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  • Jessica Rider

15 things to expect when camping for the first time

I recently read an article with some tips for women in camping. After reading through it I realized that none of that advice was actually useful. At Least not for me.

Give me the good stuff!

The actual crap you will deal with when you are just getting into camping that I should expect to happen. Well I decided to give you some real talk on what it’s like to get into camping when you didn’t grow up with it but your husband is all about it.

I kid you not if we would have written our own vows Rusty would have made me agree on the altar that I would not interfere with his hunting and fishing. That was an explicit statement made not long after we got engaged. I quickly responded with “fine, but don’t get in the way of my shoe shopping.”

Here we are 13 years later and we camp, fish and occasionally hunt together (okay just a handful of times did I actually go hunting).

But I wasn’t that girl when we got married, the woods while not completely foreign (thanks to The Girl Scouts) were strange to me. Putting up a tent was a new concept and I certainly was not going to be crapping in the woods (still haven’t to this day). However I have overcome some of my preconceived notions about camping and have learned a thing or two along the way. Now I absolutely love it!!!

If you are just getting into the whole camping thing though here are some things you should expect.

  1. You will have a lot of anxiety the first few times. You are embarking on something you most likely have never done before and every possible twilight zone scene is popping into your head. I have thought of it all from trees falling on our camper in the middle of the night to ax murderers slicing open the tent and getting us. Even the small stuff like what if the dog runs away. Just embrace the fact that until you get into a groove everything will be foreign to you.

  2. You will forget something, it happens. We still forget stuff now in our camper and we have a second set of just about everything in there. More times than not it is the dog food. Our pups have lived off leftovers before. You will survive the weekend without the thing you forgot, unless of course that thing is the tent or camper. You kind of need those.

  3. There will be bugs! There will be big ones, small ones, yellow and green ones. They are going to be everywhere so just come to terms with it. Don’t be a nancy and scream and tremble and all the other things a typical girl does. Bugs suck but remember we are in their world.

  4. You should pitch in and help your spouse set up the tent or camper or at least pay attention when they are doing it. One of the things I remember from when we bought our first camper was the service guy saying that I needed to learn how to do everything on the rig on the chance something happened to Rusty. This was sound advice! As a woman you should know how to do it all. Even dumping the black tank on the camper. I don’t do it when we camp but I pay attention at how to do it. I have pulled our rigs by myself and feel comfortable enough with them to get to where I need to go. People ask how I know about it all when they see me doing something and I simply say “I pay attention to what my husband does!”

  5. Make either a mental checklist or a physical checklist for packing and taking off. I have a mental checklist I run through when we are getting ready to leave that goes through everything I grabbed in my last-minute bag, I give the truck and trailer a once over, then hop in and lastly make sure the garage closes. It’s just a little routine but it helps me make sure I am ready for a great weekend away.

Some other quick and dirty things to keep in mind:

  1. Yes yellow mustard will cure a sunburn (it’s the vinegar in it)! Don’t be afraid to rub it on wherever you were burned. I have had to put it all over my body before.

  2. No those cute shoes are not going to be practical on the trip. You need comfy shoes!

  3. Yes you will probably wear the same sweats the whole weekend so bringing five different pairs is unnecessary.

  4. No you are most likely not going to whip up a five course meal while camping. Keep it simple and fun.

  5. Yes, for whatever reason, taking a shower after it gets slightly dark outside helps you stay cooler. I do this every trip.

  6. No you don’t have to bring 35 things for the kids to do. Bring their bike, a few toys and tell them to figure it out. (assuming your kids are older)

  7. Yes you are going to look stupid to other campers the first few times you go. They will probably laugh but more times than not they will offer to help you. One day you will be those people.

  8. No you are probably not going to have WiFi where you go. Unplug for the weekend!

  9. Yes you will be exhausted when you get home, especially when you are just getting started. It gets easier I promise! And more relaxing.


Overall this is a really good experience whether you are just getting into it or upgrading your camping arrangements. Just remember to be patient and relax!


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