At the end of 2019, i was planning the year of adventure - Japan, Italy, Spain, Bali , sipping margs on a greek island with my new hot slimming world success body. Covid hit, then came the Covid gut and now, i have more camping chairs than Go Outdoors at 8am on Black Friday.
I've swapped the spanish riviera for a random field a gas stove and a blow up bed that won't blow.
As i've learnt the hard way of the do's and don'ts of camping. I've decided to share my top tips of camping with you. So you don't have to go through the pain of learning on the job.
1. BUY A BIG TENT.
All of the other blogs say don't go nuts on the tent. I say, go nuts. Buy big. You don't want to be sleeping, changing and cooking eggs in the same place and if it rains. You are going to thank me. Because, walking boots really smell, when they are dirty and wet and you're sleeping next to them. Plus you want a bit luxury. If there's 2 of you. Go for a 6 bed. One room for sleeping. One for all the junk you're gonna bring, but won't use and one as a lounge and cooking area. lovely. Whatever you buy. Make sure you have a porch area.
Take little socks, big socks, knee socks. if your feet are warm, you're gonna be ok. Plus little sock in walking boots are the worst. Billy Blister is gonna come after you like Jaws. So make sure you buy the ones that your nan buys your dad at christmas.
All the lights, fairy lights, portable lamps, head lamps, phone lamp. It get's dark, plus fairy lights will help you find your tent, when you're on your back from the toilets in the dark and your tent will look cute AF.
Handy for when you go to the shower and you don't fancy mixing in other people's feet juice, also handy to slip on in the night. If you want to go to the toilet.
Take a table. Handy to put your gin on it, handy for cooking. You don't want to be cooking on the grass in the rain. Take 2, if you can.
6. YOUR OWN BEDDING
If you have enough room, take your own bedding. You'll sleep better. I always take an under sheet to put over the blow up bed. Means that you don't stick to it, if you're hot and it helps to keep you warm when it's cold and it's soft.
7. WATER BOTTLE
Put a big bottle of water in the freezer the night before ( handy to keep food cold in your food bag) take another to drink and another for tea and coffee or to swirl your pans. It's also handy, if you're lazy like me and you hang out of your tent at night to brush your teeth, because you can't be bothered to go to the bathroom to do it.
8. GAS STOVE
Buy a gas stove, i'm the moodiest of moody in the morning without a coffee and i don't have time to wait for a fire to light. So, take a gas stove. The range do good ones for about £14.00 and 4 gas canisters for a £5. Worth it. I cook everything on that gas stove. it's an essential.
9. WET WIPES
Just because you never know.
10. WARM CLOTHES
The weather might be a scorcher during the day, but once that sun gone. It will get cold. Take a jumper, hot water bottle, extra sheets and more socks. Over do it with warm clothes. You can always take them off.
11. PITCHIN UP
This is crucial and a must read, if you get to choose your pitching spot. Then you need to do this carefully, don't just pitch it up anywhere. You need to plan this carefully.
You need to be close enough to the bathroom, but not too close, that you can here Derek having a poops. Do you camp next to a family or couples? Well, sit in your car for a bit and have a nose to see what's going on. Are the kids young enough, that they'll be asleep by 8 and their parents really don't want them to wake up? If that's the case, you are on to a winner. Pitch by them. They will be quiet and they'll probably have all the gear too. Handy, if you want to borrow a peg or two. If you see a lot of tent in a circle - STAY AWAY FROM THEM. They are the loud ones, all nighters that give absolutely no shit that you've walked 12 mile with little socks and walking boots just to have a pint in a rural pub and that all you want to do is have little wine and an early night.
12. BAG OF BITS
Take some string, duck tape, plasters, paracetamols a bag of bits that you might need. Make sure you've got earplugs in your bag.
If all else fails, drink gin and you'll sleep like a log.
14. HAVE FUN, MAKE A FIRE
It's fun, You're outdoors with nature, leave your make up at home. You're lush as it is. Go and have fun, make a fire and forget everything. Remember, the socks and go rock it.