We’re suckers for camping and we are heading back to France for another three weeks of it very soon! There’s just something about spending basically all your time outside surrounded by nature that is hard to equal. Since we both have quite a bit of experience camping in tents, and have gotten a bit better at it through a lot of trial and error over time, it’s time for us to share our camping tips. We’ll give you these tips over three separate blogs, starting with one all about how to prepare for an upcoming – and perhaps even your first – camping trip with a tent. Let us know below what tip you found useful!
Tent camping tip 1: Choose the tent that fits your needs
If you’re new to camping, consider what kind of tent fits your needs best. A small tent is easier to pitch, but offers less comfort compared to a larger tent. Especially when the weather turns on you, having a slightly bigger tent pays off. We started out with a small tent (this one), but opted for a larger one rather quickly (this one). It has room for us to sit inside if we need to, and for a large electric cooler. And in our case, it wasn’t even that much more expensive than a smaller tent.
Tent camping tip 2: Practice pitching the tent at home before you go
There’s a few reasons this is a good idea. You don’t want to find out something essential is missing when you’re relying on your tent to sleep in; much better to find out before you go. Having practiced also means you don’t have to figure out how to pitch the tent when you’re tired after a long day of driving, and perhaps most importantly of all, it makes sure you look a lot more confident and experienced!
Tent camping tip 3: A few essentials you might forget as a first-timer
Over the years we’ve finetuned our camping gear quite a bit, through much trial and error… We always use a packing list to make sure we don’t forget anything, and these are some of our essentials that you might forget to bring as a first-time camper:
- An electric fly swatter, especially when you’re going in prime aggressive wasp season. An absolute life-saver. (For example this one).
- Mosquito repellent: in the same category, but an absolute essential for campsites near water & for mountain hikes. Don’t cut corners and get the strong stuff! (This one‘s great!).
- At least one blanket if you’re one to feel cold quickly. You won’t regret the space it takes up.
- A pocket knife, for all your beer-opening, bolt-tightening, band-aid cutting and so many more needs. (We’ve got this one, an absolute essential for us!).
- A coffee percolator: our essential for those cold campsite mornings. And if you’re smart, get one that you can carry on a hike, for an unparallelled coffee experience! (For example this one).
- A book or game for the evenings. Camping means you’ll have a lot of time to spare, which is part of the reason to go in the first place. Be sure to pack enough reading material, and games to play. Our go-to camping games are: Rummikub (travel edition), Qwixx and Pickomino (Regenwormen for Dutchies).
- A final upgrade we recently made is to bring a 10L jerrycan full of water. This is useful to have with you at all times, but one of the main advantages is having cold water in the car after a long hike! (For example this one).
Tent camping tip 4: Decathlon is your best friends
We’ve bought so much of our camping gear at Decathlon, it would be rude for us not to give them a specific mention in this blog. Affordable, decent-quality camping gear and every possible accessory you may need. When we bought our tent, it was only €99, but works like a charm!
Tent camping tip 5: Decide whether or not you need electricity
If you want to go for the budget and basic option, choose to go without. Often you’ll be rewarded with a choice of some of the prettiest and quietest spots on the campsite. But be sure to carry a proper powerbank and take a cooler with some ice packs so you can charge your phone and keep groceries cold for at least a few hours. Almost all campsites offer options to recharge a powerbank and put ice packs in a communal freezer.
Choosing to camp with access to electricity is a little more comfortable, but you’ll need to invest a little in some cables and connectors. We have a 10m cable with three plugs, a 20m extension cable for the difficult campsites and an adapter plug. It’s a bit of an investment, but you’ll profit from it for the rest of your camping life.
Our advice: start without, try it out, and invest in these kinds of upgrades if you like it! Or borrow the necessary cables from someone to try it out.
We hope these tips help you make life a little easier if you’re new to camping with a tent. We’ve got a bunch more tips related to camping, which are coming up soon. Next week, read all about how to find the perfect spot to camp!
What is an absolute camping essential in your opinion?
Kirsten & Thomas