A Beginner’s Guide on How to Go Camping

A Beginners Guide on How to Go Camping

Camping can be so much fun, however if you have not been camping before it can be a little tricky. Our staff here at Outdoor Camping Direct have produced this guide to help make your first time camping a great experience. This guide will aim to make it enjoyable and stress free.

As many people go camping with their friends and family, using the correct equipment can produce the holiday of a lifetime at a super low cost.

Which camping trip for you?

Camping at a campsite

This is by far the most popular form of camping. With campsite camping you pay for a pitch on a site for a set number of days. Campsite camping is great for groups and large families.

Having a dedicated pitch means that you will have your own space and be surrounded by other holidaymakers, and you’re usually able to park up next to your tent.

A great way of finding a camping site is to use the website campsite.co.uk – this directory is a great help for any first-time camper.

Campsites also boast a number of facilities on-site, such as showers, washrooms and toilets. Many are now geared towards families and have playgrounds and entertainment to keep the children occupied, as well as takeaway food vans on selected nights of the week. There is nothing quite like a wood-fired pizza van, cooking delicious pizzas as the sun sets.

Wightwood Pizza at Brightstone Campsite on the Isle of Wight

Festival camping

Festivals can be busy places.  With thousands of people present, there’s every chance your tent could take a bit of a battering unless you’re at a family-friendly festival where you have plenty of room to camp.

Our thoughts on festival camping are not to spend lots of money on a festival tent.

Remember you’re camping and you will need your usual camping equipment.

Festival camps can be busy places and come in different shapes and sizes and are not split into specific pitches.  You fit your tent in where you find a space.

For a full guide on festival camping tents see our Festival Tent Buying Guide

Camping at Rock, Ribs, and Ridges Festival

Wild camping

Waking up at sunrise to the sound of grass or trees blowing in the breeze as the birds sing away, while you’re still tucked up in a warm sleeping bag, is hard to beat.

Hundreds and thousands of people each weekend seek out wild places to get away from everyday life.

Do you fancy the beauty of camping in the wild? We totally recommend it, however there are a few things to note.

Remember, the spot you choose to camp on shouldn’t be tarnished by a lack of respect for the area. Leave it in exactly the same way as you found it.

Wild camping is only LEGAL in Scotland and certain areas of Dartmoor National Park. If you wish to wild camp anywhere else, you are urged to seek the permission of the land owner.

Wild campers look for lightweight gear and take the bare essentials. If you can’t carry it, you don’t need it, so choose the correct kit.


Recently, a global trend has caught fire that offers outdoor enthusiasts an upgrade on rest and relaxation. It’s called glamping, which is short for glamorous camping.

When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no ‘journey’ to use a bathroom. Whether in a tent, yurt, airstream, pod, igloo, hut, villa, cabin, cube, teepee or treehouse, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.

Glamping is a good idea for people who may not like the idea of ‘roughing’ it in a tent and prefer a little more luxury from a holiday.

Once you have chosen what type of camping trip you are about to go on you then need to choose the tent.

We have a Tent Buying Guide which will help guide you to choose the perfect tent.

Tent Buying Guide by Outdoor Camping Direct

Once your tent has been chosen, get ready to pack everything you will need for an adventure of a lifetime.

The basic camping set-up is very simple. You need to think:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping – you need something to sleep in and on
  • Eating – you will need equipment for preparing and cooking
  • Relaxing – create a comfortable place to relax with pop-up chairs and tables.


What you need for sleeping

What you bring to sleep on and under is very important so don’t scrimp on this. Nothing beats a comfortable, cosy camping set-up, and nothing ruins a holiday faster than a bad night’s sleep.

Don’t forget to bring pillows.

Sleeping bags come in varying sizes, materials and thickness to suit the type of trip you are on and the temperatures of the season you are camping in.

What will you sleep on? Self-inflating camping mats are great and airbeds are even more comfortable.

Get plenty of insulation between you and the ground, and that means layering up with blankets above and below your mat or airbed. For your first trip, you can make a very good bed out of layers of blankets, duvets and cushions alone if you can’t borrow or buy a camping mat.

It is always a good idea to bring lots of extra blankets as there is nothing worse than being cold at night.

Sleeping bags from Outdoor Camping Direct

Cooking food

Cooking outdoors is really good fun and one of the best parts of camping. There is nothing more rewarding than a camping meal! You need to bring equipment for preparing your food, something to cook on, pans and utensils to cook with, and plates and utensils to eat with.

The equipment will vary according to the type of meal you want to cook and how many people will be eating. You can get away with being fairly minimal if space is at a premium. At the very least, you need something to boil water in and it need not be a kettle, a saucepan will do.

Keep it simple. You don’t need to bring all your food with you.

If your campsite allows fires, you can cook some delicious meals on open fires and firepits, while BBQs are often allowed on campsites. You should bring a camping stove with you anyway as you won’t want to rely on starting a fire if the weather turns bad.

Remember to keep the fire away from your tent in a well-ventilated area.

Food storage. Keep your food dry and safe and take proper containers for storage. To keep food cool, then cool boxes are really useful.

If you don’t want to cook, you will have no trouble eating out at cafes, pubs and restaurants and buying food locally. Even if you plan to eat all of your meals out, you should at least bring something you can brew up on. Never underestimate the power of a hot drink when camping.

Relaxing on your campsite

New campers often overlook equipment and gear for sitting and relaxing. Create a chill-out area with cushions and blankets, but it’s not the best idea to double up by using your bedding out of the tent: it can easily get damp or wet. Bring extra blankets and cushions for this purpose.

Chairs will be a welcome addition to your campsite, and a chair per person is even better. A table will make eating and preparing food more pleasurable. You can purchase fold-away table and chairs pretty cheaply that pack down well.

Lighting your camp

Lighting is important when camping. Your campsite is unlikely to have any lighting except in the toilet and shower blocks, and it can get very dark in the countryside at night.

There are lots of different types of lanterns you can buy for lighting your camping area. There are also many different types of torches on the market. Every person in your party should have at least one small torch for getting around the campsite and finding things in their tent. It’s a good idea to have at least one lantern per tent for convenience.

The Coleman F1 Lite Lantern


Think about the gadgets you want to bring with you and what you want to leave behind. If you are bringing your phone, laptop and so on, don’t forget your chargers. You can buy portable power chargers for your gadgets – some of them are solar powered which comes in useful when camping.

Clothing and personal care

There is no camping-specific clothing you will need to buy, but make sure you have good wet-weather gear in case it rains. Bring extra jumpers, socks and anything you might need to keep you warm at night. Even in the summer it can get very cold in a tent when the sun goes down. You will never regret bringing extra clothing, but you will definitely regret not bringing enough.

Other than that, pack plenty of clothing in line with the time of year and the activities you will be doing. You must always have a dry change of clothes in case you get wet.

Where to get your Camping Equipment

Visit our online shop Outdoorcampingdirect.com for all your camping needs.


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