There’s something about heading off to visit Mother Nature, with nothing but you, your camping gear, lots of trees and a cheerful campfire. It’s the best way to experience total peace and quiet. There are no other people, no electronics, no smog, nothing to do but relax for the weekend. If this sounds irresistible to you, then make sure you do some planning before you head off.
Check out what sort of camping gear you already have. While you might be keen to escape the modern world, it might not be so much fun if you’re sleeping on hard ground with a thin sleeping bag and it starts to rain. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the gear you need for your great escape into nature. Have a look through our Camping & Outdoor category where you can look at camping gear, compare different styles and brands, then buy what’s right for you.
It can be a bit more difficult to know what you need if you’ve never been camping before. Generally, a tent is necessity. You can chance the weather, but that’s only for the very hardy souls! Perhaps if you’re going to be close to some well protected caves you can get away without a tent, but otherwise you’ll be very glad you have one when that thunderstorm rolls in. Persistent insects and wildlife are also less of a nuisance when you’re in a tent.
If you’re planning on cooking any food over the campfire, a good campfire grill makes life much easier. If there are fire restrictions or there’s no wood available for a campfire, then take along a camping stove. You’ll also need some basic cooking utensils, including some pans. Never use your best utensils out of the kitchen; they inevitably get burnt, melted, lost or almost impossible to clean.
Just in case the stars aren’t sufficient, a strong torch with fresh batteries or a camping lantern can help. If you need to go wandering in the night, you’ll want to be able to check out your surroundings. For sleeping, make sure your sleeping bag is suitable for the conditions you’ll be encountering. If you have a lightweight summer bag and it starts to snow, you won’t get much sleep because you’ll be shivering the whole night.
If you’re really planning to get away from the world, to the point that you won’t be near your car at night, then you’ll need a backpack to carry everything with you. Modern designs are truly wonderful, with all sorts of features to make carrying a pack more comfortable. You can find packs suitable for anything you might plan to do, including strolling round a local park right through to heavy going trekking in the wilderness. Take the time to think about what you need to use the backpack for, perhaps even visit a camping store and chat to the salesperson, but if you choose wisely you won’t regret it.
Remember, in the end it’s important to travel light when you’re going camping. You don’t want to have so much stuff in your backpack that you can’t even lift it! It’s easy to get carried away and buy far too many things and spend a lot of money, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Take the time to think about the sort of camping you’re likely to do, where you’re likely to go, what the weather conditions will probably be, and then choose carefully. By doing that, you’ll get the maximum use out of whatever camping gear you buy, and so you’ll get great value for money