Camping tips & tricks UK
With summer on it’s way and things looking brighter and clearer, there is no better time to go on that camping trip you always wanted to, and we’ve got some of the best tips for camping to share with you.
If you’re thinking of taking your dog along, we’ve got some things you’ll need to know about taking your dog with you camping!
With lots of different gear and equipment available, it can feel a little intimidating trying to figure out what you need and what you don’t. After years of camping, you get to know what you need and what you don’t so we’ve put together this guide to share what we’ve learned.
- Plan for all weathers
- Pre plan each day, especially if you’re camping with kids
- Make sure you make a packing list before you leave
- Keep a first aid kit with you
✅ Camping tips and tricks UK
In this first section of our guide, we want to focus on helping all the beginners out there, by offering camping trips to help ensure your first time camping isn’t your last time.
- Always Check the Weather and Plan for the Worst – we all know that the British weather, even during the height of summer, is temperamental at best. That’s why you should always plan and have a back-up plan if the weather is bad. If you’re happy venturing out in the rain, some waterproofs are a good idea, as are plastic bags to keep wet clothes in until you’re able to dry them
- Plan Activities and Trips in Advance – it’s likely that you will want to venture out from the wilderness from time to time during your camping trip. Whether it’s for essential supplies, to tour the local area or take in some landmarks and tourist attractions, it’s best to have a pencilled in a schedule so you can fit everything you want to do into your trip
- Create a Packing List – this is crucial. There is nothing worse than reaching your destination at some camping grounds in the middle of nowhere only to discover that you’ve forgotten something very important. In the next section, we give some hacks for packing your car for camping. Read on for a list of camping essentials
- Don’t Go Too Far Away for Your Camping Adventure – Although you may be tempted to head off as far up north into the great unknown as you possibly can, on your first time camping it’s best to pick a campsite relatively close to your home. Not only will it help to ease you into the camping way of life, if you forget anything or run out of supplies, but you can also easily sneak back home and collect them or restock
✅ Packing the Car for Camping
For many people, the worst thing about going camping is packing, because there is soooo much to do. However, it doesn’t need to be quite the nightmare that a lot of people make it out to be if you’re properly prepared. In the next section of our guide, we are going to look at some great hacks for packing your car so it’s ready for camping.
- Give Yourself Enough Time to Get Sorted – Don’t leave everything to the last minute, because if you have a set time that you are planning to set off, you will just rush and make mistakes trying to get on the road.
Give yourself an adequate amount of time to properly plan out your list and then pack up your car without feeling rushed to do so. If you know you have everything and it’s just a matter of putting it all into your car, you could even just leave it to the night before you leave.
- Familiarise Yourself with Your Vehicle – you need to assess your car and work out how much space you have and anyways you can extend the amount of space you have. Some cars, when you rearrange the seating can offer more storage space. Is there under-floor cargo space? Are there things in your car that don’t need to be in it that could free up some space for more important items?
- Pack in a Methodical Manner – once you have everything packed up in their various backpacks, bags and boxes that you intend to bring with you, lay it all out close to your car. You need to arrange the stuff into the order of importance, ensuring that the things you need first when you arrive at the campsite, are on top and to the front and easy to access. It will not help you set up your tent quicker if the tent and all the fixtures you need are stored right down at the bottom of your car boot!
- Where Possible, Leave All Unnecessary Tech at Home, But DO Pack Entertainment – there is no denying that in our modern-day and age we rely on our technology, particularly those devices that fit into our hands and pockets.
A camping trip should be an escape from all that technology and an excuse to get in touch with nature.
It is a lot harder to enjoy the natural world and the great outdoors when your face and those of your children are glued to their smartphones and tablets, so where possible, tell your kids and other people coming along on the trip that you are leaving non-essential tech behind. That said, do take a charged phone out with you if you’ve venturing far from camp in case of emergencies.
Do bring along other forms of entertainment though, like board games, especially travel editions and at least one or two sets of cards. Trust us, when it is wet and you don’t want to leave the relative warmth and comfort of your tent, you will thank me that I told you to pack those kinds of rainy-day items 🙂
- Soft Gear Will Pack Tighter – Trying to pack up your car boot can feel a bit like playing Tetris, where you need to find all those little available spaces for the last few things. It’s worth noting therefore that softer parts of your camping gear, such as sleeping bags and soft pack duffels will pack tighter and better fit into those oddly shaped spaces that always seem to be left when you have packed your car almost to the brim.
- Pack Some Foldable Furniture – It’s amazing the huge difference having portable foldable furniture can make to the whole camping experience. You won’t need to sit on the ground or groundsheet of your tent the whole time and if you bring along a little table, you can even eat around it for a mealtime experience that feels like home outdoors.
✅ Handy Camping Ideas
In addition to the sections above, we thought it would be a good idea to give you some handy camping ideas, ranging from tips for activities you can do and other useful tricks all veterans wished they knew the first time they went away.
- Make Sure You Understand the Campsite Rules Fully Before You Read – We can’t stress this enough. You could get your camping trip off to a disastrous start, or worst still, you may have to turn around and head back home, if you don’t know what you can and can’t do at the campsite you’ve chosen to stay at.
- Set Aside an Area at Your Camp for Hand Washing – sleeping under the stars in a tent in the middle of nowhere is no excuse for not trying to be hygienic. To give your setup another feeling of home, create a handwashing area close to the area where you are going to cook and then you won’t need to always go to the facilities on site. Another great option is to pack some hand sanitiser, which is not a replacement for soap and water, it will help you stay cleaner than without.
- Make a Meal Plan or Menu Before You Go – rather than waiting until you arrive to try your luck with cooking on a portable gas stove or whatever cooking appliance you choose to invest in, trial it at home first. It’s also a good idea to buy all the ingredients for a set meal plan or menu for the whole time you are away. Then you will be more organised when it comes to mealtimes.
✅ Camping Hacks with Kids
It can be a great experience for your kids, and you to as well to be honest, taking them camping. That’s when you have planned out things properly. To help make it as great an experience for all involved, try making use of some of these camping hacks for kids.
- Make Sure your Kids Have Something To Do While You Unpack/Pitch Up – the last thing you need after you arrive at the campsite and are about to start unpacking the car and pitching the tent, is your kid’s grumbling, moaning and generally getting in the way. Avoid your kids from getting bored while the grownups do the important things by giving them something to do. If you have older children, you can enlist their help for some jobs and could plan some interesting and fun activities for your younger kids to take part in.
- Take a First Aid Kit – This could really fit into any section of this guide, but as kids are forever tripping up, touching plants they shouldn’t be touching and getting stung, we figured it was best to stick it in the kid’s section. Never leave home for a camping trip without a fully stocked and comprehensive first aid kit. Hopefully, you won’t need to open and use it at all, but having it can offer some peace of mind.
- Pack Plenty of Water and Snacks – it’s hard enough driving for long journeys on your own, let alone with the whole family in the car. So in addition to making sure you’ve got food planned out for the whole camping trip, have some food handy for the car journey too.
✅ Camping essentials – packing list
There are some things you need to have when you’re camping, and some things that will just make your life way easier. We’ve broken these lists into cooking, weather and tents so they’re easier to go through.
Cooking – however long you’re camping for, you’re going to need to eat at some point!
- Camping cooker – if your campsite allows for open fires then you can cook on this, however some don’t, in which case you’ll need a camping cooker to cook on
- Lighters or matches – often forgotten but much needed, if you’re wanting to start a camp fire, these are essential!
- Cooking utensils – knives, forks and spoon, wooden spoons for cooking and tongs to get food off the fire
- Cool box – depending on how long you’re camping for and if you’ve decided to take food for the whole trip (it’s good idea!) you’re going to need a way to keep some of the food cool
- Kettle – cup of tea in the morning? You’ll need a kettle, or at least a pan!
- Kitchen towel – for a general clean up, spills and doubling up as napkinsRubbish bags
- Bottle opener – after a long day outside, a warm evening outside is the perfect time for a beer or glass of wine
Tent – tents are great, but they’re not always the most comfortable places to sit and sleep in, but there are some things you can take to make it a little comfier.
- Sleeping bags – An absolute essential, not only to keep you warm at night but for comfort. Get a thickish one, you can always sleep on top of it, but it’ll protect you from an uneven ground and get you a good nights sleep!
- Pillows – Take a few more than usual, they’ll feel thiner than they do on your bed when they’re straight onto the ground
- Sleeping mats – These are great for giving you a bit of extra padding under your sleeping bag. They’ll also protect against any moisture on the ground
- Air beds – If you really don’t fancy sleeping on the ground, an airbed will make sure you don’t feel a single lump or bump. Just make sure you pack an air pump 🙂
Weather – never being able to rely on the weather means you need to be prepared for anything.
- Waterproofs – waterproof jackets and trousers will do you well if you’re out and get caught in a downpour. Wellies are also a good idea and if they get very muddy, leave them outside your tent overnight. Just make sure you turn them upside down in case it rains!
- Dry clothes – have some clothes you keep only for inside the tent so you’re never waiting for clothes to dry before you can out them on
- Gloves – your hands are often the first to feel the cold, take some lightweight gloves even if it’s summer, especially if you’ve got small children’s hands to hold or dogs to keep near you
- Sunscreen – don’t get caught exploring in the sunshine without sunscreen! There’s often no shade in the great outdoors, sunscreen will help you avoid a very uncomfortable night
- Slippers – keep these in the tent, it can get chilly at night and you might be glad of something to keep your toes warm!