How to Prepare for My First-Time Camping – A Beginners Guide

Learn how to go camping for the first time with this beginner’s guide to camping.

As it has been quite some time (well over 20 years) since I last went camping, I have asked Tadej Kozar from Camping Valley to share his top tips for first-time campers.  You can learn more about Tadej at the bottom of the post.

The preparation work for a camping escapade can seem overwhelming if you have never been on this outdoor adventure before. The following camping tips will have you feeling like a professional camper in no time.

This is not your mediocre beginner guide to camping – it is going to focus on the things that you ought to know so that you can feel like a professional camper and don’t end up getting eaten by a bear or burning down the forest.

In this Article Learn How You Should Prepare for Camping:

two tents and two chairs around a camp fire in the woods
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First Time Camping Preparation Tips

Having a great time when you are a camping amateur is all about preparing your mind first. With the right mindset, everything will come together when getting started with camping. Having the right mindset is just as essential as having the right know-how and gear.

There are millions of articles on the web that review the best gear for amateur campers and that provide different camping skill tips. But, there are barely any about the “oh so important” frame of mind.

The most important thing you should know about your first camping adventure is that something will most likely go wrong (let us hope it is not the bear). That is just how it is. That does not mean anything too serious, but you will probably forget something.

You can lose something, have poor weather, or end up experiencing any list of fateful events. That is why your mind frame, when learning the nitty-gritty of camping, ought to be in the appropriate place.

Instead of visualizing a breathtaking scene of the best campground, you might have seen in a magazine or in the movies, it’s important to have in mind that camping is not meant to be stylish (unless you are glamping).

Be ready to face some less-than-desirable critters of nature, and be ready to be a little uneasy while sleeping. In short, don’t think of camping like Haverford Tom in “Parks and Recreation”… That realistic mind-frame must also steer you to pay attention to some of the most helpful camping advice for amateurs you’ll likely hear.

Basic Tips for First-Time Camping

So, how to go camping for the first time? When planning your first camping adventure, plan it in the backyard. If the backyard isn’t big enough, find a family or friend member who has it. Getting to a campsite that is far from your home unprepared, is the last thing you want to do.

A backyard camping expedition will offer you an opportunity to master some camping basics, like getting comfortable starting a fire in a safe way or becoming used to how your camping tent sets up, without being far away from the comfort of a home should something fail too well.


If something slips up, you’re only a short distance away from the comfort (e.g. a toilet that flushes). Camping is fun! So, prepare yourself for success rather than run the risk of having a regrettable experience that is likely to ruin your camping enthusiasm forevermore.

The most crucial thing about framing your mind correctly as a beginner camper is to ensure that you enjoy and have fun. Laugh out at your errors. If something goes wrong, find the humour in that situation. Don’t just think about having the best camping adventure where all goes well – that will only prepare you for a huge bummer.

Preparation is the key to anything. Camping is so good, so don’t ever be put off.

First-Time Camping Checklist

The Tent

First and the most important piece of equipment is the tent.

Buying the Tent

If you have not bought a tent yet, or want to upgrade, get yourself off to the right start by taking a look at some of the best camping tents that fit your camping needs.


Pitching a camping tent does not really have to be so complicated. It certainly goes without saying that must go through the instructions listed, and it’s most recommended that you pitch your tent in advance before going camping.

Sleeping Equipment for Camping

Even the warmest temperatures of summer can quickly go down overnight, therefore the key to ensuring that you enjoy your sleep while camping is seeing to it that your sleeping equipment is insulated.

Sleeping Mats

The first and most important sleeping equipment that you need to consider is the sleeping mat* that you are going to be sleeping on. Given the chance, the ground will surely absorb a lot of heat, thus ensuring to put good gear between you and the ground.

Sleeping Bags

Comfort and insulation are some of the most important attributes when shopping for sleeping bags. Get too cold and you will shiver yourself into the following week, extremely hot and, well, just open up a little.

There are numerous forms of insulation, with each of them having its own cons and pros, and likewise with outer and inner fabrics. Pick the camping bag* that is okay for you.

Find more…

More Camping Equipment

It definitely makes sense to divide this into sections that cover the most important areas of storage, cooking, eating, and clothing.


When you arrive at a campground you will have to unpack and set up your tent. There will be many things that will need to be rain protected. There are storage solutions where you can store your belongings and gear and have the camping place organized.

Some camping tents have a vestibule that is just perfect for storing your backpack and wet shoes. You can also use it or dry wet clothes after you washed them. Try to have your tent interior clean and dry at the same time.

The other way for storage is to put a tarp above the ground and store things underneath it. Make sure that things won’t be laying directly on the ground since rain can get to things quickly.

Top Trip Tip: Solid plastic storage containers are also a great option

Cooking Stuff

Being active outdoors demands that you prepare meals so you will have the energy to explore the surroundings. There are some rules about which type of food to bring and how to cook it.


It is best if you take food that won’t spoil soon. Bring dry fruit and meat, canned food, and pre-prepared food. Avoid taking wet food and foods that spoil fast like eggs, fresh meat, and milk.

Plan your meals and discover what to pack for food with this…

Cooking Appliances

Ok, so now that you have food and ingredients to cook, you need to start a fire so you will prepare a healthy meal. I suggest you buy a portable stove* so you will be able to cook because, without it, it will be harder to manage your outdoor kitchen.

Also bring some utensils, a coffee pot, cups, and matches to start a campfire.

Clothing for Camping

The number of clothes you bring will certainly depend on the amount of time you are going to camp for, however, it is a good idea to carry little extra clothes, if you have sufficient space. Waterproof clothes should occupy the largest space of your camping clothing and these should have “taped seams”.

If you are not sure about this, go to a reputable camping clothes retailer and check outskirts/shorts/trousers. Quick-drying and lightweight materials such as nylon are the most appropriate for an active camping adventure, both for beginner and professional campers.  The most important is to store your clothes somewhere dry because wet clothes won’t let your camping trip last.

Top Trip Tip: Use waterproof dry bags* to keep clothes dry and wet clothes separate from dry


Now you know some tips on how to go camping for the first time. Remember that camping is more about getting away from the fuss of everyday life and enjoying cool moments out in nature.

It will benefit you very well to always have that in mind. So follow this beginner’s guide to camping very carefully for an unforgettable first-time camping experience.

Check out all these…

Camping tent and accessories in the bush
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One Comment

  1. Great tip Neora,
    I always pack my favourite cleanser and moisturiser

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