Camping. It has quite a reputation. For some, it’s the only way to experience the great outdoors. For others, it’s a cold, wet, miserable nightmare. The question is: where have the second group of people gone wrong?
There’s a reason why the Boy Scouts motto is Be Prepared! When it comes to camping you need to get your gear sorted. Having the right equipment can mean the difference between a great experience and simulating poverty. That means reading camping equipment reviews and choosing the right gear.
Invest In A Portable Kitchen
You don’t want to be eating endless bowls of porridge whilst you’re camping. You want something you can really get stuck into and enjoy. Now, I know what you’re thinking, a portable kitchen sounds expensive and over the top. But it’s not.
A portable kitchen can be as simple as having a long table with an area for chopping and somewhere to put the hob. It just means that you’re able to cook with fresh ingredients from scratch. Nothing beats bean fajitas made with freshly chopped peppers and onions after a long hike or bike ride.
Stoves Have Come A Long Way
Unless you’re into survival, don’t bother cooking with an open fire. They’re unwieldy and you’re unlikely to get a meal out of the other end that’s both cooked and edible.
Invest in a gas stove. Or better still, use an eco-friendly stove that uses coconut shell charcoal and packs away neatly. Using one of these is easier and you’ll get a better meal out of the end of it. Use your fire to keep warm in the evenings instead.
Use A Headlamp
Have you ever tried unzipping your tent door with a torch in one hand? It’s nearly impossible. Using a headlamp allows you to have both hands free whilst you move about in the dark and can improve the camping experience.
Most headlamps come with rechargeable batteries, are weather resistant and are washable.
Get A Pantry
This one falls under the aegis of the portable kitchen, I suppose. But I can’t ignore just how useful one of these can be on a trip. Having somewhere to keep and organise all your food is extremely helpful, and stops tins from taking up valuable tent space.
Portable pantries can be easily assembled when you get to your destination. And because they have shelves, you can stack your food vertically, out of the way, just as you do at home.
Shield Yourself From The Elements
Modern tent designs are vastly improved over the designs of just a few years ago. And far easier to set up. You want to make sure that you have a tent that requires you to put the outside part up first.
Some older designs dictated that you had to first construct the inner and then drape the outer canvas on afterwards. This is no good. There will be times when you have to set up camp in the rain, and if you have to put up the inner first, you’ll be sleeping in a puddle.
A cold camping trip is a miserable camping trip. Even in the summer temperatures at night can plummet in exposed areas. But there is a lot of choice of sleeping bags out there. Some of the best come with a centre zipper. This is a real boon if you need to get up in the night. There should be less fumbling about in the dark for a zipper you’re probably sleeping on top of in a traditional bag.
Also, make sure that your bag is the right warmth for the season. If it’s going to be very cold when you go camping, some manufacturers will actually include a little pouch at the bottom of the bag for a hot water bottle.
I can’t think of a situation where you wouldn’t want a camping chair, except for perhaps the most relentless of survival missions. If you forget one of these, which is easy to do, you’ll be endlessly jealous of everybody else at the campsite. Even if you’ve gone on your own fishing, standing for hours is not ideal.
If you haven’t bought one of these yet, make sure it folds up, and make sure it’s made from tough nylon fabric. Good chairs tend to come with cup holders too, so you can enjoy a cold beer without worrying about it falling over on the uneven ground.
Now you’re all set for an amazing night around the campfire, with great people and great conversation. Once you’ve mastered the basics, your camping trip will take on a life of its own.