5 Tips for New Campers

Recently I’ve been to the Festival Internacional de Banda Desenhada de Beja with some friends and since camping was free we took the opportunity to save some money. This was the second year we attended but we still made some rookie mistakes that could have easily been avoided.

Here are some important advices that every camper should know:

Check your essential stuff before leaving the house

A fellow camper friend with years of experience forgot his wallet at home, a simple mistake that could have been avoided by creating a check list of everything he needed to bring along.

Also, check if your tent is in good shape and if you can disassemble it. You may have not noticed but a tent could be broken, pierced or simply dirty. Ensure your tent is in top notch condition for the trip.

Finally, check the essentials that you might take for granted but could fail to bring at any time. Beja’s campsite had fully equipped bathrooms, including toilet paper, but guess what was missing from the cubicle I chose? It could have turned into a “What would MacGyver do?” kind of situation very fast.

Extras are essential

Plan to bring a hammer? Good. Are your friends planning to bring one? We only brought one hammer to assemble three tents. It somehow took us around two hours to assemble every tent because we could only hammer one peg at a time. By assuring you have more hammers, more people can do the job instead of pointing their mobile’s flashlight at you.

Speaking of tent pegs, make sure yours are sturdy enough. Terrain can be harder than you think and pegs are be really easy to bend, especially it they are stock ones. Also bring extra. You may have miscalculated, lost some, broken some or your friends might need them.

Laundry clips may be an excellent addition to your arsenal. If sturdy enough, they provide a quick fix for tents, hanging clothes or even sealing food bags. The side of one of my friend’s tent tore apart due to tension but with a quick band-aid repair (see below) and a laundry clip we successfully managed to hold it together through the weekend.

Extra food is also a good idea. Even if you plan on eating out like we did, there will be times when you wished you could have some snacks with you. Maybe no food is available at that moment (you might get the munchies at midnight, and then what?) or it’s too expensive. If you’re already carrying a backpack, however small, sneak in a couple cereal bars, fruit or crackers for the way.

Bring  your little pharmacy along

You don’t plan to get sick, but you might. Due to different temperatures throughout the day and night, you may get a sore throat or a cold. For some reason, all of my friends got major headaches and were forced to take some Ibuprofen. Make sure you have medicine with you so you can continue enjoying the trip.

Also bring a first aid kit along. They comes in various sizes and make you prepared for the unknown (including fixing a tent tear with a band-aid).

Check the weather for that area

It’s already June but nights at the campsite may be colder than you’re expecting, especially if you came from a typically warm place. Bring a blanket along and ensure you don’t have to spoon with your friends to be warm at night.

Be prepared for bad weather such as wind and rain. Your tent should endure the elements (have a good water and wind proof cover) and you should be prepared for such weather. Don’t be afraid to bring a collapsible umbrella or a windbreaker to keep from getting soaked through.

Be ready for your journey

Camping is all about the journey, so be prepared for the whole trip, not just your camping stuff. If you’re going to visit a festival like we did, bring the program with you on your mobile or simply print one.

One useful and crucial item you need is a power bank. Seriously, last year we had to charge our phones one at the time at the only power outlet available in the bathrooms. We hung out there (yes, in the male bathroom) waiting for hours – hours that we could have spent resting of enjoying the festival. We played some card games to pass the time but it can get old fast, especially if you’re dead tired or getting bored from playing the same thing over and over.

If you’re going with a group, check where everyone agrees to visit and make time to explore those places. Many great sites are found by chance and when you least expect it.

What tips do you recommend for camping? Let us know in the comments bellow!

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