"Always be prepared” - the wise motto of the Scout movement founded way back when in 1916. And still the most relevant piece of advice for anyone embarking on a camping trip this bank holiday weekend.
Preparation is EVERYTHING when it comes to making sure your outdoors trip is a success. It can mean the difference between packing up early and having the best holiday of your life. So make sure you’ve read our camping checklist below before pitching up.
Be ready for rain
Let’s face it - if you’re camping in the UK, it’s probably going to rain. Even 30 minutes of drizzle can turn a pleasant trip into a soggy nightmare. We can’t control the weather, but we can combat it.
The worst time for rain to strike is when you’re setting up. But if you have the right equipment - a tent with properly sealed seams that is quick to put up - and pitch on higher ground, you face a better chance of avoiding waking up in a puddle. Open up your tent too if you can, as a good airing will help everything dry out quicker.
Plastic bags and bin liners are your best friends. They take up very little room and can save the life of your firewood and clothes if a downpour occurs.
And if you laugh in the face of a downpour, just don your waterproofs and head out for a hike. It’ll warm you up and the taste of a hot cuppa at the end will taste even more refreshing.
Choose the right campsite
Be warned: some campsites don’t offer showers, whilst others have state of the art facilities. So choose carefully in order to get the holiday you were hoping for.
Don’t forget to opt for kitchen facilities with fridges if you have a baby that needs milk storing. Or maybe you yearn for an adult-only venue for some child-free quality time.
www.ukcampsite.co.uk is a great website to help you narrow your search. You can filter locations and then select everything from ‘dog-friendly’, ‘camp fires allowed’ to 'naturist' and ‘public transport available’.
Camping chairs: these fold away chairs make sitting around the campfire much more comfy, especially if it rains.
Fold-up table: Unbelievably handy, a fold away table has multi-uses including acting as a food prep station, a dinner table and card game area.
Bedding: You don’t have to stick to a sleeping bag. A good night’s sleep isn’t something you always associate with camping, but it should be. Bring pillows, fleece blankets and even your duvet (but use an old cover).
Bring your own outdoor fun
Once you’ve set up camp, you might not want to move anywhere. Keep the whole family entertained with games of cricket, football and croquet. You could even bring your own inflatable pool if the weather looks suitable for a spot of splashing around.
Make cooking enjoyable
Cooking outdoors can be one of the best parts of camping IF you have the right equipment. Invest in a good portable gas barbeque grill for an easier life. This means not having to faff around with charcoal and waiting for ages for coals to warm up.
Don’t forget your cool bag too for keeping wine cold and perishable food safe.
Choose the right tent
When a tent is advertised as ‘two-person’, this means the maximum number of people that can sleep inside, but doesn’t really take much into account about luggage. So for a more comfortable and realistic tent capacity, divide by two. So for instance, a family of three might have a more enjoyable experience in a six-person tent.
A gazebo can be an amazing addition for your camping trip. Think of it as your living area, so a great rain-proof spot to do everything else - eat, play games and socialise.
A-Z: Have you packed…
Air beds, adapters (charge your phones from your car), batteries, BBQ, bin bags, camping chairs, cards, cool boxes, cutlery, extra pegs, first aid kit, gaffa tape, gazebo, hats, kettle, kitchen roll, picnic blanket, pillow, plastic bags, sleeping bag, tent, tin opener, toilet paper, torch, towels, toys, trolley (very useful if car not allowed on pitch site), washing up bowl and liquid, water carrier, wellies...?