Beginners Guide to Camping
From what to pack to how to cope. Covering the basics from travelling to the equipment and clothes you need to campsite cookery and games to keep you occupied when it rains.
Time to dust down the tent and embrace the great outdoors. Whether you're glamping or enjoying a simpler way of life for a week, here’s all you need to know about camping like a pro.
Because you’re probably taking everything including the kitchen sink (or at least the washing up bowl) you may need a bigger car than usual. Taking advantage of Europcar’s great range of cheap van hire options means you’ll have room for the family and all your gear. Heading on an overnight or weekend camping trip and travelling light? There are loads of fantastic offers on Virgin East Coast and South Western Railways which would allow you to pitch up in some of Britain’s most beautiful spots, from the Cornish coast to the Yorkshire Dales and gain extra Nectar points while you’re at it.
Choosing your tent
A tent is the one bit of camping kit that it would be difficult to live without. And if you thought all tents were created equally, think again. The choice is huge and varied, so think about your requirements – how many people will be sleeping in it? Do you want separate rooms? A porch? Do you want full on luxury or cosy and basic (which as a bonus are super easy to put up)?
So, you’ve got a roof over your head sorted. What else do you need? The days of heating a can of baked beans over a single camping stove are long gone. Disposable barbecues are great, or upgrade to a four-hob portable stove (that makes cooking up a feast in a field super easy.
An inflatable mattress will mean a comfortable night’s sleep even if you have pitched up on a pile of rocks, while a good quality sleeping bag that is suitable for the temperatures you'll be camping in will keep the inevitable night time chill off.
Whirl away the evenings around the campfire in style with a comfy camping chair (yes, they do exist).
And don’t forget a headtorch – a camping 101.
What to eat
Campsite cooking isn’t all about marshmallows and fire-baked jacket potatoes (although absolutely those things too). Planning is key, you don’t want to be running out of food when you’re in a field in the middle of nowhere. Keep your campfire cooking simple, practical and easily grilled. And have a backup pub for that inevitable downpour!
Where to pitch
Get your site wrong and you risk getting washed away or finding yourself in the morning crumpled at the bottom of a hill. Here are some tips on choosing the best spot:
- Pitch up close to the amenities – but not too close! Nasty smells and noise from queuing campers could spoil your stay
- Check out your neighbours and try and match them to your requirements. A quiet couple may not welcome a large family group pitching up nextdoor
- Choose flat ground and stay clear of indents in the ground where water can gather
- The best pitches have hedges, bushes, fences or walls to provide shelter from the wind and any noisy (or nosey) neighbours
Now you’re all set for an outdoor adventure – whether it’s a night, a weekend or a fortnight in a field. Just watch out for those cow pats.