Ok so you and your family have never been the outdoor type. The thought of camping never appealed to you before and certainly the thought buying camping gear never crossed your mind.
However, gas is through the roof and you heard camping is a great way to spend time with the family on vacation and do so in a cost affective manner.
Sure we all want to get back to our ancestral routes of forging unexplored land, sleeping under the stars, building a fire and cooking in the great outdoors. For now, Daniel Boone, before we start conquering the mountains of Washington State, lets get you acclimated to camping in a more normal atmosphere.
If you are going on your very first camping trip there are certain must haves that your list should have written on it to make sure you are well prepared. What? You do not have a list? Ok that is step one. Get a piece of paper out and make a list of the items you are going to bring. Also, as a quick tip, on this list write down what your meals will be for each day and then shop accordingly.
Here are some must haves if you are a first time camper.
What would camping be without a tent? It would more than likely be miserable if you have never camped before. You would be left either sleeping in your vehicle or on the ground. I have camped without a tent and although it is not a catastrophic event, camping in a tent is a lot nicer, especially if it should rain. Make sure you get a tent that sleeps the number of people plus two that you are going to bring. In other words if four people are going camping, get a tent that sleeps six. If you get a tent that sleeps four people, you will be crammed in there like sardines.
Now that you have a place to sleep in, you will need something to keep you warm and protected from the ground. A sleeping bag takes care of both of these. You can get a good sleeping bag at any store like Wal-mart, Target or Dick’s Sporting Goods. Chances are you are not camping in extreme cold temperatures so there is no need to get one rated for under zero degrees Fahrenheit. A basic sleeping bag will do. You can get a decent one for under $20.
Although we try not to think that it will rain on our beloved camping weekend, the chances are it still might and you need to be prepared for it. Invest in a good rain suit. If money is tight then a $5.00 poncho will do, but a good rain suit is worth its weight in gold, especially if it is raining fairly hard. Again you can get them at almost any store and a good suit will run you anywhere from $20 to $50.
You can pick these up at any home store like Home Depot. Lowes, or Ace Hardware. Make sure you get the plastic brown or blue tarps not the cloth or clear plastic painting tarps. You can use tarps to string (don’t forget rope or string) between trees to create coverings over the area where you will eat. This is especially helpful if it is raining. No one wants to eat in the rain. You can also place tarps underneath your tent to prevent water from seeping up through the ground and the bottom of your tent. Just make sure the tarp you put under your tent is folded smaller than the tent bottom. If it is larger, the tarp will actually catch the water and create a layer of water between the tarp and tent bottom. You can also throw a tarp over top of your tent to create an extra layer over your tent’s rainfly. Although most tents today are constructed very well and prohibit the rain from penetrating, a tarp is like having extra insurance so no rain enters in your tent at all.
There are many other items you could and probably will get such as lanterns, coolers, stoves and an endless list of supplies. The ones I mentioned, at least in my opinion, are must haves for first time campers.