Have you ever been camping? I think most people have at some point and as far as my friends go they are either in the love it or hate it camp. If you haven’t tried it before you should definitely give it go, at least then you will know which side you are on. I’m in the love it camp, having been camping since I was little it is a part of my life. We’ve been all over Scotland, Devon, Cornwall and France thanks to it. I’ve stayed in tents and also caravans when we were older. Attaching the awning to the side for more space we would sometimes camp out in it with friends, or even in a tent next to the caravan. As a teenager and in my early twenties I camped at Festivals and on holiday as a cheaper way of travelling to Newquay and Cornwall with friends. Camping has many benefits but can also have negatives, especially if you go unprepared, which is why I love The Ultimate Camping Guide by Halfords (It’s free). I really want to take the kids camping so they can experience it and as it’s been so long since I’ve done it, the guide is perfect to help me plan and make sure I’m ready to have the best time with them.
I wish I had read the beginners camping tips page from The Ultimate Camping Guide before heading off to Newquay with a friend. Actually maybe I should have got her to read it. I pitched my tent fine after practising in the garden before going, hers wasn’t so easy. Neither of us had any idea how it went up and she almost decided to just sleep in the open air after hours of trying to put it up. Facing it away from the wind and away from toilets are other great tips. When you go to a Festival unless you arrive in plenty of time, finding the perfect spot can be tricky but the Festival tips in the guide will help you to decide on what is best. I especially like the camping away from a walkway, I’ve seen drunk people fall on to tents walking past them and I wouldn’t have been too impressed getting woken up by that. Also all tents look the same after being out in the sun drinking all day. The tip about a flag or tying something to your tent so you can identify it would have been useful to know before I went the first time.
Excuse the blurry old photos and I don’t know why I’m so tanned!
I do remember one time when I was camping with friends and they thought it would be really funny to pull out the pegs for my tent and chuck them in the field, which was by the way, pitch black. It was also raining and so I woke up when the tent collapsed on my face. My one big tip would be to take a torch, wellies and a raincoat. Trying to scrabble around in a pitch black camping field, in flip flops and a hoody to put your tent back up after a few drinks is no fun! Even if you aren’t camping with annoying friends having these items will help in finding the toilet blocks in the night, or finding your tent in the fiels and well the wellies and waterproofs because we all know what the lovely British weather is like.
Some of the things that I love about camping are the ability to just pack up and go and explore somewhere new. It’s much cheaper once you have the gear than staying in a hotel. You get plenty of fresh air and a good tan with always being outside. You spend more time socialising without tv’s and other amenities. You talk to each other more, cooking together on the BBQ or camp stove, sitting together to eat and having a drink outside the tent in the evening. When I was little it was such an adventure, even using the big sinks to wash up in or walking to the shower blocks. Camping in France I loved the freedom of the campsites. Being able to ride my bike around, the activities I could do, the outdoor swimming pools. We would go to the bakery in the morning for fresh croissants and then sit outside in the sunshine eating them, a day stretching ahead of us filled with fun meaning we would sleep well at night. As a parent now I can see why my parents liked it. Hotel holidays mean you either have the kids up awake with you or you try and quietly tiptoe around the hotel room or whisper outside on the balcony if you have one. You don’t need to do this with camping. You also have much more freedom to do what you like when you like.
Writing this has brought back so many fond memories. I’m going to leave the camping guide for James to read. Then try and persuade him to try camping as unfortunately he’s in the no chance camp. Although I think he might try glamping.
Oh and one last favourite tip from The Ultimate Camping Guide is airbeds! I will just leave that one there, you are welcome!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.