This photo was used under the Creative Commons license curtsey of Flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/vinni/4308268373/
I love camping and no matter which country I’m in as long as I’m outside then I’m as happy as a pig in muck, sometimes quite literally. However, as with all adventures, preparation is the key and if you’re planning on getting back to nature this year then I’ve set out the essential list below that you should certainly consider before you set off.
Very easy to forget for the novice camper however, come the night, a torch may well prove to be one of the most vital pieces of kit that you possess. From midnight toilet treks to investigating nocturnal noises, the humble torch, battery or energy generated, is your friend, guide and easily secreted stowaway and vital for any camping expedition.
Even if you’re going on an organised youth or summer adventure camp, carrying your own knives, forks, plates and cups is always a good idea, especially from a health perspective. It’s often difficult to thoroughly clean cooking items whilst camping so using your own may well prove to be a more hygienic method of staying safe from unwanted illnesses.
Spare pegs and mallets
Woe betides the camper who fails to secure their tent correctly due to a lack of equipment. You’ll never regret taking extra pegs and a sturdy mallet because nine times out of ten the pegs that you do have are going to get bent due to hard ground. Even if you don’t use them yourself, you can guarantee that someone on site will be after a mallet and, as we all know, sharing is what camping’s all about!
You know that useless sack of plastic carriers that you’ve got taking up kitchen cupboard space? Well, here’s your chance to finally put them to good use as opposed to consigning them to land fill. From dirty plates and wet clothing to general waste and carrying firewood, plastic bags make exceptional re-cycled reciprocals no matter what your situation.
Woolly hat and socks
Even if it’s a boiling hot summer’s day and there’s not a cloud in the sky this doesn’t mean that you’re going to experience a lot hot summer’s night. We lose the majority of warmth from our head and feet so if you want to stay warm and avoid colds and other illnesses it’s wise to pack your thermal underwear because catching a chill at camp could prove disastrous.
Waterproof jacket and trousers
Weather can change in an instant, especially in the UK and France, so carrying a fold-up pair of waterproof trousers and coat can ensure that you keep warm and dry in the event of an unexpected downpour. These days ‘cags-in-bags’ can fold up to an extremely small size and although they may not look the most fashionable you’re sure to appreciate their qualities once the heavens open.
Fold-up water container
Chores are always necessary at camp and no matter whether you’re on an organised youth camp or an individual hiking trip, fetching and carrying water is just something that you have to do. These days there are plenty of soft plastic containers that will fit neatly into a backpack and can hold gallons of water at a time – perfect for washing, cooking and making a cuppa no matter how far you are from the tap.
Lumpy, bumpy ground can make for an uncomfortable night’s sleep and back pain is the last thing that you want if you’re undertaking a day hike the morning after. Polly-rolls are lightweight and easy to carry and can usually fit neatly underneath most backpacks using the straps provided. They’re also great for just lounging around in the day time if you want to avoid damp or wet grass.
Although not advisable to use near a tent, some kind of fire making equipment is essential for a quick and easy option if you’re not familiar with rubbing two sticks together. Of course, dampness will quickly put pay to standard matches so keeping your fire-making equipment in a plastic bag or specially marked tin box is the best idea for storage.
From digging out stubborn pegs and stones to creating a cess pit or hole for biodegradable waste, carrying a trowel in your backpack is a splendid idea and will often come in handy when you least expect it. Make sure that you’re buying a quality trowel as opposed to a cheaper, plastic option because you don’t want to start digging a water trench in the middle of the night only for your trowel to break within a couple of minutes.
Biog: Nicola is just about to undertake an adventure camp trek along the South Downs Way to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research.