Tips for cautious first-time campers

by | Jan 24, 2024

Studies have shown that camping is good for us! The idea that our wellbeing can benefit from the combination of a connection to nature, physical activity (that tent won’t pitch itself), fresh air, stress relief, and just generally feeling happier as a result of camping is a great motivator to give it a go.  But if you’ve never done it before, or you have some less than appealing memories, the whole idea can seem a bit overwhelming so here are a few ideas to help you have a great first-time camping experience.

  • It’s thought that people benefit both mentally and physically from camping outdoors.
  • Camping could be a way to enhance our general wellbeing.

Sometimes people are unsure about giving it a go so here are our top tips.

First of all, if you really are a bit unsure, try to put yourself in a positive frame of mind by thinking that at least if you don’t enjoy it (we reckon you will), at least it was an inexpensive new experience given how reasonable campsite accommodation is.

Next, don’t go for very long. This will hopefully leave you wanting more rather than desperate for it to end. Two nights to start with is probably just right.

Yes, in terms of cost, of course you could spend a fortune on kit but that’s the same with any new activity and you really don’t have to. You’ve probably got most of the gear already (or could get it fairly inexpensively) such as torches, cutlery, sleeping bags, matches or a lighter.

Yes, of course you need a tent but perhaps to start with you could borrow one or commit to trying camping out by buying inexpensive one. You could always trade up later. It needs to be big enough to fit everyone in comfortably but not so big that putting it up feels like climbing Everest. Although, whatever its size, we would advise pitching the tent at home a few times so that you can do it quickly and efficiently at the site and feel quite comfortable about the process.

Yes, your bed at home is comfy, but even that yoga mat you’ve got rattling round would make do as a thin mattress for two nights. Then you can look at semi-inflatable or blow-up mattresses (unless you’ve already got one) if you get the bug and again, you might be able to borrow. If you are going high tech, make sure you’ve got the required adaptor to inflate and deflate as required. Ear plugs and eye masks are up to you!

Yes, you’ll need camping chairs but first see if any of your garden chairs would do, ask to borrow, or invest cheaply to start with. You could take some sort of stove for cooking if you fancy having a go, or you could pick a site that’s near to a pub or café. Often sites will have lovely little shops that sell the essentials, and you don’t need to be a seasoned camper to have a cool bag.

And, if you stay pretty local, you’ll see somewhere you know well from a new perspective safe in the knowledge that you can be back home in no time. Just get yourself familiar with any new gear beforehand, relax, take it gently to start, and you might be more inclined for adventures further afield as time goes by and you realise that not only are you becoming a camping ace, you love it!

Even rain has its compensations, and a pack of cards can do wonders.