So you've never been camping but now you are ready to give it a shot? So glad you're here then. We're going to give you our best tips fro first-time campers and how to make it the best trip possible.
Go for a trial run first! Whether you are tent-camping or driving your RV, pick a site close to home for a short trip, to test the waters. It is amazing what you will forget to pack, and these short trips make it so much easier. Then you can be sure to create a better packing list for next time, learn the ropes and be more comfortable planning a longer trip. You can even pitch those tents in your own back yard for experience.
Choose a campground with bathroom facilities for your first trip and don't rough it right off the bat. You need to understand how all your equipment works and what to do in case of bad weather; this allows you to be more comfortable with the process before you have to go roughing it.
Plan well in advance. Planning is the key to a successful trip so make those reservations, plan your meals and activities.
Pack clothes to be able to dress in layers. Nothing is worse than packing for hot weather and it is cold and rainy. When you have layers you can always be sure to be comfortable no matter what the weather decides to do.
Plan easy meals. You do need to meal plan to bring exactly what you need for each day and maximize the freshness of the foods you've brought by utilizing fresh ingredients that may spoil early on and then using up staples near the end, unless you will be going shopping on your camping trip and no one wants to do that unless they absolutely have to. Meal-planning allows you to spend your time doing fun things rather than worrying about what you're preparing and how.
Pack water!! I can not stress this enough. You need to stay hydrated when you're going to be outside this much. You never know the quality of the water where you will be staying, if you can pack water, do so. Another option is to be sure to have a water filter system to use, just make sure you have good clean potable water.
Check all your propane tanks and make sure you have enough. It is frustrating and disappointing to start cooking dinner on the grill and run out of gas. Even worse is taking a cold shower because you can't heat it up. For you tent-campers this is less of an issue if you cook over an open fire instead of using a propane camp-stove.
Know how all of your equipment works. It is important to test every piece of equipment you are packing to make sure it works properly and that you know how to operate it. Reading a manual is not good enough. Test everything out to eliminate the surprise of broken equipment or operator failure.
Plan your activities. When you plan where you will camp, make plans on what you want to do while you are there. What is nearby? What is free vs paid? Can you take dogs with you? Is there parking?, etc.
Pack a first aid kit. You never know when you will need it, and Murphy's law states that if you don't pack it, you will need it so better safe than sorry.
Know how to secure food and garbage. This applies to tent campers and RV'ers. You can't leave garbage lying about or available to critters in the wild. They will make a mess and keep coming back. If you're in a tent, you need to make sure you food is secure and safe from animals so that it is available for you and you don't attract bears.
Don't forget toiletries. You will need toilet paper, soap, towels, dental care, etc. Pack extra towels always.
Don't forget to purchase firewood when you get to the campsite, as most places you cannot travel with it unless you use Speedy Blaze which is transport compliant and will not create a pest problem.
Leave No Trace!! When you leave, it should look like you were never there. No garbage left behind, no mess, no food, etc. Clean up after yourself every day, and cleaning up to leave will be a breeze.