5 steps to begin your first camping adventure

  • MC 

Beginner’s guide for camping in Malaysia

Feeling the urge to get out of the city, immersing yourself in fresh air, listening to the nature birds chirping and sleeping under a star filled sky? All you need to do is to gear up and plan for your very first outdoor camping adventure. It might be daunting for a first timer, but we were all beginners once.  Here are the top 5 tips you need to know to kick start a wonderful virgin camping trip.

1. Find the right campsite

You can camp literally everywhere, providing the place is legally permitted. In fact, campers should abide by the local regulation and campsite rules to avoid any nasty penalties. To have a first time quality camping experience, you can choose a campsite with some facilities which is less hassle in preparation. You can contact the campsite to check if they provide basic amenities, e.g. Toilet, kitchen, electricity, shelter and water. Once you have the camping experience, you can upscale and challenge yourself to a real nature soon!

Here is a list of campsites for you to consider.

Campground at the beach front

Payung Getaway campsite at Cherating

2. Prepare essential camping gear

Most organized campsites provide basic amenities, however some might just have a piece of small empty land lot which you will have to prepare some essentials, at least something for yourself to have a good night’s sleep. There is no need to pack every single thing as if you’re moving a house. Stick to basics. You can always rent or borrow the equipment from your friends as you do not know if camping is your thing as a first timer. Get familiar with your gear and practice pitching your tent.

Use this simple packing list that will save your time & stress!

Camping Essentials

• Tent
• Backpack (40L or above)
• Backpack rain cover
• Sleeping bag / mat + blanket
• Ropes + pegs
• Headlight / torchlight
• Lighter / matches / or any ignition source
• Knife
• Rain coat
• Camping stove
• Gas / spirit / fuel (depends on the type of stove you’re using)
• Basic cooking kit (pan, pot, etc.)
• Cooking ingredients
• Drinking water
• Food
• Snacks
• Cooking utensils
• Cutleries
• Plate / tupperware
• Cup
• Detergent
• Washing cloth
• Personal hygiene
• Soap
• Shower bag
• Small laundry bag / plastic bags*
• Toothpaste + toothbrush
• Bath towel
• Toilet paper
• Wet tissue*
• Hand sanitizer
• Flip flop*
• Foldable water bucket*
• Sun block*
• Mosquito / insect repellent spray
• Mosquito coil incense*
• First aid kit
• Small dry bag*
• Powerbank*
• Rubbish bag

* Optional

For Extra Comfort

• Inflatable pillow
• Flysheet & tarps
• Ground sheet
• Inflatable air mattress
• Hammock
• Camp bed
• Camping chairs

For Better Cooking & Dining Experience

• Chopping board + Knife
• Grill
• Aluminium foil
• Tablecloth
• Foldable table
• Ice box / Ice bag

Posing with a mug filling the water from the falls

Posing with a camping mug

3. Find your camping buddy

If you can’t stop your worried thoughts, you can look for someone who has experience in outdoor camping that can guide you along the way. In fact, camping is a great chance to have fun and help you bond with your friends and family, or someone who can gaze at the starry skies with you all night long. Solo camping trip sounds cool, but it requires slightly more research that can be tricky for a new camper.

4. Plan your meal and activities

Start with basics or something easy, but doesn’t mean that instant noodles or sandwiches are your only options.  Check with the campsite if they have a kitchen with organized water supply. Camping food does not need to be complicated, but you can make it interesting. Take the hassle out of your food preparation by planning your meal ahead. You can find lots of camping food inspirations like this on Youtube. 

Setting up a campfire at night is a great activity. You can turn it into a barbeque pit with a grill or bake the potatoes in aluminum foil. There are a lot of activities you can do while sitting around the campfire, eg. Singing, playing guitar, games or storytelling. You will never forget the first time sharing your embarrassing childhood story with your buddies around the campfire.

Nomophobia or feeling left out without technology is a norm for most of the people nowadays.  Outdoor camping helps you navigate your digital anxiety. Take the chance to appreciate nature’s beauty and make the most of your environment. Even if you are not an outdoor person, you can snuggle into a hammock and do some reading with the nature soundtrack in the background. The process of spending time with yourself is therapeutic. You will find that unplugging from technology is never as frightening as you expect.

Boiling water with a mess tin on campfire

Cooking with campfire

5. Check the weather forecast

By now, you should know what to expect before and during the camping. Prior to departure, check the weather forecast more frequently as it might change from time to time. You do not need to cancel your trip due to light rain, but you might want to avoid heavy storms that might cause flash floods or landslides if you’re doing wild camping. For the organized campsites, you don’t have to worry much, it might be tricky to pitch your tent but it can also be part of the fun! Just bear in mind that your safety should always be your first priority. You can always use a big heavy duty rubbish bag to waterproof your stuff. Prepare yourself a rain jacket and more plastic bags as you will find them extremely useful during rainy days.

Other important tips for you to be a well-mannered camper

Be more environmentally conscious when you are a camper. You do not want to throw rubbish anywhere, especially food waste that attracts wildlife. Pack your own trash and throw it in a designated area or bring along with you while leaving the campsite.

You might not want your first camping experience to be chaotic like a full moon party. Be respectful to others and keep your volume down at night as everyone is sharing a common area. Enjoy quiet in tranquility of nature’s surroundings which you are not able to do in your daily urban life.

Guess you are ready to go! Now it’s time to tick outdoor camping off your bucket list. Think for the best but plan for the worst. Your first-time outdoor camping experience will be the memorable one!

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