Outdoor Camping 101: How to Prepare for a Night in the Wild

outdoor camping

You’ve done it – you agreed to leave the comfort of your home and spend some time outdoors – congratulations! Given it’s your first time, it’s important that you plan for everything before heading out into the wilderness.

First off, ask yourself: are you going for a long hike or pitch a tent in a campground? If the plan is to go backpacking, then a huge tent will be completely unnecessary. Bring a small and lightweight one instead. A bivouac sack is ideal or a hammock if that’s what you prefer.
No matter where you go, there are general rules that have been created by campers. These aren’t exactly official rules per se, but following them will ensure that your whole camping trip is as safe as it is fun.


For example, there’s fire safety, which you need to familiarize with before the big day. You’ll also have to be aware of your surroundings and leave as little impact on the grounds as possible. Packing the right kind of food is also crucial since you don’t want to attract critters and most of all, bears. But before all these rules apply, you’ll have to choose a campsite or a destination first.

Here is our list of outdoor camping tips to help you prepare for a safe, fun, and secure camping experience.

Consider the size of your tent

A common mistake of new campers is that they end up huddled in a too-small tent. Your priority should be comfort and space when it comes to choosing a tent unless of course, you’re going on a backpacking expedition.


Don’t worry about the size. If you end up buying a huge tent, it will still fit in a car trunk and won’t weigh too much. If you’re camping as a family, make room for two extra people. For example, if there are six of you, get something that will accommodate eight people. A big enough tent is always a safer choice.

Know your gear

Don’t wait to arrive at the camping site before you get to know your gear. Tinker with them before you go camping, especially if you haven’t set up a tent before. You must make time to practice or you’ll waste time at the grounds trying to pitch it.

Aside from practicing setting up tents (presumably in your backyard), know how to operate your stove and lanterns and make sure they’re all working fine. It’s also a good idea to try sleeping in your sleeping bag for a night, just to have a good feel. This is how you’ll measure the comfort levels, which is essential for a good night’s sleep.


Be early at the camping grounds

As someone new to camping, it’s safe to assume you will have no idea what the rules and amenities are like. That being said, make it a point to arrive early in order to familiarize yourself with the layout of the venue. Know the basic stuff: where can you set up a tent? Do you need to contact a water bottles manufacturer before camping or is there a water source close to the site? Where can you cook?

It’s easier to know these things beforehand so by dusk, you won’t have any trouble navigating the campground.

Plan smart meals

One of the most challenging things to prepare for first-time campers is meal planning. It’s important that you know how many meals should be prepared and for how many people. Shop for groceries at least two days before leaving for camp and try to make meals as healthy as they are easy to cook.


Avoid snacks that don’t offer you important calories so you can avoid having to make stops to buy food because you or one of the campers go hungry too often.

Bring enough clothing

Proper clothing is important and is so is the number of clothes. You don’t want to end up having to go without any on the very last day. You must always assume that water is probably limited so bring enough so you don’t have to wash while on camp. It’s okay to wash clothing, but remember that you cannot wash a lot.

Follow your checklist

A checklist is important so that you don’t miss anything. You don’t want to arrive at the site only to find out that you forgot your handy LED flashlight. Your checklist will help you stay organized and will serve as a guarantee that you won’t forget anything.

Before leaving home, sort through the checklist and update as needed. Once you’ve completed all items, then you’re ready for a night in the wild.


Do you have other tips or ideas that would prove helpful for outdoor camping? Do share them with us in the comments section!