Camping: Everything You Need to Know
Camping is something that everybody should do at least once. Whether it’s near the coasts, in forests or a remote location, this activity is perfect for you. Camping acts as a breath of fresh air from the busy city, with calming activities and a chance to relax your mind. Best of all, there is absolutely no starting point in terms of difficulty when it comes to camping. Whether it’d your first camping trip or sixth, we take a look at all the essentials needed for that all important camping checklist.
What Are the 10 Essentials of Camping?
Having a tent is the most obvious and should be at the top of any camping checklist. However, you have to make sure you find a tent that works for you. If the idea of putting a tent up scares you, then there is also the option of a pop-up tent. Pop-up tents work by you pulling it out of the zip up bag and letting go. Yup! That’s all you have to do other than pegging the tent down in your little area.
Additionally, when buying a tent, you will also have to consider how many people will be camping with you. This is because you will need a decent-sized tent to fit sleeping bags in. As well as ensuring you have plenty space for you and your merry campers to cook and have fun!
Another item that is of the upmost importance when camping solo or with friends. As campers, you’ll more than likely be sleeping on the floor which can be very uncomfortable. As a result, this leads to this piece of camping gear to serve as a cushion when sleeping on the ground. When the nights turn cold, a sleeping bag can also keep you warm with the different temperatures they have. For example, one sleeping bag can have a rating of –20 degrees Celsius for winter camping.
Sleeping bags are also compact, making it easier to pack with the other essentials on this camping checklist. As such the weight of the camping gear should be taken into consideration when packing for your trip, with being mindful of how far you have to travel to the campsite. All bags have a different weight to them, depending on the size or type. A good example of this would be a down sleeping bag. This type is very compressible, making it easier to fold and pack with your other camping gear and can easily fit in a backpack.
Camping for beginners can be quite terrifying with sleeping outside in the dark. This is where a flashlight comes in handy. A flashlight serves as a light source for you when the day turns into night. Whether it’d be the continuation of outdoor activities or lighting the path to the tent, a good flashlight is always a must-have.
However, each flashlight has its own advantages and disadvantages that need to be taken into consideration. Some campers may want a strong flashlight that will last during their trip and will not be affected by any weather changes that could happen during the stay. Others may want a cheaper option that just does its job. Flashlights have also become very compactable and efficient in these last years and are compact, making it easier to pack amongst the other gear.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is an essential item in the camping checklist, especially for beginners. Being in an outside setting, injuries happen more often than not. From bug bites to maybe getting stung by a nettle, there’s always a reason to keep a first aid kit handy. They are an extremely important part of this checklist as campers don’t want any infections during their trip away. First aid kits should always be stored in a dry place that is away from children, even in a tent.
Firstly, there are some things that should be included in a campers first aid kit. Items such as sanitiser, wipes and disinfectants should all be considered when packing. This is so any surface wounds can be cleaned and sterilised to lower any risk of infection.
Bandages are also a key part of the first aid kits. As we know, bandages come in all different sizes, so it is important to have a variety for different sized cuts and scrapes. Campers should also consider packing some cloth bandages for any sprains that may occur when hiking as well as scissors to cut any gauze that is needed to treat any further wounds.
It is also important for campers to learn CPR as you’ll be a ways from medical services and a good skill to have when adventuring.
Camping Chairs and Table
Campers will need somewhere to sit, whether it’s inside the tent or out around a campfire. Now it’s no secret that the ground is uncomfortable so having a chair is beneficial even on lazy days. This is so campers can make their trip more comfortable when exploring the outside world. Chairs are also essential for when family or friends go camping. Usually, having friends around will make camping for beginners a lot less terrifying and serves up some good memories.
Additionally, a table is as essential as chairs. A table has many uses when being brought during a trip, which also cements a place on every camping checklist in the UK. Camping tables are mainly used so campers don’t have to sit on the hard ground and have little critters trying to steal their food. Whilst the tables are mainly used for having meals, the camping tables can also be used for game nights when family and friends come to visit or camp with you.
Tent Repair Kit
Every camper’s worse nightmare is having a damaged tent, therefore having a tent repair kit on hand is always a great idea. Depending on how big the damage to the tent is, most issues can be fixed by yourself. For example, if the tent has a small tear that’s been noticed then a little tent repair tape will work. The tape should be used on the inside and outside of the tent to protect the tent from the ever-changing weather before sealing with seam sealer.
There are other issues when planning a camping trip to be mindful of such as, broken zippers or bent tent poles. Having spare tent poles will come in handy when the tent has been through wear and tear or from putting the tent up, making it easier to get a quick replacement. Now, fixing a broken zipper could be a bigger issue than one may think. However, if it is not the whole zipper and just a few misaligned teeth, it is easily fixed. To fix this issue, all that needs is for the slider to run up and down the alignment.
Spare Batteries and Portable Chargers
Spare batteries and portable cables are a must-have in your camping gear. Campers will benefit from having spare batteries and chargers packed so they won’t have to worry about finding replacements. As torches will be used quite frequently, there’s always a chance that the batteries will run low. Campers, especially beginner campers, will have a calmer state of mind knowing that they have batteries that can be replaced on a whim.
We all have a phone and technology that needs charging from time to time. Camping for beginners will be a new experience. So whilst they would like to remember the trip with photos, their phone will also act as a lifeline. Packing portable chargers within the camping gear is as crucial as every other item on this checklist. Therefore, it is also important for phones to be charged in case of emergency and to keep everyone entertained during bad weather.
Spare Tent Pegs
Campers can never be sure if tent pegs are in good condition, even if they have brought a brand-new tent. There are a couple of ways to fix a bent tent peg but first, campers have to make sure that they have packed spares. Usually, campers can add the spares to their tent repair kit that is already on the camping check list. Thus, giving a peace of mind to the camper knowing that they are already packed.
Depending on the ground of the campsite, it’s more than likely that campers will have a difficult time pegging the tent. This is another reason as to why having spare pegs in a tent repair kit. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine the state of the ground, especially with the ever-changing weather conditions.
Cooking Stove and Utensils
These items may not cross a camper’s mind when packing for a camping trip. A camping stove is an important part of any camping checklist, even more so for the first trip away. There are many reasons why a stove is a big part of camping for beginners, one of them being to boil water. Most beginner campers may be unsure about the water at the campsite, therefore, boiling it will be a safe option for them. Many will also want a day of relaxation in their tent and instead of wanting to go out to a local café, cooking their own food surrounded by friends and family.
Now, bringing cooking utensils goes hand in hand with a cooking stove. Every camping checklist in the UK has these two items together as it would be easier to pack both. Of course, when cooking at home you have utensils such as spatulas and ladles that are accessible. To make things easier for campers when cooking food and cleaning up, there are plastic utensils available for purchase.
We all need a good refreshing drink of water every now and then, so having a water carrier within your camping gear is important. For the most part, it could be quite a trek from your tent to the source of water every time. It also makes it easier for campers to store water when it’s needed for boiling or cleaning any dishes or cutlery that has been used.
Now, there are a range of water carriers out there, so choosing can be a little difficult. Choosing can also become difficult depending on how many people join you on the trip. In any case, having a fairly large carrier will be beneficial to most campers. This is so storing water in the tent will be more efficient as fresh water is on hand and helps save energy by not making frequent trips to the water tap.
Checklist for Camping Families
Some may think that a family camping checklist differs from a normal one. That actually, isn’t the case. Most camping gear that needs taking is mostly the same with a few changes. Below we take a look at a couple of items that are essential on the family checklist;
We all want to keep our little people entertained, regardless of where we go. Therefore, taking toys is mostly essential. Usually, they will come in handy when waiting for the weather to clear up. However, you can also take outdoor toys for kids in the sun during a relaxation day. Taking paint for rock painting or even a skipping rope is sure to keep the kids busy.
Kids love to get messy when exploring, whether it’d be in the rain or in forests. Thus, taking spare clothes is important on the camping checklist. Having spare clothes gives campers a sense of comfort because it squashes the worry of leaving their children in wet or dirty clothes during the remainder of the day.
Book of Campfire Stories
Everyone loves a good traditional campfire story. Whether you’re sat around an actual campfire or at the end of a sleeping bag there is never a better experience than seeing a child be engrossed in a story. That being said, campers can also encourage the children to tell their own campfire stories. With campfire storybooks and drawing pads available to purchase, having one or even both in your camping gear will serve for a good time.
Camping with Dogs
None of us enjoy leaving our pets at home, so camping can serve as a little holiday for you and your dog. It can serve as a great opportunity for those pooches who are active as long walks are always an option. However, there are a few things that dog owners must look for when preparing to take their four-legged companion on a camping trip.
Finding a Dog-Friendly Campsite
Campers must consider looking for a dog friendly campsite that caters for the furry friend. Not only this but also check weather conditions. As we know, dogs are most likely to suffer with heatstroke, so it’s important to see if the weather is suitable. Also check if there are any dog friendly activities that are available near or at the site as dogs deserve a break too. When looking at sites, take into consideration at looking for dog-friendly restaurants or pubs that are on the site.
Dog Centred Camping Gear
Next, campers have to make sure that dogs have the right camping gear too. For example, make sure the dog has their own first aid kit. I know, sounds strange but this is so they have the medication they need (if they are on any) as well as tweezers, antiseptic and bandage materials. Dogs will also need camping-safe bowls and plenty of food to last the duration of the trip as there’s nothing worse than a hungry pup.
Activities for to Keep Dogs Busy
Check out the activities around the campsite that dogs may enjoy! Camping in the UK is an extremely surreal experience due to being surrounded by gorgeous countryside to explore. Taking long walks and playing on the beach are two good ways to spend time with one another. Campers can also take their pooches paddle boarding for a cool fun in the sun activity.
What Should You Not Bring Camping?
We’ve looked at a few essential items for a camping checklist now let’s go through some items that shouldn’t be brought on a trip;
It sounds sounds strange but a few snacks are great to take with you to keep energy levels up. However, taking a hypothetical pantry isn’t a great idea. Not only will a lot of snacks take up a great deal of storage amongst your camping gear but there is a risk that wild animals may come for a visit. Though there is nothing wrong with taking a couple extra for a unplanned extra night.
Bringing glass bottles or any type of glassware camping is a big issue. If a glass bottle breaks not only is it difficult to clean up but can also cause damage to the tents and sleeping bags. Thus, leading to more gear damage and costly replacements. Always opting for metal and enamel dishes and cups makes for a safer camping trip without the worry of broken glass.
High Fashion Jewellery
Everyone wants to look good around friends and when going out. However, there is a risk of loosing expensive jewellery when pitching a tent or when taking a hike. It is advised to leave any expensive or high fashion at home where campers know where it is safe and not going to be ruined by wear and tear. Wearing comfortable clothes is also a must so worries about wear and tear are low.
What to Look For in A Campsite
Camping for beginners can be quite difficult. In any case, at the heart of a good camping trip is the campsite. Somewhere campers can pitch their tents and enjoy the view and the outdoors. First though, you have to choose the right campsite and what you want out of the experience. Research is a key fact when looking, but here are a few pointers into what to look for.
Parking may be a big one. Not all campsites allow for visitors to park next to their tent so most will have to make the decision of whether they want to make the short walk to their pitch. Therefore, double check what the requirements are before making a decision and seeing if there are more practical sites.
Check the Facilities
This one is more common sense but it is still very important. Not all campsites have a shower block or toilets on site. So, it is up to the camper whether they are okay without the norm shower and toilets or would like a shower and toilet block. There is also the consideration of a convenience store. This is so it’s easier to replace anything that is broken as well as fill up on anything that needs replacing, instead of going out of the way.
Every Campsite Appeals to Different People
Every campsite across the UK is different, therefore it’s even more important that campers research thoroughly. Creating a potential campsite list will support you in making a decision as well as determine what camping gear is needed. Even though if you choose one there is nothing stopping these campsites being future holiday destinations.
Glamping V Camping
Camping and Glamping are two very different experiences but there are advantages and disadvantages for both. Here, we’re are taking a deep dive into some of them for each experience.
Advantages of Camping
- Camping benefits your health. When camping you are constantly engaged in physical activity which also helps build stamina.
- It reduces stress. Camping provides a sense of relaxation as there is no rush to be at a destination and no one competing for attention.
- Development of skills. When out and about, camping serves as an opportunity to learn new skills. These can range from setting up a tent to cooking a new meal.
Disadvantages of Camping
- It can be costly. From the cost of tents and other camping gear to practical clothing that is made to protect from the outdoors.
- Insect invasions. As you are outdoors, you may get a few visits from the critters and end up with bugs bites. These can be treated with a first aid kit.
- Unsuspecting weather changes. As we all know the weather is forever changing from being sunny one moment to a downpour the next. There is nothing you can do to prepare except check the weather app and pack following the camping checklist.
Advantages of Glamping
- Glamping is accessible. Some glamping sites have outdoor kitchens as well as a bed so it feels like a home away from home.
- Can suit all budgets. Glamping sites have facilities and sites that can be suited to all budgets for all persons involved. But is also determined on how many people go
- Still get quality time outside. Those who love the outdoors still get the luxury of witnessing nature. Glamping can also serve as an introduction to the outdoor for those still wary
Disadvantages of Glamping
- The cost. Mainly depends on where you stay during your glamping trip some can be expensive depending on the amenities you want
- No sense of accomplishment. You don’t get to feel the pride of setting up your own tent
- Not as remote as camping. Unfortunately, there is a risk of seeing others during a relaxing trip.