If you’re new to camping, you are to be envied. There’s nothing like starting one of the world’s great adventures fresh and full of excitement. There are expert campers who can tell you everything there is to know about sites, what to pack, what to wear and what to watch out for. But even with a very modest amount of knowledge you can get started on the road.
You’ll want to spend some time investigating gear. Having a good sleeping bag and a lightweight, sturdy tent is a must. Modern materials and design give you plenty of unbeatable options. These days you’re not limited to sleeping in a tent, however. You may prefer a local motel or even want to stay in your vehicle.
Larger SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicle) make for great ‘hard shell tents’, but RVs (Recreational Vehicle) are another great option. They come in a range of sizes with some that can function as a permanent mobile home. Smaller ones can still sleep two comfortably, yet have a stove, running water and a TV for those who just can’t leave it at home.
Take some time to research stoves and lamps. Cooking outdoors can be a challenge, but it’s made a lot easier with a two-burner propane or Coleman fuel stove. Lighting has reached a highpoint with LED lamps and flashlights.
You may or may not have wireless Internet or cell phone access where you’ve selected, so be prepared. Getting lost can be a concern, too, so look into a good GPS unit. Learn to use it before you leave and get familiar with maps of the area so you’ll recognize what you’re looking at.
Do a little advance planning and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches. Decide where and when you want to go, then make reservations far in advance. Camping is more popular than ever! When you’re doing that research, do more than just find a place. Check the weather, look into the local wildlife you’ll encounter and find out about any toxic plants to watch out for there.
You don’t have to restrict your choices to just the U.S., if that’s where you live. There are great campsites around the world. Canada has some of the most impressive lakes, forests and mountains anywhere. But even the North American continent doesn’t have a monopoly on great campsites. Europe has been a camper’s paradise for generations.
Whether you like sunny Portugal or Greece you’ll find plenty of options. Maybe you prefer the Black Forest of Germany or the same-named area in Russia. Either is a great choice. The UK has a hundred different sites in a half-dozen countries. You can visit the wild seas of the Orkneys or the calm ones in wild Wales. Or, you can head inland to the Midlands. The UK has some of the most diverse scenery of any country.
Don’t wait until you’re an expert to get going. Learn the basics, then head out and get some practical experience. After all, it’s not a classroom assignment – it’s an adventure!