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Camping and COVID-19

Camping and Covid - Weathermaster 6XL

July is here and summer holidays are on the horizon. After a long few months of lockdown we’re longing to get away. But we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, so what about camping and COVID-19?

Well, campsites and caravan parks in England are due to open on 4th July, Scotland on the 15th July and we’re still waiting for confirmation on Wales. So, our advice is to get your tent and gear ready and start planning your summer 2020 UK break!

Here you’ll find some helpful information about camping and Covid this summer – what we think you can expect and how you’ll be able to stay safe.

Things change quickly at the moment, so we advise you to speak to the campsite operators or the local Tourist Information Centre for local advice.


Q. When are campsites opening?

The government have allowed campsites to open from Saturday 4th July in England and from the 15th July in Scotland. It looks like lots of sites are aiming for these dates. 

Something to look forward to at last!


Q. Should I book my camping holiday now?

Yes, we think so. Lots of campsites and caravan parks are open for bookings and word is, they’re getting booked up. Reduced capacity means less availability, so our advice is to book early.

Check the cancellation/changes policy in case the guidance changes over the next few weeks.

Check that your camping gear is in tip top shape and shop our range of tents and camping equipment to make sure you’ve got everything you need!


Q. What can I do to socially distance on the campsite?

For camping and Covid, it’s really important to maintain that 2 metre distance whenever you can and luckily, it’s pretty easy to do this when camping. All the evidence is that transmission is greatly reduced outdoors so as long as you maintain social distancing, the risk of infection is low.

We’ve heard that campsites will be reducing the capacity of visitors and spreading pitches further apart.

Floor markings have become the norm and campsites will be no different – expect to see these reminders around the site.

Contactless check-ins are also very likely.

Kampa Dometic Air Break Pro 5 – Inflatable Windbreak
Camping and Covid
Kampa Dometic Air Break Pro 5 – Inflatable Windbreak

Even before the pandemic, lots of campers use windbreaks to set up a boundary around their pitch to keep the area nice and private and enclosed. With social distancing windbreaks really come into their own!


Q. Will we be able to use the showers and toilets on the campsite?

As far as we can tell, the government haven’t placed restrictions on campsites with shared toilet and showering facilities. All that we know is that they need to be clean and ‘COVID secure’.

Lots of the campsites in our local areas are putting in additional cleaning regimes including regular deep cleans, staggered use times and limiting the number of people allowed in at any one time.  

However, some aren’t opening their toilet and shower facilities and are only taking bookings from visitors who can be self-sufficient.  This may mean taking your own toilet and washbasin or shower.  Thankfully all these things are easily done!

Camping and Covid
Toilets and Showers

Q. Will other facilities on the campsite be available?

Part of the government’s plan to ease lockdown includes allowing bars and restaurants to open from 4th July. So, we assume that many campsites will be opening their catering outlets, although this is likely to be takeaway only. 

For that reason, make sure you have a good size table you can all sit at – somewhere to eat the fish and chips.  And if you don’t want to eat chips all week, you may want to ensure you have a decent stove!  Cooking outside is great fun, and this may be a great opportunity to expand your repertoire – and not just cook the usual sausages and burgers

Camping and Covid
Cooking on the campsite

It’s unclear at the moment whether swimming pools and play areas will be open yet. Our advice is to contact your campsite and ask what their plans are.


We hope you have a fantastic camping holiday this summer – if there’s anything you need, please call in for a chat with one of our experienced team!

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Eco-Friendly Cleaning from Kampa

We’re really excited about the new range of Kampa eco-friendly cleaning products.



Fantastic cleaning performance 

The Kampa range of eco-friendly cleaning, care and toilet fluids have been designed for the outdoors. With the reassurance of over three years testing and the close support of caravan manufacturers, Kampa have developed a range of fluids which will satisfy all your essential cleaning needs. The eco-friendly cleaning range is the full solution for motorhomes, caravans, camping tents and awnings. Each solution has been designed and manufactured in the UK and rigorously tested to the highest standards, ensuring you’re fully satisfied with every spray, wipe and scrub. 

Using the latest chemical manufacturing technology means the fluids are kind to the environment without compromising cleaning performance. There aren’t any of the usual unpleasant chemical smells which are often found with cleaning chemicals, each solution features a different aroma to keep your gear smelling great after each clean. You’ll enjoy the benefits of Kampa’s cleaning, care and toilet fluid range in your pocket too, by refilling empty spray bottles with our eco pouches, you’ll typically experience cost savings of over 50%. 

Safe for you, safe for the environment 

Innovative green chemistry ensures that Kampa’s cleaning, care and toilet fluids are safe for you to use and safe for the environment that you’re using them in. The entire range is 100% free from nasty chemicals including Formaldehyde, Phosphates and Ammonia – meaning they’re fully compliant and green friendly. Additionally, they’re cruelty-free, suitable for vegans and feature biodegradable packaging. 

The innovative packaging concept truly puts protecting our environment when camping in focus. The combination of reusable spray bottles and eco pouches means that plastic pollution’s reduced by 80%, uses 15% less energy when manufacturing and uses 15% less energy to transport.

Check out the range here or call into one of our stores for a look around


Cleaning solutions
Concentrated Cleaner - Blueberry Scent
Biodegradable, foaming wash concentrate targets green
algae, black streaks, road traffic film, diesel fumes, and over
wintering grime, leaving a glossy finish on your vehicle.
Our unique formula uses natural ingredients that break
down the dirt on microscopic levels, whilst also caring for
your vehicle’s delicate finish. Safe for use on most surfaces
including paintwork, body trim, wheels, synthetics and
many more. An all-round cleaning essential!
Waterless Wash - Apple Scent
Biodegradable waterless wash cleans and polishes your
caravan in seconds, leaving a streak-free finish. Our
innovative formula is designed to eliminate surface dirt and
prevent scratching. Use it to remove light contaminants in
between major washes. No water required!
Black Streak Remover - Tropical Scent
Biodegradable formula that will remove stubborn black
streaks and algae. Suitable for cleaning plastics, aluminium,
GRP, ABS, fibreglass, decals, sealants and much more.
Leaving a glossy, streak free finish.
Afterwash - Coconut Scent
Creates a hydrophobic protective surface coating that
actively repels water, dirt and algae. The finishing solution
allows you to effectively clean your vehicle with no prewashing,
polishing or water. The wax minimises scratches
and provides a UV protectant to protect your vehicle
from oxidation & fading. The solution is easy to apply and
suitable for use on plastics, aluminium, acrylic windows,
GRP, ABS, fibreglass, decals, sealants, paint & much more.
Just one eco-friendly pouch provides you with 4 litres of
ready to use protection spray! We encourage everyone
to re-use plastics so, don’t throw out your old Afterwash
Protective Coating bottle.
All-Purpose Cleaner - Lavender Scent
Effective for cleaning floors, kitchen work surfaces &
appliances, ovens, bbq’s & washroom surfaces. As well as
other interior surfaces inside your motorhome or caravan.
The same All-Purpose Cleaner, in super-concentrated
form. Just one eco-friendly pouch provides you with 4
litres of ready to use All-Purpose Cleaner! We encourage
everyone to re-use plastics so, don’t throw out your old
All-Purpose Cleaner bottle.
Awning & Tent Cleaner
- Strawberry Scent
Targets your awning and tent to remove green algae, black
streaks, road traffic film, diesel fumes, and over wintering
grime. Our unique formula uses natural ingredients that
break down the dirt on microscopic levels, while also
caring for the fabric’s delicate fabric. Suitable for cleaning
synthetic and colour fast canvas fabrics.
The same Awning and Tent Cleaner, in super-concentrated
form. Just one eco-friendly pouch provides you with 4
litres of ready to use cleaner! We encourage everyone to
re-use plastics so, don’t throw out your old awning & tent
cleaner bottle.
Awning & Tent Window Cleaner -
Celementine Scent
Our naturally derived formula targets dirt, grime and
cloudiness to give your awning windows a deep clean.
The same Awing Window Cleaner, in superconcentrated
form. Just one eco-friendly pouch
provides you with 4 litres of ready to use cleaner! We
encourage everyone to re-use plastics so, don’t throw
out your old bottle.
Sanitation Solutions
Toilet Fluid & Rinse - Pine Scent
Dual action, biodegradable toilet fluid is designed for
your top and bottom tank. When added to the top tank
you can enjoy a fresh smelling toilet with every flush.
When added to the bottom tank, the product actively
breaks down all waste and what makes it even better,
is that the bottom tank isn’t weakened when the flush
water is added.
Our unique, biodegradable formula lubricates the
bowl and improves the function of your toilets without
containing any formaldehyde. So, you can flush it down
the normal sewerage system with a clean conscience
(and toilet!).
Toilet Fluid - Pomegranate Scent
Kampa Pink is an effective, biodegradable water tank
additive for all cassettes and flushing toilets. The
fluid breaks down the odour and waste, and leaves a
pleasant smell so the waste fluid can do the rest.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner & Lubricator
- Spearmint Scent
Non-toxic gel toilet cleaner uses natural citric acid to deep clean and remove
tough toilet bowl stains. With added slip and lubricity agents it provides your
toilet with long lasting performance. The unique biodegradable formula cleans,
brightens and removes stains from plastic & porcelain bowls and is safe for use
in all recreational vehicle toilets. Will not harm plastic, rubber seals or metallic
parts. Specially formulated for use on caravans and motorhomes.

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Choosing a tent

Whether you’re buying your very first tent, or upgrading to bigger and better things, choosing a tent can be daunting.

As we’re experienced campers with years of practise in camping as a couple and as a family we can help you to choose the best style and make of tent for you and your family. Here we’ve put together our top tips for choosing a tent…

If it’s at all possible, try and have a look around at a tent display, especially if you’ve got no ideas at all as to your preference. Our tent display is usually up during spring and summer (keep an eye on our social media for exact dates) and we erect many different styles and sizes of tents.

choosing a tent - our tent display in Barnstaple
A small part of our Barnstaple tent display

Look closely at the differences between air tents and poled tents – with an air tent the steel or fibre glass poles are replaced with a beam that is inflated with a pump. 

Air tents come as a single unit that you plug in a pump and in a matter of minutes you have a solid free-standing structure to peg out and you’re done. 

Traditional tents usually take a little longer to assemble, after you’ve built and threaded all your poles and strung out the guy lines to keep it standing. 

In terms of pitching, the benefits lie with the air tent as one person can take care of it with relative ease. The downside is the weight.  As the air tent is a single unit, the single bag will be heavier whereas your poled tent will be split across two or more bags making it easier to handle and transport.

  • We advise that you ignore the number of berths suggested by the manufacturer and look closely at the size of the bedroom areas instead. For a comfortable space, allow approximately 80cm width for a single air bed and 140cm for a double. 

When you’re choosing a tent, think about how many people you’ll be sleeping, allowing for a bit of extra room to move around too.

  • Where are the bedrooms? Do you want them adjacent to each other or separate? If the bedrooms are separate then each area has a bit more privacy but adjacent is good if you have younger children and might need to get to them quickly in the night.  Often adjacent bedrooms mean that two bedrooms can be opened up so that you have one large room – a useful option if you’re not sure how small children will cope on their first camping trip.

Some tents now have blackout bedrooms, which make them very dark – so dark that you really can’t see very much at all!  If your family have a habit of waking early in the mornings, this may be an advantage.

  • Storage is an important consideration, especially if you are camping with the family. Extra bedrooms and annexes are good for keeping items like clothing, rucksacks and toys out of the way.
  • What’s the standing height like? Unless you’re very restricted on pack size and weight, there is no reason to have a tent that you can’t stand up in. Check that the inner height of the tent (not the outer figures which are sometimes shown) is greater than your actual height. The height in the sleeping areas is sometimes lower which is usually fine, as you’re lying down for the majority of the time.
  • What’s the inside space like? If you are able to take a look around the erected tent in advance, go inside, zip it up and imagine you and your family all inside when it’s raining outside. Is it big enough? Will you feel claustrophobic or can you sit the family down around a table and play some board games to keep yourself entertained? 

Also have a look and see whether the tent you like has a canopy or doors that can be used as a canopy. This can then be left open during a shower and will help with that feeling of being stuck inside, especially important if you’re planning to use your tent for longer than a few days.

  • We never advise cooking inside your tent.  Safety must come first, so a good-sized porch or a separate day tent is a sensible idea for your camp kitchen.
  • Think about how you’ll transport your tent from home to the campsite. Take a look at the packed size and weight.  Will it fit in your car along with all your other camping equipment, clothes and food. 
  • You may want to consider the size of tent you need compared to the size you want!  You can pay more for a bigger pitch at certain campsites.
  • Do you need to be able to pitch the tent on your own?  If so, you may want to consider buying a smaller more manageable tent, or consider buying an air tent.  These can be pitched very quickly and easily by one person.
  • Most family tents pitch outer first.  But if you are looking at buying a small tent, consider whether it is inner or outer pitch first.  If it’s inner first, then it’s harder to keep the inside dry if it’s raining whilst you’re pitching it.
  • Water resistance or proofing in nylon and synthetic tents is rated in HH figures i.e. HH3000, HH4000 etc. We advise that anything over 3000HH will be adequate. Don’t get confused by the rating of the groundsheet which is sometimes given (this is usually much higher) – it is the flysheet HH rating that you need to check.
  • Nearly all bedroom pods have a built-in groundsheet to keep bugs and draughts out while you sleep. In most modern family tents this is extended to the living space as well and is called a sewn-in groundsheet or SIG. The other option is a loose or removable groundsheet in the living area which might not be quite so cosy. 
  • A porch can be a godsend if you need to keep wet and muddy pets or things like pushchairs and bikes out of the main tent. Porches usually have removable groundsheets so you can take them out to clean them or just leave them out altogether.
  • In the UK it’s important to think about rainy weather when you’re choosing a tent but it’s also a good idea to give some thought to really hot weather (we do have some occasionally!)  Look for good ventilation to avoid too much condensation.  This is unavoidable at times when the weather is particularly cold and damp at night, especially if your tent is full to capacity with people and pets.  Good ventilation also helps keep the tent cooler in summer.  Fly mesh on doors can also help reduce condensation, as doors can be left open, but insects will be kept out.

Canvas and cotton tents are more breathable than polyester and so stay cooler in the summer and are also more insulating in cooler weather.

  • Is your tent of choice from a reliable and reputable manufacturer? There’s a good reason why some companies have been around for many years and that’s because they produce good quality products that will give you the best time on your precious holidays. 

Read the reviews! You’ll find invaluable information and first-hand recommendations from real life people, not just the company hype will be helpful when you’re choosing a tent.

We understand that choosing a tent can be an investment, and with so many different types, shapes, sizes and features on offer it can be quite daunting. Our experienced team are here to help whether it’s in store or online – you only have to ask!

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Our stores are OPEN!

We are now open to the public and look forward to welcoming our customers back. 😊
Our opening times for now are from 10am until 4pm.
Our tent and awning display is open but we have limited models on display for the time being).

We would remind customers that for their safety and others, children should be accompanied by an adult at all times, and are not permitted to run around the displays.
Also a maximum of one family per tent/awning at any one time.

Our goal is to provide our customers and staff with a level of comfort so we have implemented measures to protect your safety.

Our social distancing measures include:
✳️ A restriction on the number of customers instore to ensure 2m space between everyone.
✳️ Also a maximum of two per family/group.
✳️ A new one-way flow system around the store with a socially distanced queuing system for payment.
✳️ Shopping baskets (if used) are cleaned after every use.
✳️ We ask all customers to use cashless payment whenever you can.

If customers would like to make a purchase but are not comfortable coming into the store, we completely understand, and are offering a telephone ordering service. This may be useful for gas or toilet chemical purchases. We can take payment over the phone and deliver to the car without contact.
Online sales continue as normal!

Thank you & stay safe

Roger, Julie and all the team

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Outdoor clothing for exercise

Why is good outdoor clothing important? Well because then rainy weather doesn’t mean you have to exercise inside. Most races aren’t cancelled because of poor weather so take advantage of opportunities to train in the rain. 

Doing so builds mental toughness, and you’ll feel more mentally prepared if it rains on race day. We can help to make sure you’re prepared whether you’re running, cycling or just out and about in the rain.

Our full range of outdoor clothing and products include:

Waterproof hats, socks and gloves
Waterproof hi viz jackets
Hi viz layers
Running socks
Energy products
Phone belts and armbands

As runners and cyclists ourselves, we’re using some of our outdoor clothing products in our training at the moment. Here’s a few of our top tips: 

Get ahead with a hat…

A hat with a brim can be a good friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face so you can see, even in a downpour. The SPIbeams LED Hat and Visor will keep the rain off your face and illuminate the path too!

If it’s very cold and wet, then you might prefer a beanie style hat. The stylish Dexshell beanie hats are both waterproof and windproof, guaranteed to keep you protected from all weather. 

Team it with a head torch for running after dark and it could save you from tripping over a dodgy kerb and help you be seen by traffic. We have a wide range from market leaders Petzl, KombatUK and Coleman.

A jacket makes a great training partner…

Hardy runners and cyclists need a jacket that is lightweight and waterproof, designed with the active sport-user in mind. We stock the Keela Saxon and Storm Jackets in Men’s and Ladies designs – made from Flylite Aqua fabric, Keela‘s ultralight jacket is capable of withstanding the heaviest of downpours, is extremely breathable, quick drying and has a hood that can fit over a helmet as well as a scooped back to avoid those pesky drips when leaning over on a bike. 

The orange version features additional reflective patches to ensure high visibility. We’re enjoying wearing these jackets on our runs – they performed really well during storms Ciara and Dennis!

Dry feet are happy feet…

Try to avoid stepping in puddles as much as you can. Your running shoes and feet will get wet from the rain, but they’ll get absolutely soaked if you step in a big puddle. Waterproof socks are a good idea – investing in a pair of Dexshell waterproof socks will help you go the extra mile

Top Tip: Store electronics in a waterproof carrier. The Ortlieb safe-it waterproof case offers lightweight special protection for your smart phone when you take it along on a ride or an adventure.

Fuel up…

Energy gels are a quick and easy way to replenish carbohydrates and help you train harder for longer. We stock the High5 energy gel taster pack to give you a chance to try out a range of flavours from the range. We also have the High5 Zero Tablets – a refreshing, great tasting sugar free electrolyte drink with zero calories for during exercise and throughout the day.

Exercising in the rain will make you feel alive! As you slosh through the puddles and the rain is hitting your face, you’re building mental toughness and realising that you can handle any challenge that comes your way.

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Raglan Awning Event

Raglan awning event at The Camping & Kite Centre – 8th & 9th February 2020

Head to our Raglan awning event and save yourself a trip to the NEC because we are pitching a selection of our caravan and motorhome awnings for a special pre-season awning event on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th February.

Our Raglan awning event will have erected awnings on display from leading brands including Vango, Outdoor Revolution and Kampa.

  • Be amongst the first to see the brand new Vango Tolga and Magra Driveaway awnings
  • Check out the Movelite T1 and T2 from Outdoor Revolution
  • Take a look around the Kampa Dometic Rally Air Pro 260 and the Club Air All Season 390 caravan awning – both new for 2020
  • We have stock of inflatable and poled awnings and a range to fit anything from a VW style van to a large caravan
  • Seasonal and permanent pitching caravan awnings to order

A caravan is the perfect way to enjoy holidays any time of year but when you arrive and pitch up, sometimes you need a bit more room. An awning is the perfect way to increase the amount of living space and create a real home away from home. 

There are three common types of awning for caravans and motorhomes, the full awning, the porch awning and the canopy. 

A driveaway awning is simply an awning that can be quickly disconnected from your motorhome’s awning connection point. You can leave your awning free-standing at your campsite while you ‘drive away’ in your motorhome or camper van, allowing you to explore the local sites and scenery. A ‘driveaway awning’ saves you having to pack away the awning each time you take a drive out! 

Come and enjoy our special Pre Season Awning Event weekend and speak to one of our experienced team and we will help you choose the right awning for your caravan, motorhome or camper van.

How to find us

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Winter Camping Tips… are you a cold weather camper?

Winter camping can be a magical experience. Crisp nights, hot chocolate under the stars, wintery walks.

But if the thought leaves you cold, take a look at our top 10 tips and give it a go!

1.Take the right tent…

In the summer, big is best but winter camping trips work best in the smallest tent size possible for your group. An 8- berth tent for two will be hard to heat up, so cosy up together for extra warmth!

2. Waterproofing…

Your tent, your boots, your coat – go waterproof when you can! Getting damp will definitely make you cold and miserable and it’s hard to dry out. Wash and reproof as necessary before you set off!

3.Layer up…

Trapping heat from your body with layers is the best way to stay warm during a winter camping trip. Start with a base layer, then a middle layer, then a warm, insulated jacket. A hat, gloves and warm socks are must-haves too. Check out our range from Skogstad – the Norwegian clothing brand that knows a thing or two about extreme weather!

4.Pitch well…

Are there shops, pubs or restaurants nearby in case you need a break? If you’re a bit further out, then try and find some natural shelter for your pitch. Be prepared for colder conditions than you expect – check the weather forecast and make sure you know where you are!

5.Light up…

As you’re sure to know, it gets much darker in the winter so make sure you arrive at your campsite early enough to pitch in daylight. Also ensure you have lanterns and torches (and spare batteries). A head torch is a handy addition to your kit.

6.Rise up…

Most of the cold comes up from the ground, so on a winter camping trip, rise up off the floor with a camp bed. Top it off with a self-inflating sleeping mat for extra insulation and comfort. Tent carpets and rugs will also help keep the tent cosy.

7.Snuggle up…

A good night sleep is essential on a camping trip at any time of the year. In cold weather you’ll need a 3 or 4 season sleeping bag to withstand the temperature. Mummy style bags fit closely to the body while a double bag will allow you to share warmth.

8.Polly put the kettle on…

A hot drink and a warm meal will really warm you up so take a camping stove and kettle so you can prep drinks and meals quickly. Take a look at our range of camping foods for easy to prepare nutrition.

9.Feeling hot…

A portable heater is a really good idea for camping in winter. We have electric and gas heaters for taking the chill off. Always, always follow the instructions though and never leave a gas heater running in your tent while you sleep.

10.Get cosy…

Hot water bottles, warm pyjamas, blankets and thermals. Spare socks, hand warmers – take anything you can with you to help you stay cosy.

Do you love camping in the cold weather? Let us know your top tips!

Shop our full camping range for everything you need, whatever the weather!

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Sluban bricks

Sluban bricks are something we think is going to catch on fast!

Sluban is a new brand of building blocks that are compatible with other well-known brick brands – but way cooler! Sluban bricks are approximately 60% cheaper than other building blocks. They are made of high quality materials and all products are CE, ROHS and ISO 9001:2008 certified.

Jake had a go at building the Sluban Army Soldier – here’s how he got on!

The Sluban Fire Engine is the perfect gift for the kids, whether for a birthday or Christmas, they’ll have hours of fun. The Sluban sets are compatible with other well-known brick brands so you can mix and match sets to make your own designs.

Jake shows you how this one goes together! 

Bricks have been part of children’s play for a long time. But there’s still no other toy that compares in promoting all areas of children’s development. Any early childhood teacher can easily identify all the areas block play develops including fine motor, social, language and cognitive skills.

As children experiment by stacking, balancing, or building with blocks, they need to share, respect other children’s constructions, ask for desired blocks and describe what they are creating. Perhaps more importantly, children develop problem solving skills, creativity and imagination in creating their masterpieces. 

Take a look at our full range of Sluban bricks here

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Pack camping gear for winter

Pack away your camping gear. Are you done camping for this year? To get the best life from your equipment, it’s important to make sure you store it well over the winter months.

MAKE SURE IT’S DRY…
Mould and mildew will make your tent very smelly when you bring it out again next Spring and eventually it can make the fabric rot away. When you pack away your camping gear, avoid mould with a few easy actions:

  • Take your tent down when it is as dry as possible. If it is wet at packing up time, shake off as much water as possible and wipe more off with a clean dry cloth or a towel.
  • If the tent is damp and you have room in the car, drape it loose over the luggage in the boot rather than putting it in the bag
  • When you get home unpack it and leave it out to dry as soon as possible. If the weather is still causing a problem, spreading it out in a garage or shed is better than leaving it in the bag while its wet. Even waiting a few days can cause damage.

ADDRESS ANY TEARS OR REPAIRS
Once you’ve arrived home and the tent is nice and dry, look and address any repairs that are needed.

  • Replace broken poles, damaged zips and worn guylines. Also check for tears in the groundsheet and flysheet. Some rips on seams can be simply sewn back together, either by hand or with a sewing machine, then coated on both sides with seam sealant. For ragged tears and seams it makes sense to add a patch. Gluing as well as sewing the patch on will make the repair more durable, and again, apply a seam sealant. 
  • Sewn-in groundsheets can easily be damaged by stones on your pitch. A small tear or hole can easily be fixed with a patch, but the best way to avoid this happening is to use a groundsheet footprint from the start. This protects the groundsheet from any sharp objects on the pitch and is much easier to clean when you get home.

WATERPROOF YOUR TENT

You’ll know your tent needs waterproofing if the rain starts to darken the flysheet.  Thoroughly clean the tent fabric before applying the proofer. Large tents will have to be pitched and washed/proofed by hand, but smaller tents can be washed in the bath or large sink.  Don’t be tempted to use washing up liquid or detergent of any kind, as these products will destroy the waterproofing on your tent.  We stock cleaning and reproofing materials from Nikwax and Grangers Fabsil.

STORE YOUR EQUIPMENT WELL

  • Make a check list and check your gear as you store it, looking out for anything that is missing, broken or damaged
  • Pack the tent loosely and store it somewhere dry and cool, like a loft, garage or shed, and out of direct sunlight.  If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of a spare room, then this is the best place, as the temperature is kept more even
  • Storing gear high helps keep it away from rodents and insects but remember tents can be very heavy, so be very careful not to put it somewhere that it could fall on your head!
  • Food smells attract rodents and they will cause irreparable damage to gear by chewing through it on the hunt for something tasty to eat. Make sure you air out or wash all gear that smells of food and sweep out any crumbs before you pack it away
  • Air out sleeping bags and store them loosely in a mesh bag rather than leaving them in stuff sacks
  • Self-inflating mats fair better if stored unrolled – perhaps leave under a bed if you can
  • Remove the batteries from any gadgets and store them separately. This will stop the batteries running out and will avoid the danger of corrosion damage.
  • Unpack your stove, check the burners and give it a good clean
  • Wipe down tent furniture like wardrobes, kitchens, tables and chairs and check for any damage
  • Clean out food storage containers thoroughly

Take the time to pack away your camping gear properly, and you’ll be sure of making the best start to next year’s adventures.

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Camp in Europe

Camp in Europe and enjoy a holiday unlike any in the UK. If you’ve been going camping for a few years, you might think you know everything there is to know.

But taking your tent overseas on a holiday in Europe is a totally different experience. If, like us you’ve taken advantage of some of the great offers on channel crossings in September, here are some top tips to help you have a great time camping abroad, courtesy of Camping Magazine.

1 PLAN YOUR FULL ROUTE
If you’ve got a long drive to your chosen destination ahead of you, make sure you plan your route in detail. It’s important this… not only do you need to know where you’re going, obviously, but also how long the drive will take, roads you might want to avoid and where you might make overnight stops. Check where any tolls are as well, so you don’t get any nasty surprises. For countries like Switzerland and Austria you need a motorway pass, which can be bought online in advance or at the border.

2 GET YOUR CAR ROAD-READY
Once you’ve got your route sorted, you’re good to hit the road. Well, almost… because before setting off you need to make sure your car is ready to drive abroad. As usual before any long trip, check tyre pressure and the oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels. Fit deflector stickers to your headlights so you don’t dazzle oncoming cars at night. Your car will also need GB sign – either a sticker or a logo on the number plate, although how this will apply post-Brexit isn’t yet clear. Other important equipment needed includes high-viz vests, warning triangles and breathalysers, but check the local requirements in all the countries you’re passing through, even if you’ll only be on their roads for a short distance.

3 PACK A SEPARATE BAG FOR OVERNIGHT STOPS
Rather than drag your main bag out the car every time you make an overnight stop – whether on a ferry or at a campsite or hotel – it’s a good idea to pack a separate overnight bag with a change of clothes and toiletries. You should also take a large shoulder bag or daypack for essential documents, camera, money etc.

4 USE MOTORWAY REST AREAS
If you’re used to UK motorway services, this might not sound like great advice, but think again. Most on the continent are a joy to use – some are simply picnic areas, but others have petrol stations, shops and excellent food outlets. Do bear in mind though you’ll need some local currency to use the loos at some stops.

5 BRING STRONG PEGS
When the ground on your tent pitch is baked hard and dry by the summer sun, you’ll need pegs capable of being driven into the ground without bending. Flimsy metal or plastic anchors just won’t cut it in these conditions. To secure your tent use heavy duty steel pegs that you can hammer firmly into the ground. And a footprint to go under the groundsheet will help protect it from damage.

6 CREATE SHADE
They say only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, but if you insist make sure you’ve got plenty of shade. If your tent has a built-in shelter, try to set it up so it provides protection from the sun at the hottest time of the day. If it doesn’t, consider investing in an extension or canopy.

7 PACK AN ELECTRIC ADAPTOR
Your blue UK electric hook-up cable will work on many sites in Europe but there are some, especially in France, where you’ll need an adaptor to plug in your electric gadgets. A mains tester is worth taking to check the mains polarity. If the tester shows reversed polarity, you’ll need another adaptor to correct it before using British appliances. Check the situation in advance – you can buy adaptors at camping shops at home and some sites will lend you one if you pay a deposit.

8 BRING THE RIGHT GAS
Calor Gas is not available in mainland Europe, so if that’s what you use for your cooker or barbecue make sure you bring enough from home to last for the length of your trip. Alternatively, use Campingaz, which is readily available across the Continent. Be aware of restrictions on taking gas onto ferries and Eurotunnel.

9 TAKE A WASH BOWL
For some reason, sink plugs seem to go missing on sites abroad all the time, so it makes sense to take your own washing up bowl. A collapsible bowl, like the one below from Kampa, are probably the best option for space-saving reasons. Bringing your own loo roll is also advisable.

Kampa Collapsible Washing Bowl with Straining Plug

10 PACK YOUR BUDGIE SMUGGLERS
When it’s hot, cooling off in the pool is bliss, but for reasons best known to themselves, many campsites on the continent insist that men must wear tight, budgie-smuggler style trunks rather than Bermuda shorts. So, make sure you take a pair with you or risk having to traipse round the shops looking for a pair. At some sites you also need to wear a swimming cap – you canusually pick these up locallyfor a couple of Euros.

11 HIRE A FRIDGE
Having a full-on fridge in your tent might sound crazy, but even the most powerful coolboxes struggle to work in extreme temperatures so it’s actually a very good idea if you want to store food and drink. And many sites will rent you a fridge during your stay so luckily you don’t have to lug your own across the continent! We’ve even seen sites where campers return every year and leave their fridge-freezer (and barbecue) in storage on the site ready for their next visit.

12 STOCK UP ON MOSQUITO REPELLENT/CREAM/CANDLES
Mosquito bites can ruin a foreign holiday, especially if they get infected, so you can never have too much spray and cream with you. Citronella candles can help keep the bugs at bay. If you do get bitten make sure you’ve got something to relieve the symptoms stashed in your first aid box.