Monday, June 19, 2017

Gear Checklist for a Camping Newbie

Every now and then, friends ask us some basic camping questions. That woke us up to the fact that not all of our readers are seasoned hikers and campers. Today’s guide is for those just getting into camping, the newbies if you will.
We take a step back and look at the basics of planning a camping trip, from gear to some nifty tips and tricks you should be privy to when taking on the Great Outdoors.

Tent and accessories
First and foremost, it’s worth looking into your shelter. The tent-is-just-a-tent approach is common, but it’s not that simple. The wrong tent can lead to a number of issues.
Vital components can easily go missing, or worse, your tent itself can break. To avoid these mishaps, it’s worth considering the following to ensure a safe and calm night’s sleep.

These are some of the essentials to have on-hand:
• Mallet - Hard ground can quite literally stump your pegs, so a mallet is always a good investment.
• Spare tent stakes – If the hard ground does bend your stakes, or long grass swallows them up, then a cheap pack of spare stakes will go a long way in your hour of need.
• Duct Tape – For any rips or tears you might leave on your mobile home.
• Broom – Trust me, this is a must have. Sleeping on twigs and stones is not a fun experience.
• Lighting – A lantern is a nice touch for some card games or reading in the evenings. Alternatively hanging a torch will do the trick, but it’s not quite the same.
Sleep gear
For me at least, gone are the days of sleeping on the rock hard ground at music festivals.
Sleeping arrangements can be easy to solve if you have adequate transport, and you can really make that temporary house into a real home with just a few quick tricks and essentials.
Sleeping Bag– These compact snug inventions are great zipped up or spread open like a duvet.
Sleeping pad – the less comfortable alternative to an air mattress
Roll Mat – This will do the trick, but it’s advisable to invest in fairly thick foam mat to prevent anything from poking through in the night
Pillow – Easy to forget but really an essential.
Choosing the best airbed
The choice of the best air mattress for your circumstances is crucial. That’s why we’ll take a closer look into choosing a good blow up bed.
Bear in mind that inflatable beds, even the best ones, will require a little more time, effort, and space. This especially goes for the raised blow up beds, because of the slopping walls of the tent.
Best air mattress for your tent size
This is the part that most newbie campers get wrong. The most common mistake is not factoring in the height of the air mattress and the slopped walls of the tent. Instead of going into detailed explanations and doing the math, we’re just gonna chew it all up for you and make recommendations.
Let’s take a look at two most commonly used air mattresses.
Twin air mattresses
A twin air mattress takes up 20-22 square feet, and that’s the sleeping surface only. If you factor in the height, it’s safe to do your math with 25 ft for a standard dome tent. You always have the risk factor of the airbed getting punctured, so a foam mat between the tent floor and the inflatable is a good idea.
Alternatively, you can go online, do your research and read reviews of the best air mattresses and look for the models with thicker Vinyl (like Fox).
A rule of thumb would be to go with a tent that’s 3 times the size (floor surface) of your blow up mattress.
Queen size air mattress
A queen size airbed will take up about 33 square feet and if we apply the “rule” mentioned above, for a queen size air mattress, your best bet is at least a 100 ft. tent. Again, it’s smart to read the reviews of the airbeds that other people shared and choose an inflatable that’s best for you.
This can be a real head scratcher for those who haven’t camped before, but it’s much simpler than it sounds provided you have the right equipment.
Water Container – Unless you want to make countless trips a day to restock, getting one of these is an essential. It can be a long walk to the onsite taps!
Cooking appliances – A stove or BBQ for the food and a kettle for your coffee’s and teas is all that’s needed.
Gas/ Charcoal – Either will do the trick.
Matches/ Lighter – Again, easy to forget but necessary for getting a hot meal.
Pots, Pans, and Dutch Oven
Cooking utensils – Wooden spoons, knives, can openers, bottle openers etc.
Cutlery and Crockery
Cooler bag/ box – to keep your food fresh without a fridge handy. 
Bin Bags
Tin Foil
Washing up bowl/ liquid.
Camping or not, the weather can spring up all sorts of surprises, and it’s more than worth preparing for all eventualities when you’re out in the open.
Waterproofs – not just jackets, but trousers are a good idea too.
Lightweight fleece – These are easy and cheap to pick up and do a great job.
Warmer clothes – A coat, hat, scarf and gloves should do the trick. Remember it can still get cold at night even in summer!
Cooler clothes – shorts and tee’s are easy and comfy.
Sleeping Clothes
Boots – for those who like to walk and hike.
Sandals – for those who aim to chill by the sea.
Personal items and first aid
Self-explanatory, but a checklist to go by is always handy for these things:
Shampoo and Soap
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Towels – I’d advise more than one if possible.
Toilet paper – you can’t always rely on public toilets!
Sanitary towels
Wet wipes – these really are multipurpose and will constantly come in handy.
First Aid Kit 
Sun Screen
Insect repellent 
Unfortunately, everything you might want or need for camping doesn’t fit into five neat categories, so here’s everything else worth considering before undertaking your first camping adventure!
Camera – to capture those holidays moments.
Entertainment – for you or the kids, taking some games, books and toys along is a good idea for some downtime.
Batteries – your flashlight running out on the way to the toilet in the middle of the night is not fun, I can tell you that!
Furniture – Camping chairs/ stools are a must have.
Compass and Map – depending on what you’re planning to do day to day.
Portable Charger – to keep your phones and devices charged throughout the trip.
This should cover everything you might need for a first camping excursion, but ultimately you can tailor it to your own trip, as that’s what camping is all about! Hiking, Lounging, Biking – there’s a whole host of reasons why camping is such a popular choice for getting away from the rat race of our lives.
Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin