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Illuminated tent by lake in mountains

Tent camping is a fun outdoor experience when you love life surrounded by nature. While tent camping is far more rustic than staying in a hotel or a recreational vehicle (RV), it can still be cozy and convenient. Use these tips and tricks to make your tent camping experience enjoyable.

Set Up Camp

When you arrive, decide where and how to set up camp.

  • Choose a spot for your tent.
  • Pitch your tent on the high ground.
  • Remove rocks and debris.
  • Make sure your fire is not close to the tent.
  • Pitch your tent on level ground.
  • Set up during daylight.
  • Practice tent assembly.

Gather These Essentials

An array of gadgets are available to make tent camping more comfortable. Some are useful, while others are unnecessary. Decide what is essential and what you can do without. Use a tent camping checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

Quality Tent

When tent camping, reliable shelter is a priority. Choose a lightweight, weatherproof, easy-to-assemble tent. Use these waterproofing tips so you never have to wake up soaked, and be sure to purchase a family-size tent if you are bringing the gang along.

Warm, Comfortable Bedding

Be sure that your tent includes a warm and comfortable place to lay your head at night. Your sleeping bag should be ideal for all seasons. Check a bag's temperature rating to make sure its right for the season.

Lots of Light

When it comes to tent camping, let there be light! Part of the tent camping allure is sleeping under a sea of stars, but tent nightlife gets challenging after dark. Bring along solar lights, crank camping lanterns, or battery-operated lights, and know which batteries last the longest.

Creative Camping Meals

Tent camping means meals by the fire. Pre-make meals to serve at camp. Find cheap and easy creations to your satisfy hunger after a long day of hiking, swimming, and exploring. Prepare simple camping recipes to reheat with the cooking items you brought. Water is your most important resource. If you are camping somewhere that doesn't offer clean drinking water, bring along a water purification system and water storage containers.

Fun Camping Activities

Tent camping is all about reconnecting with nature. Swim in mountain lakes, hike countless trails, and get lost in all that nature has to offer. During downtime, have some fun pursuits planned. Activities for couples are excellent ways to pass the time.

Use These Tent Camping Tips

Even if you are new to tent camping, you can still be successful and safe. These camping tips will help first-timers set up camp like a boss.

Practice Tent Assembly

If you've never pitched camp, practice tent setup before you head out. Practice makes perfect, and you will have your tent up quickly.

Know Where to Pitch Your Tent

Set your tent up in a dry, flat area. Choose spots that are elevated, because a heavy rain will leave you and your tent soaked.

Get to Camp Before Dark

Setting up camp in daylight is hard enough for beginners. Pitching a tent in the dark is a tall order, even for seasoned tent campers. Just in case it takes longer than expected, have a light source ready to illuminate unpacking and tent assembly.

Avoid These Camping Blunders

Many new campers make common mistakes. To stay safe, avoid these errors.

Not Property Storing and Disposing of Food

This is especially important for those camping in bear country. Bears can smell the tiniest morsel from miles away, so they are attracted to improperly stored food. They have been known to tear through tents and even rip off car doors to get at food. Always dispose of food waste, packaging, and paper or plastic dinnerware in designated, bear-safe containers. Bring a food storage locker and store everything that smells like food, including toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, and bug spray.

Keeping Fire Near the Tent

Pitch your tent at least 100 feet from the fire. Flames and embers tend to fall and blow around in the wind. You don't want your tent going up in flames.

Overpacking

If you pack it, you'll have to unpack and likely clean it when you return home. Tent camping can get dirty. Only take clothing that you can stand to see stained. Pack items that are easy to layer. This is camping, not a fashion show.

Make Tent Camping Work for You

While some components of tent camping are an investment, the payoff in years to come is worth it. There is nothing quite like sleeping in nature, breathing fresh air, and cooking your meals outdoors. Prepare the best you can, put time and effort into making the experience fun, and make memories in the outdoors.

Tent Camping Tips and Year-Round Advice