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Top 5 tips for your first camping trip

The idea of heading into the bush for the very first camping trip may be a daunting one. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
Marcus Craft
Editor - Adventure

18 Oct 2018 • 10 min read

The idea of heading into the bush for the very first camping trip may be a daunting one to novice outdoor enthusiasts, but it needn’t be.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, read our tips, use your common sense, apply a fair bit of patience and don’t be afraid to ask questions of friends and family who are experienced campers – then you’ll be assured of a fantastic introduction into the wonderful world of camping.

1. Don’t overthink it

Keep it simple for your camping sojourns at the beginning. (image credit: Brendan Batty) Keep it simple for your camping sojourns at the beginning. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

We live in a time in which access to information is unprecedented: details, studies, lectures and more on any topic you can think of are available 24/7 at our fingertips, but that’s a major issue because we’re being constantly bombarded with research, opinion, and the “wisdom” of self-proclaimed experts. It’s difficult to ascertain what we should heed and what we should ignore.

The key is to tune out all of the noise and focus on a simple approach: pick a location, pick the dates, do your trip prep properly (gear and vehicles) and off you go.

2. Camp close to home

This spot in the Northern Territory is awesome, but it's not very close to anyone's home. So, maybe give this somewhat remote location a miss on your first camping trip. (image credit: Marcus Craft) This spot in the Northern Territory is awesome, but it's not very close to anyone's home. So, maybe give this somewhat remote location a miss on your first camping trip. (image credit: Marcus Craft)

Think about it: it’s your first time camping so you don’t want to tackle a week-long trip through a remote area of Australia just yet. What if you’ve forgotten something? What if something goes wrong? What if the rest of your family decides they absolutely hate camping?

Pick a campsite convenient to your home – within an hour or so away is best – and you’ll be able to retreat there if you’ve forgotten something important (such as the kids’ medicine) or if things do actually go awry.

3. Take the basics

You need only the basics for a great camping trip. (image credit: Brendan Batty) You need only the basics for a great camping trip. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

Water, food and shelter – those are the absolute essentials for a camping trip; everything else is pretty much window dressing.

Plenty of H2O, food enough for everyone, and good quality shelter which will hold up under tough conditions – say strong winds or a torrential downpour – are all you actually need. 

Obviously, a raft of mod cons and creature comforts will help some participants feel more at home in the bush or on the beach, but those things are not necessities, they are merely wants and if you don't take them, it's not the end of the world.

4. Go to a location with plenty of activity – and accommodation – options

If people in your mob know they have the freedom to upgrade to a cabin or at least change sites during a stay at a campground, then you'll have happy campers. (image credit: Nathan Duff) If people in your mob know they have the freedom to upgrade to a cabin or at least change sites during a stay at a campground, then you'll have happy campers. (image credit: Nathan Duff)

As well as being a close location, chose one which has a stack of options for you and your guests. You want a campsite that offers a range of nature-based activities such as bush-walking, swimming, kayaking, mountain-biking, animal-spotting, opportunities to seek out and appreciate indigenous art and/or sites, and more – that way there’ll be a good chance everyone will be entertained and kept active and thus never bored or prone to whinging.

It’s also good – at least on your first few camping trips – to stay at a campground where there are accommodation options, so if people in your group decide they’ve had enough of #campinglife and they want to upgrade from a tent to a glamping tent or a cabin, they can do so.

5. Have fun

Don't be too much pressure on yourself for it to be a perfect time because that rarely happens and perfect is never fun anyway. (image credit: Brendan Batty) Don't be too much pressure on yourself for it to be a perfect time because that rarely happens and perfect is never fun anyway. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

Remember: camping is supposed to be fun. It’s your chance to escape the rat race and venture into the great outdoors – no stress – and spend time with those important to you (family, friends, your dogs).

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the trip a perfect time for your camping crew –people will find their fun – and as result you’ll have a much better time, than if you were constantly worried about whether everyone is having an enjoyable trip away or not.

What's your top tip for a great first camping trip? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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