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OutdoorFest aims to create a living community of New York's urban-based outdoor enthusiasts through a ten day festival of outdoor adventure events in all five boroughs.

Camping for complete beginners

Camping for complete beginners

Here at OutdoorFest we believe that the outdoors are for everyone that means city dwellers, mountain mamas, long-time enthusiasts, and newbies. We know that sometimes when we talk about the first person to scale Niagra Falls or trail running in the dark it might seem like you have to be a super athlete to be part of OutdoorFest. Well, we're here to tell you that's not true. We specifically made our camping event this year easily accessible to complete beginners. There's a bathroom with a toilet, running water, and a ton of other campers who will be there to show you the ropes. Plus win a free camping trip for two here.

Today we have a quick intro to our series on Camping for Beginners that highlights how and where you actually sleep. If you have questions - please ask in the comments! 


Camping for Beginners Part I

Warmer days mean warmer nights which mean it’s time to start sleeping under the stars again. But while the notion is simple enough, camping requires prep work in order to fully enjoy the outdoor immersion.

Don’t be intimidated:

For those who’ve never been camping, or who don’t go regularly, the whole notion of sleeping outside can be overwhelming.  But it doesn’t need to be--although pitching a tent may seem like a skill mastered by few, you don’t need to be a wilderness expert to do it.  With the proper gear and knowledge (keep reading!), setting up a campsite can seem as natural as sleeping in a hotel room.

But, where do I sleep?

Outdoors of course! 

The first thing you need to consider is your shelter. Start by asking yourself a few key questions: where will you be staying? Are there lean-tos at the campsite? Do you need to bring a tent? What is the temperature of your destination?

The most common shelter for camping is a tent which you can purchase or rent at many local NYC outfitters. Make sure to find out how heavy the tent is (you’ll be carrying it in!), what temperature it is suited for, and how it holds up to various weather conditions (rain, wind, sun)

Next up is bedding. While some seasoned campers prefer to sleep out on tarps or in hammocks, we recommend the good ol’ sleeping bag + sleeping pad for beginners. Like tents, sleeping bags are made differently for different temperatures and conditions. Make sure to get one that will keep you warm at the lowest temperature you may encounter. Sleeping pads are a necessity as well - they come in different thicknesses and with different features (such as self-inflating). You should pick one based on the space you have in your bag as well as your budget.

And how do I see?

One of the most striking differences you'll notice when you camp is how truly dark it gets when you're outside. A headlamp or flashlight are 100% required for every member of any camping trip. You'll use this not only for group activities but as your own guide (especially for midnight bathroom breaks). We recommend headlamps over flashlights because they wrap around your forehead, making it more challenging to put down/misplace as well as freeing for your hands to do other things (like zip up your tent). Some groups might even have one member bring a camp lantern which can be nice to light up communal spaces like the eating/cooking area. While the headlamp/flashlights are mandatory, lanterns are more of a luxury item for those who have room to pack them! 

If you enter the Olympia Outdoors Camping Contest you'll win a headlamp, flashlight, lantern AND floodlight!!

That's a rap for today: remember key pieces of camping gear include a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and headlamp.

Next week we'll bring you cooking + clean water details....stay tuned.

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