Camping isn’t a particularly new experience for me, having been heading off to festivals since I was a teenager. I’ve also done some non-festival camping experiences, both in the Scouts as a wee nipper and more recently as a wee adult. Even though I love my home comforts, I’ve grown to enjoy camping a fair bit, and like to think I don’t suck at it too much. If you’re thinking of going on your own in-tents (lol) adventure, here are some of my ‘not sucking at camping’ top tips…
Manage your expectations
If you’re 100% high maintenence glamour, you’ll probably be sent slightly off-kilter camping. Some campsites are more facilities-heavy than others, but chances are you’d be very lucky to have the use of hairdryers and straighteners. I spent years taking along rubbish gas straighteners to festivals – until I discovered I didn’t REALLY care. In the end, if you throw yourself into all the fun stuff that camping has to offer, you might just forget that you forgot to put some eyeliner on. (This is a lie. I would never forget that. But you get my point!).
If you really can’t survive without certain mod cons, do your research. What are the toilets and showers like? How can you cook/eat? Is there a place you can charge your phone? How far away can you park your car? Some campsites are much more well-equipped than others, and if you can find somewhere that suits your way of living, that’s a big plus. There are so many kinds of campsite you can choose from, and if you’re off on a European adventure, Yelloh! Village is ideal for finding your perfect site. From simple woodland sites to locations packed with fun activities, there’s so much choice, you might even forget you’re camping.
Although, if you’re at a festival? You’re probably on your own…
Get yourself some decent stuff
If you’re gonna be camping in the UK, it’s probably gonna rain. British Summertime, you big tease. Even abroad, there’s still a chance of bad weather. Camping in the rain can be pretty miserable for sure, but if you’re Boy/Girl Scout prepared, it makes it a whole lot better. Here are some of the essentials that’ll get you on your way to camping bliss…
- A good quality tent
By this, I don’t mean a super expensive one – I just mean look at the details rather than just OMFG IT’S PINK. (although, feel free to do that as well). Probably the most important bit is the hydrostatic head – basically a measure of how water resistant your tent is. Over 1500 is usually pretty good. Oh, and watch out for the ‘man’ trick – a two man tent is NOT big enough for two people plus belongings. My usual rule is to double the amount of people in the tent – so for two of you, grab a nice spacious four man. So much room for activities.
- Something to sleep on
Unless you like the feeling of hard uneven floor and stones poking you in the arse when you roll over at 3am. A basic foam roll mat is usually fine, although I tend to prefer a full-on airbed for maximum comfort. Just don’t forget your pump. If you’re moving around, a nice inbetween is a small self inflating sleeping mat.
- A cosy sleeping bag
Depending on where you’re camping, you might want a different kind of sleeping bag. ‘Mummy’ style ones are my preference, not just for pretending to be a caterpillar in either. Sleeping bag types are usually defined by ‘seasons’. The season ratings go from 1-4, and I tend to find a two season sleeping bag fine for most UK spring/summer camping needs. If it’s super cold at night, a sleeping bag liner is cheap and works absolute wonders for extra warmth. There’s a whole wealth of info right here if you want some more tips from the experts!
- A pillow, or something to substitute as one
To save on space – stuff your clothes into your sleeping bag’s bag and use it as a makeshift pillow.
Other things you might want to consider: Sleeping clothes – a pair of PJs does the trick nicely. A towel and possibly a swimsuit for the campsite showers. A light for inside your tent. Insect repellant (trust me, bug bites are never a good look. Cooking stuff – a gas/solid fuel stove, pans and plates. And, obviously, loo roll.
Follow the campsite rules
I know, yawn. But kinda essential. Most campsites have some basic rules to keep the site as lovely as possible for everyone who uses it – check noise restrictions, what you can and can’t bring, etc etc. And stick to it, unless you fancy dragging your tent to the nearest grassy roundabout for the night.
A lot of this comes down to your campsite choice. If you’re planning on boozy singalongs, a site full of families probably isn’t the best decision. And make sure you check the campsite rules – some don’t allow large single sex groups, so if you’re camping for a stag or hen do, find somewhere suitable.
There’s also the important matter of rubbish. When I’m camping, I pretty much follow the ‘leave no trace’ rule. Basically, leaving the site exactly as you found it – not rocket science there. Take binbags for rubbish, pick up anything you drop (or burn plastic/paper etc if you have a campfire).
Embrace the camping experience
Even if you’ve got your reservations, camping is actually such a fun experience. All that nature business, having giggles with family and friends round the campfire, and falling asleep to the silence of the woods.
*post written in collaboration with Yelloh! Village