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10 Tips for First Time Tent Campers

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The desire to spend time enjoying the outdoors is greater than ever, and many new visitors are seeking solace in nature and the spirit of adventure with a camping trip for the first time. With summer camping season nearly almost upon us, check out these tips from Recreation.gov to plan your trip, make reservations, and prepare with the proper gear.

  1. Stick Close to Home

    Make your trip a memorable one by planning an easy outing close to home. A weekend escape for one or two nights within an hour of where you live is the best choice for a first camping trip. 

  2. Make A Reservation

    Planning ahead is more important than ever. In fact, reservations through Recreation.gov are at an all-time high. Start planning your camping trip by searching Recreation.gov for locations and making a reservation in advance. 

  3. Pack Light, But Smart

    Make a checklist so you don’t forget any gear, and pack items that server more than one purpose. Check the location’s facilities page for important Need to Know information prior to your trip.

    PRO TIP: Bring earplugs, nature can be louder than you’d think. 

  4. Plan Your Meals

    Plan a full menu for each day of your trip. Measure your ingredients and prep meals before you arrive to save time as well. It’s common for new campers to need a store run for something they forgot. 

  5. Leave No Trace

    Pack out what you pack in. These principles apply in your neighborhood, local park, and all public lands. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave trash on the trails or at your campsite, and respect our outdoor spaces and fellow campers. 

  6. Plan for the Unexpected 

    Plan ahead and have backup-up options in mind for your trip. Learn about conditions or guidance that may impact your travel plans. You might find new routes, crowded trails, or new rules. Make sure to spend a little more time researching your trip. 

  7. Check Your Gear

    Whether you choose to runt or purchase, test all your gear before your trip. Avoid spending hours figuring out how to set up your tent for the first time when you arrive with a few trial-runs at home. 

  8. Don’t Forget the Furniture 

    Review the campsite amenities on Recreation.gov to see if picnic tables are available. As a good rule of thumb, pack a chair for each member of your group as well as a table for food prep, eating, and games. 

  9. Arrive at Check-In

    Check your reservation for the check-in time and plan to arrive at your campsite by then. Arriving right at check-in ensures you hav plenty of time to unpack and set up, and helps you avoid pitching your tent with a headlamp in the dark. 

  10. Be a Courteous Camper

    Be a respectful camper by following all the rules and guidelines. Honor quiet hours, fully extinguish your fire, keep your campsite tidy, and remove all trash and belongings when it is time to leave. 

If you’re thinking of exploring the outdoors on a first-time camping experience this season let Recreation.gov help you take the guess work out of planning and prepping for your trip!

From the gear you should pack to picking a destination to important safety information, check out these tips to get the most out of your first camping experience, visit Recreation.gov.

Have you been camping before? Where did you go and what did you do? Let me know in the comments or on social.

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