I have always been a fan of camping. It’s the lure of not knowing where you’ll end up that day, once you’ve packed everything into the car. The next morning your view might be a mountain peak or a beautiful seascape, who knows?!
But it’s the making-do element that I like the most. When I lived in Australia, we just whipped off the hub cap to create a make shift frying pan!
I love camping at festivals, crammed cheek to jowl with hundreds of other noisy festival goers, and I also love wild camping, where it’s just me, my partner and the elements. I even took my nieces camping in their own back garden, complete with a proper campfire to toast marshmallows!
Camping is great wherever you go, and here are my top tips to ensure a great camping experience every time!
Image by zigazou76
The Perfect Pitch
Where you pitch your tent is really important! Check out the lie of the land first – are you on a hill? Nothing is worse than sleeping with your legs above your head on a slant. It will definitely lead to a headache in the morning!
Establish which way is east. Now you can pitch your tent with the living area facing the east, and the sleeping area in the west. As the sun rises (in the east), it will take longer to reach you when you’re slept the furthest from it. Pitching under a tree with shade in the early morning is also a good way to make sure you don’t wake up sweating and dry mouthed!
Avoid being right next to the toilet block if you can, this will be a thoroughfare and you’ll be woken up by rather unpleasant sounds!
The toilet facilities on campsites can vary madly, but don’t be afraid of campsites with eco-loos. They are not smelly, they trickle ventilation through their clever design, and are often much better than the cruddy concrete blocks some sites offer!
The issue is sleeping bag versus duvet; and I have to admit that if I am not on foot or backpacking, I tend to chuck my duvet in the back of the car. It’s so much easier, and I don’t particularly like the restrictive nature of sleeping bags.
I also have a couple of sheepskins that make a fabulous bed pad (between you and the floor) but can also be great to lay about on – well, if it’s good enough for the native Indians, it’s good enough for me! If you would prefer a chair, then the camping fold up ones are great, as they are lightweight and also shrink to nothing really quickly – they dry fast too, if they get wet.
Tables aren’t really necessary, but a flat surface (such as a tray) can double up as a board for games. Other than you’ll need a chopping board, a container for your bits and pieces and, of course, a tray to eat your BBQ off of!
Keeping your Cool
There’s nothing like a cold beer after a day in the sunshine on the beach, or a day’s hiking. Keeping them cold can be tricky, but there is a way. Get a wet sock (preferably clean!), and put your can of beer inside it, then hang it from a fence post or a wing mirror. The sock acts like a heat exchanger, as the water evaporates your beer will cool down, clever, eh?!
Now, a full on fridge would be a crazy idea, but here’s a good tip for a temporary fridge. Before you go, freeze 3 or 4 litre bottles of water and add them to your cool bag or cool box, which can keep your milk, bacon and butter cold. When you get to your site, pop these bottles in some shade, or in a bucket of cold water, and they will stay cold for nearly 3 days. After they’ve defrosted, the water can be used for drinking or making that essential cup of tea.
Have you got any great camping tips to share?
Gavin Harvey is a personal trainer whose desire for adventure has taken him to thirty countries. Originally from the UK, he spent a gap-year living in Australia. He writes blogs for Cavalok Building Products Ltd in his spare time.