When you think of camping, what comes to mind? Wet, miserable, cold family holidays with a broken tent? Flashbacks to stressful journeys, putting the tent up incorrectly and perhaps getting a little lost on the way? For me, it’s memories of my time camping in the great outdoors while I was a scout – so I consider myself to be pretty well equipped when it comes to tips for camping and how to ensure you enjoy a camping trip.
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The thought of spending a weekend in a tent doesn’t have to fill you with dread – you don’t have to endure a cheap tent, muddy weather and puddles where they shouldn’t be if you do it right!
Since converting our Renault Trafic into our own campervan, we’ve been on several weekend camping trips and a couple of weeks away – each time learning a little more about how to ensure that our trip will be relaxing and fun, rather than stressful and miserable.
As an overview, our camping set up consists of our campervan and a sheltaPod awning – which we always arrange in the same way, like in the photograph below. We tend to set up our sheltaPod as our kitchen/storage/lounge area, with the campervan set up as our bedroom.
One of the perks of having a campervan is that you can be 100% confident that it’s waterproof – which is a huge plus for us! We’ve embraced a slightly more luxurious style of camping than I experienced growing up – but now, I’m all about the glamping lifestyle. So, let’s move on to my 10 tips for a Great Camping Trip!
- Buy a good tent – whether you’re a campervan owner or a regular camper, you need to buy quality. Cheap tents are cheap for a reason – they leak, the poles are weak and bendy, they aren’t warm and they simply won’t last. If the price seems too good to be true – that’s probably because it is! If you’ve got a campervan like us, I would highly recommend investing in a sheltaPod. We’ve had ours for over a year now and are preparing for our second summer using it – and we couldn’t be happier with it.
- Invest in a good sleeping set up – if you’re camping in a tent, make sure to buy a good roll mat (I like these) and a really good sleeping bag – 3 or 4 seasons is best for the UK! Top tip – unzip your sleeping bag to use it like a duvet! It’s much less constrictive and a little cooler if it’s summer. If you’re a campervan owner, pay extra for a comfortable, practical bed – we opted for the cheap option first and have ended up upgrading to a bespoke, comfortable bed. In essence, if you buy cheap, you’ll end up buying twice! A bad nights sleep has the potential to ruin your camping trip – so make sure you get a really comfortable, cosy bed setup.
- Pack plenty of changes of clothes – you never know what might happen! A sudden downpour, slipping over in the mud, wet shoes – just be prepared! There’s nothing worse than running out of socks or realising that all of your clothes are soaking wet.
- Buy a power pack – gone are the days of trying to stretch your phone battery out over a long weekend camping trip – that’s what battery packs are for! Invest in a good one, possibly solar powered, and it should be good for several charges of your phone.
- Choose your campsite well – read reviews, research local amenities and campsite facilities. Make sure you book one with toilets and showers, and a flat campsite if possible. No one likes a sloping pitch that means you roll to one side of the tent at night – or where your cuppa keeps sliding to the other side of the table!
- Pack appropriate clothing – and in appropriate luggage! You don’t want to be the only person on your camping trip with a rolling suitcase – they just aren’t practical for camping, and they’re bulky. Go equipped with waterproofs, warm socks, walking boots, trainers and lots of warm layers – all packed neatly into your duffel bag. We always use packing cubes for our luggage (like these) – they are a great way to stay organised when you’re living in a small space.
- Get some good cooking equipment – go equipped with a couple of good camping stoves (so that you can have two pans on the go at once), lots of gas for the stoves, some decent pans and utensils.
- Plan your activities as if it’s going to be raining all weekend – there’s nothing worse than planning beach trips, picnics, barbecues and scenic walks and being bitterly disappointed when it rains all the way through your trip. We’re in the UK, so there’s a high chance it’ll be raining some – if not all – of the time that you’re away. So, plan rainy weather appropriate activities and then if the sun shines by chance, you can go and do all of the fun things as a plan B!
- Make a meal plan – and keep it varied! You don’t need to have plain pasta or noodles every day. There are plenty of great one (or two) pot recipes that are perfectly suited to a camping trip. We regularly make a chicken tikka masala, beef chilli with rice, spaghetti bolognese and even chicken fajitas!
- Invest in good camping chairs – you don’t want cheap chairs that won’t last, are uncomfortable and might break the first time you plop yourself down in one. Have a browse at your local camping shop (or pop to The Range – they have a pretty good outdoors section with some comfortable chairs) and buy a good one – I’d suggest spending £30 and upwards. If the weather ends up being wet, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be sat in your chair with a cup of tea for most of the weekend, so make sure that you’ll be comfortable!
So, there you have it – my 10 tips for a Great Camping Trip! If you are heading away camping soon, I’d love to know if any of these tips are useful – and if you have any tips for camping, I would love to hear them in a comment!