Are you planning to go camping this summer? Have you been before or will it be your first time? We’ve just returned this week from our first proper camping trip as a family, and boy was it a learning experience! I’m glad we had a camping guide to help us.
Prior to going, we teamed up with halford’s who sent me their guide, The Ultimate UK ’16 Camping Guide: From tourist hotspots to touring essentials, to help make planning our trip easier.
If you’ve been camping before you may already have your own system of preparations…what to take, what you’ll eat, where you’ll go…but if you haven’t been before (or it’s your first time as a family) then you could need a little help to get you organised and on the road.
Camping should be fun, not something to be stressed out about. I’m a master of lists, I love them! Phil, however, does not. BUT, possibly for the first time, he’s made lists for camping, and I know he used this guide for his lists as he was caught out by using the same terms. I never thought I’d see my husband eagerly list-making!
Things To Do: Our Ultimate Camping Guide List
1. Research the area you’d like to visit. What is there to do? What will be open at the time of year you’ll be there? Are there plenty of family-friendly activities for everyone to enjoy? Walking, hiking, boating, sitting on the beach, playing outdoor games, activity parks; make sure you something for everyone.
2. Check out the weather at the time of year you’re planning to go (you don’t want to camp in Japan in June, for instance. The temperature is good, but it’s also rainy season and there may a risk of typhoons. Keep an eye on the forecast as your date approaches. Don’t forget your umbrella! Phil was a great sport and made homemade soda bread while sitting in the rain on Father’s Day!
3. Decide if you’re going to go for a ‘rough it’ or ‘glamp it’ experience. I roughed it when younger, so now I’d prefer to glamp. We had good airbeds and a little mini-fridge to help make our experience less rough. A picnic set with proper crockery and wine glasses also helped! My plan is to add something new each time so that we can enjoy the experience more. Simply turning a box on its side to create a bookshelf helps. Do you have any ideas on what you couldn’t live without for a glamping experience?
4. Make a budget so you know how much your trip will cost you. Camping isn’t always as inexpensive as you’d expect. Be sure to include any items you don’t already own in addition to the obvious expenses:
- sleeping bags
- camp stove and fuel
- camping pots
- site fees
- entrance fees for anywhere you’d like to visit
5. If it’s your first time camping you may not want to invest heavily in it. See if you can borrow or purchase second-hand equipment. We’re thankful to have family and friends that helped us out to make our first camping experience much better than it otherwise would have been….table, chairs, camp stove, and propane bottles made all the difference! Thank you!
6. Don’t forget to read through your halford’s Ultimate Camping Guide before you go (available only online) There’s information in there about where the best place to pitch a tent is (make sure your feet point downhill for a comfortable sleep), the difference between tents, what to pack for a festival, tourist hotspots, and where some of the best places to camp in Britain are. As well as that aforementioned list Phil used.
I spent some time relaxing each evening while writing post cards to friends and family around the world. And each day the children worked on a book they’re making about their camping experience. What was the weather like, what did they do, what did they see? This week we’ll add in some brochures and photographs to make it memorable to look back on.
7. Be sure to set up your tent at home first so that you know that everything is there and how it all fits together (and be sure to choose the right tent for you). You don’t want to be setting up your tent for the first time in inclement weather; it’s not fun. And I’d suggest taking a photocopy of the instructions with you….you guessed it-I just found our directions yesterday with our banking information (don’t ask how it got there). And if you need to make notes about how to put your tent up, write them down; you’ll certainly not remember next time!
8. Make a meal plan so you know what you’ll be eating, and what you need to pack or purchase along the way. Our meal plan wasn’t strictly followed – particularly when we took our lunch with us to eat out one day….and forgot to take a pot to cook it in! But just remember to go with the flow and enjoy the experience and funny memories! On this day Tristan’s drawing was of Phil looking like Frankenstein-green with anger and hunger – it was too funny!
9. Plan your route. Don’t just rely on your GPS as it may not function properly, depending on where you are going. We had a GPS with us on loan as a back-up, but we were into the wilds and it didn’t work. Fortunately, I paid attention in school and I love reading maps and we all watched the road signs and didn’t have any trouble getting around in unfamiliar territory. Old-school wins again!
10. Have a back-up plan. If the weather turn on you, if someone should become ill, or for any other contingencies. Have a plan but keep it flexible. If you’re camping with children, don’t forget to also plan for them. After all, if they’re not happy, you won’t be happy. Plan something each day just for them.
Our first week-long trip was very memorable, and I still haven’t looked at all of the photos I took during the week. From castles to fish and chips searched out in a town an hour’s drive away (because an elderly gentleman who stopped to chat to us on the sidewalk a few days before had said they have the best chips around and fresh fish), wondering if our tent would blow away during the night winds, not to mention the earwigs that came home with us in our equipment (yuck, yuckity yuck!), we have created memories to last us a lifetime.
You’ll find some of these ideas, plus many more in halford’s Ultimate Camping Guide. As you can see, it helped us get a good night’s sleep, decide what to pack, how to occupy the kids, and much more. We found it a useful guide, not only for first-timers like us, but overall it’s a handy little guide to hotspots around Britain.
Although this guide is called The Ultimate UK ’16 Camping Guide: From tourist hotspots to touring essentials, it doesn’t encompass all of the UK as Northern Ireland has been left out (if halford’s would like us to gather info on NI, we’re up for the task!). This was a little disappointing; we may not have huge festivals over here, but there are many places to camp in beautiful surroundings with plenty to do for the whole family, such as the ideas we’ve spoken about previously in Belfast, Newcastle, and Ballycastle.
Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by halford’s, but the text, opinions, and experiences were ours.