With the tumbling pound, it’s time to turn to an alternative sort of holiday. Enter: Camping. No longer a festival-only activity.
And no, not glamping (that’s pretty expensive too). We mean proper camping. In a tent and everything. But camping done right means no soggy roll mats, no erecting tents in gale-force winds, and no shivering yourself to sleep in Britain’s so-called mid summer.
Instead you can enjoy the great outdoors, experience a little adventure and still get a good night’s sleep.
Follow our essential guide for the perfect camping experience*.
*Also recommended for festivals
1. Get the right equipment
Preparation is key. If you’re going on holiday, take the car if you have one or think about hiring one. Camping via public transport does not an easy life make.
You will need to bring:
However many people need to share the tent - go for one that’s one or two persons bigger. So if you’re a couple, get a three or even four-man tent. Any spare space will be needed for your stuff.
Do not even think about trying to save money and going for an roll matt. The airbed is essential. ESSENTIAL. And also a pump. If you have a car you can get one that you plug in, but it’s always worth having a food pump too. Take it from us.
Good sleeping bags
Sophisticated technology now means modern sleeping bags can keep you snuggly warm on cold nights and lovely and cool on warmer ones. Get a multi-season one, or if you’re the cuddly type, try a double to share body heat… and other things.
A gas cooker
You will need to feed yourselves. Even if you’re a pub-food kinda person, campfire cook-outs are part of the fun. And you don’t want to be caught short if the pub has stopped serving. Take an extra gas can in case, too.
Especially in Britain.
A picnic blanket or small table and camping chairs
Nothing says luxury like a camping chair with a pocket for your beer.
A camping box
The key to camping is being prepared, so make up a plastic box full of all the stuff you’ll need on every trip. Then, whenever the mood takes you, you can just pick it up and know you’re good to go.
In your camping box you should have:
- Extra pegs
- A mallet
- Cooking oil
- A small collection of cooking pans
- Basic herbs and spices (depending on your culinary ability/tastes)
- Plates, mugs, cups and cutlery
- A corkscrew (dear God, don’t forget the corkscrew)
- Duck tape (for fixing anything)
- Bin bags
- Smaller plastic bags (rubbish in the tent etc.)
- Insect repellent coils
- Toilet roll
- Anti-bacterial hand wash
- Wishing up liquid and sponge
- Paracetamol (tent hangovers are not recommended)
- And, of course, emergency wine. Just in case.
As well as all that, don’t forget the normal things you’d take on holiday, like suncream, deodorant… that sort of stuff.
2. Pre-book your campsite and print out a map
Some parts of the country and some mobile phone networks just aren’t compatible, which can come as a surprise if yours has always been reliable at home. So don’t rely on your Maps app, take a printed copy too.
You can pre-book or at least pre-warn most campsite you’re coming, which is important in school holidays and other peak times. Have to wander around the countryside trying to find somewhere to pitch is the way things go wrong.
3. Make a good campfire
Few arguments can’t be solved by a cracking campfire. But building one isn’t always as easy as you’d think. Make sure you start early so it’s roaring away before night falls, and keep feeding it.
If you’ve never built one before, make sure you know how before you go. This YouTube video should give you the basics:
Also, bring sticks, marshmallows and other toastable things. And a guitar if you’re so inclined.
4. Choose some daily activities
Research the local area and work out where you want to see and if there are any local attractions or walks you’d like to do. Lying around even the sunniest campsite all day can get a bit much.
5. Don’t go for too long
The secret to a happy camping trip, is a nice short one. Three days is fine. However comfy your bed, good your weather or tasty your wine, don’t push it. If you’ve saved enough money, it’s always nice to pay for a fancy night at a nice hotel to welcome you back to civilisation.
Most of all, go with a positive, can-do attitude, and think about how cheaply you’re getting away from it all. Enjoy!