So, you’re ready to hit the road for your first-ever RV camping adventure. We’re so excited for you! RVing is an experience like no other. You get to enjoy the great outdoors, fresh air, beautiful scenery and some wonderful quality time with your family and friends.
In order to have the best experience possible on your first camping trip, there are a few things you need to know before you go. The last thing you want is for your first camping adventure to turn into a camping disaster!
In this article we’re breaking down a few of the most important first time camping tips you should know to make your first trip memorable for all the right reasons.
1. Bug Spray is Your Best Friend
If there is one thing you do not want to forget when packing your RV for the first time, it’s bug spray! Mosquitos are practically a camper’s worst enemy. Depending on the weather and location of your campsite, there could be hundreds of these little buggers patiently awaiting their next meal – YOU! When unprepared, a swarm of mosquitoes could be enough to ruin your trip or make you fear the outdoors altogether.
Instead of staying cooped up in your RV for the entire duration of your trip or dealing with the constant urge to scratch at all hours of the day, just come prepared with lots and lots of bug spray. If you’re headed to a location where the bugs are particularly bad, you may also want to invest in citronella candles and a bug shelter.
Warm weather camping and mosquitoes practically go hand in hand. Double and triple check that you’ve got plenty of bug spray before you go or deal with some serious regrets later on!
2. Test Your New Equipment
If it’s your first time camping, chances are you’ve got lots of new gear, equipment, and supplies to play with on your trip. Some of your new equipment may even be crucial to the success of your camping trip. If you’ve purchased a new RV, you’ll need to make sure you know how to use it (and drive it) before hitting the road.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you go camping that will help you assess whether you’ve got some more ‘googling’ to do before you go:
- Do you know how to use your furnace & A/C?
- Do you know how to use your oven/ stove?
- Did you have a portable generator? Do you know how to use it?
- Do you know the basics of driving an RV?
- Do you have a barbecue? Do you know how to use it?
- Do you know how to dump your RV?
While some of these things may seem obvious, RV appliances are quite different from the ones in your home and driving an RV is quite different than driving your truck or car. Testing everything out beforehand will ensure that your RV is in good working order and you don’t run into any problems like a cold night with no heat or raw hamburgers without the ability to use your barbecue.
3. Plan Your Meals & Snacks
Yes, you can eat hotdogs and marshmallows every day… but do you want to? Maybe! But most of us enjoy a bit more variety in our diets.
Many first time campers underestimate the amount of food they need to pack for their camping trip. While you don’t want to overpack your RV with food, you also don’t want to go hungry! That’s why our next first time camper tip is to plan your meals ahead of time.
Pre-planning your meals and packing enough extra snacks will ensure you don’t have to spend a pretty penny on extra food at a small, remote grocery store. If you’re really heading off the grid, it’s extra important to come prepared with lots of food so you don’t need to cut your trip short due to food shortages.
4. Pack Your Entertainment
When it comes to camping, enjoying the great outdoors is almost always your #1 source of entertainment. However, participating in outdoor fun requires quite a lot of gear. For example, if you plan to go hiking, make sure to pack the appropriate footwear for the difficulty of the trail.You may also want to participate in activities such as fishing, biking, or kayaking. These activities all require specific gear that you may need to purchase and pack, unless rental facilities are available near your campsite. The best part of camping is trying new activities and finding new ways to explore the world around us.
You may also find that you have more downtime during your camping trip than you planned. A particularly rainy day may also leave you stuck in your RV and unable to participate in outdoor activities. In these circumstances, it’s always good to have a deck of cards, lots of board games, and even some of your family’s favourite movies. Instead of suffering from boredom, this will keep your family happy and entertained throughout your trip.
5. Ditch Your Breakables
Before you start packing all of your glass and ceramic dishware into your RV cupboards, consider the bumpy roads ahead. During your drive, it’s almost inevitable that cupboard doors will open and dishes will fall off of your shelves. The last thing you want after a long drive is to open your RV doors to find broken glass everywhere! You definitely don’t want to be sweeping up tiny pieces of glass and watching where you step all trip long.
Instead of packing your breakable dishes and glasses, it’s important to invest in a set of plastic dishware. This also saves you from unpacking and repacking your dishes every time you want to go camping!
6. Choose the Right Campground
Everyone has a different campground wishlist for their camping adventures. Some people want to travel deep into nature and stay a good distance from the beaten path and others enjoy RV parks with tons of amenities like hookups and swimming pools. If you’re a new camper, maybe you don’t even know which style of camping you prefer.
While it’s great to experience both scenarios, you might be better off at a campground with at least a few neighbours in case your first camping trip throws you for a loop. We find that most experienced campers are willing to lend a helping hand to the newbies, when they can. It’s part of the RV culture to help each other out!
When choosing a campsite it’s also important to take into account the dimensions of your RV and the size of your spot. If you’re new to driving an RV, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge reversing into your first campsite. Make sure you book a campsite with lots of extra wiggle room so you don’t risk crashing your brand new RV into a tree!
Finally, you’ll want to check if your campground has service or wifi available. Some campgrounds are truly off the grid, which can be a bit scary for new campers who aren’t 100% confident in their camping or RVing abilities. For your first trip, aim for a campground that at least offers service, in case your trip should truly go awry. We’re confident you’ll be just fine but it’s always a good idea to be extra cautious for your first trip.
7. Make a Reservation
Speaking of reservations, that brings us to our next RVing tip for beginners… make one! Although some campgrounds offer drop-in campsites, most campgrounds use reservations. If you don’t make a reservation prior to your trip, you run the risk of arriving at the campground only to find there are no available spots.
After you’ve spent all the time packing, planning, and travelling to your destination, the last thing you want is to turn around and go back home. Making a reservation beforehand will ensure that your camping plans are secure and you can enjoy a stress-free commute to your destination.
Is the campground of your dreams full? Don’t worry! People constantly change their plans and cancel reservations. Often people make a reservation months in advance without knowing if they will be available at the time of their booking. Keep checking back frequently to see if a site opens up. If not, choose a different location! You’ll have many opportunities to visit the campground of your dreams in the future and this will give you the opportunity to explore a different destination. After all, exploring new locations is what camping is all about!
8. Choose the Right RV
If you’ve been daydreaming about your first RV camping adventure, it’s probably time to buy your new RV! Choosing the right RV can really make or break your future camping experiences. You need to take into consideration a number of factors including the needs of your family, your budget, the towing capacity of your vehicle, your desired size, your desired features, and more!
Choosing the right RV is certainly not a simple decision. That’s why the experts at Bucars RV are here to help! At Bucars RV, our amazing sales team can work with you to identify all of your wants and needs and find the perfect RV for you. They can also help you out with many more first time camping tips while you’re here. We’re so excited to get you set up with the best RV for your camping needs so you can enjoy the most amazing camping experiences for many years to come.
Come visit us at our showroom just north of Calgary, or contact us for more information!