75 Easy Tent Camping Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Nature is the most beautiful and mentally healing resource available to us.  It’s foolish to not take advantage of it!

We all start off as beginners in everything. The problem with camping as a beginner is that mistakes can turn what could be a relaxing and fun trip into a stressful event.

Fortunately mistakes can be easily avoided and replaced with success. My wife and I have spent over 200+ days camping and we’ve learned a lot of tricks… the hard way. We’d like to save you the time and trouble of learning on your own. It’s embarrassing to think about how little we knew when we first got started.

Now we are our happiest while camping. A week without distraction in nature is complete serenity.

These tips will transform you from a first time camping rookie into a pro. You’ll become that awesome outdoorsy person that others turn to for camping advice.

Plus you’ll have such an amazing time that you’ll hopefully start bringing others along on your camping adventures. And they’ll love you for introducing them to such a cheap ($109) and peaceful way to vacation!

Let’s begin the journey.

Wildlife and mountains at Glacier National Park
I hope you like these pictures, they were taken by my wife and I. A link to one of our vacations is at the end of the post.

Planning Your Vacation of A Lifetime

#1 Camp at State and National Parks

Not all campgrounds are created equal.

Some are full of golf carts zipping around, and several others promote partying, fishing, and hell raising until the crack of dawn.

We’ve experienced them all and nothing compares to a quiet little state or national park. These publicly owned parks are well kept and offer the best views of nature.

To find a national park near you check out: https://findyourpark.com

To find a state park: https://www.stateparks.com

#2 Avoid Hot (AND COLD) Weather

Never ever, make the mistake of tent camping when the weather is hot! Anything above 80 degrees at night is utter misery! Also, you want to avoid cold nights below 40.

Fall and Spring are the best times to go camping, however June can be nice as well. Any time of the year can work though. If you’re camping in July or August try to go North and avoid the deep South. If you’re camping in the winter go South!

Because the temperature is lowest at night (when heat and cold can ruin your sleep), check out this map of the average low temperatures. It will give you a good idea of which states are a good choice depending on the month: https://weather.com/maps/averages/normal-temperature

#3 Stay At A Primitive Site

Tent camping is already going to give you way more peace and quiet than the RV section, however, primitive sites will offer the most privacy. The only difference is that they don’t have electricity which is easily solved with a car charger and/or batteries.

Many primitive sites give you the same feeling as backpacking out into the wilderness.

#4 Book Early

The most beautiful parks can book up to a year in advance. As soon as you know where and when you want to vacation, snag a spot!

#5 Big Vacation? Stay at One Campground

The first time Jackie and I went camping out West we went big. We explored the Badlands, Custer State Park (near Mt. Rushmore), and stopped at Eugene T. Mahoney on the way. It was a blast!

However, it didn’t feel nearly as relaxing as some of our other trips because every other day we had to pack up our campsite and set it back up somewhere else.

Big trips are awesome, we want to see it all while we’re out there! But I recommend just picking one park and exploring it in depth rather than touring the surface of multiple parks. The slower pace of staying at one campground will leave you feeling far more satisfied, even if you have to skip out on another equally awesome park that’s just around the corner.

#6 Know the Right Season

You’ll optimize your adventure by vacationing during the most beautiful and least crowded season. For example if you’re planning on going to a park known for its waterfalls, go in the Spring when it rains a lot, not the summer when the water evaporates. Some parks will be most vibrant in the Fall.

If you enjoy wildlife check out the animal migration patterns during different seasons. For example, you can watch the incredible migration of 7,000 elk in Yellowstone from late October to early December.

Summer is usually the busiest for national parks, so it’s a good time to hike in Bear Country as the high traffic will typically scare them off.

It’s worth doing your homework ahead of time by reading some reviews on tripadvisor.

#7 Choose Your Campsite Wisely

The location of your campsite within the park will make or break your experience. Try to pick a spot that is in a corner or at the end of a lane, somewhere with lots of privacy. Also, look for blue on the map! Some campsites have river and lake front views!

On our second camping trip we made the mistake of booking a site next to a playground. We basically spent the weekend babysitting and I even got hit in the back of the head with a football!

When you book your campsite take a look at the map and make sure you’re not next to a stinky outhouse, noisy playground, or in the middle of 10 other sites.

#8 Look For quiet Hours

Choose a campground with quiet hours. This is a good sign that it’ll be the type of campground that will provide you with the respite you seek. If there aren’t quiet hours, be cautious!

We once spent a weekend listening to Frozen on repeat into the wee hours of the morning. I guess some people just can’t live without their tech. Of course it was our mistake for not camping at a state or national park.

#9 Take A Short Practice Trip

The truth is that the first time you camp, you’ll probably make a few blunders. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

The first time we went camping we made the mistake of staying at a private campground that didn’t have running water. So after gulping down everything in our water and wine bottles, we were thirsty!

Mistakes are inevitable the first time you go, but you’ll learn quickly. Going on a short trip the first time will help you discover any rookie mistakes so that your real adventure will be stress-free.

#10 Stay for 7+ days

After you’ve gone on a practice trip I recommend staying out for at least 7 days.

It normally takes 3 days just to unwind and forget about work. But everyday after that you’ll feel completely present and finally able to relax while objectively reflecting on your life. It may sound odd but the longer I stay on vacation the more I feel like I understand myself and the purpose of my life.

Work and the busy nature of everyday life doesn’t give our brain the time it needs to process and unwind.

A heard of over 500 buffalo.

Pack Light and Organize

#11 Pack As Much As Necessary But No More

Keep your checklist simple and stress-free. The less you bring the more you’ll enjoy your trip! It’ll keep the car nicer and make it easier to find things when you need them.

#12 Keep Your Car Organized

While tent camping you’ll be loading, unloading, and visiting your car several times a day. Don’t let it get messy!

Make sure everyone knows where everything is and where it goes.

You’re looking for a break from stress. Nothing is more irritating than having to rummage through every bag, box, nook, and cranny to try and find your underwear (been there). It doesn’t take much rooting around to turn your peaceful car into hell on wheels!

Feeling stress free at the Grand Tetons.

Tent Tips

#13 Keep A Welcome Mat Outside of Your Tent

Unless you like tracking mud into your vacation home, you’ll want a welcome mat outside. It also gives you a clean surface to stand barefoot on when you take your shoes off outside.

#14 Bring a Small Broom

Even with a welcome mat some dirt will find it’s way inside your tent. Keep a mini broom around to sweep things up.

But wait, you don’t want to do chores while on vacation! Don’t worry, since you’ll be outside with the beautiful sights and sounds of nature sweeping will feel more therapeutic than chore-like.

#15 Tent Seal and Waterproofing Spray

If your tent is brand new you won’t have to worry about this for a year or two. After that you’ll want to apply a waterproofing spray and seam sealer to keep the inside of your tent dry.

Try not to touch the rain fly or sides of the tent when it is raining as the surface tension will draw water to your finger and spring a leak!

#16 Tent Fan

A rechargeable tent fan works wonders at keeping you cool on those nights that are above 70 degrees.

#17 Buy a Smaller Tent

My mother-in-law was so proud of herself when she bought a giant 12 person tent for $10 at a garage sale. She begged us to go camping with her so she could try it out.

We spent the entire first day setting it up and last day taking it down! It was not a vacation, it was work!

Our little four person tent takes all of 10 minutes to set-up.

A smaller tent sets-up faster, cost less, and takes less room in the trunk of the car. It’s also less of an eye-sore at your campsite and feels a lot cozier to snuggle up in.

If you’re into gaming like us and plan to use camping chairs and a table inside your tent on rainy days, you’ll need something at least large enough for sitting up, but no bigger!

Two fox at our camp site.

Essential Camping Gear

#18 Comfy Camp Chair

Whether you’re enjoying the fire, eating, socializing, or gaming you’ll be spending several hours in your camp chair. Be kind to yourself and make sure your chair is comfortable. You can even get camp chairs with a little table, cup holders, and pockets attached.

#19 Hammock

Nothing feels more relaxing than lounging back in a hammock. Many hammocks come with straps that won’t damage trees and only take 5 minutes to assemble.

On a chilly morning you can toss your sleeping bag in your hammock and curl up with a good book. Hammocks are perfect for an afternoon nap, especially after a long hike. You can also use it as a chair or swing!

#20 A Flashlight for Everyone

Darkness will creep up on you! Give everyone a little $1 flashlight and the whole party will feel more safe and secure.

#21 Keep A Notebook

While you are away from distraction and immersed in nature you’ll notice some very creative instantaneous thoughts popping up in your head. Make sure to record them! I’ve gained the best insights of my life while camping.

#22 Bug spray and Cortisone Cream

A must have for anyone camping. It also isn’t a bad idea to have some cortisone cream handy to stop a bad itch.

#23 Skip the Citronella Candles

Research shows that they don’t really work, except that they make you think you’re getting bit less. This is an easy way to save some money. Bug spray is much more effective!

#24 Dirty Clothes Bag

If you don’t have a bag for dirty clothes you’ll end up tossing them in with your clean clothes. Then everything will stink and you won’t know what’s clean and what’s dirty!

Using a mesh bag will help air out the stink. Also you can quarantine the smell by storing everyone’s dirty clothes together and far away from your nostrils.

#25 First Aid Kit

You just never know, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

#26 Car Charger

When it’s time to go home, you may need GPS, so you’ll need a way to charge your phone (which has hopefully been off all week).

Car chargers for 3 pronged cords can come in really handy at non-electric sites.

#27 Buy Brown and Green Gear

Earth tone camping gear blends in with the surroundings and makes it easier to feel immersed in nature. Brightly colored gear creates visual clutter.

Think about it. Would you rather your eyes be drawn to a butterfly or a hot pink tent?

A stunning view of the wildflowers at Glacier National Park.

Eating At Camp

#28 Create A Meal Plan

Prepping meals is an extremely important thing to do before you leave for a big camping trip. Creative thought is required to overcome the lack of a refrigerator and the modern conveniences of a kitchen.

But it’s worth it. As mentioned earlier, like other chores, cooking is fun while at camp.

It’ll feel so nice to not have to leave the campground for a food run.

If you’re leaving everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner you might as well stay home. You’ll miss out on the tranquility a nature vacation can offer you because you’ll be diluting the immersion process by exposing yourself to the distracting, stress producing restraints of normal life.

If you want to experience true peace of mind, make it so you don’t have to leave the park or expose yourself to a single advertisement all week.

#29 Eat and Game at the Most Beautiful Locations

State and national parks have picnic tables everywhere. With a camp stove there’s no reason you have to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your campsite. Drive over to a lake, waterfall, or somewhere with a gorgeous view of the sunset and eat there.

If you like card and board games like us, you can do the same thing while playing games.

A majestic waterfall.

Easy Camp Food

#30 Frito Taco Soup

We’ve tried all sorts of scrumptious camping meals so I thought I’d share our favorite. We got this one from Andrew Skurka; a backpacker who has logged over 30,000+ miles through the world’s most prized back country and wilderness areas.

Essentially it’s bean, rice, cheese, and Fritos! This meal doesn’t even require a cooler. Believe it or not a big block of sharp cheddar cheese will last a week out of the fridge!

We like it so much that we ate this every night for dinner on our last camping trip! The only thing we changed is what chips we added each meal (try Doritos and barbecue Fritos!). If you can stomach it, packing fewer types of meals greatly simplifies meal prep.

#31 Jiffy Pop Pan Cooked Popcorn

You can’t stop the pop! These are made ready to pop over a campfire. They even include a long handle so you can hold them over the campfire. Quite a tasty little luxury when you are away from home.

Kids love them too!

#32 Hardy Spoil free Food

You’ll need hardy food that won’t spoil or require a fridge. Our favorites include: apples, peanut butter, carrots, fruit cups, granola bars, oatmeal, sealed milk, trail mix (pistachios, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sesame sticks).

Deep blue geyser basin at Yellowstone National Park.

Cooking Gear

#33 Camp Stove

We went camping a handful of times before investing in a $40 Coleman camping stove.

In a tactless attempt to save money, I’d cook over the campfire. While this made me feel macho it wasn’t worth it!

Here’s what I endured almost every time I cooked over a fire:

  • Burns.
  • Long cook times.
  • It getting dark, because the food took forever to cook.
  • Burnt food (since I couldn’t see once it got dark).
  • Lungs full of smoke.
  • Eyes full of smoke.
  • Sweaty, oily skin.
  • Hangrynees, from hunger, heat, and frustration!

Plus I never had time to actually kick back and enjoy the fire!

Having a camp stove fixed all that. Highly recommended.

#34 Cast-Iron Skillet

You’ll want to buy a tough skillet for camping considering it will get beat up a bit. Cast-iron is indestructible. I dropped mine into the fire one night and left it there for 6 hours. The next day I cleaned it and cooked with it, no problem!

#35 Metal Cookware and Utensils

Buy all metal cookware and utensils. Plastic will warp and melt. Yucky food can be burnt off of metal and the heat will sterilize it!

#36 Hang Cookware on a Tree

Wrap an old belt with some cheap S-hooks around a tree and you’ve got a handy little contraption to hang and dry your cooking gear. It’s a nice way to keep things tidy and looks pretty cool too.

#37 Fold-away Food Cover

Bugs are hungry too! A little food cover will keep unwanted “protein” out of your meal!

#38 Five Gallon Collapsible Water Jug

Many tent sites don’t have water spigots nearby. It helps to bring a big collapsible (easier to store) jug to fill with water and place right on your picnic table.

#39 Leave The Cooler

This might be harder when you first get started but if you can eventually create a cooler-free meal plan it’ll make things much easier. You’ll have to buy ice everyday for food in the cooler! For the same reasons as mentioned above, leaving nature to purchase ice is going to pull you out of a peaceful state of mind.

Gorgeous view of trees and valley at Glacier National Park.

Washing Dishes

#40 Wash Dishes the Right Way

Most campsites have a wash area for your dirty dishes but some don’t. When we camp at a park without a wash area we bring two collapsible dish tubs and do the following:

  1. Eat all of the food that you can then dump your scraps in a waste container.
  2. Wipe out excess food with paper towels, dry leaves, or moss and burn them to erase the food smell.
  3. Wash right away. Add soap to the first tub and wash from cleanest to dirtiest (to make the water last). In a second tub do a final rinse then air or hand dry.
  4. Strain the water when pouring out the first tub to catch food. Pour the rinse tub into the first tub to help clean it.

A female mouse walking through the lake.

Sunshine : Soak In The Rays

#41 Don’t Get Burned

To prevent skin cancer and a nasty burn you’ll want to bring a hat, sunglasses, neck cooler, and sun block.

  • Hat – One of the first things beginning campers (myself included) purchase is a funny looking floppy camping hat. Don’t make my mistake, instead buy a lightweight breathable mesh hat which won’t cause you to sweat as much.
  • Sunglasses – Polarized glasses protect your eyes and make it easier to spot fish through the water!
  • Sun Block – Go with the highest SPF you can find, trading a tan for skin cancer is a bad deal.
  • Neck Cooler – These little towels are like magic, they stay cold when wet! I like to hang mine over the back of my neck and tuck the rest under my shirt

Acidic evaporation at Yellowstone National Park.

Fire

#42 Get Free Firewood

Firewood typically cost $4-$8 a bundle which can add up over a long vacation. We received 8 bundles of firewood on our last vacation for free! We couldn’t even use it all.

Here are a few ways that you can get free firewood:

  • Arrive Sunday morning – This is when most people are leaving and oftentimes they’ll offer to give you their leftover firewood. If they don’t you can always just ask.
  • Walk around – Recently vacated campsites will often have stacks of firewood sitting at them. You’re not stealing if you take them! You’re actually saving the maintenance staff a bit of work as campers aren’t supposed to leave their firewood.
  • Post a sign – Hang a sign at your campsite or by the bathroom (with your campsite number) asking happy campers who are leaving to drop off their firewood. Most will! Campers are some of the nicest people I’ve met.

#43 Cover your Firewood

Wet firewood doesn’t burn! So cover your firewood with a tarp in case it rains.

#44 Know How to Build a Fire

If you don’t know how to build a fire make sure to watch a YouTube video (below) or print off instructions before starting your adventure. I like the tee-pee method.

How to Build a Fire

#45 Wear Welders Gloves

Unless you like getting burnt, I recommend wearing welders gloves for adjusting logs and cooking over the fire.

#46 Hammer and Wedge

Skip the ax. Using a hammer and wedge is a much easier and safer way to split firewood.

It’s hard to find a tall level surface for swinging an ax and unless you’re a lumberjack you could end up chopping off a toe!

#47 Long Handled Lighter

The wind has a knack for blowing the flame on a typical lighter straight towards your thumb.

You won’t get burnt with long handled lighters. They are better at getting through sticks to light your fire starter as well as reaching the wick in citronella candles.

#48 Make FireBalls

Cotton balls covered in Vaseline are a cheap and effective way to start a fire. Prep a big bag of these at home before you leave because they’ll cover your fingers with fuzz.

A beach view from atop Acadia Mountain.

Fungus Free Showering

#49 Flip Flops

Who knows what kind of fungus lives between the toes of other campers! When you shower you won’t want to step on the bare tile. Shower shoes will protect your feet and prevent you from slipping onto your patootie.

#50 Shower Bag

Is soap still clean if laid on a slimy shelf?

Some showers don’t even have shelves. Try using a tall lunch box/bag (only $5) which has the same dimensions as a brown sack but with a zipper or velcro lid. It’s height will keep the bottles from falling over and the inside dry.

Add a large carabiner or hook on the handle and you’ll be able to hang it from the shower rod.

A beautiful view of the bear grass at Glacier National Park.

Sleeping Comfy

#51 Self Inflating Air Pad

Do you like laying on roots and rocks? A 1 inch sleeping pad will feel like napping on a heavenly cloud in comparison to the ground.

#52 Small Camping Pillow

Don’t bring your big, fluffy pillow from home! Bring a smaller one just for camping instead. It’ll keep you from ruining your favorite pillow, take up less space in the car, and less fluff will keep you cooler at night.

#53 Sleep in a Hammock

I’ll talk about hammocks more later, but wanted to make sure that you knew hammocks make cozy beds. You can upgrade them with a bug net, tarp, and insulation (winter weather). The few times I’ve camped without my wife, I’ve slept in a hammock and really enjoyed it.

#54 Ear Plugs and Eye Mask

If you’re a light sleeper and your campground has a bit of foot traffic or doesn’t have quiet hours, these will come in very handy.

#55 Sleep with the Rain-fly Off

State and national parks have little light pollution, which makes the night sky spectacular. You’ll love falling asleep while watching the stars! Of course if it’s supposed to rain you’ll want to leave it on.

#56 Use the Red Light

It’s the middle of the night and you’re about to pee your pants!

No problem, just turn on your head lamp’s red light setting and it’ll only illuminate the area in front of you as you walk to the restroom.

The traditional white light of lamps and lanterns travels far and can be quite annoying to a sleepy you and others. A red light won’t wake up everyone around you… and will make you less of a jerk.

#57 Set an Alarm

Optional but useful. I use this one because it’s  easy to sleep away your entire vacation when you’re out in nature feeling all zen and relaxed.

A breathtaking view of the mountains at Glacier National Park.

Before You Leave The Campsite

#58 Rate the Other Campsites

If you had fun and plan to come back someday, make a note of the best sites at camp. You can’t get this kind of inside information by looking at a campground map.

Now you have something to look forward to. When you come back, you’ll have the best campsite in the park!

#59 Scan your Campsite Before Rolling Out

It’s easy to forget things. Have everyone go on an “Easter Egg” hunt for dropped camping supplies.

Specifically check:

  • Under the picnic table
  • Trees (for hammock straps, para-cord, hanging cookware, etc.)
  • The woods around the campsite
  • Under the car

Misty ocean view at Acadia National Park.

Dancing In The Rain Plan

#60 Have Fun in the Rain

Rain days have been some of our most fun! We love to listen to the pitter-patter on our tent and feel the cool breeze. There’s no reason rain has to ruin your day and odds are good that it’ll rain at least once during your trip.

When it rains we use a little laptop stand as a table and play a bunch of our favorite board and card games. We can game all day long (see below)!

We also bring books and a wireless speaker to listen to audiobooks (a good narrator can make the experience better than a movie).

Maybe it would help to think of rain as tears of joy from Mother Nature. She’s so happy that you’ve finally come to pay her a visit.

#61 Play Card and Board Games

If board games usually bore you, then you’ve been playing the wrong games! Ever heard of Star Realms, Splendor, Patchwork, King Domino, Raptor, or Schotten Totten? If not, watch some of The Dice Tower YouTube reviews and an Amazon checkout will surely be in your future! These are all modern games that blow the old school stuff (Rummy, Checkers, etc.) out of the water.

#62 Listen to Audible, Hoopla, and Overdrive

These 3 apps make it easy to find audio books you will love. Hoopla and Overdrive are free!

Audiobooks are also great for the road trip part of your vacation.

#63 Pack Ponchos

These are an easy to forget but highly valuable item. Buy thick ones that’ll last more than once (if you plan on camping more than once).

That's me, standing on a bridge during our hike.

Take A Hike The Right Way

#64 Hike in the Morning

Start your day off right by experiencing the mystical beauty of nature. Nicer weather and fewer people make the morning the best time to hike!

Hitting the trail early will leave you feeling accomplished and give you a great excuse to relax in your hammock all afternoon.

#65 Hiking Happily : Gear

Here’s everything you need to walk, talk, and take in the best views available to man.

  • Hiking Boots – They’ll keep your feet comfortable as you step on hard rocks and roots throughout the trail. A waterproof pair will keep your feet dry. I bought mine after the sole on a bottom of an old tennis shoe caught a root and nearly sent me over the edge of a cliff! Many trails are along high bluffs and a good pair of hiking shoes will stop you from slipping or tripping like I almost did.
  • Long Hiking Socks – Your feet will feel better in your boots and your ankles will be protected from bugs, thorns, ivy, etc.
  • Hiking Pants – They’ll stop itchy plants from rubbing against your skin and prevent rashes from poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Buy a breathable pair and you’ll feel comfortable while hiking brushy trails.
  • Light Backpack and/or Camelback – We hiked up on a guy at Glacier National Park, MT who was eating snow because he was so dehydrated. Many beginners make the mistake of not bringing enough food or water on their hike. Make sure you have at least 1 liter of water for every 2 hours you will be hiking. And it’s worth spending a little extra on a lightweight, comfy pack to ease the pressure on your shoulders.
  • Binoculars – What’s that? Well now you can know. We’ve seen bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and moose with ours. It’s so cool! Make sure to buy a smaller pair so that it doesn’t add too much weight to your pack.

#66 invest in a Loupe

I had no idea what a loupe was until we got involved with camping.  A loupe is a small, pocket-sized magnifying glass that can magnify an object up to 10x! With the small size of the loupe, it is very easy to put this into your hiking pack with little added weight.  A loupe is wonderful for exploring the finer details of a flower, or to see up close a tree come alive with insect activity!

#67 Avoid Ticks

 I hate ticks! The last thing you need is lifelong complications of the joints, heart, and nervous system. Ticks can cause Lyme disease which is like having the flu but some side-effects can last a lifetime. As long as you pick them off within 48 hours you’ll be fine. Wearing long pants and socks will keep them off your skin. Another trick is to wear bright colored clothes because that’ll make them easier to spot.

A black bear moving toward a family during our hike.

Bear Country : Keeping Yogi Away

#68 Use Scentless Products

There’s no reason to be scared to camp in bear country. More people are killed by their televisions falling on them (avg. 17) then bears (avg. 2) each year.

The big difference with camping in bear country is you have to think about how you smell. Everything that contacts your body needs to be scentless otherwise a curious bear may want to investigate. Also food needs to be cleaned up and stored in your vehicle or a food locker if provided by the campground.

Here are the scentless products that we use:

  • Burt’s Bees Baby Bees Shampoo & Wash Fragrance Free
  • Banana Boat Kids Fragrance Free SPF 50 Sunblock
  • Arm & Hammer Essentials Unscented Deodorant
  • Babyganics Fragrance Free Baby Wipes
  • Dead Down Wind Toothpaste
  • Backwoods Cutter Unscented Bug Spray

#69 Hike Safely in Bear Country

Virtually no bear attacks have occurred in groups of three or more. Bears see humans as other bears, so if you have a big pack they’ll stay away.

You’ll also want to talk loudly so that you don’t accidentally startle a momma bear. Any time you are hiking in bushy areas or going around a corner clap your hands and shout, “HEY BEAR!”.

Some of the most beautiful parks in the US have bears so it’s fortunate that they are an easy obstacle to overcome. However, if bears are going to cause you stress, skip the parks in bear country. There are plenty of other incredible places you can vacation that are bear-free.

#70 Arm Yourself with Bear Spray

In case you didn’t know, sporting good stores sell bear deterrent. It’s basically a big bad bear stopping can of mace and only about 25 bucks. It works by blasting a big cloud of fiery hot mist at the bear that’ll aggravate his nose and make him book it. Don’t worry though, it won’t hurt them. And most importantly, they won’t hurt you

Me on the edge of the bluffs with the ocean in the background at Acadia.

Bonus Tips and Tricks

#71 Stay Off Your Phone

A friend of mine recently posted a real time picture of a campfire on Facebook with the caption, “The best thing about camping”. I immediately replied, “Throw your phone in the fire!”.

Nothing will prevent you from feeling true serenity more than being on your phone! If you’re worried about life, tell your loved ones where you will be staying, your campsite, and the office phone number. If there’s a true emergency they can call the camp staff who will relay the message to you.

A week off of tech makes you more present and gives your brain time to reflect and process your life and its meaning.

#72 Explore on Day One

Right after you set up camp, walk or drive around to get a feel for what the place has to offer. Many times you’ll find cool little features or views that you’d otherwise miss.

We once found a little putt putt course that wasn’t advertised. Another time we discovered a little 3 minute trail that led us to a private lake front view.

#73 Practice Mindfulness

It’s much easier to bring your body and mind to the same place when you’re away from all the noise of life. Be present and aware of everything around you.

#74 Have One Adult Keep the Keys

Husband “Do you have the keys?”
Wife – “No I thought you had them!”

We’ve learned this one the hard way.

The best way to avoid being locked out of your car is to put one person in charge of the keys.  This prevents any confusion. If someone else uses them they must return them to the key holder immediately!

#75 Have Fun and Relax

You’re going camping to have a good time and unwind. Make that the priority!

We push ourselves so hard that it’ll probably feel unnatural for you to not be achieving something while camping.

You deserve this respite. If you actually give yourself the space to breathe you’ll go back to your everyday life feeling wiser, nicer, more productive, and happier!

For a checklist of all the gear you’ll need

Part 2: Unlock Unlimited $109 Dream Vacations with this Checklist
And you may want to check out…
Part 1: How to Go On the Best Vacation of Your Life for $109

Don’t know how much fun you can have on a cheap camping vacation?

Read about our spectacular trip out West to Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse!

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