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New to Camping Guide by The Glampers - Part 2
By Vango ambassadors, The Glampers
If you are reading this you are probably new to camping, or you may be a seasoned camper looking for some new ideas. We have shared our knowledge and expertise to create this guide to assist anyone new to the world of camping. Make sure to check out part 1 of our New to Camping series which covers choosing the right tent for you.
Always check the weather ahead, this can be very beneficial to you and the family, as pitching your tent in the rain is not a desirable experience. Furthermore, when it comes to packing up at the end of your stay it is best trying to avoid doing this in the rain or when your tent is wet, this will save you having to pitch the tent in your garden once you are home to dry it. It is also important to check the wind speed in the location you are camping as heavy gusts and crosswinds could damage your tent. Most weather forecast apps are pretty accurate these days with a 5 day advance cycle, so take advantage of this where you can.
Choose the right campsite for you
- Do you require electric hook up (EHU)?
- Are the pitches grassed or hard standing
- Are the pitches level and flat?
- Does the campsite have a shop and children's play area?
- What attractions are near the campsite?
- Does the campsite have a good shower and toilet block?
- Does it allow dogs, and if so is there a charge?
- Does it allow gazebos or shelters, and if so do they charge extra?
- Can you park your car next to your pitch? (most allow this but best to check)
- Are there any restrictions on campfires and fire pits?
These are just some of the points to consider when selecting your campsite.
Packing the car
Packing the car for camping can certainly be interesting at times. The term 'Car Tetris' is often used, as you may have to take things out or rearrange what you have already loaded to make other items fit, this is why we always recommend taking items that are collapsable and fold flat. As a good guide, start filling the point that you will unload last with the least essential items, and the items you will need first at the front. For example, your first items out will normally be your tent and groundsheet protector, so these should be easily accessible first.
Must-have accessories and storage
Depending on your camping style, you may consider different items to be must-haves and others as luxuries. We have listed some items which we consider as important on our camping trips.
Groundsheet Protector - this is the tarpaulin sheet that goes under your tent to protect the floor of your tent from the ground, it also plays a vital role in keeping your tent clean when rolling it to pack away. We would always recommend buying the specific groundsheet protector for your tent as this can help with pitching. Using one that is too big for your tent can cause water to pool underneath the tent if it rains.
Kitchen Unit and Cookware - We suggest that family camping trips must involve a kitchen unit and cooking equipment, and for us, these are standard must-have items. Here are some great options: https://www.vango.co.uk/gb/270-cookers
Carpet - Depending on your camping style, you may want some added luxury in the form of a fitted carpet for your tent, this will add a homely feel and make your tent warmer in the evenings. Vango offer carpets for most models in their range, see them here: https://www.vango.co.uk/gb/254-carpet
Lighting - When camping you want to make the most of the outdoors, especially at night (weather dependent of course). To keep you outside longer into the evenings, it's a good idea to bring some lighting options with you. https://www.vango.co.uk/gb/273-lights
Sleeping - Ensuring you get the best nights sleep possible when camping is very important and there are different items to help you achieve this. We delve into some options further down.
Seating - After a long day of adventures or travelling to the campsite and pitching up, you want to relax as much as possible and getting the right seating is key to this. With reclining chairs and inflatable sofas, there are many different options to keep the whole family happy: https://www.vango.co.uk/gb/265-chair
Heating - On chilly nights, you may want to use a camping friendly heater to keep you cosy. Vango has created the Radiate Heat Mat which keeps you warm using Graphene technology. Just plug in your power bank and you can use it to heat up your sleeping bag or on your chair to keep you warm.
The storage holdall
Some campers have a storage holdall which holds all their essential small items and we strongly recommend you do this too. The holdall stays packed constantly so that when we go camping everything is always there and ready. This prevents you from running around the day before or the morning of your trip throwing everything in a bag and risking leaving something behind. Our holdall stays packed with the following items:
- First aid kit
- Tent repair kit & duct tape
- Washing up liquid & cleaning products such as wipes
- Coffee, tea and sugar
- Cutlery (including the essential bottle opener!)
- Pots, pans, plates and plastic drinking glasses
- BBQ tools
- Stove toaster
- Spare gas cylinders
Pitching your tent for the first time
Pitching your tent for the first time can be fun, it doesn't have to be complicated or stressful. We recommend that you pitch any new tent in your garden prior to getting to the campsite, this will give you good practice at pitching.
Both AirBeam® and poled tents are pretty easy to pitch, and will always get easier the more practice you get. Pro tip - ensure the doors of your tent are open slightly when inlfating or putting the poles in, this will help prevent a vaccuum effect happening inside which can make it difficult to stand up. Additionally, make sure you know where you would like your tent entrance door to face before pegging out the corners, and check the ground for any sharp objects which may damage your groundsheet.
One of the most important parts of any camping trip is sleep and relaxation. Here are a few of our tips to help you sleep better in the great outdoors:
- Choose the right bed! The choices are great, you may prefer a high rise airbed so that you feel like you are at home, or you may decide on a SIM (self-inflating mat) which are very comfortable and reliable. Or you may decide to go old style and invest in a camp bed with a sleeping bag on top.
Consider ear plugs and an eye mask, these are a great way to prevent waking up early to sunlight rays or cows in a nearby field.
Look into tents with darkened bedrooms, but ensure they are still breathable.
Your sleeping bag is also important depending on the season you camp. You can buy different TOGs of thickness depending on your preference, or you could choose to take a quilt and pillows from home.
Always ensure that all of your tent ventilation points are open during the night, this will ensure good circulation of fresh air throughout the tent, reduce condensation and aid in a better sleep throughout the night.
We hope this guide will help you, whether its your first camping trip or just some new tricks to try.
The Glampers x