Camping in the UK can seem somewhat of an ordeal. You look forward to it, you buy more than the necessary tools and equipment but, you always find something that’s not quite on your side – mainly the weather. When I was sent the Halfords camping guide it got me thinking about my past experiences. I’ve had quite a vast array of experiences camping over the years.
If I think back as far as my childhood, I remember taking the ferry and camping in the south of France with my family. When we were little me and my sisters all loved being outside, so camping was perfect. More recently I have experiences festival camping, wild camping in Wales Brecon Beacons and most recently, camping in Wittering.
All are very different experiences entirely but all very valuable and, surprisingly, you learn all the essentials stay the same. I’d like to add that I am someone who very much likes home comforts. I’m not really at one with nature (as much as I like to think I am) and I definitely prefer having shower facilities guaranteed wherever I stay!
Festival camping brings its own challenges, you have to try and find a pitch by your friends, pack stylish outfits for every weather scenario possible and try and bring food and drink that lasts 3 days. Ultimately your tent is just a place to sleep. Not much is based around the camp site except sleeping. When you are at a festival you want a big enough tent for supplies and preferably one which you can stand up in. We have one that has 3 individual sleeping pods and a tall open centre so everyone can stand up, a bit like this one in Halfolds. If you are taking a tent this big to a festival, get there early though as space soon goes.
My experience of wild camping in Wales was completely different to my festival going days. Walking boots, waterproofs and big rucksacks holding all of your belongings for 3 days, there’s something you wouldn’t see at V Fest! Setting up and packing down your tent once is hard enough but when you have to do that every day it’s extremely tiring. Now, our trip to the Brecon Beacons was actually a trek through them while wild camping so, we needed proper equipment and supplies to eat, sleep and drink for 3 days. It’s always worth investing in good equipment but, especially for a trip like this! And you need a completely different kind of tent for this kind of trip, one that is compact, doesn’t weigh a lots and is very easy to put up and down. We went for a compact 3 sleeper with a little outside space to keep our walking boots in.
Now, camping that’s less extreme and more common with friends and family is something I don’t do regularly. But, I went on a family camping trip to West Wittering last year and loved it. We found a local family run campsite close to the beach and the Chichester Harbour Conservation area. This was again only a long weekend away so we opted for a similar 6 man tent with a central standing height area in the middle. With the campsite being part of a farm and within walking distance to the beach it was a great location for all. West Wittering is a lovely area with a few fab restaurants and pubs that are perfect for lunch or dinner.
Having said all of the above, it may sound like camping is something I do regularly but that’s not the case. The above is all spread over 25 years! And if you hadn’t guessed already, I am quite a girly girl now. So I would like to share a few of my must-have essentials for camping survival.
Camping Survival Checklist:
- The right tent, cosy sleeping bag and if you can, an airbed is great
- Camping chair for evening lounging by the fire
- Several torches
- Gas cooker and kettle – essential for the morning cup of tea
- BBQ if you are camping in the summer, ideal for roasting marshmallows
- Wellies are always compulsory
- Blankets to snuggle in by the fire
- Wipes, all kinds of wipes! Face wipes, baby wipes and antibac wipes. Never underestimate the power of wipes.
- Waterproof jacket as you can never be too sure what the English weather will do
- Spare bags for rubbish
- Pack of cards for night time fun
- Toilet roll
- Dry Shampoo
- Enough sweet and savoury snacks for all times of the day
I would love to hear about anyone else’s camping memories and if you have any tips please do let me know!