Campers fall into two camps. Bear Grylls action-types, who can survive on one match and a sleeping bag made of leaves...and the rest of us. Packing for your camping trip can be an adventure in itself, so be sure to make a comprehensive list and leave plenty of time to complete the task.
Even Jamie Oliver could have a meltdown cooking on a camping stove. Take a good non-stick pan and plenty of tinned food. It's not the healthiest form of cuisine, but a tin of beans is quick and filling, especially in a force 10 gale.
A cool box packed with goodies is good for a few days, but for anything longer than that, you may need to make a shopping trip. The park wardens will re-freeze your ice packs if you ask, and you can buy milk, bacon, eggs and butter from the local shop.
Don't forget cutlery, crockery, Tupperware and tin openers. And perhaps the most important object: a corkscrew. Trying to bite the cork out of a wine bottle is notoriously difficult.
Clothing and bedding
Chattering teeth, goosebumps and chilblains – even in summer, camping can be cold. Take a stockpile of fleeces, pyjamas, thick socks, waterproofs and blankets.
Night time temperatures plummet in the countryside – when was the last time you saw an owl in a bikini? If space allows, bring duvets instead of sleeping bags. Much more toasty. Pack hot water bottles for everyone – once you get cold at night, it's impossible to get warm again, no matter whose sleeping bag you climb inside.
You can be forgiven for not showering every day when camping: after all, shower blocks can be cold, dismal places, often with long queues at peak season. A packet of baby wipes is the ideal solution. Don’t forget soap, shampoo, toothpaste and loo roll either.
Nothing puts a dampener on a camping holiday like heavy rain and gales, so when the weather closes in, it's time to look for indoor attractions, like museums, arcades and swimming pools. Or, if you'd rather stay under canvas, pack a few board games, toys, a portable DVD player or a laptop. Pogo sticks and Frisbees are a bad idea inside a tent.
Who forgot the tent pegs?
Fitting all the gear, including tent, airbeds, cooking equipment, food and clothes into a car takes time and patience, and it can be tempting to rush if you’re short on time. Plan well ahead, and once again, keep your list close at hand. There’s nothing worse than driving miles to your destination and realising you’ve forgotten something vital, like tent pegs. But being as you’re a well-prepared camper now, a nightmare like that would never happen, right?
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