Camping is something you either love or hate – if you get it right, the campsite, the weather, the company – it can be one of the best and most relaxing ways to spend a holiday. If you get it wrong, it can be pretty miserable! If you are new to camping, have a look at our tips from seasoned campers. Making a success of your first camping trip makes it much more likely you will want to repeat the experience!
All the clothing!
Pack for all weathers – unless you are confident that the weather is not going to change whilst you are away you need to be prepared for any weather. A typical camping trip in the UK in summer can still present you with sun, wind, rain and chilly temperatures. A proper waterproof coat is essential when camping, you may also need waterproof trousers as well. Anyone who has ever tried to put up or take down a tent in the rain will confirm – dry campers are happy campers.
Camping involves being outside, a lot – that it why most campers love it. Being able to layer up is essential. Morning and evenings can be chilly, even in summer so you need to be able to add and remove layers easily. Take garments which are lightweight, don’t crease easily, are easy to dry and are comfortable to move around in. A good base layer is a sound investment for the UK camper. Warm socks are essential for night-time to avoid cold feet (it is almost impossible to get warm if your feet are cold). Some kind of footwear which you can get wet is ideal for early morning trips to the loo – crocs or flipflops are great as they are easier to get on and off than wellies and can be easily dried.
Think about what you are going to eat ahead of time and, ideally, take at least an easily prepared meal for your first night. Things like homemade flapjacks and fruit cake are always on my list of food to take as well as they are great for energy and relatively robust and easy to keep. Camp cooking can be a challenge in terms of space to prepare and cook food so think about things which can be cooked in minimal pots. Have a look at our camp cookery blog for some great recipes and ideas.
Practice putting your tent up before you get on to a campsite, crucial if you have not put it up before. You really need to know roughly how long it is going to take you to get your camp set up and taken down as well as making sure you have all the bits before you go. Being able to get your tent up quickly, especially if you have children in tow, will make the experience much less stressful.
Assuming you have all the basics like a tent (get a bigger one than you think you need), table, chairs, cooking and sleeping stuff sorted, the list below shows some of the things you may not have thought of…
- Ear plugs – camping can be a surprisingly noisy experience at night. Whether it is the noise of nature, road noise or, if you are unlucky, wind and rain – there is no escaping it in a tent. Ear-plugs are a must have if you want to get a reasonable night’s sleep.
- Kettle and Stove – campers run on tea (or coffee) and being able to make a brew is crucial. A stove is also necessary for your camp cooking.
- Condiments – Taking small amounts of cooking oil, spices, salt and pepper means you will be able to make tasty food without having to buy full sized versions or all your favourite condiments.
- Toilet paper or tissues and wipes – Always take your own, enough said.
- A Bathmat – Ideal for drying your feet in campsite showers.
- Waterproof bags – Great if you need to store anything wet without getting everything else wet. Also useful as rubbish bags, shopping bags and general storage.
- Lidded Plastic crates – Sturdy plastic crates are really great for packing and transporting your essential supplies, they are also really handy
- Pegs, clamps and clips – Uses for which are too numerous to mention but trust us – you will be glad you have them
- Duct tape – Great for minor repairs and generally just handy to have around!
- Torches and lanterns – Rechargeable lanterns which you can plug in are great but do make sure you are fully charged before leaving. Solar lanterns are also a great idea if you don’t have any electricity where you are camping. Having light at night is crucial, unless you want to go to bed when it gets dark…
- Games – if you are camping with kids, having things to keep them entertained if the weather is not great is essential. Cards, small board games, quizzes, balls, frisbees, hula-hoops are all good campsite favourites.
- Blankets – Camping in the UK means chilly nights, even in the height of summer. Warm blankets are great as shawls if you are sitting outside after sun-down and also as additional layers over your sleeping bag. Nice blankets can also create a nice homely, glamping feel in your tent or caravan which, whilst not essential, certainly makes your environment feel cosier.
We think these tips will help to make a first-time camping trip more enjoyable and as you become a more seasoned camper you will no doubt add more of your own.