Top Tips for First Time Campers

Tue 23 May, 2017

Camping is not just for scout groups and eco-warriors! First time campers will quickly discover that this relaxing holiday experience provides low-cost getaways for couples, outdoor adventurers, families and groups of friends who want to enjoy the UK & Ireland’s great outdoors and beauty spots without spending a fortune.

Camping for the first time can be anything from a long weekend to a longer stay, perhaps touring around two or three different sites to see what’s on offer. Whether you choose a wild camping experience, sleeping outdoors beneath the stars, or prefer all the conveniences of a modern campsite, you’ll find camping holidays provide the freedom to do as you please. There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of chirping birds or eating an al fresco meal surrounded by nature.

Whatever camping experience you choose, these top tips for first time campers will help ensure your first camping experience goes without a hitch.

Best camping tips before you go

The upfront cost of camping can hinder the newbie from getting started. The best advice for first time camping applies to most new hobbies or experiences when trying them out. Borrow or rent a tent and equipment if possible and see if you like it before splashing out on your own equipment. Your first time camping experience will help you decide exactly what you need in terms of the size of tent, the amount of equipment needed and the level of comfort you want.

Although camping can be a spontaneous activity, in busy seasons and popular locations it pays to be organized and book ahead. The best campsites book up quickly, leaving you with less desirable locations and amenities or more expensive options.

Not only should you pre-book the site, but also pre-book your pitch. You want to be conveniently close to facilities, but not right on the main drag. A constant flow of chattering campers passing by can be disruptive, particularly after bedtime. You also want to avoid being at the bottom of a slope in case it rains.

Make a check list before you go and jot down the essentials you might need as you think of them. Make sure you check them off before you leave home! That way you’ll have everything you need for a successful first time camping trip and a comprehensive list for future reference.

What do I need for first time camping?

Having the right equipment is a vital part of a camping trip, so we’ve put together a ‘camping for beginners’ checklist’ of the essentials below. Taking too much stuff can be as bad as taking too little, so follow our camping advice, particularly when camping for the first time.

Camping for beginners checklist

For sleeping

  • Tent (with spare tent pegs)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat/airbed/camp-bed
  • Pillow
  • Ear plugs

For cooking

  • Pots/pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • BBQ/stove
  • Gas/charcoal
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Cutlery, plates, bowls, cups (preferably unbreakable melamine or plastic)
  • Ziploc bags – for storing food and keeping things dry
  • Bottle opener
  • Tin opener
  • Cool box & ice packs
  • Tea towels
  • Washing up bowl and washing up liquid

For the Bathroom

  • Toilet Roll
  • Hand soap
  • Baby wipes
  • Shower gel/shampoo
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Towel


  • Torch
  • Camping chairs
  • Bin bags
  • Suncream
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent

Best camping tips to follow

Final camping tips include being prepared for all weather. Bring extra layers of clothing and a set of spare clothes in case you get wet.

Research where you want to visit and what you want to do and then choose a campsite that is within easy driving distance of your chosen activities. You want to spend your first camping holiday relaxed and enjoying the activities, not driving for hours each day.

Check the campsite rules, particularly with regard to pets, campfires, noise, parking etc.

Plan mealtimes ahead and take some food and bottled water with you. You may find yourself far from a supermarket, or local shops may be closed on Sundays or in the off-season, for example.
By following these top tips for first time campers, you will have a wonderful first time camping experience and will be joining the estimated 1.2 million people in the UK who love camping. Happy trails!