Newbie to Camping? Do not be Intimidated. Top Tips for How to Prepare for Your First Camping Trip (Base Camping)
Types of Camping Experiences
Camping experiences can definitely be categorized under many different levels. There are many ways to describe your camping expedition since one trip differs from the other. However, for many of us, we probably will never forget our first camping experience. The joy and excitement of the first time traversing the mountains or woods is a one-of-a-kind unforgettable experience all of us will always look back and savor. That moment is already engraved in our hearts and minds, and it is always the first camping trip that unlocks all doors to more camping trips.
However, everybody's definition of camping may even differ! As we have mentioned earlier, there are a lot of ways to call your journey a camping expedition. You can stay in an RV and park it around the like, which is dry camping. While some prefer to stay at grand sleeping tents, which is common these days given that many of us are looking for conventional and glamorous ways to experience camping, the name Glamping (glam + camping) was coined. Everybody wants to experience camping. However, the first camping experience is not only the most memorable but also the most challenging and exhausting one to prepare for. Despite that, we can avoid all the hustle and bustle as long as we know how to do camping the right way. This blog article is here mainly to give some advice to new adventurers who have not yet done camping, are curious about camping, or are about to go to a camping event but have never been to one before! We will give you insight into how to ace your journey and make it one of your indelible memories of happiness.
A quick lookup at google search online shows us there are different sorts of camping such as:
- Dry camping
- Adventure Camping
- Canoe Camping
- Bicycle Camping
- Off Road, RV Camping
- Camping at your friend's living room (ok the team here added this)...the list goes on!
An example of a simple base camping site to enjoy the nature and sceneries at a state national park would be parks such as Novapro Sports Team's favourtie Wilson's Promontory National Park in Victoria. A camping site just to sit back, relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city offering different types of campsites for different styles of outdoor adventurers.
Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria, Australia. A Famous Spot for Campers & Hikers
What is Base Camping?
With Base Camping, you find a spot (somewhere in the alpine within the mountains, or not faraway from rivers, beaches - you name it), set up your camping tent, layout your sleeping bags, camping kitchen with all your camping cookware, and any other luxuries you like such as showers etc and that area stays at your camping base. Basically, it is like setting up your home away from your home, where you set up your permanent, temporary shelter while you are backpacking. This is common in national parks where you can leave all your heavy luxurious gear, and choose day hiking trails with a light day pack to explore the National Park, and then come back by end of the day back to the comfort of your camping base and supplies.
Other types of camping (which we will be covering in other posts) will be backpacking or overnight hikes. With these, you bring along a backpack and your camping gear as you pass through beautiful terrains. True to its name, backpacking is an outdoor recreation where you carry along a backpack with all the essentials packed in one bag while you go on a hike. This usually involves outdoor camping and often an extended journey where one decides to embark on an expedition that involves staying outdoors with the help of tents and mats. With this type of camping, you get to travel and traverse across more terrain, sometimes witnessing change in landscapes flora and fauna. One such infamous great trail will be our Great Ocean Road Trail.
Tips for Base Camping:
Tip: For luxury setups such as showers, or fire places, do note that some national parks even provide hot shower facilities. Meanwhile, some national parks do not allow open fires to be set up.
Depending on different areas of the national parks, facilities may differ as well. While other sites come with a myriad of facilities to keep you relaxed during your accommodation, on the other hand, some are plain and simple, providing only a majestic terrain with little to no services. Therefore, it is best to manage your expectations to avoid being disheartened during your trip. To be camping in places with facilities, it is normal to expect more crowds and especially families as it is easier to tend to family needs with washing facilities etc and bookings with fees are usually required to book these places. Bookings usually run out fast too and you have to book early for good spots in these areas. Moreover, as you get your spot on these sites, anticipating the crowd, there are better options for those hikers looking for peace and relaxation. Given that this is customarily a favorite place among families, kids will be roaming around, and people are all over the place taking photos and doing their thing.
If you prefer somewhere more remote to soak in the full nature, look for places without facilities, and free campsites (yay!). This will give you a better view of nature without the noise of other hikers, especially those trailing with their families and friends. However, since no services or facilities are available, ensure you are well-prepared to enjoy a blissful hiking experience.
Always do your research at your park's website before you go. Do thorough research to know all the details about the place you plan to hike to help you manage your expectations and plan out everything you need for your trip.
You can start from here: https://parksaustralia.gov.au and scroll down to the "useful links" area with all the park's individual websites.
The easy thing with base camps is that you do not have to select expensive extreme ultralight hiking tents and you can set up large family tents, kitchen and all your camping comforts while you get the freedom to explore the park everyday. You can unwind all day and be at ease, knowing that you will relax conveniently after a day of marveling at different trails and tracks
Things to Consider When Going Base Camping
If this is your first time going to a base camp, definitely do some research on the area and terrain first. Although, we cannot promise that everything will work out according to what you have planned in mind, especially if you lack experience orforget things easily. Even experienced hikers are likewise vulnerable to committing mistakes during their trips. But fret not. We are here to guide you on the MUST things you need to have with you as you go along your trip. So consider this a guide and a checklist for a smooth sailing camping. Moreover, we will be adding articles on locations for base camps so subscribe to keep updated! The main things to research and take note of is definitely:
1. Geographical location and Temperature (Keeping Warm)
Is it an outback bush area, beach side camp site (very near the beach, or a few kilometres inside sheltered by trees?), or is it an alpine area? Sometimes if you are unsure, it is good to give the parks a call (numbers on your state park's website).
So why did we ask you these questions? First, having an idea about the location and the environment of the place, including the temperature, is equally important as staying fit during your trip. It helps you determine all the essentials and construct a better plan. For instance, you will be going to an alpine area. Since these areas tend to be cooler, bringing things that will help you warm your body is vital. In these areas, the temperature suddenly falls at night, making the place even colder than in the morning. Of course, if you do not bring warm clothing and a suitable sleeping bag, how will your body survive the night? Pack warm clothing and a comforting sleeping bag designed to withstand cold weather to avoid stressing and getting anxious at night when staying in alpine areas. On the other hand, if you plan to stay in humid and dry regions where the sun's scorching heat is expected to shine all day long, you need to go for light materials, not only for your clothes but for your gear as well. Imagine bringing warm clothes to wear during the summer on your camping trip is like expecting snow on a sunny day or eating ice cream during winter.
Some new campers may tend to think that you need a good tent to keep you warm. It may be true to a certain extent (some summer tents have too much air vents and windows that allow too much chilly winds in at night) but the essential camping gear to keep you warm are actually your sleeping bags. A tent serves as an extension of your home, but how you stay warm at night still depends on the sleeping bag you will be getting. The tents do not insulate you as much as your sleeping bags so be sure to choose a good one that can insulate very well, you can find sleeping bags here. An example of an ideal sleeping bag to have during the cold season is something like the ULG Mummy Goose Sleeping Bag Champagne. It offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio that can insulate your body the whole night and wake you up from a good night's sleep, feeling recharged and relaxed. The mummy-cut-shaped face gasket and two-way zip with a full-length draft tube optimize the thermal efficiency of this bag. Since it is outlined with a two-way zipper, you can unlock it at night if you want to adjust the warmth it gives. While it provides optimal comfort at night, it is also unbelievably light to carry. So if you are looking for the best sleeping bag, this should be your standard.
Bad experiences during camping are unavoidable. But do you know what makes them inevitable? Poor planning. Planning things ahead of time could avoid unforeseen circumstances resulting in an unpleasant journey. Such as going on a camping trip during the cold season and enduring the devastating blow of the harsh wind because you neglect to bring warm clothes and proper gear with you. How can you enjoy the trip if you will not be able to rest at night? We do need to have a good night's sleep to wake up fresh for the next day's adventure! As research shows that male and females generally have different temperature comfort zones, do take note of that too! If the temperature changes at night, so do our bodies. Give this one credit when plotting the essentials, such as your sleeping bag.
An inflatable sleeping mat helps as well to a certain degree elevating you off the ground with a layer of air. Owning an ultralight sleeping mat is another way to relax when spending a night at the trail. It is made from soft-touch fabric and horizontal baffles structure providing unrivaled comfort, stability, and support to soothe your body. Though it may not be as good as your bed at home, it is more than enough to ease up your whole body. It is also convenient, as it will not occupy a lot of space in your bag. There are also insulation mats you can place below the sleeping mats for the extra warmth. As at time of writing, Novapro Sports will be bringing insulation mats in the very near future.
2. Choosing a Good Tent
We will be exploring this topic in other articles focused on camping gear later on, so keep updated by subscribing to our newsletters.
Just to give you a glimpse, tents come in many forms and designs. If you plan to hike with a couple of friends, choose a tent with enough space to fit all of you. Check out its specifications to know if you stumbled upon the right tent for your trip. At Novapro Sports, we want you to have the best camping experience. That is why we provide the specifications of each tent, how many people it can accommodate to lay at night comfortably, and give room for excess stuff you will be tagging along with you on your journey. On top of that, we also laid out the weather it can bear to ensure you are ready no matter what condition you will most likely going to encounter during that day.
3. Bring Enough Water
When camping, water becomes more critical than ever. Since we will walk for hours, supplying enough water is vital to keep your body hydrated. To experience dehydration while you are in the woods is a nightmare. That is why you should be sure to bring as much water as you need to replenish your body. Tag along with you several bottled drinks, or bring a container for water that you can refill while you are on the trail. Unfortunately, it is not always lucky to be able to camp next to the river. Even if so, consider the need of water for washing, cooking etc. Brushing your teeth etc. Especially for base camping sites where there are no facilities. Some base camping sites in the bush do not have easy access or have no access to water as well! A good way is to bring 2-3L containers for washing purpose and you can easily get these tanks from bunnings or other camping stores. If you can find a Foldable Round Bucket, that would be the best! They only occupy a tiny space, and unlike traditional heavy water buckets, this one is seamless to carry, and you can fold it when not in use. It can help you alleviate the weight of the things you take during camping, and at the same time, allows you to fetch a bucket of water in the nearby streams or rivers. This one boosts a 10-liter capacity, perfect not only for carrying water but also can be used for storing food and other things. Drinking water is of course another matter, remember to stock up on these too! The amount will definitely be dependent on how much you use per day and how many person you are providing for. Go for a water bottle that is chemical resistant to stay safe for consumption. Be sure that this water bottle is also leak proof to avoid spill, with excellent toughness, so even if it accidentally falls on the ground, it will not break. If you can find a foldable water bottle, that would be great. It will help you save space and pack ultralight.
4. Positioning your tent in the camping ground.
Consider trees as a sun shelter when building your tent. Especially in hot summers, you want to be under the shadow of a tree when the sun is scorching hot in the afternoon. Otherwise, the sun may shine directly on your tent and you might find yourself a greenhouse where your tent is pegged directly under the sun and you can not take a siesta in there. Of course, unless you prefer to siesta in your hammock sheltered among the trees.
Avoid wind channels. Certain places especially near beach and between trees may have wind channels. These are places where it is particularly windy sometimes in between trees. It may be hard to tell sometimes, but do your best. If you think you are in between trees and the area seems to be particularly windy, it may be better to build your tent somewhere else.
Depending on the type of tent, sometimes positioning your door opening away from the wind is a good idea. This is especially true for our Illumina X Hiking Tent, Cloud Up 2 Amber tent and Cloud Up 2 Green tent models. These are tough-built tents to shelter you in harsh weather, even if you are trekking on a cold summit with a relatively strong wind. Although each weighs less than 2 kilograms, do not belittle the capabilities of the tent. While it allows you to bring it around effortlessly, it is also vigorous enough that it is rated four seasons, meaning it can shelter you even from cold and rainy seasons. On top of that, it is quick to assemble; most seasoned professionals are fond of this tent.
Camping is fun. Especially if it is your first time going on a hike or camp, it is a memorable experience that everyone should try. Though thinking about it is already nerve-wracking as there are so many things to consider and keep in mind. But if you do it right, expect it to be one of your life's best moments. And who knows? You might enjoy it enough that it can serve as your newest favorite hobby! We hope that this guide will help on your first-ever camping journey.
What was your first camping experience like? What did you love or disliked about your first camping experience? Where is your favourite camping spot? Any helpful tips to add to help first time camping newbies here? Feel free to post your comments below.
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[Last updated on March 21, 2023]