Okay, on a recent trip away a discussion around the campfire prompted this article.
Perhaps you have had a tent, headlamp and mattress for years but have never really used them or put together a full kit to actually go camping. With it being winter now, perhaps it is time to look at what you have and put together a good kit. We broke our kit into categories starting with the most important items; shop around and compare price and quality before you rush in;
A sleeping bag and mattress.
The price will determine whether you opt for down or synthetic as well as the conditions you intend camping in, your mattress could be a blow-up type which should never be fully inflated, a foam mattress or a sleeping pad – all are similarly priced but packing space is key to this purchase.
Group size will determine the choice here if you are a family of four, two tents may be better than one, look at the ease of pitching and whether you can comfortably stand and store luggage in the tent as well as things such as waterproofing and ventilation. Don’t buy a small hiking tent if you plan to spend a lot of time camping, they are designed to be portable and light but do not have much space.
Table and chairs.
Here there are numerous options, opt for a sizeable stable table that packs down well and look for chairs that can hold at least 120 Kg with a fold-out side table and possibly a pouch for books-these are important investments. A poor purchase here can be costly.
On this front, you will need to invest in items such as;
- Stove – a cooker, single gas hotplate or a dual fuel burner, check what suits you and look at space in your vehicle.
- Crockery – look for flat easy to clean plates, side plates, serving plates and mugs – melamine options are available.
- Cutlery, look at lightweight knives and forks and perhaps a multipurpose knife set.
- You will also need containers to decant items such as food, jams, milk and sugar. Remember square containers pack easier than round containers.
- Don’t forget pots and pans as well as a kettle. Also, look at a flask in case you want to take tea or coffee on an excursion.
Dependant on whether the camp has power look to getting a variety of rechargeable lamps, you will need them outside as well as in the tent. Look to a light that is free-standing yet can also hang.
Space is critical, look to other hi-tech options such as lightweight towels, perhaps a hammock for daytime relaxation and do not forget the essentials such as a tablecloth, matches, a lighter and firefighters.
In the absence of ablutions various shower options exist, some are expensive yet a simple canvas bag shower or a solar bag shower is more than adequate.
Planning is critical, meals should be planned and written down, in many places one is far away from shops to replenish supplies and in fact, one goes away to get away from malls and shopping. Lastly, arrive when there is still enough light to set up camp and when you leave take everything out with you — leave no trace of having been there.