Looking for camping tips? We can think of a million reasons why not to go camping, and most of them bite. There’s midges. And cold nights. And having to walk half a mile for a pee. And everything takes twice as much effort in a tent as it does in a house. That’s why we live in houses. And it will rain. And midges.
And yet thousands of you will be planning a trip right now. So we consulted our resident expert for some top camping tips to make the most of it. Just don’t forget the custard.
Top Tips from our Camping Expert
- Red wine should be drunk at room temperature. A cold damp British field is not room temperature. Cold red wine = miserable campers. Take white wine, or beer, or spirits.
- Those cheap tents they call “festival tents”? Just don’t. There’s a reason they’re cheap. You need a proper tent. For proper British camping weather. Check the reviews.
- Want creepy men come over to “help you pitch your tent” ? Don’t bother to even look at the tent’s instructions. Otherwise practice pitching your tent before the trip.
- Arrive at your site during daylight so you can pitch your tent properly. That way it won’t leak or blow away. Also, you don’t want to wake up and find you have pitched across the main thoroughfare to the bogs.
- Take a emergency tent repair kit: solvent glue for emergency waterproofing of tent seams; gaffa/duct tape for mending everything; spare guy lines and pegs; a needle and thread.
- A tidy tent is a happy tent! Look, if the weather gets bad, and your tent leaks or blows down, you’re gonna thank me for this. If your belongings are strewn across your tent, they’re gonna get wet. If they’re packed in your rucksack, they’re not.
- Never have a lit flame in your tent. Yeah yeah, everyone does it … I’m being a kill-joy. But if you’ve ever seen the burn scars on someone who’s been in a tent fire … just don’t. (It takes seconds for a tent to completely burn down, you won’t have time to put out a fire)
- Don’t skimp on your sleeping bag. Even summer nights get really cold in the UK. If you’ve only got a thin one, one of those cheap fleece throws inside your sleeping bag works well. Also, an aluminium water bottle makes a half decent hot-water-bottle if needs must. But make sure the lid is watertight.
- You need something between you and the ground. If you’re tough/young a thin insulating mat will do the trick. But an airbed will be more comfortable. And put an insulating mat on top of it. That way, you’ll be comfortable and warm
- Lots of thin layers are warmer than one thick. Leggings or woolly tights under trousers are super-warm for evenings. And waterproof footwear. You’re not gonna care about sexy or trendy when you’ve got trenchfoot.
- Wet-wipes. Take loads. The cheap kind you get in discount stores. Use them for mopping up spills, wiping your hands, cleaning muddy groundsheets, etc. And plastic bags – sandwich bags, bin bags, carrier bags. Don’t ask why – you’ll see.
- That rustling you hear in the night? It’s a hedgehog going for your sliced brown. Pack as much of your food as you can in airtight plastic boxes.
- Freeze some of your food and pack it frozen (milk, a premade chilli or curry, butter, cheese, meat etc). It keeps your cool box cold for longer.
- Put your matches in an airtight plastic box. You can’t light a stove with damp matches. A cig lighter is crap for lighting stoves btw.
- Have enough fuel for your stove. Whatever your stove needs, that’ll be the one kind of fuel the campsite shop doesn’t have.
- Put your phone sim in your prehistoric Nokia from like 2010. The battery will last all week. And jeez, everyone can wait till you get back to hear about your trip. No, really, they can.
- Remember your torch. Take spare batteries. (See no 15)
- Insect repellent. Lots of it. All the time, but especially in the late afternoon, early evening.
- Earwigs do NOT get in your ears and bore into your brain. Get a grip.
- A wet camper is a miserable camper. Custard is cheering. Take custard.