Camping Newbie Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Trip

Camping Newbie Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Trip

Embrace the Chaos (Or Don’t)

As a brand new camper, I had this romanticized vision of pitching a tent under the stars, roasting marshmallows by the campfire, and waking up to a serene wilderness. What I didn’t anticipate were the inevitable mishaps that come with diving headfirst into the great outdoors.

From forgetting essential gear to underestimating the power of Mother Nature, my first camping trip was a comical series of blunders. But you know what they say – live and learn! And that’s exactly what I’m here to help you do.

Know Your Limits (And Your Gear)

One of the biggest mistakes I made as a camping newbie was trying to take on way more than I was ready for. I had this idea that I needed to be Bear Grylls level rugged, so I booked us a remote backcountry site without any prior experience. Big mistake.

Travel experts recommend starting with a private campground close to home for your first trip. This gives you a chance to get comfortable with the basics – setting up your tent, using a camp stove, that sort of thing – without the added stress of being miles away from civilization.

It’s also crucial to thoroughly test out any new gear before your trip. There’s nothing worse than getting to your campsite only to realize your sleeping bag has a busted zipper or your camp stove won’t light. Spending an afternoon practicing in your backyard can save you a world of frustration.

Pack Smart, Not Heavy

I made the rookie mistake of overpacking for my first camping trip, thinking I needed every piece of equipment under the sun. In reality, all that extra weight just made my hike a slog and left me exhausted before I even got to the campsite.

Woodland Woman suggests packing light and focusing on the essentials. Things like a good sleeping pad, proper layers, and a reliable camp stove should be your priority. Leave the designer hiking boots and high-tech gadgets at home.

And don’t forget to pack smart! Arrange your gear so the heaviest items are closest to your body and distribute the weight evenly. This will make hauling your pack a whole lot easier.

Expect the Unexpected (And Have a Plan)

No matter how well you plan, there’s always the chance that something will go wrong on a camping trip. Maybe it rains all weekend, or your stove decides to crap out, or you forget the bug spray and end up as a smorgasbord for every mosquito in a 10-mile radius.

As Woodland Woman points out, preparation is key. Always have a backup plan, whether that’s a sturdy tarp for inclement weather or an emergency stash of non-perishable snacks. And never underestimate the importance of leaving a detailed trip plan with a trusted friend or family member.

Most importantly, don’t freak out when things inevitably go sideways. Camping is all about embracing the unpredictable and finding the humor in your misadventures. After all, the best stories always start with “Remember that time…”

Respect the Elements (But Don’t Let Them Ruin Your Trip)

Speaking of unpredictable weather, one of the biggest challenges I faced as a new camper was dealing with Mother Nature’s mood swings. I’ll never forget the time I got caught in a rainstorm with nothing but a thin, leaky tent to protect me. Spoiler alert: I ended up shivering in a puddle all night long.

Woodland Woman stresses the importance of proper rain and cold-weather gear to keep you comfortable no matter what the elements throw your way. Investing in a quality tent, weatherproof layers, and a reliable camp stove can make all the difference.

But don’t let a little rain or chill ruin your trip! Travel and Leisure recommends packing engaging outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, or fishing to keep you entertained even when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating.

Embrace Your Inner Wilderness Warrior (But Stay Safe)

As a Black woman, I always thought camping was something “other” people did – you know, the rugged outdoorsy types who could hike 20 miles without breaking a sweat. But after my first few trips, I realized that camping is for everyone, no matter your background or skill level.

Danielle Williams, the founder of Diversify Outdoors, puts it best: “It’s not accidental. It’s not cultural. We were intentionally kept out of that space.”

So if camping has always seemed intimidating to you, I encourage you to push past those preconceptions and give it a shot. Start small, make safety a priority, and most importantly, have fun with it! Who knows, you might just discover a newfound love for the great outdoors.

And remember, you don’t have to go it alone. The Loch Ness Shores campsite in the Scottish Highlands offers a variety of guided tours and workshops to help newbies feel right at home. So what are you waiting for? Your wilderness adventure awaits!

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