There was an interesting post placed by a new camper on the UK Camping community page I set up on Google+. A camper due to go camping in the UK for the first time this year was asking for some advice and tips before he headed on his camping adventure.
I’m not necessarily a camping guru, but over the years running Eco Camp UK’s two woodland campsites I’ve learned a few tricks of the camping trade. So I thought about some handy camping tips and advice I had picked up along the way.
This list is by no means definitive, some of the advice will be obvious to regular campsite visitors and veteran campers, but here are some of the better camping tips and advice I’ve been given. I will add some extra posts along the way to expand the Eco Camp Advice and Camping Tips Collection – please feel free to add your own comments at the bottom and I will post your ‘best camping tips” as well.
Eco Camp UK’s Camping Advise and Tips
Here are some of the basics -
- Tents – personally I’m a big bell tent fan, but if I want shoot off quickly I pack my three man tent and go. My big tip is arrive during daylight if you are putting it up the first time! Take five minutes more setting it up and when the hurricane hits at 3 in the morning you wot be crawling around getting soaked trying stop it blowing over. Extra pegs are handy! Put it back away properly or next camping trip you will regret it! Always dry it out – tie it out your flat window, put it in the garden, over your car, but a wet tent will stink next year when you get it out…
- Camp Box - create a separate camp storage box, packed with your utensils, matches, torches, spare batteries, suncream, insect spray, spare pegs, tomato sauce, coffee, tea bags, cling film, foil, long life food stuff, spices, oil etc etc etc. Then all you need to do is throw it in the car and chuck in the sleeping bags, tent and beds and your are almost done. Stop quickly at a farm shop and you have your dinner. If you take out the hassle you will camp more often.
- Camp Chairs – more important than the tent. Sitting on the ground gets boring quickly – especially if like me you enjoy watching FireTV and putting the world to rights!
- Cool Box – get one that works. I’ve had my Aussie made Esky since I turned 21 – so over a quarter of a century and it doubles as a seat. I say get two – one for food and one for drinks. No one wants to remove the eggs and bacon every time Dad grabs another tinnie out!
- Great Sleeping Bag – in the UK it gets very chilly some nights, so a good quality sleeping bag can make the difference between a great camping experience or a disaster. Also pays to take an extra blanket!
- Good camp bed or camping mat. Get off the cold ground and get comfortable. I favour the half foam/half inflating camping mat. They are self inflating and if they do go down you still have a layer of foam left to cushion you from the ground and the cold.
- Camping Airbeds – I’m not a great fan of cheap air-beds, so unless you’ve got a quality one – which can be great and generally then needs an electric pump – be warned you can end up sleeping on the tent floor on some hard pitches. Check if the campsite is off-grid (our two campsite are) if you are going to need to use electricity to pump the bed up. Also pays to put an extra blanket on an airbed and not just a sheet – as the air can get very cold and transfer that to you!
- A Great Set of cooking pots – you want them to be lightweight, durable and easy to clean. The higear Basecamp 6 Cookset is a great set – made of hard anodized aluminium, weights less than 2 kg, and all fold up and fits inside each other. You get a frypan, four pots, utensils and accessories. If you bring your own pots and pans, not only will they take up half you car, but you likely ruin they as they are not fit for purpose.
- Lighting. Headlamps, lamps and torches and spare batteries. Sounds obvious but the number of people who rock up to our campsites with one torch and flat batteries is incredible. I’d even recommend including a wind up lantern – as they ensure the flat battery situation will not occur – and they are eco!
- Footware. Thongs as we Aussies call them – Flip flops or waterproof Sandals – great for visits to the showers and loos. At night though it can get cold, even next to a fire, so some walking boots can be handy.
- Good Pocket Knife or Multi-Tool. Pretty self-explanatory. There’s always a tin to open, something to cut or a a marshmallow stick to trim. I have a Leatherman and rate them very highly.
- Matches, lighter and candles. But make sure you dont leave naked flames alight in your tent.
Here are some of my particular ones I’ve picked up along the way;
- Take lots of plastic bags – especially if it’s wet to pack away your clothes so they stay dry, or separate the dirty ones – good bin liners for rubbish – lots of campsite require you to take your rubbish home and no one wants a boot full of stinky leftovers.
- Wet wipes & talc. Especially for kids or if you don’t fancy the campsite showers!
- Tin foil – especially if camping with open fires – potatoes, sweet corn, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, (or almost any veggie) can all be cooked on a bbq or the edge of open fire in foil. Some plastic tubs for left overs. I save baked potatoes and mix them with eggs in the morning for a spanish omelette – my 11 yo loves it.
- Must take the marshmallows! I’m biased but I only camp at places which allow open fires!
- Freeze your camping meat – I like to freeze my meat, bacon etc for day 2 & 3 – it acts like an ice block in the cool box as it defrosts, and is fresh and ready to eat a day or two after arriving.
- Wine in a box or twist top bottles – you can get some decent ones – helps the pack up – no empty bottles to carry or break. Take a corkscrew and you will always make a friend on a campsite as someone will wonder around at night looking for one guaranteed!
- Cans instead of bottle of beer or soft drinks. The empties can be crushed and put in a small (or large for some) plastic bag to be recycled.
- Big umbrella as well – like a golf one – get one of kids or a mate to hold it over you if raining while bbqing or cooking on the fire – never cook inside a tent due to carbon monoxide poisoning – which is serious threat.
- Daily Contacts Lenses - ever tried changing hard contacts in the wilds of sussex – I’ve had to do it for both my daughter and myself and the dailies are much easier and if you drop them you just pop another one.
- Insect Repellant. In the UK I never need to use the stuff, but you never know when you will get a mosquito (mossie to an Aussie) infestation. Expect lots little biting insects at different times which home in on some people ahead of others.
If you are a keen camper and have anything to add – keep the conversation alive and add your own comment with your favourite piece of camping advice or camping tip.