A boy who has raised more than £700,000 for charity after spending 600 consecutive nights in a tent outside his home has compiled a list of tips for newcomers to camping.
Max Woosey, 12, won the hearts of the nation in 2020 by camping to raise money for local hospices and now wants to encourage others to get outside.
Some of his top advice is to check the weather in advance, pack flip-flops for late-night trips to the bathroom, and zip-up all entrances to keep bugs at bay.
He also recommends bringing extra tent pegs to use with a rubber mallet, wearing polyester clothing that dries quickly in the rain, and turning off electrical devices to enjoy the experience.
His advice comes after a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by Camping in the Forest found that one in six had never camped and 23 percent had only camped once or twice.
Max, who has teamed up with the campsite chain to offer advice, said: “I was only planning on sleeping outside for a couple of weeks but that soon turned into months and before I knew it the year mark was passed.
“I went through several tents – but that is more due to the weather conditions than a lack of preparation.
“Hundreds of nights in the great outdoors have taught me a trick or two during my time in the tent.
“There are so many benefits to camping – switching off and embracing nature is good for the spirit and I hope my tips will inspire those who have never camped to give it a try.”
Of the more inexperienced campers surveyed, 46 percent admitted bad weather can put them off, while 44 percent disliked the idea of an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
Having to leave the tent in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and being cold at night were other reasons why some said they avoided the great outdoors.
Meanwhile, 22 percent worried about animals getting into their tent and 12 percent feared they would suddenly wake up and find themselves surrounded by cows.
Bugs (35 percent), mud (33 percent) and even condensation on the tent wall (13 percent) kept people from camping.
But Max, from Braunton, Devon, said both writing a list and doing excessive preparation for a trip – including reading online tips, watching YouTube videos and reading information about local amenities – can help those who are nervous about sleeping under canvas.
The poll, conducted via OnePoll, found that fresh air, being close to nature and looking up at the stars were among the things people loved most about camping.
20 top camping tips from Max Woosey
- Choose your campsite carefully. Do your research to explore nearby attractions, hikes and beauty spots
- Turning off phones, tablets, and devices can help you be aware of your surroundings
- Immerse yourself in your surroundings, whether walking barefoot on the lawn, swimming in a nearby lake, or lounging under the stars at night
- Find out about the facilities – each campsite has its own rules – from dog leashes to noise levels and parking
- Make a list of essentials so you don’t forget even the basics like sleeping bag, roll mat, tent pegs and toothbrush during the hectic packing process
- Always check the weather forecast before heading out – it’s recommended to pack with waterproof clothing, blankets and extra layers for all weather conditions.
- Look for quality second-hand items and ask friends if they have gear you can borrow
- In addition to sensible shoes, take durable, quick-drying and comfortable clothing made of polyester blends
- Practice pitching the tent before setting off. Close the doors and windows to set up the tent and open them to take it down to avoid trapping air inside.
- Set up your tent on level ground, remove any large rocks or twigs and look for ant nests to avoid insects in the tent
- Bring extra pins and tap them all the way in with a rubber mallet. The easiest way to remove them is to unhook them with another pin
- In the winter, when temperatures drop, a wider sleeping bag also comes in handy if you’re a restless sleeper or if you have blankets you want to add for extra warmth
- Avoid condensation by opening the vents in your tent
- Keep the zips closed to keep flies and mosquitoes at bay, but when it’s warm you can open the outside and leave the inner door closed
- Have flip flops, a flashlight, and a waterproof coat ready for nightly toilet visits at the tent entrance
- Bring a cooler to ensure food and drinks stay chilled. All frozen items will slowly thaw in the box, but this can keep other items cool as well
- Store everything in plastic bags or boxes
- If you’re not an experienced camper, bring a few things from home, like teddy bears or a favorite hot chocolate
- At home, store all camping essentials in a protective box after cleaning so they are ready for next time
- Think about your time – focus on what you liked and what you want to change for your next trip