I’ve been an enthusiastic camper all of my life and have enjoyed camping in all sorts of weather, locations, and tents. When I was younger I would camp with the most basic kit imaginable, In fact my first tent was an old fashioned canvas affair which didn’t even have a ground sheet! But the older I’ve become, the more I have craved comfort when camping and as a result I’ve learned ways to make my camping holidays far less “rough and ready” and far more “comfy and cozy”. So, here are my top 10 top tips for a better camping experience.
Top Tip 1) Location, location, location
If you want a comfortable camping experience the first thing you need is the perfect location. Search around for the perfect campsite in your chosen area, making sure they have clean and pleasant amenities will improve your experience immeasurably, but also remember to choose the right camp site for you. There’s no point trying to have a quiet family friendly camping trip at a site known for it’s group deals and night life!
If you’ve yet to find your perfect campsite head over to the Halfords camping guide where they have some fantastic campsite suggestions along with other camping tips.
Top Tip 2) Home from home
The easiest way to improve your camping experience is to choose the right tent. There are hundreds of tents on the market now, some big, some small, some prioritise living space, while others prioritise set-up speed. Work out what your priorities are and then find the tent which matches you perfectly.
Grumpy Dad and I chose our tent before Baby was born. We wanted a tent which would be tall enough for us to stand up in, we also wanted something which wouldn’t become too hot to bare if the sun came out. As a result we chose the Octagon 8, an iconic yurt shaped tent with the ability to open the outer skin like curtains on every side giving you a fresh breeze and amazing views.
You can find a great selection of tents on the Halfords website.
Top Tip 3) Check & Double Check
There is nothing more frustrating than arriving at your camp site only to realise that your tent pegs have vanished into thin air, or to be woken up when a passing rain storm results in your tent unexpectedly developing indoor plumbing.
Before every camping trip check that all of your tents components are still there. Also, if you camp often, keep a few extra tent pegs in your car as those things are worse than socks for going missing.
If you haven’t been camping in a while, put your tent up in the back garden and check it over for mold, broken seals and tears, which can develop seemingly from no where, and keep a sewing kit and tent repair kit with your tent just in case as there’s nothing like a damaged tent to ruin a camping holiday.
Top Tip 4) Snug and Cozy
One of the most unpleasant things about camping is how cold it can get. No matter how good your sleeping bag is, or how high your bed is off the ground, the cold permeates everything. The best way to solve this and make your tent a little cozier is to insulate the floor to prevent rising cold. Doing this also saves you from the early morning shock of placing your feet directly onto the freezing ground sheet and can prevent your tent from taking on that cold, damp feeling.
There are many brand of tent carpet available to suit nearly any tent or you can simply cover the floor with a patchwork of throw rugs and picnic blankets. Whichever you choose the result will be a cozy tent from the bottom up!
Top Tip 5) All present and correct
Camping when you’re roughing it is easy. Tent… check, Sleeping bag… Check, right off we go! But if you’re planning on glamping or just having a more comfortable camping experience then you’ll find yourself taking everything but the kitchen sink with you. To make sure you don’t find yourself in the middle of a field with a bottle of wine and no cork screw, try to treat packing for your holiday the same way you would packing for a house move.
Have everything you are taking packed and ready the day before your trip, leaving just one box or bag for items that will need to be packed at the last minute. If you camp regularly it pays to have a set of cutlery, plates, kettle etc. Specifically for camping which you can keep with your gear and just throw in the car in the knowledge that you have a prepacked mini-kitchen.
Top Tip 6) Get up on the right side of the bed
Having a good bed in your tent is a must if you want a comfortable camping experience. After all, no one is happy if they’re had a poor nights sleep!
Try out lots of camping beds both inflatable and steel framed before deciding which you will be most comfortable in. I’ve tried both but discovered on my most recent camping trip that I was most comfortable on a bed of camping mats and blankets directly on the floor. Whichever type of bed you choose having picnic blankets under the bed and a self inflating mat on top of it will dramatically improve the warmth and comfort of your bed.
Top Tip 7) Now we’re cooking
There’s nothing better on a cold morning than getting up to freshly cooked bacon and eggs but equally there is nothing more frustrating than using a camping stove which takes an hour to cook a piece of bacon!
When you choose your camping stove it’s worth paying a little more for one which will cook food efficiently. If you know that you will only be visiting camp sites with electricity then you may want to choose an electric stove which will remove any worry regarding the storage of gas. However if you want to be able to cook no matter where you are I would suggest getting a double stove which guards the gas flame and puts out a good heat.
When we chose our camping stove Grumpy Dad insisted we went all out and bought a Coleman double burner! I may have laughed at the time but having used it to cook a full English breakfast for four people on a number of occasions I can honestly say it was worth every penny as it’s just like cooking on my stove at home.
Top Tip 8) Everything stops for tea
I can’t imagine there are very many Brits who don’t like a good cup of tea in the morning. In fact, getting Grumpy Dad out of bed without one is practically impossible.
Traditional camping kettles use a gas burner to heat up water which does take quite a while and has the added inconvenience of requiring you to set up your stove. If you’re planning on only camping with electricity, save yourself the bother and buy a cheap kettle to keep with your kitchen kit. This has the added advantage of allowing you to make tea in your without even having to get out of your sleeping bag!
Top Tip 9) Say no to mud
One of the worse parts of camping is the pack up at the end. You’re tired, fed up, it’s probably raining and for some reason your tent no longer fits in the bag it arrived in a few days ago. This is made worse by the fact that the ground under your tent has turned into a mud hole and as you grumpily try to roll up your tent the ground sheet covers you and the upper tent with mud, grass and squished bugs. Delightful! You will now have to spend your time trying to clean your tent when you get home.
You can’t do anything about the rain but buying a cheap tarpaulin to place under your tent will prevent it from becoming covered in grass and mud, meaning that both you and the tent will remain clean, saving you effort and the “I’ve just been camping” look.
Top Tip 10) A place for everything and everything in its place
When you’re spending a week in a confined place things can get a bit dissorganised. Clean clothes get mixed with dirty, your hair brush gets lost in a pile of plates, and the crisps you were eating yesterday turn up in your sleeping bag today.
To prevent every morning from becoming a treasure hunt, invest in a couple of folding cabinets. You can use these to store food items, clothes or anything else you can think of, and bring order to the chaos of camping.
Those are my 10 tip camping tips. If you have a tip which has made your camping trip more comfortable please share!
If you enjoyed this post please check out my Guide to Choosing a Campsite.
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