TYPICAL BEGINNER CAMPING MISTAKES
Everyone has to start somewhere. I remember my early camping trips being fraught with sleepless nights from poor campsite choice, a badly made tent and inappropriate gear and clothing. While these experiences are character building, if you can avoid making the same mistakes I made, you will find your first camping trip to be a much more rewarding experience. Camping isn’t complicated or difficult, but with a little bit of prior knowledge, you can avoid falling into the same beginner traps most people do.
PRACTICE PUTTING UP YOUR TENT BEFORE YOU GO
It sounds basic, but I can assure you, everyone makes this mistake at least once. Mine wasn’t as a beginner, but after several years camping. I had bought a new tent and thought that because I had put up countless numbers of tents before, I didn’t need to do a practice assembly in my garden beforehand. Cue arriving at the campsite and me spending several hours struggling with the tent while my family looked on disapprovingly. The embarrassment and frustration of being caught out by a new piece of equipment taught me to always check everything beforehand. If you have a new stove, practice lighting it. Put up a new tent. Check the torch for batteries.
DO A LITTLE RESEARCH ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING
Researching your prospective campsites thoroughly is essential. On our second family trip, we took the dog, totally assuming the campsite would allow pets. Needless to say, our lack of researching the location meant our four-legged friend was unwelcome and we had to spend the whole of the first day of our holiday looking for an alternative pet-friendly option. Research the campsite, local national parks and access times and routes beforehand.
INVEST A LITTLE MORE IN QUALITY EQUIPMENT
If you want equipment that lasts, you need to invest a little more in most cases. My first tent lasted barely a weekend and my first backpack only lasted a couple of camping trips. I hate spending money more than anyone, but if you want to camp more than once a year, you need good equipment. There is no sense in spending more than you need to, but researching quality brand names online and then looking for the best possible price is always the way to go. Just in case you don’t know, you’re only protected by Australian consumer laws if the company you purchased from is in Australia. Furthermore, I my experience, better brands deliver better quality and gear that won’t let you down when you need it.
WEATHER APPROPRIATE SLEEPING GEAR
One of my first camping trips saw me and a mate sharing a 4-person tent in the Australian Alps. We didn’t have roll mats and our sleeping bags in contact with the cold tent floor led to a sleepless night of uncontrollable shivering. We were young and idiotic, but research the weather conditions and ensure you have sleeping gear suitable for the colder night temperatures.
ARRIVE AT THE CAMPSITE EARLY IN THE DAY
The best spots go early. Popular locations are often booked out months ahead, especially over Christmas holidays and other long weekends. Arrive in the morning to give yourself plenty of time to choose a nice site to set up camp, assemble the tent and then get food on the go. Especially if you have children. Putting a tent up in the evening with overtired, hungry children is a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone after going through it myself. Get there early and have a plan in mind for what to do if the campsite turns out not to be as suitable as you had hoped.
Is there anything you would like to add to this article? Share your thoughts through the comments section.