Often, we find accommodation in hostels or is given shelter by a kind Couchsurfing host during our travels. There are however times when such accommodation options are not available, especially if one is backpacking off the beaten path.
This is when hitching up a tent in order to be close to mother nature is a good idea.
Camping, however, does not mean roughing it out. It is, in fact, a very pleasurable activity that many of our seasoned backpackers swear by and have tips for, especially if you are a first timer.
1. Look into your destination
The location you are in at the moment might be seeing good weather but there is no guarantee it will be the same at your destination.
It is therefore wise to look at the local weather reports prior to departure.
Remember, a rained on camper is a gloomy camper.
2. Have a backup
The campsite when you arrive might be occupied. It is, therefore, to always have a backup campsite you can make your way to.
3. Purchase the gear you need
Make sure you do some research and purchase the gear you need.
Do not however buy into the marketing hype and purchase those that are not necessary. You do not want to be lugging a backpack heavier than it already is.
A good tent and a sleeping bag are sufficient for any backpacker. See our guide on what to look for when purchasing these.
4. Test your camping gear
Setting up camp is easy peasy, some might think. And it really is, provided you have some practice.
We, therefore, recommend first-time campers to practice using their camping gear at home to ensure they will not be using instruction manuals to set up camp once they arrive. Or worse, discovering that the brand new stove you purchased is faulty and all you have to is cold canned food!
5. Arrive in the day time
Arriving in the day time to a campsite allows you to set up camp efficiently or at your own pace. This is made much more difficult in the dark using flashlights.
6. Plan your meals
Camping akin to backpacking means you will be away from the comforts of home. Home cooked meals, comfort tea, and coffee, therefore, will not be at your beck and call.
This, however, does not mean that you have to rough it out. You can, in fact, make some great meals equipped with a good camp stove and we recommend doing meal planning for your camping trip to ensure it’s a good one.
Remember, hangry = hungry + angry.
7. Leave your camping ground as you found it
This one needs a little explaining.
We backpackers must respect this big beautiful world that we love exploring. Leaving it as we found it or even contributing to its beauty is, therefore, a moral obligation that we all share.
8. Enjoy it
Some are made for camping in the great outdoors and some are more comfortable getting some shut-eye in a hostel or a hotel.
You will discover which you are after your first camping trip.
Make sure you enjoy your trip and learn from it.