Talking about the tent
At the end of a long day hiking, skiing, mountaineering, or just taking in the beauty of nature, nothing is quite as comforting or relaxing as returning to your tent for a bit of rest.
Size, shape, weather resistance, insulation and ease/speed to put up are all important considerations when thinking about the tent that should accompany you on your next camping adventure. So are choices of ground sheeting, which form an extra barrier against cold and moisture.
Many campers also enjoy having a little extra room in their tents. For example, if two people will be sharing the tent, some people prefer to choose a three-man tent. Think about what works for you.
Here are some useful links to read through before you decide:
Important: remember to check you also have your pegs and poles with you before you set off.
Getting some rest: the sleeping bag
An all-important gear item is your sleeping bag, which should be rated to keep you warm even if the temperatures start falling. If you get too hot, you can always unzip the sleeping bag to use as a blanket or simply sleep on top of it for extra cushioning.
The Eco Trail -7C synthetic sleeping bag is rated for -7 degrees celsius. It’s wider over the knees than conventional sleeping bags and retains its insulating properties, even when damp.
Or, if you’re headed for colder parts, the Green Kazoo -18°C down sleeping bag could be the right choice, coming equipped with a fitted hood for more warmth and comfort and a zipped baffle to prevent heat loss.
Sleeping pads provide extra cushioning and insulation between the sleeping bag and ground. Sleeping pads are rated by R-value, which measures the amount of insulation and warmth the pad provides.
Water bottle or water carrier
It’s hard to overstate the importance of having the right water bottle or water carrier (and a reliable, clean water source) on any camping trip. When you’re active, it’s easy to get dehydrated fast.
Make sure you invest in the right choice for your specific needs, considering: volume of liquid, ability to keep liquid cold, the ruggedness of the bottle’s material as well as the kind of spout/lid the bottle comes with. You may also want to think about investing in a collapsible water carrier that packs flat when not in use.
Think about what you’ll be eating during your trip, and equip your camp kitchen appropriately. A basic item that campers should invest in is a camp stove, the most practical of which are propane stoves. Consider the number of burners you’ll need as well as the temperature control. Also, consider bringing an extra fuel/propane canister if you’re going on a longer trip.
Headlamps, torches and lanterns
When the light begins to dip, it’s important to have a reliable light source. Headlamps and torches are a great choice, not only for illumination in your tent but any after-dark walks or hikes, too, ensuring the path ahead is always clearly lit. For longer stays at a campsite, think about investing in lanterns to help light up any dark spots, making moving between tents or going to the toilet in the night much easier
Sitting around the campfire is an essential camping experience. If you can bring a car up to your campsite, think about packing in some camping chairs to make the fireside experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
Again, if you’ve got access to a car, trailer or RV, bring along a cool box and ice packs on your trip to effectively store any perishable food. To extend the life of the contents in your cool box, freeze or chill as much as you can before you pack it. Also, remember too that the fuller your cool box is, the more effectively it will keep the contents cool.
Plates, pots, cups, knives and forks… decide on what you really need and only bring the essentials. While important, items like these can quickly get bulky and heavy if you overpack.
As with dishware, keep personal items to a minimum, including only the necessaries. Consider the toiletries you’ll need, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps and sunscreen, as well as other necessities like toilet paper.
Making a fire
When you’re out camping, a fire is not only comforting but keeps away the cold (and if you’re roughing it in the wilderness, any wild animals). Ensure you have everything you’ll need to make a fire if you intend to. That means fuel (likely wood of some kind) as well as firelighters and kindling.
Important: if you’re at a formal campsite, always check whether fires are allowed. Also, always ensure that your fire is fully extinguished before leaving your campsite, especially in high winds, as coals can easily be blown onto dry grass, starting wildfires.
Top tips and things to remember
Read up on campground regulations ahead of time
If you’re headed to a formal campsite, make sure you read up on all rules and regulations ahead of time. There could be important information you need to know on fires, amenities and water access. For example, construction or droughts can close amenities like bathrooms or water fountains. Be sure to check the website to know if you need to bring your own water supply. If you can, bring some backup water too, in case.
Camping with kids? Say no more.