10 Lessons from my First Adult Camping Trip

AdventureHealth and FitnessLifestyleVancouver
July 17, 2017 / By /

Camping is something I remember loving as a kid but never really have done as an adult. So this past weekend, I decided to go camping for the first time of my adult life!

The difference? As a kid, you just went camping. There was no preparation. At most, all you had to do is pick what snacks you wanted and what clothes you wanted to bring. But as an adult, the planning and preparation is a whole adventure of its own. What food do I buy? What do I wear? What do I need to bring? I found myself stressing about these things a solid week before the day I was supposed to leave. 

With every adventure comes a set of lessons that you learn from the experience. So here are my lessons from my first adult camping trip!

Weekend campsite in Squamish

Buy a tent off Craigslist

We left tent-hunting way too last-minute so it was quite difficult to find something brand new for a decent price. So we decided to look else where and discovered that Craigslist had some barely used tents for really decent prices. Not to mention buying off Craigslist means no tax, and sometimes you can even haggle a little to get a price even lower (which we shamelessly did of course). 

Buy a gas-fueled fire pit

This one is actually completely unnecessary for most people. But for people who are from Vancouver, which I assume you might be, having a gas-fueled fire pit is actually extremely useful.  Anyone that’s lived in BC for a while knows how easy it is for our province to initiate campfire bans due to the large risk of wildfires during the summer. This year has been extremely terrible in terms of widespread wildfires so the campfire ban has been taken even more seriously than usual. Living in a province that has campfire bans every year, having a fire pit makes it so you can still sit around a “campfire” at night and roast marshmallows and sausages. The fire is completely controlled and is easy to start and distinguish. 

Having the fire was also extremely nice at night for extra warmth and light.r Not to mention it gave us something to do! There are even some that come with a cooking grate that converts your fire pit into a partial grill. 

I bought mine from Canadian tire and it was by the brand For Living. The price has since gone back to $140 but a great alternative would be the Outland one from Amazon which is the same price that I paid for the For Living one when it was on-sale. 

Canadian Tire For Living Fire Pit Brush up on your safety knowledge

If I wasn’t with my awesome camping partner, I definitely would have made some potentially fatal mistakes on this trip. The biggest one being my (lack of) awareness for the danger of bears. I definitely would not have known to bring bear mace or to put all food items and scraps in the car before heading to bed. I also learned to always set up your fire downwind from the campsite. We had the fire pit for this trip so this wasn’t a huge worry of ours, but it’s still definitely something important to know. 

Buy stew

We pretty much lived off of beef stew and croissants this trip for our main meals. My grocery list for this trip consisted of:

  • sausages
  • marshmallows
  • stew
  • croissants
  • hot dog buns
  • eggs

We ended up having food left over for the week and our groceries only cost us about $40. Given we just ate croissants, eggs, and stew in the morning, hot dogs for lunch, and then more stew and hot dogs for dinner. But everything was actually delicious so I was a happy camper (literally). 

OH and definitely bring a portable stove or grill to cook your food on.

Bring snacks

Since our fire pit made it so easy for us to make roasted marshmallows, we pretty much just ate roasted marshmallows every time we wanted a snack. However I definitely still should’ve brought some chips or cookies or some other sort of snack to munch on throughout the day. 

Don’t forget to buy/bring water

WE FORGOT TO BUY WATER. Thankfully he had several jugs of tap water from his last camping trip that was still in the bed of his truck. And I bought a 6 pack of Gatorade and some iced teas while grocery shopping so we didn’t die of thirst on this trip. But I definitely won’t be making that same mistake again! Boiled river water for instant coffee wasn’t an ideal situation.  

Bring a knife!

I definitely did not think I would need a knife or a hatchet but I was very wrong. Again, thankfully I had a camping partner that knew what he was doing and he had both those things. Whether it’s for cutting food, opening packages, or whatever other reason it may be—it was, without a doubt, extremely useful to have a knife. 

Warmth and comfort is KEY

Although the night-time wasn’t as nearly as chilly as I thought it would be, the wee hours of the morning were still FREEZING to me. So a huge tip I have is definitely to have a WARM sleeping bag. Also, I’ve been told that sleeping naked in your sleeping bag is the best way to create warmth. But I found that when wearing clothes inside my sleeping bag actually kept me warmer. 

As for clothes, I ended up living in my sweatpants and hoodie for the entire weekend with the exception of some sweat shorts for when it got hot in the middle of the day. So here’s my advice as a fashion blogger: don’t worry about having cute outfits. Just bring comfy clothes and you will be happy. 

Set up your camp while it’s still bright out!

We had quite a bit of trouble looking for a camp spot that we were happy with since we decided not to go to a campsite. We didn’t find our spot by the water until it was dark outside so we ended up setting up camp with the help of lanterns and headlights. AND BOY WAS IT DIFFICULT. I 10/10 do not recommend it. Get there early. Set up while it’s bright out. End of story. 

Bring LOTS of TOILET PAPER AND INSECT REPELLENT

And last but not least…

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. 

Sad dog not allowed in tent Mamquam river in Squamish camping with dogs I hope that I was able to shed some light on camping for those of you who lack the experience, like me. Even though I did get laughed at a few times for my cluelessness, I truly enjoyed my time and would definitely do it again. 

What was your first camping experience like?

Until next time, 

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