1. Without wanting to sound like a girl guide or your mother – BE ORGANISED! Have a place for everything and make sure everything is put back in it’s place.
2. When packing your clothes, be prepared for any weather. Pack your bag, empty it and re-pack it at least twice. You’ll get rid of something you don’t need every time.
3. Things that can be compacted to a smaller size are best for camping. Try and save space in any way you can. Think travel towels rather than normal bath towels, sleeping bags with compression straps and foldable water carriers. My friends tell me everything I own comes in it’s own little bag.
4. If you’re travelling by car, it’s a good idea to have a camping box. Make sure the box fits comfortably in the back of your car, and fill it with all your camping pots, pans, crockery etc. That way, all you have to do is put the box in the car.
5. Keep a camping list in the top of your camping box, with everything that you need to go camping on it. That way you’re less likely to forget something.
6. Remember – not every camp site has toilet roll. Always keep a spare roll on you.
7. My brother always asks me ‘What is it with women and wet wipes?’. Wet wipes are handy to carry with you, and come in useful in so many situations, including camping.
8. If you’re camping with children, I highly recommend you buy some glow sticks to take with you. They’re only a couple of quid for two, and they’re great to give to kids when it starts to go dark. It saves on batteries for the torch/flashlight, and they can even hang them in the tent as a night light when they go to bed.
9. If you go into any outdoors store these days you could probably furnish a small house with all the items they have designed for camping. They have thought of everything to make camping accessible for even the biggest nature-phobe. I even saw a peg-puller in my local store, which was essentially another peg on a piece of string. If you’ve never been camping before, and you’re not sure if you’ll go again, all you basically need is a tent and something to sleep in. Obviously, how much you can take depends on how you’re travelling. My advice is to let common sense prevail. If you can pull the pegs out with one of the spare pegs you already have, you probably won’t need the peg-puller.
10. Check if there’s any local information you need to know about the area where you’re camping. I’ve camped in North America where I had to learn what to do if I came across a bear. That information isn’t much use to me here in the UK, but what I have learnt here is to be careful what you leave out overnight when there are animals like foxes around (I had a bad experience as a child when a fox stole my rainbow trout in the middle of the night).