Camping for the first time can be a daunting experience. So many questions are bound to buzz around your head. What products do I need? Where do I go? What if it rains? But there's no need to panic, as we have an array of guides to help you out! We've put together a few tips to help you get started.
Do your research
Spontaneity is all well and good but that can all start once you've arrived, pitched up and settled. Find out beforehand how to get to your location and the best places to pitch. Visit the website of your chosen campsite and check out the amenities on offer, this way you'll know exactly what to bring with you. It's also beneficial to visit review websites to get a good idea of what to expect upon arrival.
Don't know where to go? Here's a few of our favourite UK campsites
Test your equipment before you leave home
After you’ve bought a new tent you should always practice pitching it at home before your trip. This way you'll not only save time by figuring out how it should be done, but you'll also discover any faults or damage that may have can occurred. You should also test any electronics out, such as lighting equipment, as well as any airbeds you plan on taking to check for punctures. The last thing you want is to find faults when you're in the middle of no where!
When loading your car make sure you always pack your tent last so it is the first thing you get out when you get there. In the same vein pack the less important stuff first. The same goes if you're packing everything into a rucksack. Plastic containers with lids are also ideal for any food as a bit of rain will destroy any cardboard.
Don't arrive too late
It's unlikely you’ll get the best spot at the campsite if you arrive too late in the day. Get there early to be sure you won't get stuck by the toilets or at the bottom of a hill. Nobody wants to wake up being surrounded by a puddle from the douwnpour in the night. Arriving at night is also a big no no as pitching a tent in the dark can be a nightmare (pun intended).
Choose your pitch wisely
Find a fairly level patch to pitch your tent (a slight incline is ok) and remove all stones and sticks beforehand. They aren't just uncomfortable to sleep on but can damage your tent or groundsheet. If you aren't sure whether a space is large enough for your tent simply lay out your groundsheet, if there is enough room with space on all sides then it should be ok. DO NOT pitch at the bottom of a hill, under a tree, by a power line or next to hedges.
Don't rely on a campfire for your meals
A campfire is often the highlight of a camping trip and something many beginners look forward to most. However, it is important not to rely on them when it comes to meal times. They can take ages to build if you’re not an expert, especially if you want it to be sufficient for cooking. Rain and wind can also spoil your plans. The best idea is to bring a stove for cooking your meals, and then once you're no longer hungry, build a campfire to sit around and roast marshmallows for dessert. Lovely!
Ensure you have sufficient lighting
Speaking of the dark, always make sure your have enough lighting equipment. A cheap torch and a campfire just isn't enough. Lanterns and headlamps are a must. Lanterns will give you 360° light and headlamps are great when you want to keep both of your hands free, making tasks much easier. Don't forget to always take spare batteries. We have a great range of lighting equipment available, as well as a handy guide to camping lanterns to help light up your life.
Always take spare tent pegs, guy ropes and tent poles as you never know what might decide to break at the wrong time. It can be a nightmare when something breaks half way through your trip, so be prepared.
Pack away all food and litter at night
It might be tempting to clean up in the morning after a late night but leaving out food and litter can attract foxes, insects and other pests. At the end of your trip you should leave no trace that you were there. Always leave your pitch how you found it.