If you truly crave adventure, then there is no better way to satisfy that urge than camping. Follow these basic steps to bring some wild adventure into your life, says Kate White
As far as a camping kit list goes, there are ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’. People would argue over the grey area between these two lists, but the one essential purchase that no one can dispute is a tent!
There is a category of tent to cater for every type of camper. Think about how many people your tent needs to sleep, where you’ll be pitching up, whether you are carrying it in your rucksack and your budget.
How to find the perfect tent
There are a few core elements that all quality tents should have: a durable outer layer, breathable inner layer, pegging points and guy ropes around the perimeter to fix the tent to the ground, ensuring it stays grounded if the wind picks up.
Whilst there are a range of cheaper tents on the market, sometimes referred to as ‘festival tents’ which are easy to put up, they are not reliable in bad weather.
Think about size
Large family tents usually comfortably sleep four to six people, in multiple sleeping compartments. Most have an interior communal living space and covered porch area. The trade-off for space and comfort however is that this size of tent is in no way portable.
Next size down is mid-sized tents, sleeping two to four people. Usually a tent of this size will include one sleeping compartment and a small porch area. They are generally more portable than the larger family tents.
You then go down to the smaller one to two-man tents that, in general, consist of a simple adult-sized sleeping compartment and minimal porch area. They’re light, compact and portable.
How to get a good night’s sleep
One factor that puts people off camping is whether they’ll be able to sleep properly. The biggest blocker to sleeping well under canvas is the weather. Even in the summer it can get cold at night so make sure you have a warm sleeping bag. Sleeping bags are given a ‘Season’ rating, depending on how warm they are. A ‘Season 1’ sleeping bag provides the least insulation and is suitable for summer use only. At the other end of the scale is a ‘Season 4(+)’ sleeping bag, which is suitable for use in cold winter nights, including frost and snow.
Last but not least, ear plugs and a sleeping mask can really help in the quest for undisturbed slumber.
Where to go
True wild camping, where you pitch your tent for the night in a spot that is not a designated camping site, is not officially allowed in the UK. However there are some National Parks where it’s tolerated, such as Dartmoor National Park and the Lake District National Park (you can find more information on both of their websites). If unsure then it’s worth contacting the appropriate authority or landowner in advance – you may need to get a permit.