Camping in a tent for the first time can be a fun activity for everyone involved, but unless you take the time to prepare, it can also be a hectic nightmare that comes out of nowhere. However, things do not have to take a nightmare turn, even for first-time campers.

Two young adults camping in the dark, camp fire

5 Tips for First Time Campers

These five tips for first-time tent campers can help you avoid major problems and keep your camping trip the memory-making vacation you intend it to be.

Set Your Tent Up in the Backyard

When you first purchase your tent, do not make the mistake of leaving it in the box until you’re at your campsite. Instead, take the time to set it up in your backyard or a local park. Not only will this help familiarize you with the tent-making set up in the woods much easier, but it will also clue you into any rips in the tent material or missing pieces.

Waterproof Your Tent Before You Go

Your tent may claim it is waterproof, but do yourself a favor and buy waterproofing spray anyhow. While you have your tent set up the first time, go ahead and give it a good coating of the spray to re-waterproof it. If not, you will likely find yourself soaking wet should it rain during your camping trip. The factory may have actually waterproofed the tent, but reapplying will help to ensure that you are nice and dry and that any factory missed spots get covered.

Plan Your Meals Before You Go

Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or camping dinner ideas, we’ve got you covered! Don’t get me wrong—as much as I love hamburgers and hot dogs over the open fire, they can get pretty boring after a while. Check out our list of easy camping meals.

Buy Bigger Than You Need

Your tent may say it will sleep four people, but anyone who has slept in a tent knows that these measurements do not include four people plus blankets or sleeping bags and camping gear. In this case, you would be hard-pressed to fit more than two people in a four-person tent. Instead, to give yourself the maximum room for your group size, opt to buy a tent that is at least one size up. It may seem like more room than you need, but you will be glad you did so when you’re in the woods.

Replace the Stakes Before You Go

Every new tent comes with tent stakes but often these stakes are made cheaply. Instead, buy a pair of tent stakes that are of better quality. Even if you do decide to use the ones it came with first, having a second set as backup is never a bad idea. Should one break, you will be able to replace it and continue with your campaign trip as if nothing happened.

Know the Forecast -First Time Campers

Finally, you should never go tent camping without taking a good look at the weather forecast. Severe storms are very hard to ride out in a tent, and as such, if storms are in your future, you may want to postpone the trip. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that weather forecasts are just that; predictions.

Even if there are sunny skies and warm weather in the forecast, try to prepare for the unexpected storm or two. By anticipating bad weather, you will be grateful if it does not happen but fully prepared if it does.

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