Author Topic: First time camping  (Read 5757 times)

sai83

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First time camping
« on: June 29, 2017, 02:31:34 PM »
Hello All,
I havent done any camping in my life..first time doing it.I booked a camping site for night.I like to know what tent should i buy and what are tools required.I would really appreciate any help and suggestiona.And we will be two camping myself and my wife.
Thanks


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Lady SA

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 02:49:00 PM »
what will the temperatures be like? Will you be camping more in the future? You can rent equipment and you don't need to buy. It might be a good idea to rent equipment for your first time and then buy later when you're sure you enjoy camping and know a bit more about what you would be looking for.

Tent: a 2 person tent is fine.
Sleeping stuff: sleeping pads (inflatable), sleeping bags, pillows (or a stuff sack that you put clothes in that will function as a pillow)

Food:
A camp stove and pots to prepare meals.
Bowls, utensils
for food, are you camping in bear country, if so, your site should have a bear box of some sort that you will store all foodstuffs in. DO NOT EVER store any sort of food in your tent, actually just don't do that in general because it attracts pests or larger scavengers which can destroy your tent.
Bring in easy-to-prepare food.

Other:
headlamps/flashlights/camp light
hiking shoes/sturdy shoes
warm clothing for when the sun goes down
rope

thats all I can think of for now.

sai83

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 02:52:15 PM »
Thank you..i really love to camp in future and weather is like 60 and 58 at night.And where can i rent equipment?

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apricity22

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 02:55:36 PM »
Do you have an REI near you? They rent items such as tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads. Most of the gear they sell is high quality so anything in that store is probably fine and they have an amazing return policy.

Camping equipment is expensive. If you can rent gear, I would recommend that until you know you really like the hobby.

sai83

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 02:56:31 PM »
Do you have an REI near you? They rent items such as tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads. Most of the gear they sell is high quality so anything in that store is probably fine and they have an amazing return policy.

Camping equipment is expensive. If you can rent gear, I would recommend that until you know you really like the hobby.
Thank you...will try REI

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Le Poisson

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 03:10:17 PM »
Hi Sai83,

Where are you going camping? Knowing the area you will be in could affect some gear choices.

If you are in Canada you can rent everything at MEC. In the USA you can rent gear at REI.

Before you go consider that everything you need for the camping trip will go into one of five categories:

1. Travel
2. Lodging
3. Eating
4. Clothing
5. Safety & Hygeine

Keeping this in mind, you should be able to outfit yourself well, and to have a good trip.

Travel:

If you are hiking, this will include trekking poles and good trail shoes. For canoeing it will include lifejackets, paddles, a bailer, rope, etc. If you are car camping, you likely already have a car and tires. :)

Lodging

This includes everything to make a campsite feel like home. Lawn chairs, tents, and a tarp are the main things for my family. You may want to include an axe for a fire, a screen house, a table of some kind, and so on. You will need things inside the tent too. Sleeping bags, possibly pillows, and a sleeping pad. If you bring a tarp, be sure you have rope to tie it up with, and a couple bungees to relieve stress when the wind kicks up.

Eating

This is usually the heaviest, largest, and most prone to things being forgotten. You will need a way to cook (campstove) and pots and pans, and flippers (I always for get the spatula) maybe tongs and sticks to cook over the fire. You will need dishes to eat off of. My wife insists on a tablecloth. You will also need a way to clean up after dinner - dish soap, cloths, towels, scrubbers, and a wash basin. On top of all this, you need to put together a detailed menu and be sure you have all your ingredients. You may need a cooler for meats and dairy items. As you put together your menu, make note of any special items you need in order to prepare the food (can openers, corkscrews, etc.). It can be a good idea to bring a couple empty tupperware dishes to save leftovers or to precook meals in (we often make too much rice for instance, and save the leftovers).

clothing

This is VERY dependent on your own preferences and your destination, but the rule for backwoods camps is "A change in the pack and a change on your back." 
 
Safety and Hygiene

Don't forget towels and soap, toothbrushes, etc. You will feel gross enough at teh end of camp, you want to care for yourself as much as you can while you are out there. Also pack a good first aid kit. You will be on uneven ground, workign with knives, axes and fire. Be as safe as you can, but also be prepared in case someone gets hurt.

I would buy as little as possible on my first camp, and borrow whatever you can from friends. Onc eyou know if this is worth doing again, then start shopping for things on sale. After a few years you will be completely outfitted.

sai83

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 03:20:26 PM »
Hi Sai83,

Where are you going camping? Knowing the area you will be in could affect some gear choices.

If you are in Canada you can rent everything at MEC. In the USA you can rent gear at REI.

Before you go consider that everything you need for the camping trip will go into one of five categories:

1. Travel
2. Lodging
3. Eating
4. Clothing
5. Safety & Hygeine

Keeping this in mind, you should be able to outfit yourself well, and to have a good trip.

Travel:

If you are hiking, this will include trekking poles and good trail shoes. For canoeing it will include lifejackets, paddles, a bailer, rope, etc. If you are car camping, you likely already have a car and tires. :)

Lodging

This includes everything to make a campsite feel like home. Lawn chairs, tents, and a tarp are the main things for my family. You may want to include an axe for a fire, a screen house, a table of some kind, and so on. You will need things inside the tent too. Sleeping bags, possibly pillows, and a sleeping pad. If you bring a tarp, be sure you have rope to tie it up with, and a couple bungees to relieve stress when the wind kicks up.

Eating

This is usually the heaviest, largest, and most prone to things being forgotten. You will need a way to cook (campstove) and pots and pans, and flippers (I always for get the spatula) maybe tongs and sticks to cook over the fire. You will need dishes to eat off of. My wife insists on a tablecloth. You will also need a way to clean up after dinner - dish soap, cloths, towels, scrubbers, and a wash basin. On top of all this, you need to put together a detailed menu and be sure you have all your ingredients. You may need a cooler for meats and dairy items. As you put together your menu, make note of any special items you need in order to prepare the food (can openers, corkscrews, etc.). It can be a good idea to bring a couple empty tupperware dishes to save leftovers or to precook meals in (we often make too much rice for instance, and save the leftovers).

clothing

This is VERY dependent on your own preferences and your destination, but the rule for backwoods camps is "A change in the pack and a change on your back." 
 
Safety and Hygiene

Don't forget towels and soap, toothbrushes, etc. You will feel gross enough at teh end of camp, you want to care for yourself as much as you can while you are out there. Also pack a good first aid kit. You will be on uneven ground, workign with knives, axes and fire. Be as safe as you can, but also be prepared in case someone gets hurt.

I would buy as little as possible on my first camp, and borrow whatever you can from friends. Onc eyou know if this is worth doing again, then start shopping for things on sale. After a few years you will be completely outfitted.
Thanks a lot .I really appreciate your help putting in so much detail and thought.Thank you

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jeromedawg

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2017, 03:41:25 PM »
Don't mean to derail the thread but I know there are different levels of "camping" right? Like driving or RVing into a campground and setting up shop either out of or near your car/RV. Then there's hiking to a campground and camping in a set location. And then there's camping off-trail in spots that may not necessarily be officially designated as "campgrounds" but have been used as such by others or due to certain spots being 'natural' settings for camp grounds (I'm assuming this is "backcountry" ?).

It seems there are different ways to prepare for each of these. I've sort of been interested in the second and third options but have little to no experience. The most 'experience' I've had is related to the hiking aspects - I've hiked Whitney twice, only summiting the second time for redemption. Both attempts were done over the course of a single day. And also Half Dome. But never have I decided to camp off trail or on the way to/from either destination. That said, how do you get started out and into it? It seems the wisest option is to go with someone you know who is experienced with backpacking already and/or has some level of wilderness/survival skills in generally knowing how to deal with various elements of danger and surviving. But if I don't have such a resource, is there realistically any other way to get into it? It would be tough with 2 kids and a wife now, of course, but just theoretically speaking/asking ;)
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 03:43:56 PM by jeromedawg »

405programmer

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 05:13:17 PM »
Camping is great fun!

I would second / third / fourth all the posters who said to rent or borrow for your very first time. Even if you have to throw away a little money on rental fees it will be way cheaper than if you decide camping isn't for you after spending $500 on gear.

If you decide to get into it I would point out that gear for car camping is usually cheaper and more cushy (comfortable) than the gear for backpacking / ultralight camping. Then again if your passion is backpacking then obviously buy quality ultralight gear and don't try to carry a giant tent on your back!

Also for a gourmet breakfast, slice some bananas and bring some instant pancake mix and you'll have fluffy banana pancakes on your camping stove in just a few minutes. I prefer to fry some sausage and then cook the pancakes right after. Then go on a nice long hike!

Yep that settles it I'll just have to go camping this weekend. ;)

Trifele

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 04:53:15 AM »
Yes, renting is a good idea if you can.  Once you've done it and decided you like it, check Craigslist for used camping equipment. Lots of folks buy a tent or other pricey item, and then rarely use it.   Personally I would probably not buy a used sleeping bag, but pretty much anything else would be fair game. 

Dee18

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 05:06:33 AM »
For first time camping it can be great to go with others.  Where I live the best group is a local hikers club that does overnights some weekends.  The local university also does trips that are open to the public and the local Sierra Club does a few trips a year.  REI also offers an occasional "intro to camping" class. 

Petey B

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2017, 05:27:59 AM »
These have been mentioned previously but I want to emphasize that a sleeping pad and a headlamp are crucial!

Also, I assume you would want to make a fire to complete the camping experience.  If you don't have experience making fires, be sure to bring a starter log or some tinder - dryer lint works very well.

Have fun!!!

Trifele

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2017, 05:33:11 AM »
OP -- if you can tell us roughly where you are going camping (which determines what the weather and bug situation is likely to be) you'll get even more specific advice.

Have fun!

Linea_Norway

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 06:37:28 AM »
I have been camping all my life, both car-camping vacations as hikes of different kinds.

If you go camping by car and weight isn't a factor, bring a spacious tent. Cramped tents are uncomfortable and not necessary when you don't have to save on weight. If you go backpacking, you'll need a lightweight tent. Keep in mind that 2-persons tents are very cramped for 2 people. We always bring a 3 persons tent, even when camping and carrying the tent on our back. Tent that are very high (where you can stand straight up in) are popular among car-campers. But they are sensitive to wind. Make sure the tent has plenty of lines to fasten it to the ground. When it is windy on the camp site, make sure to plug in all.

When you go camping in a humid area, you'll typically want a tent that is waterproof and double walled. This double wall will prevent condensation leaking into your tent. If you go camping in a very hot place, you could consider a tent with some more ventilation. You want to keep mosquitoes of any size out of your tent. This means having a mosquito netting in your tent that has very narrow holes.

If 83 perhaps your year of birth? In that case you are well over 30. Then you will appreciate buying a comfortable sleeping mattress, not the thinnest one you can find. You can find comfortable mattresses of all sorts, cheap ones made of foam, expensive ones filled with air and down, or just traditional air mattresses, heavy or light weight. Buy the one you can afford, and that fits well into your car. Traditional air mattresses tend to be quite cold, as their is nothing to stop the cold from the ground. Filled air mattresses work better, as do thick foam mattresses.

Folding chairs are great for your back, compared to sitting on the ground and fit easily into a car.

A tarp (can be cheap from the building store) can give you some extra outdoor shelter to cook under. Or keep you out of the wind.

It is smart to bring a mosquito net to put over your head in case of a serious attack. It will not be necessary to wear often, but it is good to have at ready.

teen persuasion

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 09:56:49 AM »
OP, you mentioned you've already booked the site.  What amenities are available?  Water pipe on site, or do you need to carry in water?  Picnic table on each site?  Fire ring?  Restroom facilities nearby?  Showers?  You get the idea - read up on the campground and what's available, and what you need to provide.

In addition to things others have already listed, I always bring things like tinfoil, matches/lighter/newspaper, clothesline and clips, box of tissues, TP, bug spray, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, garbage bags (good for rain emergencies to keep stuff dry), small brush and dustpan for clearing out the tent, duct tape, hammer for tent stakes, multitool for repairs, batteries for flashlights, etc.  Bring some food you can eat without cooking, if weather prevents fire making.  Don't transport firewood - pick it up there or buy it on site, due to bug infestation issues.

Lots of the stuff you will need will be things to just bring from home, not camping specific, other than tent, sleeping bags/pads, etc.  See what you can creatively reuse.

honeybbq

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2017, 12:26:19 PM »
Other things I didn't see mentioned or maybe missed:

Matches or a lighter
firewood
camp chairs
bug spray
sunscreen
toilet paper
head lamp or camp light
camp shoes (sandals, flip flops)
can opener
bottle opener
cooler
towel

luxury items:
hammock
table cloth
citronella candles
tupperware for leftover food

I usually come up with a meal plan and make sure I have all the kitchen items necessary to make the meals - like if I do pasta I need a strainer. If I do salad, I need tongs. Come up with a plan and walk through each meal. Don't bring bowls if you aren't having soup, etc.

The VERY easiest, though least mustachian, is to just boil water and have premade dehyrated meals to eat. I often do these when backpacking. Sandwiches for lunch. Oatmeal for breakfast. Don't forget snacks; fresh air makes me hungry.

bognish

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2017, 12:41:25 PM »
All the things mentioned before are nice to have when camping, but almost none of this is necessary or worth buying if you are only going to camp once.

Really the only thing you need to buy might be a tent. I live in the desert with no bugs, so even this is not necessary and doesn't make it on every trip. We can always crawl into the car if it starts raining in the night. You can get a car camping tent at walmart, or a general sports store for cheaper than renting a fancy backpacking tent at REI. If its going to be warm at night most tent features won't matter too much. If your car will be close by the weight or packed size won't matter too much.

A nice sleeping bag is great if you are back packing or its really cold, but for most other conditions sheets and blankets will be just fine and whole lot more comfortable. Not the best plan if we are going to be out more than 2 or 3 nights and its wet or humid, but just as good as a cheap sleeping bag.

Something soft to sleep on is really nice. It can be a camping specific sleeping pad or any soft mattress that can fit in your car. Last time we went we took a airmattress that we use as a spare bed for guests. We had a plug adapter for the car and filled it up. I have also used cheap egg shell foam from home depot.

Nice food is great too, but camp stoves can be a fiddle to get use to. You will not starve if you have to eat cold food for a weekend. Most food will be fine in a cooler for a long weekend. Freeze your liquids to use as ice packs. Sandwiches, wraps, cheese, cans of tuna, salami, cereal & milk don't need a stove. If you must have hot food and can light a fire, hot dogs or brats on a stick, or an open can of chilli, beans or spagetti tucked in the coals all work fine. You must open the can first or it will explode, then fold the lid back down to keep ash out. Bring a pot grabber to get the can out. Also lots of options for tin foil dinners - wrap pre made food in foil, put in fire pit next to coals to reheat. Precook & season potatoes at home, wrap in foil, heat up on fire.

Headlamps and lanters are fun to play with, but emergency candles work fine too.

You will not be glamping following these tips, but you really don't need to spend a lots of extra money to sleep outside in a campground for a night or 2. I also found that the amount of stuff you need to bring is inversely proportional to the amount of whiskey you bring or how old you are. My kids camp in the back yard with a few stuffed animals and the blanket from their beds.

Linea_Norway

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2017, 01:34:37 PM »

The VERY easiest, though least mustachian, is to just boil water and have premade dehyrated meals to eat. I often do these when backpacking. Sandwiches for lunch. Oatmeal for breakfast. Don't forget snacks; fresh air makes me hungry.

I have been using this type of food for years on hiking trips where weight matters. But since two years my favorite brand has become more and more expensive and therefore I am now making my own dried food. Also good for knowing what is in there. We bought a large food dehydrator. I precook the veggies before drying. Flavoring and reducing sauce before drying. I fry meat in small portions without using fat. I add it all to a ziplock bag with some spices and fastboiling rice, macaroni, mashed potatoe powder or couscous. This works well. One limitation: the food needs to be fat free for better conserving. We have made a silicon warmer around the cooking pot. In this we only need to add the boiling water and wait for some 10 minutes.

MrsPete

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2017, 04:45:04 PM »
Tent: a 2 person tent is fine.
Sleeping stuff: sleeping pads (inflatable), sleeping bags, pillows (or a stuff sack that you put clothes in that will function as a pillow)
Never buy a 2-person tent.  A 2-person tent will just barely hold two sleeping bags ... no space for anything else, not enough space to change clothes, you'll step on your spouse while leaving the tent.  A 3-person tent is minimal for 2 people to share; this allows you a space in between your sleeping bags for movement.  We have a small battery-powered fan, which is wonderful in a 3-person tent; the air hits the back wall and circulates ... makes a tent in summer downright comfortable.

Never buy inflatable sleeping pads either.  The sleeping pad isn't just for comfort; it keeps you from absorbing the cold from the ground.  Look into a closed-foam sleeping pad; they just roll up, no blowing necessary -- knee length is fine.

These things are often rent-able from colleges ... they offer their best prices to students, but they also rent to the public.  Camping equipment of all types is also easy to find on ebay. 

A camp stove and pots to prepare meals.
Bowls, utensils
for food, are you camping in bear country, if so, your site should have a bear box of some sort that you will store all foodstuffs in. DO NOT EVER store any sort of food in your tent, actually just don't do that in general because it attracts pests or larger scavengers which can destroy your tent.
Bring in easy-to-prepare food.
You can cook cheaply over an open fire until you're sure that you're going to enjoy camping.  You don't need special equipment of any type.  Bring the cast iron frying pan from your own kitchen (rub a bit of dish soap over the bottom side, and clean-up will be easier).  Pick up a pack of paper plates and avoid some outdoor dishwashing.  Do bring a big bucket for water by your fire ... safety first, you know.

YES to bear-country safety.  If you're camping in a public campground in bear country, you'll see big metal "bear boxes" where campers put their food during the night. 

YES to bringing easy-to-prepare food.  And do as much prep as possible at home.  For example, I like to break /beat a bunch of eggs at home and pour them into a water bottle ... easy to cook scrambled eggs over the campfire.  If you're doing something like a one-pan farmer's breakfast, pre-cook your sausage at home, and everything'll be quick at the campground.  Chop all your vegetables at home with your good knives, store them in a ziplock, and you're ready to cook your beef stew at the campground. 

Camping equipment is expensive. If you can rent gear, I would recommend that until you know you really like the hobby.
YES to renting or borrowing first.  Lots of people go out and buy a bunch of expensive stuff, then discover that they really don't like camping.  That's why it's so easy to find cheaply on the used market. 

When you do buy something nice, it should last.  I'm still using the sleeping bag that was my 15th birthday present.  I've camped across the US twice, worked at summer camp during college, worked for an Outward-Bound type group during college, and have camped ooodles of time with my family -- and that sleeping bag has never let me down. 

Don't mean to derail the thread but I know there are different levels of "camping" right? Like driving or RVing into a campground and setting up shop either out of or near your car/RV.
Good point.  I'd recommend that you start with "car camping".  It's cheap, close to home, and doesn't require much knowledge.  In a typical campsite you'll have a parking spot, a flat spot for your tent, a picnic table, and access to a bath house (sometimes with showers, sometimes with just potties).

In a public campground, be sure to meet "your host".  These volunteers camp for a month at a time, and they typically come around at dinner time and speak to "their guests" to see that everyone's all right.  Also, rangers at public campgrounds sometimes offer ranger-programs -- some tailored to kids, others to adults -- and we've enjoyed those very much. 

These have been mentioned previously but I want to emphasize that a sleeping pad and a headlamp are crucial!
Sleeping pad, yes.  Headlamp, no.  If I'm camping in a public campground, I bring a lantern for the table but no flashlight, and I've never owned a headlamp -- definite sign of a newbie camper.  In a public campground, you will have a modest amount of light all around and definitely lights in the bath house ... no need to pack your own. 

Folding chairs are great for your back, compared to sitting on the ground and fit easily into a car.
YES to a camp chair.  The best part of camping is sitting around the fire at night, and sitting comfortably is well worth the space required for a chair. 

camp shoes (sandals, flip flops)
Sturdy closed shoes; tennis shoes are okay.  No to sandals or flip-flops, which are an injury waiting to happen, especially for children. 



Jaguar Paw

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2017, 04:57:09 PM »
Realistically if you were bare bones for only one night camping you could get away with a tent, some comforters from home, and some sweatshirts for a makeshift pillow. I have done a good amount of camping in the last decade all around the country and have an abundance of expensive gear from lightweight two person tents for a 3 day trek in Montana or a 5 person tent so my wife and I can play games etc inside if it's raining.

Fires always make camping more fun and cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly can make even the worst firestarter appear to know what they are doing. Add in hotdogs and chips, and you've got a party.

Also, set up the tent before you go so you get accustomed with it. My first time ever camping, I drove to the Grand Canyon and fought a losing battle against a setting sun while trying to figure out how to set up my tent.... I ended up sleeping in my car for two days.

Enjoy! If you do find out that you like camping it can be expensive to start, but cheap to continue.

bobechs

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2017, 05:22:20 PM »
Camp in your own yard for a weekend.  You can test all your preparations and equipment for sufficiency this way and anything you find you might have forgotten is only a few steps away. 

When you hit the actual road, have a raincoat (with hood or adequate rainproof hat) for each camper.  It may not rain if you have raingear, but not having it raises the odds of a deluge.  Sitting in a car watching the windows steam up is not so much fun either.

MrsPete

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2017, 05:32:41 PM »
...
Fires always make camping more fun and cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly can make even the worst firestarter appear to know what they are doing ...

Also, set up the tent before you go so you get accustomed with it. My first time ever camping, I drove to the Grand Canyon and fought a losing battle against a setting sun while trying to figure out how to set up my tent.... I ended up sleeping in my car for two days.
Bring a little tin of plain sugar and let the kids throw small handfuls into the fire ... call it "wishing powder" ... and it'll blaze up in pretty colors.  Your kids'll really talk to you around a campfire. 

Excellent advice on setting up the tent ahead of time.  I used to work at a camping store, and I used to sell the hound out of tents because I can throw any tent up in minutes and make it look easy ... but I've definitely seen people at campgrounds having trouble and reading the directions by flashlight.

Camp in your own yard for a weekend.  You can test all your preparations and equipment for sufficiency this way and anything you find you might have forgotten is only a few steps away. 
Excellent advice. 

sai83

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Re: First time camping
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2017, 06:10:44 AM »
Thank you all successfully completed my first night camping, thanks for providing valuable tips

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