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Venturing into the great outdoors isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Even though camping has become more popular than ever thanks to the 78 million millennials who packed up their cars last year, we’re not always prepared to cope with bugs, burns, and lack of air conditioning.

 

As a first-time camper, you’ll have a learning curve when you’re ready to face the great outdoors. Even if you have a tent and friends to occupy it, you’ll need a few tricks to become a camping champ. If you’re thinking about stuffing your car for a weekend on the water, here are some of the top tips you should follow to be prepared. 

Pack the right stuff

At the end of the day, the most important part of camping is packing the right materials. While some “glampers” need a whole RV to go camping, all you really need is a waterproof tent, bug spray, sunscreen, a first-aid kit, and some well-packaged food to get you through a long weekend.

 

However, most campers like to rest somewhere in the middle. It’s common for campers to look for sites with showers, recycling, and electrical outlets for their speakers. While we want to connect with nature, most of us aren’t willing to sacrifice hot water or a cellphone that’s run out of power, even if we have a collapsible baton to scare away the wild life.

 

When you find the right site, you need to pack the right stuff. That includes chargers, coolers, and even a collapsible futon or air mattress for comfortable sleeping. While you shouldn’t pack your entire home for one weekend spent camping, optimizing your trip with comfort in mind will help reduce headaches along the way. 

Get the right containers

Storing your electronics, food, and other sensitive items that needs to stay dry can be an effort in trial and error. While you might think you’ve got it down pat with plenty of plastic bags, you’ll need a vacuum seal to prevent damage to your favorite goods.

 

Improperly stored food goes bad quickly and can even attract wildlife to your campsite. When you’re ready to go camping, don’t forget plenty of vacuum-sealed bags, Mason jars, and airtight containers. Storing your matches in something as simple as a Mason jar can prevent these items from getting wet and save a lot of frustration down the road. 

Ditch the cellphone

While it’s a good idea to bring a cellphone with you in the event of an emergency, using it all weekend is a big camping no-no. Between hiking, swimming, and stoking the fire, it’s easier than ever to lose or break your cell phone in the great outdoors. Worse yet, you have no way you can search for “cell phone repair near me.” When your phone breaks, you’ll have to wait for the return trip to get it looked at. 

 

Instead of staying glued to your phone all weekend, pack a book or perform an activity in your downtime. Camping is a great way to connect with nature and engage in hobbies you haven’t looked at in a while. After all, you’re going camping. This is the perfect time to slow down and ditch the electronics in the name of relaxation. 

Don’t forget your meds

It’s vital that you pack and store medications in an easily accessible — but safe — location. Remember small details like these when you’re packing your life into tiny boxes can be hard, but forgetting your medication can do more harm than good, even if you’re in nature. Packing along a miniature medicine cabinet will help you take your daily medications and also supply you with enough emergency materials for life in the outdoors. Medications like ibuprofen can help with any aches you have sleeping, while allergy pills are essential for the seasonal sufferer. You’ll regret not packing these essential items when the scat hits the fan. 

Beat the bugs

If you’re a bug magnet, you know the pain of bites, welts, and stings. Avoid this from dampening your camping trip — and your mood — by packing a variety of anti-bug products. This can include bug spray, citronella candles, bug-zapping lights, and screen mesh. While you might think sitting in front of a fire is enough to keep the bugs at bay, using a zippered screen will save your skin in the long run.

 

Camping can be hard but following the right tips and tricks can make your first venture outside all the easier. Try out these tips when you want to go camping for the first time.

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