Have you ever arrived at camp only to realize that your new piece of gear doesn’t fit properly or work quite like you expected? Looking for a great resource for a few camping gear tips?
Are you new to camping and wondering about how to choose the right gear for your first trip?
I am going to take you through some basic information, questions and action items that will help test and choose the best camping gear.
This article is taken out of The Beginner’s Guide to Camping which prepares you for your next camping trip. Click on this link to see what is included in the guide and to reserve a free copy before they go on Sale.
One obvious key factor with a sleeping bag is warmth. You need to get a feel for the types of environments you will be camping in to find the correct temperature rated bag. I like to get a sleeping bag that is rated 10-15 degrees F cooler than the environment I am going into. So if your typical evening temperature is 20 degrees F, I go with a 5-10 degree bag.
The other big factor is choosing a synthetic bag or a down filled bag. I love the down filled bags although they do cost more money. The nice thing about down is that it is warmer and lighter than similar synthetic bags. This could be an important factor if you are backpacking and space is a key.
action Item #1: sleep in your bag a few nights before going camping to make sure it’s comfortable.
There are so many options these days for tents that it can be a pretty daunting challenge choosing one tent for the trip. Tents are rated by the number of people they sleep, but this is a little misleading. I use the rule of “2 over” on tents. If it says a 4 person tent, it’s more comfortable for 2-3 people when your gear is included into the mix.
This would be another good opportunity to get to the outdoor store if available to look at the styles. No worries if you can’t go in because there is a wealth of knowledge online. There is the option to skip this piece of gear all together if you are good sleeping under the stars.
action item #2: set up your tent before going camping to make sure you know how to do it.
Laying directly on the ground can be a very cold spot to be. You may be amazed how much warmth a thin layer between you and the ground can make.
There are a number of different types of pads that work effectively including the popular air mattress and foam mattress styles. Within the air mattresses, there is a wide range of sizes from the individual person up to the family style that is as big as a tent.
Special Note: If you are looking for more detailed information on assuring your trip is a good one, take a quick look here for some broader camping tips.
action item #3: Sleep on your pad one night before going camping
This is a really important choice and I highly recommend going into a store to try on a few to get a feel for them. You should know pretty quickly how comfortable the pack is. If it feels like a nice fitting glove then you might have a winner. You can add some weight to the pack to see how it feels as well.
Once you have chosen your backpack you will want to do a pre run pack job to make sure all of your gear fits. Take a look at this link from the National Outdoor Leadership School on how to pack your backpack. The basic idea here is to balance the weight in your pack.
action item #4: Lay out all of your gear for the trip and pack your bag to make sure everything fits properly.
I have been that person who wore the newer boots and paid for it with blisters the entire trip. Make sure that your boots are well broken in before going out on the trail with them. In general, the stiffer the shank of the boot, the more time that will be required to complete this task.
When choosing a pair of boots you should go for the pair that feel like they are already broken in. It is important to try on a few pairs until you find a brand and style that fit your foot.
action item #5: If you have a new pair of boots, you need to wear them around town or wherever you can to break them in before your first trip.
First Aid Kit
You should have a good feel for what is in your first aid kit and basic methods for treating injuries. I recommend taking a first aid class or backcountry first aid class if you have never done so.
If your kit doesn’t come with a book you can get a small field book to carry along in case there is a problem. These books cover the basics of recognizing and treating injuries and this knowledge could save a life, so take it seriously.
Action Item #6: Go through your first aid kit to get a feel for what is in it. Replace any expired products where needed and read up on basic first aid.
There are a number of different types of stoves on the market that address your specific need. The first big question is whether you are backpacking or car camping. Once you have determined this you can look into other specifics that will help you determine what to choose. Take a look at this link to get a feel for all of the different choices when choosing a camping stove.
After you get a feel for the different types of stoves and how they apply to specific trips, use this link to see some of the highest rated stoves. All of these stoves have been proven over the years to be highly effective for the type of camping required.
Action item #7: After choosing a stove, try it out at home to make sure you know how to set it up and use it effectively.
There are a bunch of different types of water treatment products out there but can be generally broken into 4 types: filter, chemical, UV type filters or boiling water. They all have their benefits and drawbacks depending on the type of camping you are doing. You will have to do a little research to find out what type is best for your next trip.
Action item #8: If you have a filter, test it out in the sink at home to see how effective it is at filtering water and make sure you have a water bottle that fits the filter.
There are both super small and super large headlamps. It depends on how much light you need as the major factor when choosing one. I am a big fan of the smaller single light AAA battery lights. They are very comfortable and I usually forget it is on my head until I am in need of it.
Action item #9: Try a few different lights on at the store with different hats you might be wearing on your trip. Ease of use is a key factor for me since you will be pushing the on/off button a lot.
Camping Gear Tips Conclusion
So those were the Top 9 gear tips and actions items taken from the Beginner’s guide to camping. Spend a little time doing your research here to make sure you are getting a high quality product that will last for years to come.
If you have any questions about the product you are thinking about choosing send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will get back to you with an answer.
The Beginner’s Guide to Camping has been published. Take a look at this link if you are interested in getting a copy.