Camping is the ideal getaway because you can tailor your trip to fit your needs, wants and level of experience. Whether you are seeking a relaxing, woodsy retreat or an adrenaline-fueled escape, you can find it outdoors. The best way to learn to camp is to jump right in and try. You may encounter a few bumps along the road, but it is important to remember that no camping trip ever goes exactly as planned. As long as you know the camping basics, the rest will become memories and experiences to help you grow each time you embark on another trip.
Here are some helpful tips and guidelines to prepare you for a successful outing, sure to be the first of many.
BEST TYPE OF CAMPING FOR BEGINNERS
A good self pitched camping shelter is simple to use and able to keep you dry, warm and safe. How to camp comfortably and safely depends on how you choose to stay — in a self pitched tent or an alternative lodging option. Self pitched tents are a popular beginner-friendly option because they are portable and adaptable.
You can find small self pitched tents in various shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of weather protection and insulation. Some are designed with solo travellers in mind, while others have multiple rooms for the whole family. Before choosing a self pitched tent for your first camping trip, consider the following:
Your needs: Self pitched tents are beginner-friendly for most campers but not suitable for everyone. However older adults or those who may struggle sleeping on the ground should seek out more comfortable alternatives such as Glamping. Additionally, some self pitched tents may not be ideal for young children or rambunctious pets.
The weather: Self pitched tents do not have air conditioning or heating. For hot weather camping, you can pitch your tent in the shade or bring along a battery-operated fan — but some prefer to skip self pitched tent camping in the heat altogether and opt for a more comfortable glamping tent. Frigid temperatures can also pose as a deterrent. While tent heaters are available, they require strict attention to safety guidelines and may not be ideal for all environments.
Your experience: If you are unsure how to get into camping, one of the best places to start is by learning how to pitch your own tent and create your own campsite. That said, some self pitched tents are more complicated than others and can take a long time to erect especially if it's windy! Always read your tent user manual and watch some how-to videos before you hit the road.
SELF PITCHED TENT CAMPING VS GLAMPING & OTHER LODGING OPTIONS
Curious about how pitching your own tent camping compares to other choices? Tents, glamping and lodging each have their advantages — here is what you need to know:
Cabins: Cabins are fully enclosed shelters with furnishings. The type and level of furnishing depend on which kind of cabin you are renting for your stay. For example, Camping Cabins have electricity and beds, while Deluxe Cabins also offer features like private bathrooms. Depending on location and availability, you may even get TVs or kitchenettes.
Glamping: Glamping is a special type of camping that has grown in popularity over the last few years and offer the best of both worlds. What makes glamping so appealing for beginners is how easy and unique it is. Instead of the difficulty and hassle of pitching your own tent and assembling your own campsite, Glamping Tents offer the best of both worlds as they are similar to a cabin experience but at a lower cost but with very similar luxuries and the fun of a tent camping experience. They're already set up, with comfortable furnishings, electricity, lighting and decorations inside. At Cre8 Glamping we offer all of the following for your glamping experience:
INCLUDED IN YOUR STAY
DOUBLE BEDS & SPRUNG MATTRESS (GUESTS MUST PROVIDE THEIR OWN BEDDING- SHEETS, DUVETS, BLANKETS & PILLOWS OR SLEEPING NAG).
A MIXTURE OF SINGLE & DOUBLE MEMORY FOAM Z-BEDS DEPENING ON THE SIZE OF TENT YOU HAVE CHOSEN.
USB CHARGING POINTS & LED COLOUR CHANGING LIGHTS WITH BLUETOOTH SPEAKER INCORPORATED WITHIN EACH TENT (THERE IS NO 3 PIN PLUGS MAINS POWER AVAILABLE IN THE TENTS).
COMMUNAL WASHING UP AREA WITH WASHING UP LIQUID , CLEANING CLOTHS AND SPONGES PROVIDED
BBQ AND COOKING UTENSILS
FREE ON SITE PARKING
TOILETS & SHOWER FACILITIES PROVIDED ON SITE
You need to bring your own bedding, cutlery and food.
Campervans: Campervans are a popular tent alternative because you still get a lot of the same flexibility as a tent but without the need to assemble your own. Campervans are also more suitable for all-weather use, and you can even use them as transportation. Campervan sites are either Back-In or Pull-Thru, with full hook-ups and amp connections available. They are a great match for families who travel often. Unlike tents, campervans require some prior experience setting them up and troubleshooting plumbing, electric and automotive concerns. They also require ongoing servicing and maintenance. If you want to try a campervan break before purchasing one, you can rent one for a camping trip as a test drive.
TIPS FOR PITCHING A TENT
Tent assembly depends on which type of tent you own, where you are assembling it and what kinds of add-ons and accessories you are using with it.
If you are a beginner camper, here are some tips for setting up your tent:
Know your tent: To assemble your tent correctly, you need to know which type of unit you own. Common tents include dome, A-frame, popup and ridge tents, though other variations are available. Check with your tent owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Choose a level spot: The place you pitch your tent must be on flat ground, preferably near shade, away from fire pits and mud, rocks or tree roots. Avoid pitching in areas where rainwater might gather and seep inside.
Be mindful of tent stakes: If using stakes to secure your tent, pack extra if possible. Be sure to stick stakes deep into the ground and always practice caution when walking near them — they are notorious tripping hazards.
Make it more comfortable: To make your tent more comfortable, consider choosing a unit with a window for airflow and natural light. Bring along a battery-operated fan or tent-safe heater to create your ideal sleeping environment. If possible, sleep off the ground by using an inflatable mattress or sleeping pad — this will help keep you warmer, drier and less likely to wake up with any muscle soreness. Look for water-resistant tents when shopping.
Always practice good camping etiquette. If you are camping near others, this means maintaining an appropriate volume at night and early in the morning and never shining flashlights toward other people’s campsites. You should also practice Leave No Trace principles by cleaning up after yourself and leaving your campsite better than you found it.
CHOOSING A LOCATION FOR YOUR FIRST CAMPING TRIP
One of the most critical first-time camping tips to remember is how to choose the right location. As someone who is still learning the basics of camping, it is a good idea to camp somewhere like Cre8 Glamping in Sawbridgeworth, where you have a beautiful lake to swim in and are never too far from clean toilets and shower facilities.
Always consider the following when choosing a camping location:
Your goals: Ask yourself why you are going on this camping trip. Is it to see new places or visit historic sites? To immerse yourself in the outdoors, or spend quality time with loved ones around the fire? Your camping goals will help you choose the best location.
The season: Choose the best location to suit the season, accounting for possible rainfall, temperatures and which sites offer the most scenic seasonal views in addition to your level of comfort with different climates.
Campsite accessibility: If you are traveling with young children, some camping locations — like those that require backpacking excursions or mountain treks — may be a bit too challenging for beginners. Choose a place that is accessible to each member of your group.
Before reserving your stay at a campsite, you need to choose whether you want your journey to take you away from home, or if you would rather stay close.
ADVANTAGES OF EXPLORING A NEW PLACE
The most apparent benefit of camping far away from your home is getting to see and experience new places. Popular destinations include national parks or forests, tourist hotspots, cities with thriving cultural scenes and family-friendly festivals.
Additional benefits of exploring faraway places on your camping trip include:
New places mean new experiences, including different cultural attractions, regional fare and types of wildlife.
Long road trips or aeroplane flights let you enjoy different views along the way.
You can meet new people from other regions of the country.
Traveling farther distances means you can easily justify taking an extended holiday.
With Cre8 Glamping at Redricks Lakes in Sawbridgeworth being 15 minutes from the M11, it is easily accessible for people from all over the UK.
CAMPING GEAR AND ESSENTIALS FOR BEGINNERS
A successful camping trip starts with knowing what to bring and how to use those items. A printable packing list of first-time camping essentials is an excellent way to keep your belongings organized and make sure you have not forgotten anything essential.
WHAT TO BRING
Some essential camping gear for beginners includes:
Sleeping gear: Bring along everything you need for a good night’s sleep, including quilts, sleeping bags, sleeping pads or an inflatable mattress. Because your body will be adjusting to new sleeping arrangements, this is not the ideal time to try out new pillows, so bring along your favourites from home to help your body adjust easily. Some new campers also find eye masks or white noise machines helpful for falling asleep more quickly.
Campsite needs: Headlamps, flashlights, lanterns and outdoor lighting like torches or LED tube lights will keep your campsite well-lit. You will also need a few bundles of approved firewood, a cooler and ice, a water dispenser and matches, a lighter and fire starter.
Furniture and decorations: Add style and comfort to your campsite with camping chairs, plastic tablecloths and tablecloth clips for the picnic table, insect-repellent candles, small tables, shade structures and portable rain pavilions. An outdoor rug will help catch dirt and grass before you go inside your tent, campervan or cabin.
Necessary items: Bring hygiene items and toiletries, including towels, washcloths, soap, shampoo, shower shoes, your toothbrush and toothpaste and your contact lens case and solution, if applicable. You might also enjoy the comfort of a soft robe and slippers.
Cleaning supplies: Do not forget to clean up your campsite after each meal and before you leave. Bring trash bags, paper towels, a cleaning sponge and wipes, if necessary.
Personal belongings: Personal belongings include your wallet, spare cash, keys, lip balm and any licenses or permits you need to camp or hike. You should also pack event tickets or parking passes you plan to use during your stay.
Safety equipment: Stay safe with insect repellent, a water bottle, sunscreen, first-aid kit and portable fire extinguisher. A local field guide may also be useful if you plan to explore a new area.
Kitchen supplies: Bring kitchen essentials, like pans, tongs, spatulas, a grill grate for cooking over the fire if desired, roasting forks, a coffee percolator, dishes and utensils.
If you are camping with your pet or child, you will also need to bring their items. For pets, this means a leash and harness, food and water bowls, toys, a pet first-aid kit, ID tags, bedding and vaccination records. For children, you might need a stroller, portable crib or play area depending on their age, toys, special first-aid supplies and child-friendly food.
WHAT TO WEAR
Much of your clothing decisions depend on where you are going, the season and weather conditions and what activities you plan to participate in:
Rain gear, including boots, a water-resistant coat and umbrella.
Light layering pieces, including long-sleeve shirts, lightweight tops, underclothes and jackets.
Extra socks and underwear.
A swimsuit or swim trunks with sandals or flip flops.
A sunhat, visor or beanie, weather depending.
Shoes for all activities, including hiking boots and comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing and tours.
Winter clothing, if applicable, including thermal layers, gloves, a scarf, an insulated coat, thick socks and long pants.
MEAL PLANNING FOR CAMPING
The easiest way to save time and make camp cooking a breeze is to plan your meals before you go. This will help you stick to a budget and prepare items ahead of time. As you meal plan, consider on-site dining options or local restaurants you want to try while you are out exploring.
CAMP COOKING MUST-HAVES
Regardless of which recipes you choose to cook, there are some camp cooking must-haves that all campers should have on-hand:
Cooking essentials: Pantry staples like seasoning blends, spices, dried herbs, cooking oils, salt and pepper, condiments and sauces will give your food flavour. Choose your essentials based on your meal plan. For example, if you plan to barbecue or grill meats, you may want to bring along barbecue rubs or sauce.
Snack items: Choose non-perishable snacks that travel well, like popcorn, jerky, trail mix, crisps, pretzels, cereal, granola and the new camping favourite among kids - s’mores ingredients!
Meal staples: Proteins, starches and carbs will help keep you full and energized. Popular camping meals usually involve potatoes, eggs, grilling meats, breakfast meats, fresh produce, sandwiches, canned beans and soups, and bottled water, juice and soft drinks.
TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR MEALS
For easy meal planning, use these tips:
Consider dietary preferences: If you are camping with a group, consider everyone’s individual preferences and include vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free options if necessary.
Prep before you go: To save space and time at the campsite, prep what you can at home. Cut, core and de-seed fresh produce and mix up some omelette ingredients for an easy pour-and-cook breakfast.
Use storage containers: Plastic food storage containers and zip bags are great for storing pre-prepped meals and keeping them secure inside your cool box.
Choose multi-use ingredients: Choose recipes that utilize similar ingredients — like potatoes, a specific sauce or fresh veggies — to keep preparation simple and take up less space in your cooler or food storage container.
Include extras and snacks: You will likely be more active than usual, especially if you engage in any outdoor recreation. Plan for high-energy snacks and extra meals to keep you energized.
TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME CAMPERS
With a little pre-planning, your first camping trip is sure to be an exciting time for all. Use these beginner-friendly tips to help you make the most of it.
1. TEST NEW GEAR AT HOME
Whether you are a beginner or experienced camper, you should always test new gear at home first. Assemble your tent in your yard for practice and to make sure everything is included and works correctly. The practice will also make it easier to assemble when you get to the campsite.
Make sure your sleeping bag is comfortable and that all flashlights, headlamps and lanterns work, too. Pack extra batteries, just in case. If you plan to use a portable cooking stove or grill, give it a test run. Also, ensure all hiking backpacks or day packs fit securely on your back and make adjustments if necessary.
2. CELEBRATE A MILESTONE EVENT
Camping is the perfect way to spend any holiday or weekend trip, but it is also a memorable way to celebrate milestone events, such as:
Anniversaries and romantic getaways.
Stag or Hen Do's.
Bridal and baby showers.
Family or friend reunions.
Check with us directly at Cre8 Glamping at Redricks Lakes to learn more about group Glamping options, policies and on-site facilities.
3. CAMPING IS A YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITY
Though you probably imagine warm summer days when you think of camping, do not be afraid to try camping during the other seasons. While the summer sun is ideal for swimming and water sports, spring, autumn and winter have unique advantages:
Spring: The cool temperatures and fresh blooming flowers of spring camping trips offer sightseers scenic views and comfortable touring temperatures.
Autumn: Autumn foliage and cosy campfires — is there any better way to spend a crisp Autumnal day? Autumn camping is also ideal weather for long hiking trips.
Winter: Winter camping is an exciting way to see new wildlife and enjoy breath-taking scenery. All-season tents or warm Camping Cabins can keep you comfortable after a fun-filled day.
4. BRING GAMES AND RECREATIONAL GEAR
Do not leave behind the gear and equipment you need to participate in outdoor or indoor fun. If it is your first time camping, finding the right recreational activities for you will likely take some experimentation. Stay somewhere that lets you try as many new things as possible.
Many campers enjoy the following outdoor activities nearby and onsite at Cre8 Glamping:
Lake Swimming & Water sports
Have fun at your campsite with lawn games. You should also pack rainy day activities, like cards, board games and books. Check out some of the activity options onsite and near by at Cre8 Glamping at Redricks Lakes.
5. CHECK CAMPGROUND GUIDELINES
Always follow all campground rules and guidelines, which are in place for your safety, as well as that of others. Most campgrounds have standards for things like:
On-site parking and number of vehicles.
Pet type and behaviour.
Excessive noise during quiet hours.
Keeping your campsite and all public areas clean.
Staff members are happy to provide a list of applicable rules to follow, or you can call the campground before placing a reservation to confirm the necessary details.
6. TRY NEW THINGS AND LEARN NEW SKILLS
As you research how to start camping and assemble your packing list and local guidebooks, it can be easy to over-plan or try to schedule each activity. Camping is best enjoyed when you leave some of it up to adventure and spontaneity. While it is essential to have the gear you need to stay safe and comfortable, lean into those moments that present themselves to you — like an unexpected hiking path, sharing a meal with new friends or learning a new skill or hobby while traveling.
LET CRE8 GLAMPING HELP MAKE YOUR FIRST CAMPING TRIP A SUCCESS
Cre8 Glamping at Redricks Lakes is here to help your camping trip be as fun and rewarding as possible, with helpful staff ready to answer your questions and guide you through the process. You will also have access to some on-site amenities, like open water swimming lakes, inflatable water assault course, soft-play playgrounds for younger children, rifle range shooting, outdoor games and special events. Confirm details before placing your reservation.