The Beginner’s Guide To Camping: Everything You Need To Know

Camping is an activity that can be enjoyed by all members of the family, from young children to grandparents. You don’t need any special skills or equipment, just a willingness to get outside and enjoy nature for a few days. 

But if you want your first camping trip to be as enjoyable as possible, it helps to do some advance preparation. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything from deciding where and when you want to go camping (and what kind of gear will help make your trip easier) to getting fit before heading out on the trail.

Beginner camping trips can be enjoyable with the proper preparation.
Choose a campsite that has features you prefer and consider the surroundings.
Make sure you have the necessary gear and always pack a first-aid kit.
Safety should always come first. Learn guidelines on fire and wildlife safety.
Start with easy-to-prepare meals with little ingredients.

1. Know Your Camping Style

First and foremost, you need to figure out what kind of camper you are. Are you an adventurist? If so, then camping far away from home is your thing. 

Or maybe you’re into a more laid-back approach? In that case, close to home is probably best for you.

Do you want to camp with friends or family or alone? That’s another factor that will play into where and how far away from home you choose to go!

For helpful tips on camping with kids, check out our guide on planning the perfect camping trip with your kids. From choosing the right campsite to packing essentials, we’ve got you covered for a stress-free family adventure.

2. Decide Where You Want To Camp

Once you know what kind of camping you want to do, it’s time to think about where. There are many different types of campgrounds and places to go camping. 

Some people prefer beaches or mountains, whereas others enjoy lakes and forests. Before selecting a location, consider the weather conditions in your chosen area. 

If it is winter and there are heavy snowstorms in the forecast, consider camping at a higher elevation or at lower altitudes where there is less precipitation.

As part of choosing your location, keep in mind that wildlife can be dangerous! Bears are often attracted by food smells (like bacon grease) so don’t cook near tents if possible; raccoons can be aggressive when they feel threatened; snakes will bite if they feel threatened; insects can bite or sting and some have deadly venom! With this knowledge in mind, choose wisely!

It’s also important to remember that terrain has an effect on your experience while camping: sandy beaches may become muddy after rainstorms; rocky ground can make walking difficult; mountainous areas might require additional information about altitude sickness before going hiking up steep inclines… You get the idea!

Popular Brands for Choosing Your Camping Destination

Brand NameDescription
ReserveAmericaSearch for campsites across the United States in national parks, state parks, and other federal lands with ReserveAmerica.
KOAKampgrounds of America (KOA) provides a wide network of campsites across North America in options such as cabins or tent sites.
HipcampHipcamp offers thousands of unique campsites, glamping accommodations, and RV parks at private lands across the country. has a collection of campsites and tours across the United States for you to reserve. Find campsites for family vacations, hiking adventures, and much more.
Good SamGood Sam is committed to providing RVers with the tools and resources necessary to help keep them on the road and to the next big adventure. The brand provides resources on finding RV parks around the US and Canada.

3. Decide When You Want To Camp

Choosing a time of year for your trip is the next step in creating an itinerary. There are many factors to consider when deciding when to go camping, including weather conditions and what activities you may want to do on your trip.

For example, if you’re planning on hiking through a forest or along the coast during your trip, then mid-October through early November would probably be best since autumn colors are at their peak during this time. 

But if you don’t have any special activities planned, then there’s no reason why you couldn’t go camping during winter months! Just be prepared for colder temperatures and snowfall—and maybe keep an extra pair of gloves in your car just in case!

Camping can be a fun and educational experience for kids, but it’s important to keep them safe. Check out our guide on essential tips for camping with kids to learn about gear, food, activities and more to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for everyone.

4. Plan Your Trip

Planning is key to a successful trip, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Your first step should be to decide on the location and date of your trip, but you should also make sure that your destination has everything you need: food, water (and a way to purify it), shelter from the elements, safety from animals or other people who may not want you there (and vice versa), entertainment for when there isn’t much else going on.

If you plan ahead of time and do some research about what gear will serve your needs best at an affordable price point then you can save money by shopping around before buying anything new. 

You can also avoid problems later by considering all aspects of the trip including transportation options and how much food/water will be needed based on how long it takes to get there as well as any health conditions like allergies that might affect others attending with them during their stay at campground site location

Popular Brands for Planning Your Camping Trip

Brand NameDescription
REI Co-opREI Co-op offers gear rentals, advice, and unparalleled access to outdoor spaces and experiences to help you get outside and opt outside. The company also provides a comprehensive camping checklist to help you plan your trip.
The DyrtThe Dyrt is a campground search engine that offers trip planning, camping reviews, and recommendations. Join their campground review community to help you find your perfect camping spot.
Togo RVTogo RV offers camping trip planning tools for outdoorsy people. The app provides trip planning features such as routing, campsite reservations, and campground reviews.
AllTrailsAllTrails is a popular trail app that provides information and reviews on hiking and camping trails across the US. Use the app’s filters to find the perfect spot for your next outdoor adventure.
RoadtrippersRoadtrippers helps you plan the best camping trip by providing a route planner, travel guides, and unique road trip ideas. Plan your route based around your desired destination, attractions and routes with some input on activity preferences.

5. Choose Camping Gear That Fits Your Budget

Now that you know the basics of camping, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of gear you’ll need. 

When choosing your camping gear, there are two main things to consider: how much money you want to spend and how much weight you want to carry.

If saving money is important to you and/or if your goal is simply learning the basics of camping before buying expensive gear, there are plenty of great options for getting started with lower-cost alternatives. 

For example, there are many ways to find cheap or free tents (check Craigslist), sleeping bags (ask friends who camp), sleeping pads (check Craigslist again) and other essential items like flashlights and headlamps (look online).

If saving weight is more important than saving money and/or if learning the ins-and-outs of backpacking appeals more than just pitching a tent on level ground in an open space near nature which then leads into planning multi-day hikes through rugged wilderness areas then consider investing in higher quality products made from lighter materials such as down insulation instead of synthetic fillers found in budget sleeping bags; aluminum poles instead of wood ones when choosing a tent or tarp shelter; etcetera.”

Looking for a family friendly camping destination? Look no further than our guide on the best campgrounds for families in the USA. From scenic views to kid-friendly activities, we’ve got recommendations for every type of family adventure.

6. Get In Shape For Your Trip

As any camper will tell you, a trip to the woods can be physically demanding. If you’re not in shape before your trip, it’s going to be even more difficult on your body and mind. Start training now with regular hikes or runs through your neighborhood or nearby park. 

You might also consider doing strength training exercises like squats and push-ups for low impact ways of getting into shape.

A good rule of thumb when preparing for camping is if you feel like something is too hard or challenging at first, then it probably is and there’s nothing wrong with that! 

The point of getting into shape is so that when the going gets tough (and let’s face it: sometimes it will), having been working out beforehand will help keep you going strong all day long until bedtime comes around again tomorrow night!

Brands To Help Get You In Shape For Your Camping Trip

Brand NameDescription
FitOnFitOn offers free workout classes across different categories such as yoga, cardio, and strength. Choose from a variety of classes led by celebrity trainers to prepare yourself physically for your camping trip.
AaptivAaptiv provides audio-based workout classes led by certified personal trainers. Choose from a wide selection of classes, from running to yoga, to help you get in shape for your trip.
PelotonPeloton offers a variety of workout classes taught by world-class instructors, both digitally and in-studio. Use their digital classes to prepare for your trip.
FlowFlow offers 24/7 access to personalized health and fitness coaching led by certified coaches. Use Flow to track your progress and stay motivated in preparation for your camping trip.
MyFitnessPalMyFitnessPal is a free nutrition and workout tracking app that helps monitor your daily activity and calorie consumption. It tracks your exercise and sets goals so you can reach your targets and get in shape for your trip.

7. Pack Your Gear

The next step after deciding on where to go camping is packing your gear. Before you start assembling your supplies and loading them into a truck or SUV, it’s important to know what you’ll need and how much of it.

Pack clothing that’s appropriate for the season, weather conditions and activities at hand. If you’re headed out in wintertime and plan on doing some ice fishing, pack snow pants and boots but don’t bring along a heavy jacket if it turns out that the weather is mild! 

Make sure all of your clothes are clean before heading out on a trip; even those who aren’t particularly picky about hygiene will appreciate being able to wear clean clothes during their trip. 

A camping checklist can help make sure nothing has been forgotten at home or packed incorrectly.

Safety should always be a top priority when camping. Check out our guide on Camping Safety 101 to learn about potential hazards and how to prepare for them. From fire safety to wildlife encounters, we’ve got you covered.

8. Prepare Your Vehicle

Having the right tools and equipment for a long road trip is critical to making sure your trip goes smoothly. 

If you have an SUV or another type of vehicle that does not come with everything you need, make sure you get the following:

A jack and jack stands. These are used to lift up your car so that you can see what’s broken or needs to be fixed before driving on it again. You should also invest in a wheel brace (also known as axle bars), which helps keep the axle from moving when taking off the wheels of your vehicle during repairs.

A tow rope, just in case something happens on your way back home; this way, if someone stops to help, they will have one handy!

A first aid kit should always come along on any camping trip; better safe than sorry!

9. Prepare Your Food And Drinks

You should bring enough food and drinks for your entire trip. You don’t want to run out of food halfway through your camping trip! 

It will also give you peace of mind if you know that you have enough food for everyone in the group, in case someone has an upset stomach or any other problems with their health.

Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones while camping with our guide on the ultimate guide to camping safety. From basic safety rules to emergency situations, we’ve got tips and advice to keep you safe during your next camping trip.

10. Prepare Yourself And Others For The Trip

If you’re going camping with your family or friends, it can be beneficial for everyone to prepare for the trip. 

Make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for bringing and how much time they have before departure. It can also be helpful to assign roles or responsibilities so that no one is left carrying extra weight while walking in the woods or carrying things through a campground.

Prepare Your Pets

If you are taking your pet(s) along on this adventure make sure they are up-to-date on all their shots and ready to go! 

If they aren’t already trained, now is the time to teach them how not to chase squirrels off into trees (and get lost), how not to dig holes at night (and get stuck), and most importantly—how not eat people food once it has been cooked over an open flame!

11. Know What To Expect On Your Trip

Know what to expect on your trip. Don’t just go into the wilderness expecting everything to be sunshine and rainbows, because that’s not how nature works! You should expect the unexpected and prepare for it before leaving on your trip:

Be prepared for weather changes. A sudden storm can happen at any time, so make sure you have shelter, like a tent or tarp, as well as a way to start a fire if you are camping out in the elements without having access to electricity or other amenities such as bathrooms/showers etc..

Be prepared for wildlife encounters (which may include bears). Make sure you know how to use bear spray properly if there is any chance of encountering dangerous animals like panthers or wolves on your trip; however don’t let this scare you away from going camping—there are many ways we can prevent these types of encounters from happening! 

If possible try going camping during off-peak hours when there are fewer humans around so there will be less chance of running into an animal who might be looking for food while they’re out playing in their natural habitat…

12. Learn From Your Experience And Adjust Accordingly For The Next Time

While you’re out there, be sure to take note of what worked and what didn’t work for you. Make a list of things to do before the next time so that you can improve upon your experience. 

You might not have been able to plan for everything but don’t let that stop you from being flexible when things come up – it will help keep things running smoothly!


Hopefully, we’ve given you a few good ideas for your next camping trip. And if you do find yourself in any trouble on the trail or in the wild, remember: there are people out there who want nothing more than to help others. You just need to ask them!

Further Reading

If you’re looking for more resources on camping for beginners, be sure to check out these helpful articles:

ountain Warehouse Camping Guide for Beginners – This comprehensive guide covers everything from choosing equipment to setting up camp to help first-time campers feel confident on their trip.

Go Outdoors’ Beginner’s Guide to Camping – Covering all the basics, this guide is perfect for those new to camping. It includes tips on choosing a campsite, setting up camp and staying safe.

Family Handyman’s Camping for Beginners Guide – This beginner’s guide covers all the essentials, including what to bring, how to set up camp, and the best spots to camp in.


What equipment do I need for camping as a beginner?

Some essential equipment for camping as a beginner includes a tent, sleeping bag, camp stove, cooler, and a first-aid kit. Be sure to check out our guides on camping for beginners for a more detailed checklist.

How do I choose the right campsite for my trip?

Consider factors such as location, amenities, and surrounding attractions when choosing a campsite. You may also want to check the weather forecast and look up reviews online for more information.

What do I need to know about setting up camp?

Before setting up camp, make sure you have permission from the campsite owner. Look for a flat, level spot away from hazards such as dead trees and water sources. Follow any specific instructions for setting up your tent or campsite.

What safety precautions should I take while camping?

Some important safety tips while camping include being prepared for emergencies, following fire safety guidelines, and being aware of wildlife in the area. Check out our guide on camping safety for more information.

How do I plan meals for a camping trip?

Plan meals that are easy to prepare and won’t spoil easily. Pack foods that are high in nutrients and energy, such as nuts, dried fruits, and jerky. Bring along a camp stove and cookware, along with utensils and plates to enjoy your meals.