According to science, being around nature is good for your health, and one way you can spend a little quality time with the trees and animals is by camping. If you've never participated in this outdoor activity, however, it can be intimidating figuring out what you need and what to do. Here are two tips to help get you started.
Purchase the Essentials, Rent the Rest
It may be tempting to go to the nearest retailer that sells outdoor equipment and fill your cart with the entire camping aisle. While the store clerk and your credit card company will love you, this is probably the worst thing you can do. Remember, this is your first time camping, and you're not sure yet whether you'll like the experience or not. Therefore, it's best to rent as much as you can and only buy essentials you can use for other things.
For example, it may be best to rent camping equipment such as:
- Tent and footprint
- Air mattress or cot if you don't want to sleep in the ground
- Folding table and chairs
- Sun shade
- Stove and fuel
- Bikes, boats, and other equipment for the activities you plan to do
However, you may want to purchase:
- Sleeping bags
- Multi-tool (e.g. Swiss Army knife)
- Hammer or mallet
- Flashlight and lantern
- Cookware and dishware (or use what you have)
- Personal items, water, and food
- First-Aid kit (or make your own)
- Rain gear
- Cooler and bins for holding supplies/food
- Portable power bank
All the items you purchase can be repurposed for other things if you find camping is not your cup of tea. You can find basic and comprehensive lists of items that are great to have for a camping trip at various websites online.
Go With a Friend or Group
The second thing you should do is camp with other people you know and trust, preferably people who have gone camping before. First, there's safety in numbers. You won't be the only one out in the woods, and you're less likely to run into trouble with other campers if you're in a group. Second, you'll have someone who can go get help if you are hurt and can't travel. Third, having an experienced camper will make the trip more enjoyable, because the person can show you the ins and outs of the experience.
If you're going to go by yourself, be sure to tell someone where you're going and look for a camping spot that's as close to the ranger station as you can get. This way, if you do run into trouble, you won't have to trek miles across the forest to get assistance.
For more camping tips or help selecting the right equipment for you, visit your local outdoor products retailer.