5 Wild Camping Tips for Every Beginner

inside a tent

Going wild camping is an adventure for any seasoned camper, and it is an especially exciting new experience for beginners who have never spent the night in the woods before. Part of what makes camping so enjoyable is the right gear to make the trip as comfortable as possible. By having the fundamentals down pat and making a trip to your trusted camping store

For some key items, your first camping trip will leave you wanting another one sooner rather than later! From what to do and what to bring, here are 5 wild camping tips that all beginners can benefit from. 

Pack Light

One of the most common beginner mistakes when camping is packing way more than necessary. Remember that you will need your strength to make it to the campsite, so no matter how long or short the trail is, packing only the essentials and some emergency items is the way to go. One good tip to see if you’ve packed a load that’s too heavy is to take your fully packed camping gear for a walk covering about the same distance as the real trek. If you can manage the full distance without feeling too winded or sore, then you’ve packed light enough. Your backpack should feel comfortable, not overstuffed and heavy!

Pack Cold or Pre-Made Meals

Some might call cooking over a campfire the quintessential camping experience, but it is by no means a must. If you want to save your UST duo cook kit for another hike, then packing pre-made meals might be the best option for you. A lot of the time, food will taste the same after a long day of hiking that has made you hungry, so a cold wrap will do just fine instead of rustling up a hot meal. Plus, you don’t have to worry about cleaning up any cooking and eating utensils after you’re done!

Pitch Your Tent Beforehand

It might sound like a cheat move, but it will ultimately make your camping experience much easier. If you’re a beginner, then you’ll discover that tents can take quite a long time to set up, especially if you’ve never done it before. The last thing you want on your hike is to pitch a tent close to sundown and have the dark catch up with you. It can become even more difficult to set everything up if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Consider pitching your tent a couple of times before setting off on the camping trip to avoid this problem.

Select an Appropriate Tent for Wild Camping

While on the subject of tents, the type you choose for your trip is just as important. It may be tempting to use just a roll-up sleeping bag for wild camping, but they aren’t always suitable for windy and wet weather conditions. Low profile one or two-man tents are almost always best for most camping trips. Choosing the appropriate tent color is also essential. If you want to remain discreet, then it’s better to go for green or brown tents. 

Bring the Right Sleeping Gear

A comfortable sleeping bag that will protect you from the elements is a must when camping! Temperatures can drop when it goes dark, so it’s best to be prepared with any (or all) of the following to stay warm and cozy during your overnight trip: 

  • Down or puffy jackets
  • Lightweight sleeping bag liners for insulation
  • Thermal leggings and socks
  • Beanie hat
  • Emergency foil blanket

Being overprepared for warmth is better than risking a night out in the cold when it comes to camping. 


For beginners, wild camping can be filled with unexpected and the most pleasant of surprises. With new ground to cover and a chance to be one with nature, it’s an adventure worth repeating many times after the first camp. Mastering the tools of the trade and the necessary preparations can make or break the first experience. After all, who wants to spend the night freezing because of an unpitched tent in the rain? By arming yourself with these tips and seeking the advice of seasoned hikers, you’ll have the best possible first camp and come back ready for more. 

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