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First Time Camping - 10 Tips to Make It a Success

If you’re planning to go camping for the first time, you likely have a lot of questions in your mind; what should you pack? How will you get there? What if you have a terrible time? Worry not, as preparation is key and we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve gathered ten essential tips for your first-time camping trip in order to make it a success. Let’s jump right in.

1. Choose your campsite carefully

Choosing where to go camping is naturally at the top of the list. For your first time camping, it might be best to choose a campsite not too far from home. This way, if the weather turns sour and you realise you’ve forgotten your tent pegs, making your escape won’t be too difficult.

Think also about what you want most from your campsite. If you choose a large site with lots of facilities, the site will likely be busier and have a more community feel, whereas a smaller, more laid-back site with fewer facilities often gives you more of a wild camping feel. 

As an extra tip, check whether the site allows BBQs or campfires and whether you can park your car at your pitch to plan your trip accordingly.

2. Gather your gear

You don’t need all that much for your first time camping. A tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, torch and perhaps a camping stove should be enough to get you started. Buying second-hand or borrowing gear from family and friends helps to keep your starting costs low - you can always invest in gear later down the line if you discover you really love camping!

3. Plan some activities

Especially if you’re travelling with kids who get bored easily, planning out your days is a good idea. Look into walking trails around your campsite and pack things like footballs, frisbees and card games for onsite fun.

It’s a good idea to choose a site with visitor attractions within a short drive of the site. Small towns with pretty harbours, market squares and charming shops are great in case of a rainy afternoon, and activities like kayaking, climbing or fishing offer variety and new experiences. 

History buffs might enjoy castles and heritage railways while families with young kids could look for things like safari parks or animal sanctuaries.

4. Do a dry run

If you’ve never pitched your tent before, it’s good to practice in the garden before your first time camping away from home. You could take this opportunity to sleep in your tent as well, helping you to adjust the number of warm layers of clothing you need as well as the padding and insulation on your tent floor. This way, you don’t have to worry about being cold or uncomfortable once you set off for your camping trip in earnest.

5. Don’t forget about lighting

Lighting is one of those things you might easily forget about when going camping for the first time. It’s a good idea to pack a lantern or two you can set down in your tent to create some light for the evenings, as well as a head torch for those late-night loo runs. Don’t forget about mood lighting, either - some battery-operated fairy lights help to create a cosy feel.

6. Bring your own toilet paper

There are no guarantees that the shared bathrooms at your campsite have toilet paper so to be safe, it’s good to bring a roll of your own. It’s also a good idea to pack some hand sanitiser and wet wipes to keep clean.

7. Plan and prep meals beforehand

Going camping doesn’t have to mean eating ramen and trail mix day in and day out. We’ve shared lots of campfire cooking recipes on our blog in the past that you can get inspiration from. 

To make things as easy as possible, prep as much as possible at home before your trip. Peel and cut up veggies, make sauces and marinades and measure out and pre-mix herbs and spices in small containers. 

8. Choose the right spot to pitch up

Choosing the right spot to camp makes all the difference. While trees can provide cover from the wind, they can also drop sap which can lead to a sticky situation - literally. Additionally, if you encounter heavy winds, you risk being in the way of falling branches. The perfect spot for your pitch is flat and free of rocks, sticks and rubbish.

9. Leave the tech at home

This is a good idea for two reasons: a pitch with an electric hookup is more expensive (and harder to come by), and we could all use the occasional digital detox. 

Holidaying without all the mod-cons we’re used to at home forces us to be more creative: think cooking on a fire and using dry shampoo rather than blow drying and straightening your hair.

And what’s the fun of holidaying in the great outdoors if you spend the whole time in front of your iPad screen? Take your first time camping as a challenge not to check social media and to get ahead with your reading rather than binging another Netflix show.

10. Consider glamping first

If you’re still a little iffy about your first time camping in a tent, glamping can provide the perfect soft landing into the world of camping. You don’t need to buy a tent or any other camping gear and get to spend your night on a comfy, warm bed, while also having nature right at your doorstep.

Cosy camping with Wigwam Holidays

Our mission is to make outdoor living comfy and accessible to everyone. With this in mind, we’ve created a range of wooden camping pods that are heated and insulated. You can choose a camping pod kitted out simply with some beds and a table, or go all out with a kitchenette and an ensuite bathroom. 

With 80+ glamping sites across the UK, finding your perfect holiday is a breeze. Why not check out our last-minute holidays page to find sites with availability within the next seven days?