I think we’ve probably all been there before. We mentioned the possibility of a camping trip as a family, and the moans and groans begin. One person suggests that it’s totally irresponsible to go camping in the wilderness as it isn’t safe. Another person moans that they won’t be able to use the laptop, television and games console. Finally, somebody mentions that there is no place like home and certainly a camping bed cannot live up to the comfy double bed that they have in our bedroom at home.
Contrary to popular belief, a camping trip can be incredibly comfortable. There are certain things you can do to ensure that you have your home comforts with you. First of all, it is vital that you plan ahead. Knowing exactly which campsite you are going to visit means you will know what facilities are available to you. Some have modern shower blocks meaning that you can be clean and a bit more comfortable if the weather is hot. No one likes to go to bed feeling sticky or wake up feeling like they have taken part in an hour-long gym class. Others offer electrical stations allowing you to take some of your necessary appliances with you. Camping refrigerators, for example, can be helpful if you have medication that must be stored at a specific temperature, or food that you must keep fresh.
If your campsite does not have electricity, that doesn’t mean that you have to forego it. In fact, researching the best portable power supply and investing in it means that you can take power with you. This might sound pricey; however, they do not have to set you back as much money as you probably think. Do bear in mind that having the source of electricity with you means that if you have teenagers, they are likely to be glued to their devices for as much of a holiday as is humanly possible.
When thinking about camping trips, many people cast their minds back so that famous scene from Blazing Saddles. They envisage all meals containing wind-inducing baked beans or cans of soup. This doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, if you plan ahead, you can create exciting meals that will please all the family. If you do not have any form of refrigeration with you, it is best to avoid meals containing meat unless you’re able to buy and utilise immediately. Therefore, we would highly recommend searching for vegetarian campfire recipes for a variety of meals that ought to be easy to prepare and enjoyable for all.
When it comes to the tent itself, it is always best to ignore the number of people it says it sleeps. For example, a three-man tent is most likely unsuitable for three grown adults unless you don’t mind cuddling up together in close proximity. If it is a family camping trip, it is best to invest in a multi-room tent. Although these can be pricey brand-new, you are likely to be able to find one at a decent price secondhand. Alternatively, you may be able to borrow one from friends or family. If you would like to own your own, why not try looking on Facebook marketplace or other secondhand online forums?
Although it isn’t imperative to practise camping before you go there, it is advised. How many arguments could have been saved if the people in charge of putting up the tent had actually practised beforehand. It is not always an easy job and the last thing you want is an argument before you’ve even settled down for the night. Ensuring you have a sufficient number of tent pegs (and plenty to spare) is essential. The taking down of the tent can be problematic too.
Now you have your tent sorted, it is important that you consider what you will sleep on and in. If you’re camping in the middle of summer, the chances are the temperature will be quite high and therefore you are unlikely to need a high-quality sleeping bag. If however, you are going camping outside of the summer season, you may find that the temperature was okay when you head to bed, but it will rapidly drop during the night and you may find yourself waking up very cold. If this is the case, you ought to spend a little more on your sleeping bags. It is also worth considering whether you will need to take with you portable camping beds or inflatable mattresses. Often the ground can be hard, and when it’s like that, a good night’s sleep can be hard to come by. It isn’t always just about home comforts when it comes to taking an inflatable mattress or a camping bed with you, some health conditions require this. You should also consider whether or not you will need a cushion or a pillow for your head. It can feel a little uncomfortable and certainly unusual sleeping without one. Some sleeping bags do have a built-in pillow, but this is not usually sufficient.
If camping really does fill you with dread, perhaps you could consider glamping instead. This is where you and your family or friends can stay in a permanently erected outdoor lodging such as a teepee, bell tent, yurt or even a shepherd hut. Often these come with proper beds and other home comforts such as a warm fire and a separate area to use as a toilet. As much as we don’t like to talk about bowel and bladder motions, it is vital to consider these. For some people, using the facilities away from home can be challenging. There are several portable toilet options for you, many of which avoid the potential risk of being stung in the nether regions by nettles or prickled by thistles. If you are taking young children with you, try to prepare them for this in advance. It can be an area where a lot of kids struggle.
Ultimately, a camping trip can be as comfortable as you would like it to be. However, don’t take away the main reason that many people love to partake in this type of holiday: the opportunity to enjoy nature and spend time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Featured image: Dominik Jirovský/Unsplash