There’s something quite magical about sleeping under canvas. Closeness to nature, seeing the moon shining through the tent, hearing owls hooting in the trees and breathing nature’s earthy scent… these small things which we take for granted in our everyday lives are somehow more appreciated on a camping holiday.
But there are also practical reasons for choosing a camping holiday. The cost, for one; despite an initial outlay for a tent, sleeping bags and other gear, equipment will usually last for many years without needing replacement, so camping holidays will typically be reasonably priced. A night at a campsite can cost as little as £5, while a room in even a modest hotel can cost ten times as much.
Then there’s the flexibility and freedom of packing up and moving to another location, and deciding whether it’s a survival-style trip with only the bare minimum of equipment, or an altogether more luxurious holiday with a huge tent, inflatable beds and anything else that can be squeezed into the boot of the car. Who can deny that there’s something extremely appealing about following your own schedule and experiencing more of the great outdoors? You can start your holiday in Snowdonia, finish it at Loch Ness, stop at the Lake District and the Pennines along the way – all the while, never having to sleep in someone else’s sheets…
Whatever form your camping trip is likely to take – hiking with everything squeezed into one rucksack, cycling with your gear squished into panniers, or driving with a packed trailer attached to the car – there are certain bits of kit that will make your camping holiday that bit easier. Here’s a selection of our favourites.
One of the most useful things you can take with you on a camping trip is a multi-tool, which combines a variety of tools in one small package – much like a Swiss army knife.
The True DogTag Tool TU30 comes with a neck chain and a key chain to make sure it doesn’t get lost. Measuring just 5cm, the True DogTag Tool TU30 includes useful tools including tweezers, a bottle opener, a knife, a screwdriver and a bright white LED light – so finding your way back to your tent at night won’t be a problem.
If you’re planning a full-on survival experience then a useful tool to take on your trip is the hand powered chainsaw, which despite being light and compact and operated purely by hand, can cut through a three-inch diameter tree limb in 20 seconds.
Heat and light
Even during the summer, evenings can be cold and dark, so make sure you take reliable sources of heat and light on your camping trip.
The Cyba-lite LED Lantern is perfect for camping trips. Battery powered, the lantern weighs just 158g and is only 13cm high – yet with its convex lens and 0.5w bright white LED, the Cyba-lite LED lantern will provide ample light, either standing in its base or with the base inverted to create a hanging torch.
Lighting a fire to keep warm at camp is not always easy, especially if you can’t find any decent kindling. So why not take your own kindling with you? Maya Fire Lighting Dust is made from shavings of a fatwood pine which has an 80% resin content – just strike sparks into the dust to get flame. Maya Fire Lighting Dust is neatly contained in 7cm diameter waterproof packaging, produces an extremely hot flame, and is completely natural.
Cooking and eating
Even if you’re staying at a campsite with lots of amenities, you probably won’t want to eat at restaurants every day – it can be very expensive, for a start. But if you’re trying to travel light, cooking and eating utensils – and food – can very quickly weigh you down.
Thankfully, there are some excellent lightweight cooking and eating utensils and specialist foods which are ideal for travelling light, and which use very little space in your rucksack.
The Camping Meal Kit is a set of polycarbonate and polypropylene utensils, which all pack away neatly into the largest dish which measures just 19cm x 19cm x 5.5cm. Included in the kit is a spill-free cup with lid, two plates, a combined colander and cutting board, a small waterproof box, and a spork (a spoon-knife-fork combined into one handy tool).
If you’re likely to find yourself miles from civilisation, stock up on lightweight food before you set off, which will provide the nutrition and energy you need for your trip without weighing a ton in your backpack. Backpacker’s Pantry has created an excellent range of freeze-dried meals in lightweight packets, which contain enough food for two people. Simply add boiling water and then enjoy a meal of spaghetti in sauce, Pad Thai, spicy chilli or a variety of other delicious recipes.