Beautiful campsite for beginners underneath the stars with a single orange tent

Camping For Beginners [Everything You Need to Know]

Camping may seem daunting to the uninitiated outdoors lover, but you don’t have to hesitate! With the right information at your fingertips, even someone who’s never stepped foot on a campground can plan the perfect camping vacation for themselves, family and friends.

There’s so much more to camping than what you’ve seen on TV or heard offhand. It’s a bucket list experience for anyone who loves nature and craves a change of pace to their normal routines. To camp is to appreciate the things we tend to take for granted in our surroundings.

If you’re still worried that you’re not a camping guru and you’re going to screw up your first big excursion, fear not! We’ve taken the time to provide our Ultimate Guide To Camping For Beginners, covering everything from how to start a campfire to what precautions you need to take (and food you should make).

So, read on and remember that we all started as beginners before our first big camping trip. However, you’re going to be way ahead of the game just by giving this article a read.

Types Of Camping

There are (at least) four distinct types of camping which open up a litany of experiences and possibilities for the adventurous camper. Let’s dive into each of these camping styles a bit:

  • Car Camping – How do you go camping in a car? It’s actually pretty simple! Scout your location out and do some research. Both Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands usually allow “dispersed camping” for up to 14 days, but it always pays to double check with an area’s overseeing administration. Some big-box retailers generally allow overnight stays in their parking lots, but check with them to make sure those allowances don’t contradict city or state policy. Camping in your car is great for those who want to do things with limited gear, but there are definitely useful amenities such as backseat mattresses and portable stoves which can make things much easier and much more comfortable. Oh, and lock your doors. It goes without saying, but it’s something to keep at the front of your mind before conking out. 
  • RV Camping – What is RV camping? Imagine bringing most to all of the comforts of living at home on the road with you. The perfect camping RV functions as a house on wheels, with everything from small kitchens to ample outlets for entertainment devices at your fingertips. If you’re worried because you’ve never driven an RV before but you’re interested in perhaps renting one, fear not! Most rental companies provide “Class C” RVs which operate similarly to a normal passenger car. And most RV rental services will also provide pre-rental training for the uninitiated on how to handle the nuances (and heft) of such large vehicles. RV camping is a special kind of camping and there are hundreds upon thousands of RV campgrounds across the nation and the world which cater to it. Each campground has different hookup capacities for sewage and electricity, so pay attention to the specs of an RV campsite before settling on one.
  • Tent Camping – You may feel silly asking the following question, but you shouldn’t: how do you camp in a tent? The most tried and true of the four camping styles on this list, tent camping may be the hardest to execute and execute well. Different tents do better in cold-weather locales than other thanks to better insulation and sealing, so ensure you have the right tent for the right temperatures. Every camper has a varied comfort level with the idea of “roughing it,” so make sure everyone’s on board in your party and that all essential items such as food, water, clothing, fire-starting essentials, plates and utensils, and sleeping bags are checked off your inventory list before heading out. Pay attention to the time of year and the busyness of the particular campsite you’ve got eyes on. Some beloved campsites are so stacked with campers during the summer months that they require registration and scheduling in advance to get a spot. Once there, set your tent up on level ground and use instructions if necessary to ensure it’s sturdy for the nights ahead. Also, be sure to choose the right, especially if you’re anticipating a camping trip in the rain.
  • Hammock Camping – What is hammock camping? How does it differ from tent camping? It’s pretty simple! With hammock camping, you’re simply swapping out your tent for an elevated hammock tied between two trees. You’ll still bring similar essentials to those you’d bring tent camping, but your sleeping arrangements will be much different (and perhaps much more comfortable). Hammock camping is perfect for backpackers because the equipment necessary is much lighter and easy to port in a normal camping backpack. You may need some extra accouterments such as bug netting or an underquilt for warmth, but it all depends upon where you’re setting up and what the weather/bug situation is. When camping in a hammock, please ensure that the trees you use to set up your hammock are healthy trees that won’t be damaged by your weight swinging between them. Also, try not to use any trees which are serving as homes for bird nests or other animals. Hammock camping doesn’t have to be invasive. In fact, it can be downright comfortable for everyone involved. Including animals.
open camping tent overlooking a mountain and nature

Finding A Campsite For Beginners

Or to put it more acutely – where should I camp for beginners?

In the US and Canada, there are approximately 13,000 vehicle-accessible campgrounds. Across the world, there are hundreds of thousands of different campground choices. That’s a ton of pressure for a novice camper who just wants to see what all the hubbub is about.

If you’re a camper just starting out, there are a few factors you need to take into account prior to picking a campsite for your party. Firstly, remember our advice from earlier – some campgrounds getting absolutely stacked during the peak summer camping months. If you want to go to some of the most picturesque camping locales in the nation, be sure you check fees and wait times for getting a spot.

This brings into play the ideas of paid vs. free camping. If you’re a camper on a budget, you’ll want to look at the array of campgrounds in your area (or where you’re traveling) which don’t charge fees for vehicle parking or occupancy. However, some of the most desirable camping locales in the world have fees attached to them. Perhaps pool funds together with the rest of the campers in your party to pay the fee outright so you don’t miss out on breathtaking camping experiences in places like the United States’ array of national parks. 

Distance is also a critical factor in choosing the right campsite as a beginner. Are you looking to travel hours away from your home? Are you looking for a campsite nearby? You may limit your choices considerably if you’re not willing to drive a few hours to get to an ideal spot. In addition, pay attention to the distance between where vehicles are allowed at your site and where you’ll be camping. If you’ve got members of your camping party with disabilities that make hiking to a camping spot untenable, you’ll need to consider that and perhaps choose a different campground.

Perhaps the biggest concern and factor for a beginning camper is the weather forecast for your particular camping locale. The type of camping you choose should very well be dependent on the weather at your campsite. Hammock camping is possible when it’s extremely cold out, but you’d need a bevy of extra precautions and warmth-bringing accompaniments to make it feasible. Keep an eye on the weather forecast for your desired campground and pack your equipment accordingly.

Speaking of equipment…

Choosing Camping Gear For Beginners

What do you need to go camping for the first time? We’ve decided to break things down into certain sections for you, taking into account everything from cooking to sleeping. We’ll place an O (O) for optional by anything that isn’t essential, but should be considered if you’ve got the space to bring it.

Also, we’re assuming that you’ll be traditional tent camping with this list. You won’t need a tent if you’re hammock camping or RV camping, so keep that in mind and build your list to meet the needs of your particular camping trip.

a metal pot over a campfire in the middle of a campsite

Campsite Essentials

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Camping Pillows
  • Camping Knife
  • Flashlight
  • Lantern (Plus Fuel, If Necessary)
  • Camping Chairs
  • Matches
  • Headlamps
  • Foldout Table
  • Sleeping Pads
  • Air Mattresses
  • Hammock
  • Sunshade, Tarp
  • Firewood
  • Tablecloth
  • Clothesline + Clothespins

Cooking and Eating

  • Plates and Bowls
  • Utensils For Eating
  • Utensils For Cooking
  • Pots For Cooking
  • Frying Pan
  • Portable Stove + Fuel 
  • Openers For Bottles And Cans
  • Knife
  • Cups
  • Cooler For Drinks, Perishables
  • Ice
  • Cutting Board
  • Soap (Biodegradable)
  • Sponges
  • Trash Bags
  • Dish Towel
  • Wash Bins (If No Onsite Sink)
  • Portable Coffee Maker (O)
  • Camp Grill + Grill Rack (O)
  • Charcoal (O)
  • Tupperware + Foil (O)

General Tools

  • Duct Tape
  • Multipurpose Tool
  • Cord
  • Mallet (For Tent Stakes)
  • Axe Or Saw (For Firewood)
  • Broom + Dustpan
  • Emergency Repair Kits For Tents, Mattresses

One note: the above list does not take into account clothes, food, personal items, health and hygiene products, and things for entertainment. We’ll go into some of those here in a bit, but ensure you have packing space in your vehicle for more than just the essentials listed above!

Also keep in mind that short-term camping and long-term camping require different amounts of supplies and, sometimes, different supplies altogether! You may not need nearly as many cooking supplies for a one-day trip as you will for a four-day trip. In addition, you many need storage containers for food on a longer trip while it may not be necessary on a brief excursion.

Active sporty types also need to consider the types of activities you want to engage in while camping. You’re going to need a lot of space for kayaking equipment and a vehicle with tie-down anchors to keep your kayak affixed to the top. Boaters are going to need a hitch and an adequate hauling vehicle to get the boat from Point A to Point B. 

Hikers may want to pack lighter if they’re wanting to hike from camping spot to camping spot. And those looking to play any sort of game with their fellow camping buddies need to designate space in vehicles and packs for various necessary equipment.

This is a ton to keep track of. We know. It can be extremely daunting for a beginning camper to put this all together and come up with a winning game plan for packing. Luckily, we’ve curated the following list of tips for how to pack your camping equipment.

This list isn’t a fail-safe, but it’s definitely a great primer to work with when planning a camping trip of any length:

  1. When prepping your equipment for packing, consider what you’re going to need right away when you get to your campground. Set those things aside so that they’re last to go into the vehicle and first to come out. Your tent falls under this designation, so be sure to put your tent aside and put it in last.
  2. Put together a camping checklist before packing your vehicle. It’s exceedingly easy to forget a small thing which can become a big thing when you don’t have it. 
  3. Fragile items should go on top of your packing load, while things that could leak like your cooler should have a safe space on the floor of your truck bed or trunk area.
  4. If you’re packing heavy for a long camping trip, consider a rooftop car carrier. They’re available at everywhere from Target to REI, and they’re a fantastic option for when you just don’t have enough space inside your vehicle to pack everything.
  5. Another great investment for the beginning camper with a hatchback vehicle are cargo nets. These ingenious things are relatively inexpensive and will ensure all of your equipment doesn’t come flooding out the back when you open the hatch.
  6. When playing Tetris and stacking your equipment in your car, build a sturdy foundation with supplies that won’t get crushed and will stabilize the rest of the supplies on top.
camping knife, mug, and phone on a log over a campfire

Packing The Right Types Of Clothes For Camping Trips

Beginning campers usually obsess over the equipment they’re going to bring on their first camping trip, oftentimes neglecting to pay as much attention to the clothes they’re going to bring.

That’s a rough mistake to make, especially if you’re camping in an area prone to significantly colder temperatures at night. Also, campsites in warmer weather areas offer up a unique conundrum of attempting to stay cool while not exposing too much skin for fear of insect bites and rashes.

To help you out, we’ve devised strategies for packing clothes for both warmer weather and colder weather camping locales:

  • Warmer Weather – Make sure your undergarments are made of breathable material which doesn’t constrict and doesn’t serve to boil you under the hot summer sun. You may want to consider wearing long-sleeved shirts to protect you from mosquitos and the like, but try to find shirts and shorts/pants with moisture-wicking capabilities to keep your comfort level at a maximum. A hat or visor is also ideal to combat the sun’s rays, as are sunglasses. Sunscreen is a no-brainer. Don’t forget sunscreen. Remember that temperatures change drastically at night in some areas, so bring clothes you can layer for bed like sweatpants or a hoodie. That way if it’s hot at night, you can take layers off and be comfortable. 
  • Colder Weather – Insulation is the name of the game for cold-weather camping clothes. Consider wool or fleece from your socks to your hat, and most garments in between. Also realize that the more skin you can cover, the better off you’ll be at retaining warmth. Insulated gloves or mittens are a must, along with a stocking hat or extra layer for the top of your head. These are the places where warmth escapes easily and cold comes rushing in. Protect them with warm layers. One cold-weather camping life hack is trading in a normal jacket for a wind parka. Wind parkas are built long to drape over your thighs for a reason – the warmth generated by your lower body while walking shimmies up the coat like smoke in a chimney. It keeps you warm in a way normal jackets simply cannot.

Now that we’ve got weather patterns covered from a clothing choice standpoint, there are some other considerations to mention. Those campers engaging in different sports and activities while camping are going to want to make room in their packs for related proper attire. Here’s a few clothing recommendations based on popular activities some beginning campers might want to take part in:

taking a walk on a camping trail with a camping backpack, boots, and a waterproof jacket

  • Hiking – Sneakers with good tread and ankle support are fine, but hiking boots offer the perfect balance of joint stabilization and all-terrain tread. Warm-weather hikers are going to want breathable materials for all clothes, but it pays to cover up as much as possible to avoid bug bites and poisonous plants. A bandanna is a great option for sopping up sweat. Cold-weather hikers still will want to bundle up, but with clothes that are less rigid and easier to maneuver in.
  • Swimming – If you grab a swimmer’s shirt which doesn’t restrict you in water, it may be a good call. It’s just another safeguard from bug bites and the like. Where you’re swimming will determine how cold the water is, so pay attention to that and make sure you have a dry change of clothes handy for when you get out of the water. Sunscreen is essential to have on hand so that you can reapply it once you’re done swimming. 
  • Kayaking – The number one rule of dressing for kayaking is to dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature. If this means you need to pack a wet-suit or dry-suit, do so. Your body will thank you later. Also, every kayaker needs their own personal flotation device. When the water gets choppy and things get hectic after a spill, that flotation device will be a godsend. Layer your clothes, especially on top. This is critical as the water temperature shifts. You may want to shed a layer or add one. 
  • Lounging – We had to throw in our favorite camping activity. Depending on when you’re lounging and the temperature outside, you may want to have a couple comfy blankets on hand to bundle up when the night hits. In the summertime, soft cotton pajama pants and soft shirts with a flow to them are really nice to lounge in. During the colder months, a soft hoodie with a plush lining is always nice to have and to lose yourself in while lounging/cuddling.

One more thing – it’s better safe than sorry when packing clothes. If you’re not backpacking and dealing with limited pack space, having a couple extra changes of clothes for a longer camping trip is a good idea. It’s an especially good idea to overpack breathable undergarments for a clean change during the hot summer months.

Now that we’ve covered one essential in clothes, let’s move on to one of our favorite essentials. Bring on the grub!

Food For Camping Trips

What is the best food to take camping? In truth, that answer is going to vary for different campers and different tastes. This is even more apparent when you’re camping with vegetarians, vegans, those with food allergies, etc. 

Whatever you’re going to pack, you’re going to want to skew heavily towards non-refrigerated foods for camping over refrigerated foods. Unless you’re camping in an RV with a refrigerator or packing a cooler for a single-day trip, most refrigerated foods are in danger of spoilage on a camping trip of extended length. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring refrigerated foods like cheese and meat, packing them in your cooler. It just means you should skew most of your food choices towards the non-refrigerated side of the ledger to remain on the safe side.

Below is a list of food ideas for the beginning camper to look through. You can definitely add and subtract based on your preferences and the preferences of those in your camping party, but this is at least a good starting point:

  • Lots of fresh water! (check out the best water containers for camping)
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Tortillas
  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Noodles
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Assorted Spices (Based On Taste)
  • Butter
  • Carrots
  • Oil 
  • Vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Marshmallows (For Roasting)
  • Bacon
  • Condiments (Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, Etc.)
  • Coffee
  • Sugar (Or Alternative Sweetener)
  • Fruit
  • Granola Or Cereal
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts 
  • Beans
  • Garlic
  • Pancake Mix
  • Hot Sauce

The above is a pretty exhaustive list, but definitely poll your fellow campers and see what they want to eat. Look up recipes which are simple and camping friendly, tailoring your food supply to fit those recipes.

Now that you’ve got all this food lined up, it’s time for the least fun part – packing it. We always recommend bringing a cooler, but what if you’re a backpacker or packing light for a single-day camping trip? 

If you’re going to camp without a cooler, cut refrigerated foods off your pack list completely. Pack fragile food items such as eggs on top of whatever storage unit or backpack you’re using. If you’re not using a rolling cooler, pay attention and try and limit the weight of what you’re bringing. Without wheels, you’ll have to carry these items to the campsite. 

When using a cooler, you want to work in layers. We’ve broken cooler packing into three layers for beginners to map out their camping cooler for optimal space and protection of perishables:

  • Bottom Layer – Ice packs, canned and bottled beverages, butter, chocolate, any item which needs cooling and is packed in a harder packaging
  • Middle Layer – Meats, cheeses, any salsas or sauces which need some refrigeration
  • Top Layer – Produce, tortillas/bread, eggs, pre-cooked items in baggies 

You’ll of course need to pack your dry goods in a separate space, with heavier items on bottom.

If you’ve got limited pack space for food, you’re going to have to play Tetris and ensure that the essentials make it with you at the very least. Divvy your food up into priority subgroups and ensure the top priorities make it. You don’t want to sacrifice good food on a camping trip, limited pack space or not.

You’ve got your food ready. Your equipment is set. Your clothes are packed for the times at hand. Now you’re headed to the campsite. As a beginning camper, what do you do?

Setting Up A Campsite For Beginners

Before setting up your campsite, you’re going to need to actually pick your campsite. If you’re reserving a spot at a high-volume campground, it’s possible a site will be assigned to you. If that’s not the case, there’s several things you should look for in your search for the perfect campsite.

Here’s a list of different things to look out for before setting up camp for your trip:

  1. Do your best to get to the campground area a few hours before the sun starts to set. You want to give yourself plenty of time to find the right site, rather than settling on a less-than-ideal spot right before nightfall. 
  2. Clean water is a major luxury while camping. If you can, try to set up your campsite within 200 feet of a water source. That could be a creek or a provided sink by the campground administrators. Hauling water long distances for every little task is a major drag for any camper.
  3. Look for campsites with level ground. You’re going to want to set up your tent on level ground for both comfort and to keep water from gathering inside of it in case of a storm.
  4. Make sure your campsite is safe for everyone. Diseased trees with low-hanging branches could prove perilous as the trip goes on. Any site near a warning sign for flash floods could turn to chaos in the wrong weather. Be judicious and keep your eyes peeled around each site for trouble.
  5. If you’re warm-weather camping in the mountains, try to find a spot near the highest point of the campground. The weather will be much more ideal and the bugs will be much more sparse.
  6. Get creative with how you look at a campsite. If you’ve got a large camping party, a site with boulders or felled trees could add a few chairs to your gathering.
  7. If you’ve got modest campers in your party and there’s bathroom facilities on site, it’s not a bad idea to set up camp within relative walking distance of those facilities.

Once you’ve picked your campsite, now it’s time to set up! The first thing any beginning camper should do is set up your tent. Most campsites allow up to two tents, so you can definitely do that if you’ve got older kids or are co-camping with another family.

As a general rule, dome tents are much easier to set up. However, almost every new tent manufactured nowadays comes with easy-to-follow instructions for assembly. If your tent requires you to anchor stakes into the ground, which most do, keep a hammer or mallet by you while assembling your tent.

We can’t tell you how annoying it is to finally get your tent aligned and then waste that effort by not being able to anchor your stakes properly.

After your tents are set up, now’s the time to set up your living spaces inside. This means inflating air mattresses if you have them, divvying up blankets and pillows, and designating spaces for personal belongings. You may want to institute a “no shoes policy” to keep fellow campers from tracking dirt and mud into your living space. It’s not pleasant when they do.

Also, try to set your tents up so the doors face where the sun rises. It’s a beautiful way to wake up, stretching and yawning in the warmth of nature’s alarm clock.

After your living spaces are squared away, it’s time to set up the rest of the camp. This means setting up chairs, safeguarding food supplies away from the tent, getting things ready for your first meal, etc.

We recommend setting up a makeshift kitchen area and bringing two camping bins – one to house all your cooking supplies and one for other supplies which are less essential throughout the day. In this kitchen area should be your camp stove (or fire pit if you’re going to be cooking over that), your cooler with a lock, and all of your supplies.

If you have a picnic table provided or that you’ve brought, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to also bring a heavy-duty table cloth which will make cleanup a bit easier.

Try to keep your entire camp setup in a safe place away from dense shrubbery or other places where animals make their homes. You don’t want to intrude on them, and you sure as heck don’t want them intruding on you.

Oh, and about that campfire. Starting a campfire can be daunting for a beginning camper, so we’ve decided to include this handy checklist for doing so. Make sure that your campground allows campfires and there’s no current regulation against it in your area:

  1. You’re going to need four things for a successful campfire – tinder, kindling, firewood, and a fire source. Tinder is the smallest and easiest-burning material and serves as the catalyst for the entire fire. It can take many forms, such as wadded paper and dryer lint. Wood shavings work really well too. Kindling is the next step up in size, usually consisting of twigs up to 0.5 inches in diameter. Firewood is self-explanatory, but don’t break branches off trees to obtain it. That’s not nice to the forest. Bring your own. And finally, you’ll need matches or a gas lighter to ignite things.
  2. If your site has a fire ring, you’re going to need to clear all the charcoal and ash from prior fires towards the outside of the ring itself. If the ashes are completely hardened, considered shoveling/scraping them out and disposing of them in a trash bag.
  3. To make your own fire pit, you’ll need to completely clear deadened grass and shrubbery from an area of 8-10 feet in diameter. Make sure you’ve got a spot with completely bare dirt. Dig down several inches, piling up the dirt you excavate. You’ll either use that dirt and mound it around the fire pit as a firewall, or you can use large rocks for the same effect.
  4. In the center of your new fire pit, lay tinder down in a circular bed about 1-2 feet in diameter. You’ll then want to construct your fire in one of four styles:
  • Lean-To – If you’re going to be cooking over your fire pit, this is the way to go. Plant a larger piece of kindling in the ground over your tinder at a 30 degree angle with its tip facing the wind. Rest smaller pieces of kindling against this piece and build a teepee/tent of sorts. Light your fire and add more kindling, followed by your firewood.
  • Log Cabin Fire – Build a teepee of kindling over your tinder. Next, set two larger pieces of firewood on opposite sides of the teepee. Put two more larger pieces on the other sides to make a square. Stack smaller pieces of firewood on top of these to build things up cabin-style. Then, sprinkle kindling on top.
  • Cross Fire – Make a grid of kindling over your tinder in a crisscross pattern. Then, do the same with the firewood on hand. This is usually the type of fire which burns the longest, although not with the most intensity per se. 
  • Teepee Fire – Construct a teepee of kindling over your tinder. Then, construct a teepee of firewood over your kindling. If executed correctly, the fire will rise up through the three layers and ignite the firewood efficiently
  1. Make sure all children and pets are clear. Light your tinder from multiple sides with matches or a gas lighter. Never use gasoline or charcoal light fluid for safety’s sake. Add more firewood and kindling to keep the fire going as needed.
  2. NEVER leave your fire completely unattended, even for a second.
  3. To put your fire out, sprinkle water slowly onto the flames. Try not to douse it and ruin the fire pit for later use. Use a piece of kindling or shovel to spread the water to the entire fire pit. Once the crackling has stopped, you should be close to done. Place your hand just above the wet ashes and feel if there’s heat emanating. If not, you’ve successfully doused your fire!

How much firewood do you need for camping? Read our quick guide here.

Congratulations! You’ve just completed your first campfire! 

Now that you’re on your way to becoming an expert camper, let’s switch gears a bit. Do you have dogs? Dogs love camping!

But, what does it take to camp with dogs? How does one camp with dogs and not cause themselves more problems than needed?

Camping With Dogs

If you’re bringing your dog camping, it’s likely they are more than just a pet to you. They are a part of your family! And just like you’d do for your family, you need to keep your dog’s best interests and well-being in mind when bringing them along for a camping excursion.

happy dog on a camping trip

To help you turn the dog days of camping into the best days of camping, we’ve curated this list of things to pay attention to when bringing your puppy along for the journey:

  • Pay attention to the regulations of your campground. Some campgrounds have no-dog policies while others have certain areas which are reserved for families with dogs.
  • When not in a controlled area of the campsite such as inside a tent, keep your dog leashed for both their safety and the comfort of campers in adjacent campsites.
  • If you’re bringing water along and not relying on a source at the campsite, you need to bring much more along to cater to your pup. A hydrated dog is a healthy dog.
  • Don’t count your medium-sized dog or large-sized dog as one occupant in a tent. They will likely take up two to three occupants’ worth of space when sprawling out or generally being a dog. The bigger the tent, the better.
  • Also, consider a tent with a separate vestibule to give the dog a place to wind down and chill out. This could keep anxious dogs from freaking out at every little sound a campsite has to offer.
  • If your dog has sensitive paws, consider investing in special protective wax or puppy booties. Whether it’s cold or hot outside, they’ll be a lot more comfortable.
  • Make sure you have a dog brush on hand. Your puppy is bound to get into some vegetation and wild stuff in their new surroundings, and you’re not going to want them bringing random detritus into the tent or car.
  • Also, make sure you bring their favorite toys or blanket. Anything you can do to occupy them and ground them in their surroundings will keep them from acting out in fear, excitement, or boredom.
  • Bring information on dog first-aid procedures just in case. Dogs are curious creatures by nature, and that can sometimes get them into trouble. Be proactive and make sure you can handle whatever problems they may have or get themselves into.

The last entry on that list is all about the safety of your dog. But, what about general safety while camping?

Check out our reviews of the best tents for camping with dogs here!

Safety While Camping

You’re likely getting into camping for new adventures, but adventures can quickly turn to nightmares if you don’t follow proper safety etiquette. We’ve spoken with several of our experience camper friends and put together this list of things to remember to make your camping trip a safe and smooth one:

  • Pay attention to weather patterns in the area of your campsite. Read through forecasts and plan ahead. If extreme weather is a possibility, consider changing sites or campgrounds altogether.
  • Keep your food in locked containers and away from your tent so animal intruders don’t try to join you. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with cooking raw meat and don’t cross-contaminate. Sick campers are not happy campers.
  • If you’re camping with people who have disabilities or special needs, make sure you pick the right type of camping for them and the right locale. RV camping or a cabin might be the best option under certain circumstances.
  • As we said before, please be safe when lighting a campfire. Ensure no shrubbery is close to the fire pit which could catch on fire and cause major problems. Also, triple check that the fire is doused before you leave the pit unattended.
  • Does anybody in your party have major allergies? Is there anything at your campsite which could exacerbate those? If the answer is yes to either of those, take proper precautions. Make sure they have medication or an EpiPen handy. Or, pick a different campsite without those worries.
  • Sunscreen is your best friend while camping in the summer. Make sure you have plenty with you to ward off sunburns and potential related skin diseases.
  • Bring an emergency kit which includes first-aid items, bottles of water, and other potential essentials. You can never be too safe and things can go awry quickly at a remote campsite.
  • Drink lots of water. As much as you can. Keep hydrated, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. Also, limit your alcohol intake so you can stay alert about your surroundings.
  • Bugs live where you like to camp. Bugs like to bite those who camp. Bugs can cause major health issues for campers when they do so. Pack proper insect repellent and apply it regularly.
  • Pay attention to wildlife for their safety and yours. Please avoid touching wildlife for these same reasons, and wash your hands vigorously if you accidentally do. 
  • Be aware of your fellow campers. Be respectful of them, but also pay attention if they’re not following proper safety procedures. Also, report any suspicious or worrisome activity to your local park ranger or overseeing administration.

Be safe out there!

Closing Thoughts

With this article bookmarked or saved on your mobile device, beginning campers aren’t beginners anymore. This compendium of camping knowledge will you put you way ahead of most people coordinating their first camping trip. Before long, you’ll be the expert camper in your friend group!

Yet whether you’re an expert camper or just starting out, the point is to be safe and have lots of fun! Camping is an amazingly therapeutic and calming experience when done right. And you just happen to have the right guide bookmarked to do it right!