Camping: How-To’s and How-Not-To’s From a Not-So-Expert

We are thrilled to introduce our first guest blog post from Hannah Norris, who is a 21 year old college student who loves to spend time with kiddos, exercise, and be at the beach. She’s not an outdoors expert, but was willing to share her experience!

Camping: How-To’s and How-Not-To’s From a Not-So-Expert

If you’ve never camped before, go. 

If you don’t have bags, tents, or a go-to camping connoisseur, take a trip to Townsend Bertram & Co. 

Townsend Bertram & Company, a family owned store in the sweet town of Carrboro, houses hundreds of items for camping I never knew existed. Having my partner Grant work at the store is an invaluable advantage, and his knowledge, as well as his phenomenal co-workers, were nothing short of a miracle as I anxiously journeyed toward my first night in the woods. My planner self went crazy when I started to think about the typical things I would need for one night. I was overwhelmed by the idea of packing all of this, and shook a little at the thought of traveling with it on my back.

Charlie, one of the fantastic team members and camping/adventure experts at TB&C, was so awesome in helping Grant and I decide where to go and how to pack! Charlie advised going to Jordan Lake to the New Hope Overlook. I definitely echo Charlie’s recommendation. It’s a short hike in from the car to the campsite to a super quiet area that we really enjoyed. 

The adventure begins.... 

The adventure begins.... 

Check out the list of things we managed to fit in 2 bags! I would recommend every single item plus a first aid kit. The first item Charlie helped us decide on were the packs Grant and I would carry. We picked the Osprey Kestrel 38 for Grant and the Osprey Talon 22 for me.

Grant with his pack fully loaded and ready for the trail. 

Grant with his pack fully loaded and ready for the trail. 

  • Grant’s bag:
  • 1 sleeping bag
  • 1 sleeping pad
  • 1 tent
  • 2 rain jackets
  • 2 liter bottles of water
  • 1 Eno Hammock 
  • 1 bug spray
  • 1 sun screen
  • 3 granola bars
  • 4 peanut butter cracker packs
  • 1 speaker (for music)
  • clothes:
    •     2 t-shirts
    •     2 pairs of shorts
    •     2 underwear (I recommend Exofficio)
    •     1 pair of Chacos
    •     1 pair of pants
    •     2 long sleeve t-shirts 
  • cash (campsites only take cash typically)
  • My bag:
  • 1 sleeping bag
  • 1 sleeping pad
  • 1 cooking stove
  • 2 liter bottles of water
  • 1 lunchbox
  • 2 phones
  • 1 portable charger
  • 1 french press
  • 1 bag of ground coffee
  • 1 medicine bottle (Advil, allergy medicine, and itchy eye drops)
  • 1 trash bag
  • 2 cups
If you look closely you can find our spot 

If you look closely you can find our spot 

We arrived at about 7:30PM, and hiked a half mile out to site 15 with our packs. We were required to set up the tent immediately, so we got started. Grant and I staked the footprint for the Marmot Limelight 3 we rented from TB&C and fed the poles through the tent body. It was easy and straight forward to set up. It’s a three person tent, but I can assure you it slept 2 snugly.

Trail head entrance at New Hope Overlook. 

Trail head entrance at New Hope Overlook. 

With our tent set up, Marmot sleeping bags and Thermarest pads ready, we planned to settle in with a book, maybe an Eno hammock hang, or just some relaxation. I headed towards the tent to grab something from my bag, and a corner stake sliced my right toe.

  • Mistake number 1: I was not wearing closed toe shoes.
  • Mistake number 2: We did not bring a first aid kit.
  • Unfortunate situation number 3: Grant and I both get queasy at the sight of blood.

My toe started pouring blood. Grant gave me his shirt to wrap around my toe for pressure, and I prayed it would magically heals. Despite the throbbing, I knew I had no other choice but to suck it up. We created a make-shift bandaid and I took some Advil. We managed to enjoy our night, and settled in (and decided to take the rainfly off to let in a breeze and cool off a bit). 

Find New Hope Overlook star to see where we camped. Come to the shop to learn more about local favorites to explore. 

Find New Hope Overlook star to see where we camped. Come to the shop to learn more about local favorites to explore. 

The sun and some nature sounds woke us up around 7:30AM, and we got up, ready for the day! My foot was still in pain, but miraculously not infected or swollen, and we prepared a simple but delicious breakfast: banana bread I had baked, granola bars, and of course, coffee. The Jetboil Flash boiled the water in a little under two minutes! We brought a french press as well! After steeping the coffee grounds (don’t forget to bring ground coffee beans!), we drank our coffee and enjoyed a beautiful morning before packing up our site and heading home.

Jordan Lake is a great place to cool off from the summer heat. 

Jordan Lake is a great place to cool off from the summer heat. 

In honor of Grant and my’s first camping trip I gave it an official review :)

Overall: 9/10
Likes: the campground, awesome equipment, coffee, the night sounds, nature, advice from THE Charlie
Dislikes: cut on my foot, sweating a lot at night, bug bites
Would I go again? YES!
Would I recommend this trip? Absolutely.
Other items of interest: get some Exofficio underwear, it’s incredible. Bring coffee, you’ll want it. Camp with someone you love, because it isn’t glamorous.

Grant and I all set to go. Thanks TB&C and Osprey Packs! 

Grant and I all set to go. Thanks TB&C and Osprey Packs! 

ENTER TO WIN YOUR VERY OWN CAMPING GEAR SET UP FOR THE WEEKEND 

Thanks for reading! Comment with where you went or want to go on your first ever camping trip! All commenters will be entered to win a free weekend camping rental to outfit you for your first trip or give more experienced campers the opportunity to test out some new gear for free! Don’t miss this opportunity to enter to win and get your name under the Glass Top!

We hope to feature many more wonderful, unique experiences out in the sun and under the stars. Have an experience you want to put under the Glass Top Counter? Email a 250 word pitch to tbandc@gmail.com with subject line Glass Top Pitch.