Taking Rookies Camping

Cabin in the woods

View from a local boat ramp
View from a local boat ramp

8 Tips you should know when camping with first timers

Cooler weather has brought many back outdoors for some hiking and hunting. Some of us will be bringing along a few first time campers. For rookie campers there's a few things you should stop to consider. Roughing it can be a little overwhelming for first timers. Weather, bugs, wildlife, even lack of comfort, can catch people off-guard and unprepared.

Here's 8 tips you should know:

  • The comfort of 4 walls will make your first time camping more enjoyable

The 4 walls of a tent, cabin, RV, or someplace place to get out of the elements. Weather can quickly change and turn your camping trip into a soggy one. The first time I took my family camping we got there and went exploring instead of preparing our camp. Big mistake, first it started raining, I had to set a tent up in the rain while my family waited in the car. In the rush to set it up I didn't notice that a number of branches had blown out of a nearby tree, ending up under the floor. To make it worse, we brought airbeds but forgot the pump so we ended up on lumpy ground in just a sleeping bag, very tough on the back.

Another time, one of my friends talked me into going turkey hunting halfway across the state, he said I've got every thing we need except your hunting gear. Turns out he had a small 2 man tent, no chairs, no air beds, and only a grate to cook on. I forgot to check the weather, so did he. To make a long story short, at 2AM it started pouring so hard that water ran into the tent, we couldn't keep a camp fire going and the whole trip was a bust. When daylight broke we loaded our rain soaked sleeping bags and tent in the truck, headed home soaking wet. The point is don't be afraid to bring some comfort from home, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy nature.

  • Use modern technology to prepare in advance

With the weather channel, the internet, and cell phones, you can pull up an aerial view of where you're going, find out what insects and wildlife you're going to have to deal with and GPS your whole trip. Also you want to let friends and family know where you'll be going and how long you'll be gone. Be specific in case you get lost, vehicle breaks down or something else unexpected. If you take the time to pull up the insect and wildlife for the area on the internet, you can turn it into a learning experience for kids. It'll also help keep them from being scared. Don't count on cell phones or I-pads working, it's hard to find a signal if you're out in the woods or climbing up hills and mountains.

  • Calm Fears by being prepared

Children, even adults are sometimes afraid of critters or the dark. Bring along enough flashlights or battery operated lanterns for everyone. A headlamp or hat with built in flashlight can be very handy, it allows you to see while using your hands. Also a child's favorite toy can be very comforting to them, it may help everyone get some sleep. Sleeping close by will also help calm any fears, remember to make it enjoyable for all, a regular family affair.

  • Hydration

Take plenty of water, hydration is very important especially if you're going to be in hot or humid conditions. No matter what the weather may be, you'll still be doing some strenuous activities, don't over work yourself midday. Conserve strength by doing these things early morning or later in the afternoon and stay hydrated. Take extra water for cooking and some clean-up, each person should be drinking 4-8 bottles a day.

  • Insect Repellent

Any insect repellent with DEET will help keep pest away but, if you want to try natural bug defense, consume garlic and vitamin B before and during your outings. These contain something that we secrete through sweat glands that bugs don't like. Another thing that seems to work well is any citrus cream, citrus acid also has something they don't like. Many soaps and creams has this in it.

  • Bring some activities for down times

Bring playing cards, books, games or something for family activities in between the planned fun. Playing cards while building a fire, cooking and clean-up is going on can help keep children occupied. Fishing poles can give kids something to day while you're taking care of chores, if there's a pond, creek or lake nearby.

  • Bring a camera or video recorder

Taking a video recorder or camera lets you share the fun times of camping with friends and family. It's also a great way to record nature as you enjoy your outing. Sometimes the highlight of my camping trip is in the pictures of nature I get, and the smile on kids faces as they enjoy themselves.

  • Make a camping checklist, plan activities and be prepared

Plan some fun activities in advance, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and other things your group may want to do. Then make yourself a camping checklist, include everything that you need so you'll be prepared in advance. Of course you'll probably wish you had something else along but you should at least have the basic necessities for a good time.




Kids can have fun few just a few toys from home

When all else fails fishing at the lake can be very relaxing

Camping Checklist

  • Clothing:
  • Make sure you have enough clothes for a daily change. Be sure to bring both hot or cold weather clothes, the weather doesn't always co-operate.
  • Cooking:
  • Cook stove, grill or grate to cook on
  • Pots and pans
  • Cooking utensils, tongs, fork, spatula, etc.
  • Charcoal and charcoal lighter
  • Aluminum foil
  • Can opener
  • Lighter or waterproof matches(bring extra)
  • Cooking oil
  • Dish soap
  • Trash bags
  • Comfort Items:
  • Folding chairs
  • Sun screen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Pillows
  • Air beds with pump
  • Playing cards, games or camp fire activities
  • Portable radio or weather radio
  • Food:
  • Bring enough food for every day you plan to be there
  • Snacks
  • Water at least 1Gallon a day per person
  • Drinks
  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Marshmallows
  • Plates, cups and silverware, make sure you have plenty kids tend to waste some
  • Tools:
  • Compass or GPS
  • Flashlight bring extras and extra batteries
  • Hatchet
  • Rope
  • Pocket knife
  • First Aid Kit fully stocked just in case
  • Shovel
  • Folding saw
  • Headlamp (These allow you to see at night with your hands free, they make some built right into hats)
  • Lantern of some type

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Comments 4 comments

screaming 4 years ago

Very informative hub, a must read for all considering camping. Voted up!


ShootersCenter profile image

ShootersCenter 4 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks for voting it up. I learned much of this the hard way, wish I would have know some of this sooner.


LetitiaFT profile image

LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

Boy, I wish I'd seen this before I ever took my city boy husband camping. I've managed a total of 4 nights in all the years I've known him. Last time was two years ago and after he saw the bear locker, he slept (sort of) with his boots and glasses on. I'll take it easier on him next time. Thanks for the advice.


ShootersCenter profile image

ShootersCenter 4 years ago from Florida Author

Always good to make city boys feel comfortable, it allows everyone a more enjoyable trip.

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