The Ultimate Campsite Guide for Your First Camping Experience

Connecting with nature-inspired is one of the best ways to relax, rejuvenate, and it’s also a great way to bond with your loved ones. It’s a therapeutic and exciting experience for both your mind and body… are you ready? Get carried away with G-Extreme’s Ultimate Campsite Guide!

However, while it sounds a little bit intimidating if you’ve never been camping before, don’t despair, Giorgy is here to help! There is definitely some preparation to be done before any camping trip, and this article will give you a guide on some camping essentials and what you need to pay attention to as a camping beginner.

Of course, because the pandemic (our beloved friend COVID) and the uncertainty that we’re currently facing, are all making us go crazy recently, and being stuck at home most of the time sure doesn’t help. We would all definitely like to take a little break and clear our heads a little bit. So if you have been cooped up at home unable to travel abroad, this is the perfect solution for you!

Did you happen to say CAMPING?

Ready to disconnect and get back to nature? I am ready to show you in detail what you need to make yourself comfortable out of your comfort zone even working out for the most luxe-loving traveler.

HERE IS THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR YOUR FIRST CAMPING TRIP!

G-Extreme is sorry to disappoint campers who are looking up a completed guide where it’s included everything needed for living out of your car or camping. But this guide is more for trips between two and four nights, so this is for weekend warriors and those who camp to get away on the weekend.

Since you are a beginner, I’ve been there too tasting things on my own, it should include pretty much everything you’ll need, so hopefully, this helps prepare for your epic first adventure!

ULTIMATE CAMPSITE GUIDE AND SETUP

If you are a human’s enthusiastic about camping in the open air, the first thing that you need to consider to be able to have a quality camping experience is where you will be camping; these are some important tips on how to pick the perfect campsite:

IMPORTANT: As a new camper, you should familiarize yourself with the Leave No Trace Principles to best preserve wildlife and be considerate of those visiting the area after you, you wouldn’t like to reach a campsite and find it full of litter, right? So always remember: don’t do to others what you don’t want to be done to you.

1) Proximity to water

Water is probably the most important factor because you’ll need it for cooking, cleaning, and of course, you can purify it and use it as drinking water instead of having to carry gallons of water with you.

It’s important to be close to a body of water like a stream of a lake, and it would also be fun to take a dip during your camping trip. However, you shouldn’t set camp too close to the water because it attracts insects and it might also be drinking water for the wildlife in the area, so remember to keep a safe distance.

  • Biodegradable Wipes: remember the Leave No Trace Principles Giorgy talked about before? These eco-friendly wipes are worth their weight in gold when you camping.
  • LUSH: Whenever I go, LUSH is with me! This is another way to reduce plastic and also a way to remove dealing with the mess and weight of liquids. Lush solids are for any kind of traveler! I mean, what else! 

2) The sun could be your worst enemy

It’s crucial to think about how much sun you’d want in your tent in the morning; especially if you’re camping in the summer. You wouldn’t want to be woken up by the blistering heat in the morning, so pick a shady area to set camp in.

A Hanging Fan would be a solution in case you can’t find a proper shaded place to camping. This can also save you from uncomfortable situations like when you traveling in literal hotspots which can reach more than 100 degrees weather. Hanging this inside the tent to keep it cool and then charge it daily with a solar panel.

3) Choose the right ground

Choosing flat, even, the level ground could be the one thing standing between you and an awful night of sleep. Try to stay away from sloping grounds because you might slide down in your sleep. Camping over a bed of grass would also be an ideal way to maximize your comfort. Stay away from depressions or ditches because they usually collect water after rain.

4) Camping reservation

If you don’t want to get in touch with your inner feral animal being completely surrounded by nature with no facilities and pit toilets, you can choose to make a reservation into national parks to RV parks well in advance.

Hipcamp is a great way to find and book private lands campsites worldwide and nationwide; have a look at recreation.gov that might be helpful in order to make a reservation in a public lands campsite nationwide. Or just go with the flow and get a spot open on a first-come campground (first-served basis); it might be a good idea to arrive at these sites well in advance in order to not find yourself with an unpleasant surprise.

USEFUL TIPS: If you are new in the field, you could opt for camping close to home and postpone your campout if the weather forecast is awful. Better to be safe instead of being sorry!

Camping Gears

The second thing campers need to pay attention to before a camping trip is what they’ll be packing and the gear they need to have.

To help you get more familiar with what gear you need to have in order to have a successful camping trip, I’ve put together a list of some items that you need to take with you on your trip. Because you never know if a place would be fulfilled furniture or not, or if you’re having running water and community bathroom nearby. So it’s essential to be ready for everything! 

USEFUL TIP: As a beginner, and to save money, you can borrow or rent most of the gear, but if you then enjoy the experience and would like to do it regularly, some gear is worth investing in.

1) Tent Setup 

Your tent will be your shelter during your trip, so it’s detrimental to the quality of your camping experience. The first thing you need to consider is how much room you will need depending on how many people you’re camping with.

If your budget can go a little bigger, then it’s recommended to upsize your needed tent capacity by 1 person by giving a cozy couple a little extra breathing room and more comfort, and a family of four can more easily achieve harmony in a 6-person tent.

3-season tents are usually the most recommended and most popular choice among campers and they typically consist of mesh panels to keep out insects and are double-walled (tent body + rainfly). If you like some standing room in your tent, you might also need to consider the height of the tent.

TIP: try setting up your tent before your trip as a practice to make it easier for you when set camp and not getting it under your skin during your trip! Learning by doing, right Giorgy?

2) Sleeping Bag

For your sleeping bag, it’d be a good idea to select it based on its temperature rating. Sleeping bags are classified according to which weather they will be most comfortable in, but a 3-season bag will give you more leeway for unpredictable shoulder-season weather. So pick one according to the season you will be camping in.

Another element to consider is the size of your sleeping bag; a rectangular sleeping bag is usually the most popular choice, but a mummy bag would be ideal if you’re backpacking and need to pack light.

3) Sleeping Pad

A good sleeping pad is like the mattress on a bed and it will basically be what separates from the hard ground, so it’s important to choose one that will help you have a good night’s sleep. Other than consider getting one that has high-tech insulation to prevent you from losing body heat on the cold ground.

4) Solar Banks

There are different ways to keep all your gear fully charged. From having a portable power bank already charged to a solar panel.

Having a power bank saved you time and the pain of finding a way to recharge your stuff. Solar is also one of the best and efficient ways to tun things. Depending on the solar power you get, you might need to keep your charging stuff plugged in and let it charge in the sun.

5) Camp Lighting

Keep in mind most of the campsites don’t have illuminations, and no one wants to get lost in the dark. Therefore here is another essential piece of camping gear in order to free up your hands for camp tasks. 

Depending on the fire restrictions, you can build a campfire! Or else get yourself lanterns specifically designed for outdoors:

6) Games & Entertainment

Of course, if you have some spare place in your backpack, why not bring some games to play during the evening/nighttime! This would be a good thing in order to ditch the screens and go for old-school fun games.

My favorite one is going to stick with me forever: UNO Wilderness (special nature lover’s edition)!

7) Elevate Your Camping

Where to sit? Where to eat? Usually, you will find a lot of natural places to eat and of course, if you really want to settle in and elevate your camping standard, a pair of chairs and a table would be a good investment. Moreover, if you plan to camp regularly, it’s worth investing in good quality gear that is going to last a lifetime.

  • Collapsible Chairs (Space-Saving x2): small and easy to pack along with a convenient storage bag to carry them both in.
  • Small Multi-Use Table: just because having a table would make the experience much better and more comfortable! Let me know if I’m wrong.
  • Hammocks: The love of the hammock was born when I was traveling in South America and I take it with me whenever I go camping; it’s especially amazing for afternoon naps!

Utensils and Dishware

Don’t forget that you also need some utensils for eating and drinking. This set is generated toward cooking for one to two people. Here’s what to use:

  • Jetboil Mini Mo: Camping stove cooking is useful to do the trick.
  • Pot Support: It gives better support if you use pots and pans.
  • Small Fuel: be sure to bring it with you along with a lighter to fuel the burner.

USEFUL TIP: Fire it up once at home to be sure you know how it works. Or take the risk to go back roughing way… just go ahead!

You gotta bring everything necessary for food preparation and consumption. Utensils such as plates, pots, cups and so one, are a good way to go. Try to use recyclable utensils or even utensils from home instead of plastic to minimize the impact on the environment. 

Make sure you bring easy stuff to transport, the last thing you need is to bring the fine china with you and a backpack full of heavy plates! Here is a list of what you might need for your camping trip.

USEFUL TIPS: Unless you plan to bring the dirty dishes home, you need to have a scrubber, biodegradable soap, a towel, and two small washtubs. It would be a great idea to pack all your kitchen gear in a large clear plastic bin with a lid (easy to store away at home and ready for your next adventure too).

The Meal Plan

This leads us to the right to the most important question, what are you going to eat while camping! As a first-timer, you might not want to overwhelm yourself with complicated recipes or fancy meals, so I’ll start you off with some simple meal ideas and foods to pack:

For breakfast, you can eat

  • Oatmeal or cereal;
  • Bacon and Eggs;
  • Breakfast cookies or muffins (brought from home).

Ideas for Lunch

  • Noodles or pasta;
  • Sandwiches made from cheeses, tuna, salmon, peanut butter, or whatever you prefer;
  • roasted veggies and potatoes.
  • Condiments: Salt, Pepper, Honey, Maple Syrup, Sugar, and Olive Oil.

You should pack lots of snacks for in between meals

USEFUL TIP: It’s recommended, to satisfy your fresh-air-fueled hunger, to pack more food than you would usually eat because you’ll most likely need a lot of energy, so plan your meals ahead of time and pack enough food to keep you satisfied!

Essentials Backpacking and Hiking Apparel

Keep in mind you want to be carefree during your adventure, so it’s essential to be mindful and careful about what you pack with!

G-Extreme will say: pack light and efficiently!

I prepare a shortlist depending on what temperatures you are going to encounter in your hike and camping overnight adventure. You can always add or remove some of these clothing items and personalize the list as you wish!  

  • Warmer Destinations
  • Colder Destinations
  • Swimsuit: Who knows you will find yourself for a quick dip in a cold-crystal clear lake in the middle of nowhere?
  • 1-2 Sports Bras;
  • Underwear;
  • 2 Pairs Hiking Socks;
  • Hiking Shoes: Hiking is going to be the highlight of camping, so is recommended to have a comfortable pair of supportive hiking shoes. Don’t forget to have a pair of sandals to use while at the campsite.
  • Backpack: I find myself really comfortable with this one, especially in the summertime, otherwise take a bigger one;
  • Packing cubes: They make it so easy to organize and save a lot of space in your luggage (A LOT, they saved me in a few situations);
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Water is important, bring a reusable bottle with you which you can fill from wherever you are;
  • Comfy Pijamas: This is the G-Extreme type of PJ’s. 

There you have it! A rough guide to your first camping trip. Remember to plan ahead, sit back bring popcorn with and enjoy the experience!

What else would you make on a weekend camping trip? Let me know in the comments below!

Hey Goofball! Wondering where to head for your next weekend camping trip? Have a look at the best campground in California, they won’t disappoint you.