9 practical tips to enhance your camping experience

Outdoor Camping

Outdoors, you can hear the chorus of cicadas and the murmur of frogs, the occasional bird singing in the treetops overhead, and if you listen carefully, you can even hear mice scurrying across the dry grass. This experience of being close to nature is a kind of tranquility and wildness that is hard to find in city life.

It was this direct contact with nature that made me fall in love with camping. With only a thin layer of tent canvas separating you from the surrounding plants and animals, nights like this are undoubtedly the most direct stimulation of the senses.

I understand that not everyone is going to enjoy camping, but I think everyone should try it at least once. If this is your first time camping, preparation is especially important.

How to go camping?

For your first time camping, I recommend finding a campsite that is of similar standard to your usual travel accommodations so you don’t feel too uncomfortable.

Are you someone who usually stays in high-end hotels with all-inclusive services? Then spend a little more and choose a campsite with private bathrooms and an on-site restaurant where you can also eat. There are now "glamping" options where you don't need to pitch your tent and can sleep in a large tent with a real bed. It’s still camping, but much more comfortable.

Are you a backpacker who mainly stays in hotels? Then you can choose basic camping, and you may not care much about rudimentary sanitation facilities. Just remember to bring your own (waterproof) tent, or rent one on-site.

The question of how to sleep can range from simply spreading out on a mat in nature with just a sleeping bag to isolate yourself from the outside world to use a small or large tent, or my favorite, a rooftop tent for road trips.

Rooftop tents can be easily installed on the roof of your car and can be quickly opened when needed. We were able to set up our sleeping area in the pickup truck in less than two minutes and we loved it.

The advantage of a rooftop tent is that you sleep higher up, so you are safer if you encounter a wildlife threat while camping in the wild.

Find the camping sleeping style that works for you. There are many options.

How to choose a camping spot

Now that you know how you want to spend the night, you need to decide where to go. To find the ideal location, you have to ask yourself what you like.

Do you prefer forests, lakes, mountains, or beaches? Or would you rather camp in urban areas? Don’t get me wrong, there are many campsites in cities. Although it’s not my cup of tea, I’ve stayed in urban campsites before, mainly for convenience.

I love water activities and usually find campsites or camping spots near the water. At the same time, you can also filter the water through a reverse osmosis water filter, but it depends on what you like.

Another thing to remember is that in the summer there can be swarms of mosquitoes near the water. This needs to be taken into consideration.

Prepare for the weather

This problem is easier to deal with on short trips, and you can check the weather forecast to know what the weather will be like for the coming weekend. But having said that, I know weather forecasts are not as accurate as they used to be because of the changes we are experiencing, so always be prepared for the worst.

The question is whether you are traveling during the rainy season. Do you expect it to rain during your camping days? Will it be cold or hot?

You'll need protection from the rain and a place to dry your clothes, cook, and move around. Do you need extra blankets when it's cold, or a mobile air conditioner for those unbearably hot nights?

If you don’t sleep well, your camping experience is bound to be terrible. Don't skimp on a mattress and a warm, dry sleeping environment.

Where to pitch a tent?

Once you get to your campsite, you'll need to decide where to pitch your tent (unless you've been assigned a designated camping spot).

Since we only travel in the off-season, there are always so many options, and deciding where to pitch our tent can take longer than actually setting up the tent.

Why? Because location matters.

If it's a windy day or night, you'll need wind protection. Do you want privacy? Then make sure your tent door isn't facing your neighbor's breakfast table.

What about shade? This is crucial because we camp most of the time in the summer and the tent can get very hot in the sun.

Are you camping somewhere with a view from your tent window? Well, plan before parking or setting up your tent.

Pay attention to your comfort

This may sound strange to many, but my camping experience has always been accompanied by a large amount of comfort. Define the comfort level you need to make you happy and bring it into your outdoor life.

Do you need a chair or a table? Do the places you visit provide these facilities? Do you need running water or a place to wash your hands? Well, pack a water jug. We have one and love it.

Oh, and speaking of comfort. I always take my hammock with me when I travel. Always will be. For me, this is the simplest yet most advanced comfort experience.

How to cook?

I've mentioned this before. If camping alone stresses you out enough, there’s nothing wrong with going to a restaurant. As long as you can afford it.

If you want to prepare your meals, think about how you can cook comfortably. Do you love grilling but can only operate a gas grill? Then maybe cooking over a campfire isn't for you.

Don’t rely solely on firewood. It is vital to always have a gas stove for rainy days. We used it more than expected on our last trip. Also, be prepared to shield your gas stove from drafts.

Electricity problem

Again it depends on where you camp. If you live somewhere with electricity, this problem is solved quickly. If not, you need to figure out whether you need electricity.

If needed, then consider solar options. Many people install solar panels on their car roofs, but I don’t like this approach. This forces you to park your car in the sun every time you rely on self-generated electricity, but since we travel most of the time in tropical climates, we opted for foldable solar panels with long cables so that they can be parked even if the car is parked In the shade, we can also move the solar panels to the sun.

Of course, having to take the solar panels out and move them around every time seems a bit cumbersome and takes up less space in your car, but it’s worth it. When using solar panels, you will also need a converter and preferably a spare second battery, but I won’t go into the details.

Food storage

If you plan on cooking for yourself, you'll need a way to store your food to avoid having to run to the store every day.

For short trips, a cooling box will suffice. For longer trips, you should consider bringing a cooler. Car refrigerators usually have two connection points, one that connects to your vehicle's normal 12-volt battery, and another that plugs into a regular household outlet, allowing you to draw power from the sun or your car's battery at your campsite.

We have two of these car refrigerators, one used as a refrigerator and the other as a freezer. Being able to freeze meat and vegetables allows us to be self-sufficient for up to two weeks or more.

Camping surface selection

I won’t go into too much detail here, but it’s important to consider the type of ground you’ll be camping on, especially for those of you who don’t like having sand on your feet and then carrying it into your bed. If this is a concern for you, consider bringing a tarp or some cloth that can be placed on the outside of your tent to prevent sand or mud from being brought inside.


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