Tips That Will Make Your Camping Experience Much More Enjoyable

There's no comfier feeling than the coziness of sweatpants and a hoodie, roasting marshmallows around a crackling fire, dodging the billowing pine needle-scented smoke, and looking up to see a blanket of stars. Ah, camping — an activity that more than 93.8 million American households participate in (via Koa). While camping trips can be a relaxing experience, a lot goes into their proper planning that requires more than just a tent and a pack of hotdogs.

Whether you're a tree-hugging nature lover or terrified of spending a night anywhere that doesn't involve four insulated walls and a bed, enjoying a comfortable stay in the great outdoors is always a top priority when planning a camping trip. From learning how to pitch a tent to figuring out where to use the restroom, there are many factors to consider. While there's no right or wrong way to camp, it may be helpful to note these tips from expert campers to give you more confidence when setting off on your camping adventure.

From cooking to pitching a tent – we got you covered

When it comes to eating on your camping trip, you must first prep your meals. Do they require cooking, or do you plan to prepare no-cook meals? While some opt to simply roast hotdogs over a fire and eat pre-made sandwiches, others prefer to cook; in which case it's recommended to bring some basics like a stove, pots and pans, grilling utensils, and fuel (per Self). Don't forget kitchen gadgets like utensils, napkins, garbage bags, and reusable baggies for leftovers. The most important camping tip ever: clean up after every meal and close up your food bins and containers to prevent wildlife — like bears and raccoons — from making themselves at home while you sleep.

When it comes to pitching a tent, many may feel intimidated by the thought of it. REI recommends setting it up at home before going on your trip so you know what to expect beforehand. When looking for the perfect space to pitch your tent, find a spot on flat land that's clear of any rocks, branches, or other objects (via Self). Once the tent is pitched, make sure the tent door is always zipped shut — otherwise, creepy crawlies could be joining you during your beauty sleep, and nobody wants that.

What about using the restroom?

When it comes to using the restroom during your camping trip, we know what you are asking. "Where do I poop?" Valid question. First, understand that it is perfectly okay to poop outdoors; please don't hold it in. Depending on the campsite, there may be human waste disposal rules, so research them before the trip. Generally, there are a few guidelines when using the restroom outside: pop your squat at least 200 feet away from water sources like rivers, use outhouses whenever possible, and always pack out — carry it with you and dispose of it in the trash — your menstrual products (via Trail and Summit). 

Consider packing a camping restroom kit with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and garbage bags. Have this kit handy when you find your restroom spot, which should be 200 feet away from your tent, food, and nearby water. Dig a small hole that's about six to eight inches deep. Fill the hole with dirt after you've done your business, but pack your used tissue out unless it's natural and non-perfumed (per Leave No Trace). Even if your toilet paper is labeled as eco-friendly, it might be best to pack it out regardless, as there are many green brands out there that aren't as sustainable as you think. It might be gross; however, it's not only the law in most places but also better for the planet. Remember — if you take care of the environment, it will take care of you, providing endless camping space for generations to come.