Beginner's Guide to Camping Essentials
If this is the first time you will be venturing outside of the comfort of your home, or you have been twiddling your fingers over the idea of it. It may feel overwhelming and exciting, and you will experience some panic from time to time, but hey, it is an adventure where you will be unlocking a new core memory! It is okay if you are worried, but it is not okay to stay inside your comfort zone. Life begins outside. Go and unlock new memories.
If you are still thinking twice about whether to go on camping or not because of the uncertainties that lie behind it, fear not! We are here to provide you, the camping newbie, with a comprehensive guide to help you make the most and prepare for the best outdoor camping experience, and stop you from chickening out and doing the deed instead.
1. Choosing the Right Type of Camping Style
WAIT! Before you go out and are about to get that camping gear, you need to decide where you are going to camp and have a basic knowledge of the various kinds of camping. We want to make your first camping trip a blast so this will help you find which camping site is perfect for your taste.
Campsite Camping: This is the most popular choice amongst campers and for good reason too. This type of camping requires the camper to pay a campsite fee to pitch his/her tent at a campsite for a certain period of time. The fees can range from somewhere around $25-35 AUD per night depending on the facilities provided at the campsite and some charge more based on the number of people camping. The great thing about campsite camping is that many of these campsites contain a variety of different people or groups such as families, friends or couples giving you the opportunity to experience camping at its best. It will also make you feel somewhat safe, as venturing from an unknown place may sometimes feel strange.
Some campsites even have segmentation rules such as families only, allowing families to have peace of mind regarding their kids' safety. Another great benefit of these campsites is that some of them come with essential features such as showers, toilets, and washrooms. If you want to enjoy nature without having to sacrifice the comfort of showering or toilet facilities, this is for you. Just be sure to check the campsite’s website to see if they have shower & toilet facilities, as not all campsites have these. A few even have playgrounds to keep the kids busy while you enjoy the peaceful nature.
We highly recommend this for beginners as it offers room for mistakes. OKAY. Errors may sound a bit harsh and uncomfortable, but they are inevitable even for experienced campers. There will be times when you will forget some things, which is completely fine since these campsites generally have a store or are close to nearby cafes where you can get freshly brewed coffee in the morning if you are a beginner, this is our recommendation to you because it is relatively easy and allows you to make mistakes such as forgetting to bring something essential. These campsites generally have a general store & a little cafe nearby so it is very helpful, you can even have a cup of coffee in the morning from the cafe, if you do not want to bother with bringing your own coffee & boiling water. Just keep in mind that these general stores & cafes normally close around 4pm or 5pm (refer to the specific campsite's general store or cafe opening hours) so do not count on having your dinner there! Do not forget to read the rules of the campsite you are planning to pitch your tent on as some even have defined rules in regard to the size of the tent.
If you are unsure regarding which camping site to pick, we highly recommend you to read our blog post on the 5 Best Camping Sites in Australia, to give you an idea of which camping site to choose. If you are someone who is outside of Australia or not near any of these locations and want help judging how to pick the perfect campsite then check out our article on Choosing the Perfect Campsite.
Overnight Hiking / Thru-Hiking / Backpacking: This is Novapro Sport's core existence. We specialise in ultralight camping gear for our customers for the reason of long hikes and overnight hikes. These include cutting through different terrains, big long walks, and alpine hikes to much more secluded areas away from civilisation and tourists. These are usually national parks, and unexplored great walks. At times, these hikes can be grinding, takes many days, but are also the most rewarding and most fully immersive experience to enjoy the true beauty of nature. Most of these hikes are enjoyable with a certain level of fitness, and there is an element of challenge attached to them. To make these hikes more enjoyable, achieving lightweight in the gear you carry allows you to walk further, stay more relaxed, tire yourself less, and go faster, and lighter.
Festival Camping: Festival camping has become a norm in Australia with music festivals that occur throughout the year. It is an exciting and thrilling way to experience camping. However, if you are new to it, festivals alone can be quite an overwhelming experience for you. One of the big draws of festivals other than the festivities, of course, is going camping with your close friends, family or significant other. For a lot of people, the socialising and camping experience itself is the most exciting part.
Camping at festivals can be quite a chore if you are not sure about what to do or have never done it before. Unlike campsite camping, camps in festivals are not segregated to separate families from singles. This means that everyone is stuck together in one place so it is wise to arrive early to find yourself the best camping spot possible. Furthermore, some festival camping sites can be quite far inland where there is a lot of space to camp and conduct the festivities, this means that you might need to park quite far away from the camping site. And yes, it will require a lot of walking, but it sure does be fun.
Depending on the size of your festive group, it could be a good idea to get a bigger camping tent with a living area and split the cost, with this method you may get a tent of a better quality while paying less for it. However, it is important that you do check the rules to see what tent sizes are allowed or the kind of gear you are allowed to bring with you, failure to follow the rules will most likely result in your gear being confiscated.
Glamping: If you are someone who likes the great outdoors but do not like the prospect of forfeiting the comforts of a home to go sightseeing then glamping is perfect for you. Most people consider glamping to be a mashup of the worlds glamorous and camping while some refer to it as glorious camping. Either way, this is the most luxurious and fashionable way to go camping, where you can experience great comfort whilst mother nature.
There are a lot of divisive opinions when it comes to glamping. Many hardcore campers do not consider *glampers* a part of the camping category. However, we are of the opinion that glamping is for those who do not like to rough it out in the great outdoors and like a bit of luxury in their trips. Glamping usually consists of pre-pitched tents that people can rent, which means that they do not need to bring their own equipment. For glampers, the cost of comfort is reasonable from their point of view.
2. Buying a tent
We would not go into much detail in this section because we have already discussed this extensively in our blog article Choosing the Right Hiking Tent. We highly recommend you to read through the blog post as it offers a deep and detailed insight into the various factors that you need to consider before you get your camping/hiking tent. Have a look at some of our best hiking tents:W3.CSS
3. The Other Essentials: Camping and Hiking Equipment
Camping is not all about buying a tent and pitching it at a campsite, there are other things you need to make the experience enjoyable for yourself:
Sleeping bag is definitely a strong camping essential. Next to the camping tent, this is our other source of relaxation as we use it to cocoon after a long tiring journey in the woods. The type of sleeping bag you use is heavily dependent on the type of weather you will be weathering during your hike, and the season of your state. Our bestselling sleeping bag is a very small compact ultralight Summer / Spring / Autumn sleeping bag - although also very commonly used for winter if you will be dressing up appropriately.
We also have down sleeping bags for the cold winter areas in Australia or the cold night drops in temps.
For our range of sleeping bags, see our collection of sleeping bags.
We will be doing an article on sleeping bags to give more guidance on choosing a sleeping bag, and how to assess one depending on its R value!
Sleeping mats are another essential. Novapro Sports stocks an ultralight version that is easily deployable and set up. Unlike self-inflating mats that are sometimes unreliable, and take a lot of work to roll, unroll and time to actually allow it to self-inflate, our sleeping mat has a built-in lightweight sponge air pump that is compressible by pressing onto the pump repeatedly - pumping air into the sleeping mat. We find this method to be much faster for getting your air mattress to be set up in no time - although it does require a bit more work to pump. However, the team at Novapro Sports Camping Store finds it really more enjoyable to inflate the sleeping mat through a built-in pump than self-inflating ones that seem to take a long time to self-inflate. Have you tried a self-inflating mat before? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts!
- Now when it comes to the difference between camping and hiking, the gear that makes the biggest impact is the backpack. If you are going to go camping, some might even say that you do not even need a backpack at all but in the case of hiking, you definitely need one. When buying a backpack, there are three main distinctions in terms of size that you need to look out for to pick the right bag for you: daypacks, overnight and long haul. Out of the three, you pick one that best meets your needs:
- Daypacks are usually used when you are only hiking for one day without camping overnight.
- Overnight backpacks are used where you are hiking overnight or for 2-3 nights.
- Long-haul backpacks are used when you are planning on hiking or travelling for an extended period of time like when you go backpacking through a country with the intent of seeing its sights.
- Hiking backpacks can cost you around A$30-300 depending on the quality, weight, and volume of the backpack so pick wisely based on your needs. Do check out our 45L Lightweight Hiking Backpack (Black) in stock as at the point of writing.
Maybe you have this as the least priority. However, you will be surprised at the number of people who forget that it gets dark at night and you will need a light to see the area around you. Especially when you are in the middle of nature, you may be able to create fire, but nothing beats the convenience of bringing your camping lights.
However, we would not recommend getting a lantern if you plan to go hiking, as it can be pretty bulky and add to the weight. A camping headlamp will definitely be your need, whereby lanterns are handy to hang in your tent and bring around when you are chilling around the campsite. Do note that our LED Camping Lantern is a portable mini-size lantern for ultralight hikes - the max light output is 130 Lumens and uses 3 AAA batteries. If you need more illumination to illuminate larger areas for base camping, you may need something much stronger!
Bringing boots during your hike is optional since it solely depends on the type of your trip you are taking. Hiking Boots are generally considered a necessity when you are hiking rather than camping. Most of the times your sneakers will do just fine. Still, if you are planning to go across rough terrain, dedicated hiking boots are a more suitable option considering that they offer better stability, padding, and support to better grip on slippery slopes thanks to the deeper grooves on soles. Your selection can be broken down into four categories depending on what you want to do: