I Have Never Been Camping so Where Do I Start?

If you have never been camping, this text will help, so find out here how and where to start and what kind of equipment you need.

Camping may not be for everybody. Some people may find it uncomfortable and cold, the weather may be bad, and you may also feel boring.

This is why you might want to start with a minimum and avoid spending too much before you try it and before you know for sure that this is what you want to do. This is important to stress because you need lots of stuff, and your needs will grow in time if you continue with this activity.

So here is what I suggest if you are a complete beginner:

  1. Try to borrow equipment for your first outdoor adventure. You probably have friends who have some items available.
  2. There may be places nearby where you can rent some stuff. This is usually a good outdoor store, so go there and ask.
  3. Buy what you cannot find. In this case, it is best that you spend money only on things that you can also use at home in the garden, on picnics, on the beach, etc. So if later you decide that camping is not for you, these items will still be useful.
  4. When the time comes to go on camping, make sure you follow the weather prediction. If possible, try to choose an interval when the weather is good and stable.

Consider also going with somebody, it is more fun and it is safer.

I Have Never Been Camping so Where Do I Start - top picture with an illustration of a camp site by the river.

Wild camping or maintained camps with facilities

A lot depends on the type of camping. If this is about car camping and you go to a maintained camping place with facilities like toilet, showers, dish washing installations, electricity access, then you need only a minimum of your own equipment.

But if this is about going to the nature and to carry your equipment, it may be far more complicated. Here are a few reasons:

  • You need lighter and more expensive equipment.
  • You need more equipment.
  • There is also the question of safety.

If you carry your stuff to a camping spot, then it must be light and compact, and this usually means more expensive. Of course, if you borrow it from friends, then this is fine. But buying such a stuff for the beginning is not something I would advise.

In general, it is best that you try all this in a camp with facilities. So go there, feel the atmosphere and see how sleeping in a tent affects you. After that you will know which way to go.

A car camping spot.
A car camping spot.

Sleeping equipment

This would include the following stuff as a minimum:

This will be the same for both wild camping and for official camping places with facilities. However, the type of the tent and other stuff will depend on how you plan to transport them.

As mentioned above, you will need very light stuff if you plan to carry it in the backpack. Now, I mentioned a backpack, so this will be the first item you need if you plan to carry the stuff yourself.

But if this is about car camping, any tent (regarding the size) will be fine, assuming that you go solo. What I am saying is, if a friend can give you a 4-person tent for solo use, just take it. The more space the better, and you will not spend money.

Of course, the type of tent will depend on the environment, one long post can be on this issue alone. But as a start, you can read some answers on frequently asked questions about tents.

The same holds for sleeping bags and a sleeping pads, any type will do for a car camping. Even a blanket instead a sleeping bag will be fine.

Before living your home, get familiar with these items so that you know how to use them when you are in the camp.

Wild camping in the forest.
Wild camping in the forest.

Cooking equipment

If this is about car camping, any camping stove will do. But if this is at places where you will carry your stuff, then you must go for something ultralight.

Regarding dishes, for car camping you can take anything from home. For wild camping, this is not so, you again need to make compromises and go ultralight. I use a reliable one, the MSR PocketRocket stove.

Personal hygiene

If you are in a camp with facilities, it is much easier. You will have toilets and showers available, perhaps even washing machines.

If this is about wild camping, this can be tough. One extra text would be needed for this topic alone. Without going much into details, it will depend on where you go. If this happens to be close to some water source, river, lake, etc., it will be far easier for you.


If this is an organized camp area, you will have more things to see, more people around, etc. Even Internet connection is available in some camps, I have been in such a place recently in the Italian Alps.

In a wild camp, you can do hikes around during the day, you will be tired in the evening, busy preparing your meals, so you will likely go to bed early and this will be fine. But then again, days are long if you get up when the sun is up.

If you have long hours with rain, it will be a misery. So have something to read as a minimum. If you have friends with you, then you can play cards or anything similar.

A regulated camping place.
A regulated camping place.

Weather issues

As mentioned above, if you are in the tent and it rains for hours, trust me it is not so fun. You will have hard times to cook, this can be done in the tent, but it is not without risk.

If this is a small tent and you have to stay inside, then you might want to have something for such long hours. Being alone is far worse than having a partner. In general, it is far more bearable in a camp with facilities.


In a regulated camp you might have food to buy and even ready meals to order. I have seen such nice places several months ago in the Dolomites in Italy. So this may be one of the most important reasons to begin your camping activity in such places.


If you go into an area with dangerous wild animals, then think twice before you decide to start with wild camping. Play safe, this is the only advice I can give, and go to regulated camping spots.

In summary, these are just a few short tips to bear in mind if you have never been camping and want to try it. Each of the sections above can be discussed in separate multiple posts. But you might want to search also around in the category Camping here in the site.

Bookmark this site and keep as a reference, you will always have new texts added here. Let me know if you have questions, there is a comment box below. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.

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Me on Jalovec.Hi, I am Jovo, the founder of this OutdoorsFAQs site and several other outdoor sites. I have been mountaineering for almost 40 years already, and I have created this site to use as a reference for various questions that I receive in my sites. Being a theoretical physicist by profession, I tend to base my answers on facts and on my own personal experience.

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