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Camping Top Tips

1. Choose the right tent. You don’t have to spend a fortune but like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Don’t risk having a miserable time because you have bought the cheapest tent in the shop. 

2. Never buy a tent without seeing it pitched
Find a retailer that has their tents on display. This allows you to get an idea of how they are pitched, and gives you a real sense of the space and headroom available. Beware – some different manufacturers have very different ideas about the number of people a tent can comfortably accommodate.

3. Make sure you have enough living space
For group, family and festival camping shared communal areas or ‘living space’ is extremely useful for storage, cooking, eating and socialising. Tent ‘berth ratings’ only tell you how much sleeping space there is, amounts of living space can varying greatly. Look for models with additional central areas or enclosed porches, or you could think about buying a larger tent and using a bedroom for living space. A final solution could be to buy a gazebo or tarpaulin to give you extra sheltered space outside, which you’ll appreciate if you’re cooking in bad weather.

4. Always trial pitch your tent before going away
Arriving late and tired at a campsite, to pitch an unfamiliar tent in the dark is not recommended. Trial pitching in the garden or a local park avoids this, and gives time to check for missing parts and faults. Even those taking tents they have used before should at least unpack them to check components before departure.

5. Make lists
Even experienced campers can forget the odd important item out of the dozens that must be packed. Items like bin bags, loo roll, pillows, insect repellent and baby wipes all make life much more pleasant, yet are often forgotten.

6. Plan your meals
Arranging tasty, yet simple camping meals requires a little forethought. Choose quick and simple recipes that can be prepared with minimal equipment and, where possible, with non-perishable ingredients. Also check for other eating options, both on sites and at local eateries. Why not bring meals that you can heat up quickly or freeze a few main meals and keep them in a cool box / bag?

7. Don’t try to cook anything fancy on your first night on the campsite. Have something easy to heat up or better still pick up a takeaway on your journey or eat out. There is enough setting up to do without worrying about cooking!

8. Allow lots of extra time for packing and travel
Hurrying your packing almost guarantees that you’ll forget something important. Arriving late on site makes pitching and arranging food a less than ideal experience.

9. Don’t eat too late
Try to finish eating before it turns cold at night. This stops you and the tent cooling down and also helps to avoid biting insects that are prevalent at dusk. 

10. Stay warm at night
When keeping warm at night, insulation underneath you is just as important as your sleeping bag. An extra duvet or blanket over your airbed or camp bed can make all the difference. Also, a quick walk to the toilet block or some exercise prior to going to bed is beneficial. This will help you get warm before you fall asleep. Finally, thick socks, hats, neck gaiters and thermals all help you to get a cosy night’s sleep, without being uncomfortable to wear.

11. Test out your camp bed and sleeping bag in your sitting room. Perhaps let the children sleep in their bags a few times before you set off to get them used to it. Make sure they are comfortable and warm enough. (Put the air bungs in a safe place and remember to get a decent pump - always best to have a spare foot pump if you are bringing an electric pump...)

12. Pack some out door games as well as board games for the children during down time.

13. Make a plan for keeping your food cold / cool.

14. If you get stuck or forget something when you are on site then don’t be shy… ask a fellow camper!

Have you got your own top tips? Why  not share them with us on twitter / facebook?

Ideas from: go outdoors top 10 camping tips & swiss farm camping 

Read our Quick Fix Gudie to camping at Devoted:
Wy not read our Surviving a Christian Festival with Small Children article: