10 Beginner Camping Tips You Must Know   Recently updated !

Basic Camping Tips for Camping Beginners

Preparing for your first camping trip can be overwhelming for camping beginners, but these 10 basic camping tips will
help guide you to the answers to a lot of these camping questions.

What to take? How much to take? Do you need this, do you need that? How should you pack everything? And a hundred more questions may be buzzing around in your head. All of a sudden that glorious adventure into the great outdoors seems like it is more trouble than it is worth.

But it’s not. Camping can be a lot of fun and a lot less worry that you are imagining. Just follow these basic tips, one step at a time, and the rest will fall into place.

The 3 most important camping tips for a first-time campers:

#1. Know the trip details.

  • Know the expected weather; what to dress for; hot, cold, rain, snow
  • The type of campsite you will be in; a campground with water/electric/showers/bathrooms, or a primitive site with nothing but you and nature – or something in-between.
    *campgrounds with at least water and bathrooms are the most common first-time camper destinations.
  • What the camping agenda is; will there be hiking? Boating/swimming/fishing? etc. etc. (do you need extra gear for these?)
  • Are you are expected to bring your own food, or contribute to a camp food fund

#2. Use a camping checklist!
Seriously! If you are thinking you don’t know what to pack, or what you will need, a camping checklist will show everything most campers consider important. (there is a link for a great “Master” checklist, below, or make your own on a legal pad)

It will help you know, and decide, what you need to take. But don’t think you need everything on a camping checklist. Most are made to include every possible need, and almost no one needs to take everything on every camping trip. Especially if you are an invitee and not the trip organizer.

#3. Don’t Spend a Fortune “Gearing-Up”
You do not have to spend a fortune for camping gear. Or even camping-specific gear. For instance; if it is a car-camping trip, you might not need a backpack – a duffel bag or suitcase might be just fine. Or you might not need expensive hiking boots if the agenda does not include any hiking trips. And you don’t need a $300 “mummy bag” for summer camping – a $20 cheapo sleeping bag* from Walmart will do just fine to start. There will be plenty of time to buy better gear after you decide you like camping.

*But, not for cold weather camping! If you will be camping in cold weather a good sleeping bag and sleeping pad on very important and should not be skimped on.

The weekend camping trip … Your camping gear list:

(the bare-bones essentials)
  • Backpack or duffel bag
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad (optional)
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Flashlight
  • Water bottle
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Hiking boots or sneakers
  • Personal toiletries
  • Towel(s)

campfire cooking and camping gear
*Read more about 10 Essential Things You Need to Go Camping


Tip: First time campers can save a lot of money by checking thrift and discount stores for their camping gear needs first.

Now the “little,” but still important, tips for new campers:

  • Make sure you take a personal refillable water bottle and a personal coffee mug.
  • Take a couple drawstring-type trash bags for dirty laundry and wet stuff. (clothes/shoes)
  • You will need at least one hand towel – even if you don’t plan on showering
  • Take at least two pairs of shoes, or one pair of boots and one pair of “around camp” shoes.
  • Take a hat and at least one set of long-sleeve clothes – even for summer camping. (nights can still get cool)
  • Take an emergency poncho, like the cheap ones packed about the size of a deck of cards.
  • You will need your own personal flashlight, (back-up batteries?)!
  • Take your own insect repellant and pain relief, (aspirin, Tylenol, etc.), supply.
  • For tent camping – a sleeping pad is not a luxury.
  • Inflatable air mattresses are not a good idea.
  • Double check all your camping gear and equipment at home first.
  • If you are taking your own tent – make sure you have all the tent poles, tie-down lines and tent pegs too. (don’t take it for granted they are packed with the tent) Always practice setting the tent up at home first!
  • Plan easy, simple camp food; hot dogs/burgers, sandwiches, foil-pak meals, and instant foods like oatmeal packs and cup-o-noodles.

Almost essential camping gear list:

Nice-to have items
  • Day Pack (sm. backpack)
  • Personal Pocket First Aid Kit
  • Toilet paper
  • Camp Shoes – Slip-ons
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect Repellent
  • Camp Chair/Stool
  • Stuff Sack for dirty laundry
  • Camping Knife

Here is a page-formatted, printable personal gear checklist.
If you need to take more than just personal camping gear for yourself, here is a complete detailed camping gear checklist.

The easy way:
A Camping Gear Wishlist

Here is a wish list selection of camping gear for new campers. Just pick the items you need, in the price range you want, and get the complete package with just a few clicks.

Red Special Offer graphic

Camping gear package for new campers

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Related Resources:

Camping equipment for new campers

Is it more than just an invite? Do you need more than just your personal camping gear? Do you want to build your own supply of camping gear? Essential Campsite Gear and Equipment for New Campers


Complete Camping Stove and Cookware Starter set, all in one package! Great for the new camper. All the basics needed for campsite cooking in one inexpensive package. – Camp Stove, Pots and Pans, Cooking and eating utensils, Plates, Cups, and more. Plus, you can pick and choose which pieces you want! Camping Stove and Cookware Starter Set:


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