13 Tips and Tricks for First Time Campers

13 Tips and Tricks for First Time Campers

by Arshpreet Multani | March 25, 2019

Are you getting ready to head out on your first camping trip? When you’ve been camping for years, you’re sure to pick up some tips and tricks along the way. But, when you’re a first-time camper, you are learning everything as you go along. Here are our favorite camping tips and tricks to make your first trip out a little more comfortable, and maybe even impress your friends along the way.

1. Keep Your Spices and Seasonings Dry

If you plan on doing any cooking on your trip, you’re going to need to bring along some spices, herbs, and seasonings like salt and pepper. Drinking straws make perfect holders for all of your seasonings. Just cut the straw in half, seal one end with a lighter, fill it with your choice of seasonings, and the seal up the other end. Be sure to label them with a permanent marker as you go because you won’t be able to see inside them once they’re sealed. If you want to bring larger portions, empty Tic Tac containers are the perfect size, and they’re reusable, too. Either way, you won’t have to worry about your seasonings spilling, and you can portion out exactly what you need for each meal, so there’s no waste.

2. Keep Mosquitos Away Without Nasty Chemicals

You're going to love this tip for keeping mosquitoes away from the campsite. All you do is toss a bundle of dried sage into the campfire! Mosquitoes don't like the smell, so they'll find a more appealing target. No nasty chemicals required!

3. Leave Your Pillow at Home and Use a Dry Sack Instead

If the thought of your favorite pillow getting wet on a camping trip makes you cringe, don’t worry! A Sea to Summit Dry Sack makes the perfect pillow. Just stuff the sack with your clothes, and you’re good to go. Your friends will think you’re really roughing it, and your clothes will stay dry, too. Be sure to keep an extra pair of socks in there because dry, clean socks are a beautiful thing!

4. Keep Those Toes Warm

You’ll want to bring along a Nalgene water bottle just for this purpose. There’s nothing worse than cold feet! Before you bed down for the night, fill your Nalgene bottle with hot water and put it in the bottom of your sleeping bag. You’ll have toasty toes for hours!

5. Do Your Meal Prep at Home

Prepping your meals at home will cut down on clean up time and reduce the amount of trash you bring to the campsite. Cut up your vegetables before you head out. Take everything out of its store packaging and pack all the components for each meal together. If an item can be frozen, freeze it before you go to keep it fresh and help all your other items stay cold.

6. Camp Suds Are Good for More Than Just Dishes

Most experienced campers will tell you to bring along Camp Suds for doing your dishes, but they’re good for so much more than that. The can actually replace many of your toiletries, like shampoo, body wash, and shaving cream. You can even use them as laundry soap. Best of all, they’re biodegradable so you can use them without fear of harming the environment. They’re super concentrated, too, so a little goes a long way.

7. Microfiber Towels are Lightweight, and They Dry Fast

Microfiber towels are a camper’s best friend. They’re lightweight, and they are far more absorbent than regular towels. They’re much less bulky, too. They also dry fast so you can hang them up in the sun, and they’ll be dry the next time you need them. You can use them for everything from washing dishes to drying off after a swim in the lake.

8. Compact Cook Sets are a Real Life-Saver

Lugging around a set of regular pots and pans can be a real pain on a camping trip. Compact cooking sets like the MSR Quick2 System Cookset provide a lot of versatility, but they don’t take up a lot of space in your gear.

9. Don’t Plan on Cooking Everything Over the Campfire

Campfires are great for roasting marshmallows or cooking hotdogs on a stick, but have you ever tried to make your entire breakfast on one? You will never regret bringing a Jetboil HalfGen Base Camp Cooking System with you on an overnight camping trip. They’re easy to use and perfect for everything from frying eggs and boiling pasta to brewing your morning coffee.

10. Pre-Scramble Your Eggs

Instead of trying to bring whole eggs in a carton, scramble your eggs at home and pour them into a plastic bottle or a mason jar. Bring along some shredded cheese and cut up veggies and you’ll have all the makings for an omelet.

11. Leave the Paper and Plastic at Home

We’re all trying to be more environmentally conscious these days and reusable items are always a better option than disposables. Instead of hauling paper or plastic cups, bowls, and plates to the campsite and tossing them in the trash, we recommend bringing a compact table set instead. The GSI Outdoors Infinity 4-Person Compact Table Set comes with four plates, four insulated mugs with lids, and four nesting bowls in an ultra-compact mesh bag that takes up very little space. This set is easy to clean, and best of all, there’s nothing to throw away!  

12. Make a Night Light for the Kids

You can make the perfect night light for the kids with a water jug and a Black Diamond Spot Headlamp. Just wrap the headlamp around the jug with the light pointing in. It will create a nice soft light for little ones who are afraid of the dark.

13. Make Some Simple Fire Starters

It’s really easy to make fire starters at home out of things you already have on hand. Simply save some empty toilet paper rolls and stuff them with lint from your dryer. When you get to the campsite, toss one of your fire starters in the fire pit and light it. It will catch very easily and burn long enough to get the wood going. It doesn’t get much easier than that, and it’s a great use for something you would have just thrown away otherwise!

Do you have any camping tricks or tips? Be sure to share them in the comments below so we can all take advantage of your genius ideas!