Top Camping Tips for Backpackers in the UK
Preparing the Camping List Essentials
Depending on the kind of trip and activity that you have in mind, your camping provisions should be more or less the necessary items that you are likely to need for outdoor survival. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to bring along everything that you used to enjoy at home. That sounds more like hauling your house and setting it up on a camping site. Be reminded that in a camping expedition you are to commune with nature and not simply to get yourself pampered.
Preparing your camping list essentials is indeed the most crucial part of the trip. Hence, you should make sure that you have packed the necessary things before setting up camp. With the right items and equipment, there’s nothing you should worry about spending a few good days outdoors. The following are a few of the camping must-haves that cover your basic needs:
- Collapsible Shelters – Start with a tent that answers the specific requirements of your trip. Make sure that it comes equipped with pegs, guy wires, flysheets and groundsheets. Additionally, you should bring tools such as hammer and stakes for pitching up the tent.
- Bedding – Pack some sleeping bags, pillows and blankets for a comfortable rest inside the temporary shelter. If your tent doesn’t come with a sewn-in groundsheet, a roll mat or tarp is a good substitute.
- Cooking Equipment – As your main source of fuel would definitely be firewood, your equipment should naturally be paired with it. However, this only applies to old-fashioned camping activity. For longer stays, you should bring along a stove and/or a barbeque grill. Include charcoal, extra fuel, matches and lighters for starting fire.
Aside from the burners, you should also bring pots, pans, ladles and cutlery. Items such as a can opener and corkscrew must be included especially if you are planning to bring canned goods. Stock up on portable food containers and disposable plates.
- Water Containers – Plastic cups are ideal for drinking. Bring a thermos for keeping water hot and a cooler for keeping the beverages cool.
- Clothes – Regardless of the weather or place where you are planning to set camp, you should bring warm and comfortable clothes. Your basic clothing should include t-shirts, jeans, rain gear, inner wear, shorts, hats and jackets.
- Personal Hygiene Products – Stay clean by packing the necessary items such as soap, toothpaste, brush, toilet paper, deodorant, shavers and towels.
- Miscellaneous Items – These include the stuff that you might need for the duration of your trip. Check your backpack for a torch (with extra batteries), fuel lantern, candles, compass/GPS device, maps, radio, Swiss knife, water filters, insect repellents, fishing gear, ropes, duct tape and safety pins.
- First Aid Kit – Staying safe throughout the camping trip is your primary responsibility. Make sure that your kit has all the basic things for providing remedies to injuries and sickness. First aid items include bandages, sterile gauze and gloves, cotton swabs, disinfectant solution, thermometer, tweezers and compress. Check for the expiration dates of generic medicines such as antibiotics, antacids and aspirin tablets before putting them inside the kit.
Tried-and-Tested Camping Tricks
Camping is a fun way to discover things on your own, whether it is cooking over firewood or fishing in the lake. Old-timers and veteran campers have passed on several camping tricks that will make your trip more manageable and exciting. Check them out below since you’ll never know when these practical advices may come in handy.
- Pitch up tent near lakes and rivers. This way, you can have instant access to water for drinking, washing and cooking. Bring treatment solutions to make potable water. Fishing in the lakes for food is a great idea so make sure to bring your gear.
- Your Swiss knife is a very reliable camping buddy. Don’t leave home without it.
- Use firewood gathered from the campsite for the first few days. This will prevent your burners and fuel from running out sooner than expected.
- A makeshift stove made of large stones and twigs is a good substitute for a burner that takes long to ignite.
- Mobile phones are almost always out of signal in the rural areas. Bring a walkie-talkie and have a list of local radio frequencies for emergency calls.
- Cereal bars and crackers are staples in camping trips. They provide you with much-needed energy despite their diminutive serving size.
- Dehydration is commonly experienced in high-altitude camping sites. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking 3-5 litres of water per day.
- Smear or rub soap unto the inner sides of your socks to prevent blisters.
- Lessen the weight of your load by whittling your own skewers from twigs found within the camping site. Never use metal for roasting marshmallows; they will stick onto the BBQ skewers and that would be very difficult to clean.
- Matches can no longer be used if they accidentally get wet. Before the trip, make sure to dip the sticks in a liquefied paraffin wax to waterproof them.
- Pinecones make great dishwashing scrubbers. Discard your dirtied scrubbers (the ones you have brought along) at once to avoid contamination of other utensils.
How to Waterproof a Tent for Camping In Bad Weather
An overcast sky is a sign of impending rain. That’s quite easy to predict especially if you are camping on the hills. While you may have your tent as a shelter from the downpour, you can’t be sure to stay dry while inside your temporary camping home. Hence, you have to check your tent for any holes and other possible entries for water. You don’t want to sleep under the raindrops coming from the holes of your humble haven.
As much as possible, you should have a tent that is marked as waterproof. But in case you didn’t notice it at first, there are still some ways on how to waterproof a tent. Let’s start with applying a waterproof solution.
Most outfitter shops sells waterproof solutions that come in spray bottles. They can be used for virtually any fabric that needs to stay dry throughout the camping period. Waterproofing your tent is best performed days before embarking on a backcountry trip. This way, you can simply pitch your tent once you get on site without having to fumble when the rain starts to fall. Below are the steps on how you can waterproof your collapsible shelter:
- Pitch the tent so that the fabric is stretched tightly on every side.
- Make sure that the sides of the tent are clean and dry before spraying over the solution. The surface will have a glossy appearance that indicates that the solution has been applied.
- Spray another layer of solution after the initial coating has dried up. This will double up the resistance of the fabric against water penetration.
It may take a whole day or two before the solution completely dries up. While you are waiting, you may also check the seams for any chances of water entry. You should cover the needle holes on both sides of the seams with a special sealer. Let it dry for a few minutes before testing the tent’s impenetrability by pouring water on the outer sides.
Which Tent is Best for Camping?
The practicality of the tent that you are going to use depends a good deal on the kind of camping activity that you are planning to embark on. For example, if you are going to set camp on the mountains, your best bet is to go for tents that are specifically designed to withstand strong winds.
Actually, there are many other considerations before you can make the ideal choice of collapsible camping shelters. To help you in making the right decision on which tent is best, here is a list of commercially available tents along with their features and recommended use:
- Family Tents – When pitched, these tents turn into huge shelters that can hold up to a family of four. Hence, they are ideal for groups that are planning to camp outside the car. The more high-end versions may also include sewn-in groundsheet’s and zippered room partitions. Such additional features render these tents bulkier and heavier than other collapsible shelters.
- Trekking Tents – These are somewhat smaller than the family version, although considerably sturdier due to their efficient wind resistance. With the backpackers in mind, they are made to be folded or rolled into small packages for portability.
- Inner Pitching Tents – These are collapsible shelters with poles that are threaded through the inner side. The resulting tent appears like a mound, with no visible poles on the outside due to the addition of a flysheet. Such shelters are ideal for setting camp on sites where wind is usually at its prime. They are more streamlined and stable than the rest. However, the main downside is that there would be less ventilation given their fully enclosed setup.
- Outer Pitching Tents – Unlike the ones mentioned above, an outer pitching tent is assembled by threading the poles through the flysheet or the main external fabric. Since the tents are not fully covered, they provide more breathable room for the campers. These tents are basically pitched as one, thereby making them easier to put up. Although they are great shelters from heavy rain, they can also be fragile, as they tend to catch more wind.
- Tunnel Tents – These tents are probably the easiest ones to assemble, thanks to the dimensions of its poles and flysheet. Due to their tube-shaped design, tunnel tents also provide more room for movement. This makes them suitable for family trips. Perhaps the only downside of using these tents is that they are less stable. Somehow, this can be remedied by installing more guy wires along the sides.
- Dome Tents – These are the sturdier versions of the tunnel tents. They may not be as light and spacious as the aforementioned, but at least these issues are workable through installation of additional poles.
Exciting Ideas for Camping in the UK
UK has been blessed with wonders of nature that are hard to find anywhere else. This is why campers from all around the country are flocking to the natural habitats and mountain sites to experience a slice of outdoor adventure while camping in the UK.
If you’re tired of hiking the woods and the rough backcountry, just take a 360-degree turn and head on to the beach. Being an island, Britain has plenty of coastal spots that are perfect for setting camp. There is something almost sacred about the union of sand, sea and sky. It relaxes the soul and makes you feel more alive.
Aside from the thrills of water sports, the calming effect of the postcard-worthy seascape is enough to give you that much-needed break from life’s daily grind. You can camp at Cae Du near Wales, or if you prefer, you may consider Clachtoll Beach located in Scotland’s West Coast.