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A Newbie's Guide to Camping

Living in NYC can make it difficult to get to the Great Outdoors, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to pack up and head out there permanently every time there's a sick person on the R train.
08/25/2016 03:39pm ET | Updated August 26, 2017
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Living in NYC can make it difficult to get to the Great Outdoors, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to pack up and head out there permanently every time there's a sick person on the R train. Unfortunately, my last camping days included Girl Scout badges, so heading out with a pack and a bottle of sunscreen would render me useless in a few days, but the dream is still alive.

So if you're like me and want to get back out there, but don't know how to start, try these 3 tips for getting started:

Be prepared
Yes, like the Boy Scouts. Before you head out, research weather patterns of the area where you plan to go camping so that you're not abruptly caught in the area's rainy season without a poncho, or hit a cold front with only a few pairs of shorts. Also be sure to pack essentials that will make your life easier: flint, sunscreen, water bottle, and a basic first aid kit. REI has a pretty exhaustive list you can refer to for starters, but remember that not all of this is a requirement (especially if your pack isn't very large)

Keep your feet a priority
If you remember to pack one thing and one thing only, let it be wool socks. Keeping your feet dry and injury-free will go a long way to a successful hike to and from your camp grounds. Wool is best for wicking away moisture, but cotton will also work in a pinch. Also invest in good boots that are waterproof, comfortable, and that can handle different terrains. When it comes to protecting your feet outdoors, don't skimp on quality or you may be prone to blisters, damp feet, and injury.

Learn basic skills and work from there.
You don't need to be Survivorman to head outdoors, but you should know a few basic skills like making a fire or dressing a wound. All Outdoors has a great collection of skills any camper should learn, but don't feel overwhelmed by it. Start with the very basics and once you've been out camping a few times, expand your skill set with "good to knows" for your specific region.

Whether you plan on glamping or roughing it, following these 3 tips can help you feel more in control of your surroundings, and can make the experience outdoors all the more enjoyable. Remember that with any skill, the more you head out and give it a shot, the better you'll become at being a camping expert. See you there!