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Camping tips for beginners: basic equipment and co.

Blue skies, in the middle of nature between lakes and mountains and a fresh coffee in the morning - for many people, this idea is associated with a perfect holiday.

What would be more convenient than getting in your camper and driving off until you reach the perfect camping spot?

You don't have a suitable vehicle? Never mind! Grab a tent and have a great camping holiday with the help of the following camping tips!

In this article you will find camping tips for the right accommodation, different pitches, the right basic equipment and the most popular destinations.

Plus tricks for DIY conversion of a campervan.

Four friends sitting around a campfire in front of a camper eating marshmallows

The right accommodation

Especially as a camping beginner, it can be difficult to make the right decision regarding camping accommodation when there are so many options to choose from. The easiest option for a camping holiday is the tent.

There are different types of tents that you have to choose between as a camping beginner:

Dome tent

Dome tents are particularly suitable for trekkers and mountaineers. They have a light weight and are stable. This makes them ideal for steep ground and terrain interspersed with rocks.

Another advantage is that dome tents do not take up much space and can be pitched even on limited footprints. This feature is especially practical for holiday regions with mountains and rocks.

Two people sitting around a campfire in front of their tent on the lakeshore at night

Tunnel tent

This type of tent is particularly suitable for hikers in flat holiday regions. The tent is spacious and offers plenty of room, making camping holidays comfortable even for several people.

Tunnel tents weigh very little and are therefore easy to take along on hikes. However, the pitch should be large enough, as the tent takes up a lot of space.

Geodesic tents

If your holiday destination is known for stormy weather, you should opt for a tent like this. With their extremely robust frame supported by several poles, these are among the most stable of all tent forms and can withstand any weather conditions. As a disadvantage, this tent can be said to be heavy and take a long time to set up.

Family tents or comfort tents

As the name suggests, family tents are suitable for families. There is also enough room for a dog in this type of tent. Campsites are often full of family tents because they offer a high level of comfort and are very spacious. This definitely makes camping fun!

If you are camping as a family, buy a larger tent. Think of all your equipment and provisions, which also need storage space in addition to the people.

Motorhome

The purchase of a camper van is associated with high costs and a lot of effort. Therefore, you should keep a cool head and calmly consider which caravan is right for you before buying.

There are many different types of caravans, which differ significantly in their basic equipment, size and price category. First consider how high you want the price of your caravan to be. You can often buy used caravans on the internet.

Do you need financing or do you have the money in cash? For beginners who want to try out the camper life first, renting a caravan can also be recommended.

Once the price is set, you need to consider how big the motorhome should be and what your requirements are. How many people should travel? How much storage space for luggage and camping accessories should there be? Do you need luxury or do you live more minimalistically? How long do you want to travel for? Is the motorhome just for sleeping or do you spend more time in there? Should there be cooking facilities and a wet room in the motorhome? 

Motorhome in a meadow against a mountain backdrop

The optimal pitch for a camping holiday

For families

For families with children, child-friendly campsites with green spaces, playgrounds and activities are ideal. Leisure activities such as animation programmes, sports activities and games allow children to have an unforgettable time on holiday and you to take a short breather.

For couples or single travellers

Unless you are an absolute camping novice, you have complete freedom of choice when selecting a campsite and can choose according to your own preferences.

Without children you are more flexible, free and unattached - so why settle in just one place? Try a camping tour or visit a few selected camping locations. If you value a quiet pitch, you can look for child-free pitches or go camping outside campsites.

For dog owners

Green campsites are particularly suitable for dog owners. If a campsite has a lake or large meadows, your four-legged friend will feel at home. Natural areas invite you to let off steam and are particularly popular with dog owners because there is less need to consider large crowds and road traffic.

Tip: Choose a campsite near your home town, as long car journeys mean stress for many four-legged friends. 

Two dogs look out of the entrance of a tent onto the forest

Basic equipment for camping beginners

Before their first camping holiday, all camping beginners probably ask themselves the same question: What do I need to take with me? Especially as an inexperienced beginner, it is difficult to estimate what is needed for the camping trip. You can benefit from the experiences of other campers or get inspiration and tips from camping apps.

The advantage of camping apps is that they not only have valuable camping tips regarding basic equipment, but also provide information about pitches, campsites and caravan accessories. In addition, campers can share their experience, reveal insider tips of different countries or help plan a trip to Europe.

Since camping life requires different equipment from place to place, novice campers often find it difficult to keep track of everything. Checklists are very helpful when packing and can be found on almost every camping website.

For newcomers, it can be helpful to test the equipment before camping so that nothing can go wrong on the campsite. Whether it's spending a night in a sleeping bag, trying out pitching the tent in the garden or even practising reverse parking with the caravan - slowly feel your way into your new role as a camper!

If you realise that you still need accessories or have bought something wrong, you can fix the mistake before your trip and get alternatives.

Before you go camping, check that the following items are safely stowed in the motorhome:

  • Basic equipment for tent or motorhome such as pegs, an awning or a tow rope

  • Hygiene items such as toilet paper, a dry separation toilet from Boxio and solar shower

  • Articles for body care such as shampoo, shower gel, cream etc.

  • Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow or duvet

  • Accessories for cooking such as camping cookers, pots, crockery, cutlery, pans etc.

  • Matching clothes

  • Food as provisions

  • Activity materials such as games, books, laptop, tablet, etc.

Camping tips for meal planning

You can't feed yourself for the whole camping holiday with tinned ravioli and packet soups. To avoid a hungry low mood, you should think about what provisions you want to take with you.

Many foods can be bought fresh at campsites or in town, and travelling markets also offer a varied selection of fresh food.

However, you should still have a basic supply of food in the camper. With simple basic ingredients, you can conjure up tasty little menus that can be further embellished with freshly bought food. So pack a few basic ingredients in advance and plan where and when you can buy more food if necessary.

This belongs in the basic food kit:

  • Milk

  • Noodles

  • Canned tomatoes

  • Oil

  • Spices (salt, pepper)

  • Sausage/cheese

  • Bread

  • Snacks for the small appetite

It is also advisable to decide on the camping menu in advance or at least collect recipe ideas that can be prepared quickly and easily on the camping cooker. For many campers, it is a matter of course to enjoy a beer and sausages at a barbecue with the campsite neighbour in the evening and let the camping day come to an end in a cosy atmosphere.

Fried egg in a pan on a fireplace with baguette

Stress-free camping trip

Once they arrive at the campsite, the next big challenge is already waiting for camping newcomers: socialising with the other campers.

However, don't worry too much about stress with your pitch neighbours. Campers are usually very sociable. With respect and a sense of humour, nothing stands in the way of a stress-free camping holiday.

Read here five tips for a stress-free coexistence on the pitch.

1. the art of small talk

The first contact between campers is usually through small talk. After that, it's usually not long before you're invited to the neighbour's campervan for a barbecue or a beer in the evening. If you are very lucky, you will not only be able to relax on your trip, but also make new friends.

2. greetings are half the battle

Out of politeness alone, you should greet people in the camper community. At least give your neighbours a nod of the head if you don't feel like making small talk. Someone who disappears into the caravan without comment will not make friends as quickly and will have less fun on the campsite.

3. comply with parking space limits

Since space is already limited on a campsite, you should respect the privacy of other campers and not walk across other people's plots. Even if it would be a shortcut, rather take a small diversions and let your neighbours have their privacy in return.

Campsite with several campers at night

4. one hand washes the other

Beginners in particular often have problems parking the caravan, finding a straight position or pitching the tent. However, since helpfulness is very important on the campsite, it certainly doesn't take long for people to pitch in and help. So don't worry if something doesn't go right the first time. Ask and accept help.

5. be considerate in your dealings with others

Mutual consideration is very important. Be careful not to make unnecessary noise and empty your camping toilet regularly. This will help you avoid stress and complaints.

The most beautiful campsites in Germany

When looking for a campsite, you are spoilt for choice. When making your choice, you should consider what you want from your camping holiday.

Are you more of a nature lover and looking for peace and freedom or would you rather camp on a busy campsite and be among many people? Do you want the Alps, a lake or a river nearby? Especially in summer, water can bring pleasant cooling.

Would you rather travel north or south? Do you want to camp in nature or do you need a pitch for your caravan? Can you imagine booking accommodation at the campsite? How much space and privacy do you need?

When looking for the best campsite for your needs, you will come across different costs and offers. Take your time when choosing and make your decision easier by considering helpful tips from other campers and experts.

Aerial view of a campsite with several mobile homes at the lake

Here is a brief overview of the most beautiful campsites in Germany:

1. camping and holiday park Wulfener Hals, Baltic Sea

The beautiful island of Fehmarn on the Baltic Sea is one of the sunniest places in Germany. The camping and holiday park at Wulfener Hals has already received several awards and has been designated a super site by ADAC.

The campsite offers 700 pitches surrounded by hedges and trees. Your dog is welcome as a faithful companion. Whether you are a permanent camper or just want a short holiday, this campsite is certainly worth a visit! In addition to a surf school, golf courses and a show stage, there is a comprehensive entertainment programme for young and old.

2nd South Sea Camp, Lüneburg Heath

The Südsee-Camp impresses above all with its fantastic location in the middle of the beautiful Lüneburg Heath, surrounded by wide meadows and large forests. Dogs and their owners feel right at home in the middle of nature.

From here you can make numerous excursions into the surrounding area. The proximity to Hamburg, Bremen and Hanover means you can take a break from camping and even stay in a hotel during a short trip to the big city. Heidepark Soltau and Weltvogelpark are also nearby and offer plenty of variety for camping.

The campsite has a high ropes course, a golf course and a natural lake bath. Horse lovers will also get their money's worth at the riding stable. A holiday here is real fun!

3. camping and leisure park LuxOase, Saxony

This site is located near Dresden and has been one of the most popular campsites in Germany for many years. The site impresses with mini-golf courses, golf courses, an adventure playground and a lake.

As a luxury campsite, LuxOase has a wellness area with sauna, steam bath, spa, fitness room and massages. Here you can really unwind and relax.

4. spa and holiday camping Holmernhof Dreiquellenbad, Bavaria

In the south of Bavaria, this campsite specialises in particular in the therapeutic effects of thermal springs. In the in-house wellness centre, experienced therapists offer numerous cures for health.

To let off steam, there is a hunting lodge, with a winter garden and terrace, where traditional Bavarian dishes are served. There are events every evening. During the day, you can put Passau on your route. There are many new things to discover there. Hiking tours in the Bavarian Forest also attract many visitors.

Those who like to play golf during their holidays are also in the right place here! The course is known for its proximity to the most beautiful golf courses in Europe. You have a choice of four different golf clubs with well-kept courses in the heart of nature. A day on the golf course with other campers is just what you need.

5. camping and mobile home park Kamerun, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Campingpark Kamerun is located in the middle of the Mecklenburg Lake District, directly on the shore of the Müritz. Therefore, it is the perfect campsite for water sports enthusiasts and people who like to surf.

You can park your vehicle right by the water and enjoy the beautiful view. The pitches by the water are of course also very popular, as there is a bathing beach nearby.

If you don't want to get out of your camper van, but still want to get into the water, you'll find just the right thing here: here you have the opportunity as a lake camper to take your camper van into the water on an exploration tour. A zoo and the Müritz National Park are also nearby.

6. camping Sanssouci Gaisberg, Potsdam

If you are looking for a mix of culture and nature, you will feel very much at home at the Sanssouci campsite. In the middle of Berlin and yet away from the hustle and bustle, you can relax between Potsdam's castles, lakes and parks. Whether campervan or tents, you'll find it all here.

Sports and fun are provided by sailing and surfing, fishing rental, table tennis, volleyball and, of course, the bathing lake directly at the site. For children, there is a playground, water sports courses and a wood workshop.

7. camping Münstertal, Black Forest

If you are looking for wellness and health, Camping Münstertal is just the place for you. Located in a dreamy valley in the middle of the Black Forest, this spacious campsite offers well-equipped pitches and a wide range of leisure activities.

A large indoor and outdoor swimming pool with facilities for small children, as well as a sauna area invite you to linger. There is also the possibility of physiotherapy. For the more athletic, there are opportunities to let off steam with horseback riding, mountain biking or archery. For the younger guests, there is an adventure playground and animation programme.

8. beach and family campsite Bensersiel

Vehicles can rarely park as close to the beach as in Bensersiel. Since the campsite is right on the beach, you can jump right out of the caravan into the sea. With this view, you can forget you're in Germany.

In addition to mudflat walks, windsurfing and horseback riding tours, you can also explore Bensersiel on a bicycle or simply fly kites on the beach. For children, there is an animation programme with handicrafts, treasure hunts and children's disco.

9. nature camping Spitzenort, Schleswig-Holstein

The site is surrounded by water on three sides - it lies directly on the shore of the Großer Plöner See. Here you can go hiking or drive to the nature park. On your route, you should take in the numerous excursion options to the North Sea and Baltic Sea and pay a visit to Lübeck.

There is also an entertainment programme and playgrounds for children. For sports lovers, there are sailing courses, catamaran sailing and surfing opportunities.

10. camping island Sonnenwerth, Mosel

This simple campsite stands out because of its special location on a small island in the middle of the Moselle. Those looking for peace and quiet and a relaxed camper's holiday will find it right here.

On the other side, the green mountains of the wine-growing region stretch gently. You are right at the source of the famous Moselle wine. In addition to hiking, cycling and walking tours, you can also pay a visit to the fairytale castle of Eltz.

Top 5 campsites in Europe, excluding Germany

Aerial view of the campsite at Walchensee

1. camping Omišalj - Croatia

The site is located around a beautiful bathing bay and is particularly popular with families. Campers can even charge their electric cars here. There is a bread service, internet and an additional swimming pool.

The proximity to the beach and children's entertainment provide an ideal environment for a relaxed family holiday. Your dog is of course also welcome. For adults, there is also a golf practice area.

2. Aminess Maravea Camping Resort - Croatia

Here you can relax on the large beach and enjoy time in the sun? Then you've come to the right place. The child-friendly campsite offers many great attractions not only for children, such as trampolines, a swimming pool and animation programmes. Dogs are also welcome here. There is a bread service, internet and charging stations for e-cars.

3. Zaton Holiday Resort - Croatia

This large, professionally managed holiday resort offers the highest level of comfort and a filled holiday package for a wide range of guest wishes. From the huge aqua park to the promenade with shopping mile and gastronomy, you can find everything here. An animation programme with a stage offers variety for the campers.

Secret tips include the soundproof disco and the quad rental. There is also a bread service, internet and a charging station for e-cars. Dogs are also allowed.

4 Tahiti Camping Village - Italy

The Tahiti Camping Village in Italy is not directly on the beach, but it has its own thermal spring, exceptional wellness facilities and delicious gastronomy. For the little ones, there are numerous playgrounds, an adventure pool with islands, lagoons and a stone cave, as well as various water games.

To relax, you can book a massage or beauty treatment. For the more active, there is a sports centre to let off steam, as well as sailing tours, a skate park and tennis facilities.

Of course there is a bread service, internet and an open door for your four-legged friends.

5 Feddet Strand Resort - Denmark

The spacious site is located on the Feddet Peninsula and offers varied leisure facilities such as children's playgrounds, a jungle trail, a trampoline facility and a mini-golf course. There is also an indoor swimming pool, a soundproof disco and a small petting zoo. For horse lovers, there is the option of booking guided rides or bringing your own four-legged friend. To let off steam, you can rent pedal cars or try guided off-road tours on motocross bikes.

If you need peace and quiet, you can pick blueberries on the site's own farm and later cook them into jam. There is also a bread service, internet and charging stations for e-cars here.

DIY conversion of a motorhome

Want to go camping with a caravan but don't feel like investing so much money? With these helpful tips and tricks, you can convert an old vehicle into a caravan yourself. Think in advance what you hope to get out of your self-built camper. How many people will be travelling with the camper? Are you travelling with a dog? What do you want to fit in your camper?

The best car for such a conversion is a van. You can buy one second-hand on the internet and then start with the conversion. With these tips and tricks, the conversion into your individually designed caravan will succeed without any problems.

1. the right insulation for heat and sound insulation

Once the car is here, everything inside has to come out! Because before you start with the wall cladding, you should make sure you have the right insulation. This will prevent mould and condensation later on. It will also be warmer and quieter in the motorhome, which is a great advantage, especially when sleeping. 

Empty loading area of a van that is to be converted into a camper van

2. the wall cladding

Wooden boards are suitable for wall cladding. These are available in different types and colours. Of course, you can paint the wood in any colour at the end. For furniture and scaffolding, for example, construction timber or multiplex boards in various thicknesses are suitable. OSB boards, for example, are suitable as floor boards.

3. window installation

Think about how many windows you want to install and where they should be. There are different windows that are practical for a caravan:

  • Lift and tilt windows

  • Skylight

  • Snap-on window

    Man builds a window into a van for camping 

4. furniture construction

This step is probably the most difficult. You should make a plan in advance so that you know where the bed will be later, where the bathroom and where the seating area will be. You can build most of the furniture, such as the sink, kitchen or seating area, from construction timber and then cover them with multiplex boards. If you use thinner boards, you save on weight. 

Self-built wooden bed in a campervan

5. wiring and power supply

However, before you can even start to connect it, you should consider the following:

  • What kind of battery (e.g. LiFePo4, AGM) should it be?

  • What capacity must the battery have?

  • How many sockets and lamps are to be installed and which ones?

  • How should the battery be charged later (solar, charge booster, shore power)?

  • Is there an easily accessible earth point near the desired battery location?

Power stations can serve as a backup and facilitate the power supply. Remember that open cable ends must not be soldered together. You can use Wago clamps for extension.

The positive wires should always be fused. Never lay the cables in places where they can chafe. If you have to pass such places, empty tubes are suitable for this purpose, through which the cables can be pulled at the end.

Man works on cables with a machine

6. do you need a toilet?

Whether you want to have a toilet in your caravan or not is, of course, up to you. Of course, it is advantageous to have your own toilet if it is very urgent. The toilet can be integrated into a separate room so that you still have some privacy. With the BOXIO - TOILET, there is finally a compact partition toilet that does not take up much space and does not require chemicals. It is probably one of the things in the caravan that you think about least beforehand, but which offer the greatest comfort during the holiday.

7. do you need heating?

Whether you need a heater or not depends on the destinations and the time of year you are travelling. Of course, summer nights are warm and cosy, but if you also want to travel with your caravan in autumn or winter, you should consider installing the heating, otherwise it can quickly become uncomfortable.

There are different types of heating: Electric, diesel, petrol or gas. Each heating system has its advantages and disadvantages. Seek advice from a specialist.

BOXIO - TOILET

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