The desire to get outside and sleep among nature is a draw for many. 25% of the U.S. population camps at least one time a year and the number of people who full-time RV has increased by 1.2 million people in just the past few years (3.1 million people total, almost the population of LA!). If you’re ready to try camping for the first time, here are a few tips to get you started.

Gear: You can spend hundreds of dollars just to sleep uncomfortably on the ground. Do yourself a favor and before spending all that money on your first camping trip, borrow gear from friends to make sure you like the activity, and then slowly purchase equipment if you decide to become a camper. Our first tent lasted 15 years and was on clearance at Target for less than $50 bucks. It worked great for us and allowed us to be assured that we were a camping family before jumping into a travel trailer.

Cooking: Making food over a fire is a primal experience that demands patience, fosters great conversations, slows your mind, and makes for some of the best food. Bring an old metal or cast iron pan from home, get the fire hot until you have a bunch of coals at the bottom of the fire, then let the flavor roll in. It’s a glorious experience as long as you’re not in a rush.

Location: State parks and private campgrounds are great options for a first time camper. But be prepared to shell out $25 – $65 per night just to have a patch of grass and a fire ring. If you use an app like Compendium you can search for sites that cost $0 and often find dispersed sites on government property (national forests and BLM land) that you can camp on. 

Friends: If you’re going out for the first time, ask some experienced friends to go with you. It only takes a time or two to become confident in camping and many people have gone out before in their life. Not only can they show you the ropes, but the chance to hang out around the bonfire and cook meals all day is a great way to strengthen your friendships.

My final piece of advice is to just do it. Worst case scenario, you hate it and get a hotel for the night. But at least you know that camping isn’t your thing. Best case scenario, you discovered a new hobby and a way to be closer to friends and family! 

Check out our website for more information. We always welcome new friends to worship with us. Find a location that’s close to you!
You can learn more about our beliefs and visit our video library to explore more topics like this one. You can also check out our events page to find out what fun new things we’re doing this season.

About the Author: Eric Rauch
Eric grew up near the Monroe Campus of 2|42 near the Ohio-Michigan border. He attended Eastern Michigan University and spent 10 years as a Civil Engineer managing construction and development projects. In 2009, he went on a mission trip with several other 2|42’ers and shortly thereafter he and his wife Stacy started getting plugged into the ministries at 2|42. After spending a couple years volunteering in kids ministries, Eric took on a part-time role as the Elementary kids director at the Ann Arbor campus and then in 2012 came on the staff team full-time. He currently oversees Ministry Operations for the church. Eric and Stacy have two kids, Skyler and Emery, who they love spending time and seeing God’s creation with. They have a family goal of traveling to all 50 states together before their oldest graduates high school.

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