Camping is a great way to get the whole family away on a budget – and with some of the campsite’s we’ve seen on offer, you can’t get a better location or a better price! But with this unpredictable weather of ours, no kitchen and the prospect of a bathroom two fields away, it can be a little scary to take the plunge!
Use our handy guide to help you navigate the troubled waters of tents, communal showers, and of course, going for a toilet trip in the middle of the night.
If you’re really worried you will forget something vital, have a day ‘camping’ at home – pitch the tent, cook out in the open and only use the things in the bathroom that you carry in there yourself! If that seems like too much, just make sure that you’ve already tried your tent out. Check all the bits, follow the instructions and then carefully pack it all away.
Camping is not about taking everything and the kitchen sink, although a few comforts go a long way. A proper wool blanket is invaluable for keeping warm in the middle of the night – wrap it around you before you get in the sleeping bag if you’re a chilly soul or it’s particularly cold out. And a mat to sleep on really makes enough difference to justify the hassle and cost, especially if you’re having a week away.
Get Shower Ready
Take all your toiletries in a mesh bag, which is great for hanging up in the shower with you when you head off to the bathroom block. An old pair of flip flops are a great idea in here too, I’ve definitely seen some floors that you wouldn’t want your newly clean feet to go on! Or, if a shower is just too far, too cold or you just want to sleep, make sure you have a packet of baby wipes with you. Cheap, scrubby and great at cleaning, they are like a shower in a packet!
Many campsites won’t allow barbecues, so check if that’s how you’re planning to eat for most of the week. A couple of small gas burners should be enough to keep you well fed though. And if you’re taking tins of things to eat, check for ring-pull openings or pack a tin opener. There’s nothing worse than being hungry but locked out of your food source!
Beat the Wind
Let’s tackle this blustery problem – try to point your tent door away from the wind. This is easy if it’s blowing a gale but harder if not. Look for the way all the trees are blowing, or probably follow where the other campers have gone! Just don’t pitch too close, that’s rude! Make sure your guy ropes on the windy side are extra tight and push the pegs in with a mallet or pin down with a rock.
Tackle the Rain
Rain can be a real downer on your camping holiday, but a little preparation can make sure you’re as cosy as possible. Your golden rule should be don’t touch the inside of the tent when it’s wet – as this soaks through to you. Bin bags are great for stuffing all your clothes in and for your bedding during the day, as it keeps things really dry, ready for a good night’s sleep. Look for a tent with a porch when you’re buying for a handy place to put soggy things.
It always seems to be the way that the torch loses its power just as you’re half way between tent and toilet in the middle of the night, plunged into darkness and a sea of hidden guy ropes! Combat this with a wind-up torch that you can re-power in an instant! Oh, and don’t forget to take some toilet paper – camp sites are much better than they used to be in this regard, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!