New to tent camping? Fall is the optimal season to give it your first go. The weather is cooler, but not cold; a crackling fire is desired, not just necessary; and the mosquitoes aren’t a problem!
Basic tips for basic tent camping:
- Tarps and Bungee Cords - Bring one tarp for under your tent and one for over your tent. Use the bungee cords to *gently* suspend a tarp above your tent by way of trees. The tarps help to protect your tent from the elements.
- Lantern with extra fuel and/or flashlights with extra batteries.
- Waterproof matches and a few fire starter sticks or fatwood.
- Find decent sized rocks to create a fire ring. If you have a small camp shovel, dig a pit and line it with the rocks. Lowering your fire below ground level will help protect it from the wind. Be sure the fire area is clear of limbs and foliage up to 3-5 yards. Check for low-hanging limbs, too.
- Inquire with the park or campground about firewood. Some allow you to gather your own or they have it for purchase. Rarely is firewood allowed to be carried in.
- Plastic zipper bags will keep dry the things that need to be dry.
- A large plastic bin is great for food storage. (Ahem, critters have a keen sense of smell.)
- Multi-tool. Many include knives, corkscrews, screwdrivers, a bottle opener … you never know what you might be able to make use of.
- Bring a skillet, a small pot, a large pot and metal skewers. Oh, and don’t forget a potholder or oven mit! Those pieces will get hot over the fire. Use the large pot to heat water over the fire for the purpose of washing your dirty pots and dishes. Skewers are great for hot dogs, marshmallows, and kebabs (if you feel like going that far).
- Sleeping bag, a few extra pairs of socks, and clothes that enable layering will make your adventure much more comfortable. The nights are chilly!
When you’re considering the purchase of a tent, bigger is better, in my opinion. If you’re taking a family of four camping, choose a tent that sleeps more than four or you’re going to be lined up like sardines. Our family’s preference is a tent with rooms. Yes, I’m a tent camping diva.