Mmm… The fresh smell of the great outdoors! After all those months being holed up in our homes and flats, it’s high time we get reconnected with nature. And what better way to do so than with camping?! It brings the body, mind and spirit together. Despite this, without the prior knowledge, it can be a daunting feat. That’s why at The Guy Bible we’ve compiled the ultimate guide for men to best prepare first-timers for the experience. So channel your inner Bear Grylls and saddle up for the journey.
Tents are where the magic happens. By magic, we mean sleep but that’s only if you’re able to successfully set it up. The bigger the tent, the more complex it will be. On top of that, you’ll need to remember to bring a mallet so that you can fix the tent into place using pegs and guy-lines. While a sizeable tent is recommended to ensure comfort, the key to camping is to always pack light.
Once the tent is up, you’re going to want to feel at home. Firstly, you’ll need a mat because you don’t want to break your back on that hard floor. If you’re planning to camp in the UK, then a three-season sleeping bag is recommended to keep you toasty in unpredictable weather. Add a compressible pillow and you’re good to go. Sweet dreams!
How else are we going to lug our nomadic essentials along the trail? Since the backpack is one of the four heaviest items on your journey, the first point to consider is weight. Whether you’re going for an epic hike or a quick weekend getaway, keeping the weight down doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. The easiest way to determine this is via the volume of the backpack, which is anywhere between 45L to 100L.
If you’re going for the higher end of the spectrum, you will want to consider the frame of your backpack. The heavier your pack weight, the studier frame you’ll need in order to ensure comfort. Alongside weight and comfort, durability is equally as important. Between the branching trees, rocky paths and temperamental weather, your bag will be dragged through the trenches. As a result, most backpacks are made using cutting-edge, technical fabrics such as ripstop to stand the test of time.
If creepy crawlies give you the heebie-jeebies, then getting a camping chair is a no brainer. How do the two correlate, you may ask? Well, rather than sitting on the floor or an ant-infested log, you can whip out this bad boy!
A low, foldable chair is a great tool if you’re conscious about carrying size and weight; while a higher chair is easier on the knees and to get in and out of. No matter what you pick, they will allow ample opportunity to sit back, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. For those who aren’t fearful of insects, you can opt for an ultralight seat pad on longer trips. These are great for insulating your behind from cold or wet ground; however, they fail to provide you with back support.
Despite what we see on the television, starting a fire isn’t as simple as rubbing a few twigs and stones together. Subsequently, it’s important to bring reliable fire starters with you, including a windproof lighter or matches and some newspaper to get the fire roaring. Another thing that we’re not shown is the importance of fire safety. While containing a fire can easily be done by circling rocks around the pit, we would recommend getting a portable fireplace. This may heavy the load a little but as a beginner, it’s a good place to start for familiarising yourself with an open flame.
Once everything is set up, gather around the fire to share some warmth, marshmallows and ghost stories! Classic.
Note: Make sure that the area around the pit is cleared down to the dirt, including any overhanging branches, as wayward sparks can ignite anything in the surrounding area. Wind direction is also an important factor to consider. Position campers to sit at the upwind side of the fire. Lastly, always be ready to extinguish the fire (this can be done using a shovel and water). Fire is extremely unpredictable so always keep your eye on it.
For campers, hiking gear is the crux of the entire experience. Let’s start with the jacket. Depending on what season you’ll be hiking in, you’ll either need a water-resistant windbreaker or insulating jacket with lightweight padding. If these are packable, that’s a great bonus. Regarding the trousers, you’re going to want a utility pair, such as cargos, that are practical and can withstand the wear-and-tear of the great outdoors. Despite this, make sure that the fabric is blended with elastane or spandex as you’ll want flexibility rather than chaffing for the entire trip!
As you’ll be on your feet all day, the boots that you wear can make or break you. As a result, you’ll want to opt for hard-wearing boots that can withstand anything the trail throws at you; whether that be mud, rocks or water. On the comfort side of things, walking socks make all the difference. We recommend socks that are made from merino wool as they’re breathable, moisture-wicking and will stop your boots from getting smelly. Not to mention that they’re soft!
Wild card: Hiking poles are recommended for long-distance walking as they will provide ample back support and are efficient regarding energy usage. Head torches are also handy when needing to go for a night-time whiz.
Food and drink
You know the saying, the way to the heart is through the belly. You’ll find that this is even more true during camping. Before you set off, you’ll want to figure out what will be on the menu. Hollywood shows us that it’s more than possible to live off the land but as a first-timer, this will prove extremely difficult. Your best bet is to orgnanise a meal plan. You must consider how much or little you want to be cooking on the trip. If you’re thinking about eating cold food, then consider packing PB&J sandwiches or pasta salads. For those who love a warm, hearty meal, then tin openers are a godsend. But if you’re going to go for this option, our word of advice is to combine ingredients before departure to leave yourself as little work to do later on.
Regarding beverages, there are many options if you’re not up to carrying a cooler with you. For those aiming to endure a long journey, then it makes sense to purchase a portable water filter so that you can easily collect water from local streams. Otherwise, a wide variety of hydration packs can be obtained for a humble price.
Note: Don’t forget to bring foldable utensils, cups and pots.
Are you planning a camping trip this year? If so, let us know where you’ll be going in the comment section below.