Camping is great for a short summer break, but this popular activity can quickly become a stressful experience if you’re not properly prepared. From inclement weather to battling a broken tent, there are many things that can go wrong and potentially ruin your time in the great outdoors. Express.co.uk spoke to David Scotland, owner of camping gear retailer Outdoor World Direct, and Giorgos Mouratidis, marketing director at Stasher.com, to find out how you can keep your bank holiday camping trip going this weekend.
Check your equipment
While camping in the UK is a welcome respite from airport queues and luggage restrictions, packing for an outdoor trip can be tricky.
Making sure you have everything you need is one thing, but David Scotland, owner of camping gear retailer Outdoor World Direct, said that’s not all you need to worry about.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he said: “If you originally bought your camping gear a few years ago, check if your gear is still working now.
“You don’t want to arrive at your campsite and find that your tent has a tear, you better take care of the repair before you leave or replace the equipment if necessary.”
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Mr Mouratidis added: “The ring and pin system on the four corners of your tent (assuming you have a standard igloo) is by far the least durable part and the easiest to rip apart, especially if your tent is on the cheaper side .
“Damage can be avoided by not putting too much stress on the bars with the loops, but even if the ring breaks, all is not lost.
“You can survive a few nights by tucking the end of the pole into the outer fabric. The tent should hold up well, just enough not to ruin your holiday.”
Duct tape can be incredibly useful for holding broken bars together and temporarily covering cracks when all else fails.
Always fill up with water
While most campgrounds have good access to nearby services and amenities, a dead car battery or an unexpected problem could mean you are unable to venture beyond the site.
Because of this, it’s important to be prepared with food and drink in case you fall short during inclement weather or at night.
Giorgos warned: “This one is mainly for people who go wild camping but never, ever, under any circumstances forget to carry at least a few bottles of water with them.”
Observe camping etiquette
Camping in nature can be liberating, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow a few basic rules.
To avoid unpleasant collisions with other campers or site owners, it is important to keep your pitch clean and tidy.
Giorgos explained that leaving litter behind no matter where you are is not acceptable and generally proves you are “not right” for this type of vacation.
He added: “Another mistake is doing business in nature and not digging a cat hole first.
“Feces take a long time to decompose above ground, so make sure you always bury them and provide food for the surrounding trees.”
Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly
Expect variable weather in the UK. However, if there’s a weather warning, you have to respect it, David said.
He explained: “We often have calls from customers telling us that their tent has been damaged by gale force winds – camping in such conditions is dangerous and even the sturdiest tents will struggle.”
Polycotton tents are your ‘best choice’ in hot weather as they offer much better protection from that dreaded condensation that has you waking up sticky in the morning.
According to Giorgos, the removable rainfly should also be used to cool off during sunny, warm periods – but be warned, removing it will leave you slightly exposed.
He said: “Most mid-tier canopy tents have a removable fly. In August in Greece I have never had a bad night’s sleep removing this part leaving only the net.”
Another thing to watch out for in “regular tents” is blackout bedrooms.
David said: “A lot of the newer models have this feature, which keeps the bedrooms darker and cooler to help you sleep better in the mornings, especially with the sun rising early now.
“Also check the rating of your sleeping bag. When the nights are balmy, opt for a one-season, two-season sleeping bag to stay cool.”