So, you wanna go camping and you aren’t sure where to begin. theDIHEDRAL is here to help. Camping is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve novel experiences in novel places. While camping can be cheaper than staying in hotels and Airbnb’s there are some upfront costs you’ll have to endure. There are also some creature comforts you’ll have to forsake. The good news is that as you gain experience, the costs will decrease, and a new standard of comfort will be achieved.
My first bit of advice would be to say “yes” if someone invites you on a camping trip. If that happens, there is a good chance that you can just borrow their gear and see if it’s something that you enjoy without having to make that initial investment.
If you are planning on just jumping in and hoping for the best, then here are a few things to consider.
Time of year.
The time of year can make all the difference in the world. Sweltering in a tent during the height of summer will have you running for the comfort of an air-conditioned hotel room, never to return to the world of camping ever again. Likewise, freezing your butt off can have the same effect. An underrated point to consider is mosquito season. If there are too many mosquitos, then what starts off as a voyage of connection can quickly turn into a miserable and unwanted torturous pile of hell. Camp at a time when the stars align, the weather is nice, the mossy’s are chill, and the stoke is high!
This one is simple. Camp with people who don’t complain! When camping, one should expect that things won’t always go according to plan. Sometimes it rains, sometimes you fall asleep on a nest of fire ants, sometimes you accidentally set your shoes on fire, sometimes you get poison ivy, sometimes you run out of gas, sometimes you lock your keys in the car. Do you know what never makes these things better? That one person who complains the entire time. That person is the worst, and they make everything horrible. Even if that person is your best friend and you really want them around, it just isn’t worth it. The “worst” experiences I’ve ever had while camping always turn out to make the best memories! Camp with people who understand that.
Now that you have the crew and the date picked out, it’s time to find a destination. My advice on this is to be in nature. KOA, Yogi Bear, and similar fast food style chain campgrounds can serve a purpose, but these places kind of just amount to sleeping on the ground. This is your chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of the outdoors. Look at the stars, breathe in the fresh air, listen to the symphony of the birds, crickets, and toads. Driving two hours further for the right spot will be worth the trip, don’t settle for mediocre when you can have splendor.
Treat yourself. There is something about eating delicious food when out in the wilderness. It feels like two worlds that were never meant to interact have a chance to collide in the most magnificent ways. With a little meal prep and a little planning, you can be enjoying 5-star cuisine in the most spectacular restaurant on the planet. So go ahead and buy that port cheese, and pack that pesto (precook the noodles) because tonight you will be dining with the gods!
Depending on where you’re going, my guess is that you’ll need a tent or hammock for sleeping. A sleeping bag is strongly recommended, as well as a sleeping pad. A pillow can make a big difference as well, so if you have the room, it will be worth it. If not, you can always sleep on whatever your clothes are packed in. You’ll need a cooler for your food, and lots of water. I was able to price all these things out on Amazon for less than $125 (total). Cheaper than a night in most hotels! Now depending on where and when you’ll be camping the gear could be more important and thus more money, but for just the basics $125 can get you going!
Sooooo…if you wanna go camping, just stick to these basics and you should be able to not only get through, but also enjoy a few nights out in nature either solo or with the crew. If you have any questions or want some specifics, I am here for you. Just write or comment below, and I’ll do whatever I can to help!