If you’re about to take your first camping trip in the wilderness, it can be a little daunting. There will be no electricity, no plumbing, no instant entertainment on a TV. You will be spending a lot of time with your camping buddies or by yourself. We’ve compiled some tips to aid your experience:

  1. It’s better to overpack than under pack. For your first-time camping, it can be hard to tell if your regular pajamas will be warm enough, if your toilet paper will stay dry in the bag, etc. Just this once, bring extra of everything. You want this to be a good experience and despite the hot afternoon’s, nighttime is freezing! Not being prepared will put a damper on things.
  2. Catch your bearings. The first day you spend on the campsite, explore every nook and cranny and memorize where the important stuff is. If there’s communal showers or toilets, you’ll want to be able to get there in the middle of the night. You also don’t want to get lost. Catch your bearings; understand where your site is in relation to the rest of the camp.
  3. Learn about the risks. Most beginner-campsites are relatively safe; no bears, no treacherous weather, not too far from a big city. But if you’re tagging along with some more experienced campers, then learn about the area you’ll be in first. There are tons of ways to keep yourself and your stuff safe from bears when camping. Learn about the warning signs of a tornado. Prepare yourself for the area’s risks. Also, pack appropriate medication incase you do get in trouble. Treatments like dihydrocodiene are good for pain relief, perfect if you manage to twist your ankle when hiking!
  4. Pack some camping-appropriate entertainment. That could be books, journals, board games, card decks, a premade scavenger hunt list, a camera, etc. Not having cell phone reception doesn’t mean you’ll be bored. And don’t be scared to spend time in nature silently. Embrace all the feelings you feel and remember that nature doesn’t judge anyone.

Camping is one of the best ways to spend time with loved ones and spend time with yourself. There are no distractions of daily life; it’s just you and the planet. Although it can be nerve-wracking the first time, try and embrace your camping experience and treat it as a lesson. It’s not going to be perfect and you won’t be professional from the start, but you can and will enjoy yourself. You just have to let go, inhale the fresh air, and smile.