- Towel (suggest light ones)
- Lip balm (winter times)
- Hair bands (if you have long hair, will make your life much easier in nature)
- Toilet Paper
- Insect repellent
5. ENTERTAINMENT (3)
- Music instruments