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Tips for first time campers

Are you a first time camper?

If you are, be honest. On a scale of one (can’t survive a night away from home without a hotel pillow) to 10 (surviving alone on a desert island), it’s important to know what kind of outdoor holiday will work for you. There’s a big difference between a willingness to spend the night in a sleeping bag under canvas and a luxury glamping experience

If you’re a first time camper, here’s some top tips to help make sure you fall in love with camping and make this break the first of many to come…

1.While a hotel may offer guests the choice of a sea or garden view, overnighting in a tent means the choice of where to stay is completely up to you. You choose the perfect tent to buy, you choose where you want to visit and then where on the site you pitch for the night.

For a first time camper buying a tent, it’s worth noting that a one-person tent might be cosy. Likewise, for a couple happy to cuddle up, a three-person tent is probably just enough when you store extra kit inside. Always “go large” if you can, there’s no harm in having a little extra space. It’s a great idea to take a look around our pitched tent display so you can really get a feel for the size and proportions that you’ll need. Once you’ve made your choice, have a go at putting up and taking down your new tent before your first trip. It’s easier to get to grips with the instructions the first time in the privacy of your back garden than when you arrive at your campsite at the end of the day or after a long journey.

2. Once you get to your chosen site, try to pick a shaded spot to keep cool in high summer, or at least somewhere that doesn’t get the bright light of sunrise. If you can, pitch on higher ground and, if you prefer peace and quiet, slightly away from any communal facilities. If there’s a breeze, select a spot that enjoys some shelter from a wall, some shrubs or another tent.

3. A great idea for a first time camper is to book a site close to a pub that serves good grub, select somewhere with on-site facilities or plan to cook al fresco. Check your campsite allows you to cook on a barbecue or camp fire – some provide outdoor grills or a fire pit, while others may not permit open fires. Take your own cooking tools, crockery and cutlery if required. We’ve got a great selection of cookware including space saving collapsible items.

Make sure you take some non-perishable food that doesn’t need heating up, just in case you can’t use the campfire. Keep everything in well-sealed containers, ideally in a secure place outside the tent such as a large coolbox; not only does this keep your ingredients fresh, it will reduce the appealing smells attracting wildlife. Take a look at our great range of coolboxes and bags.

4. Campsites can be a bit like the baggage carousel at the airport where all cases can look the same. Your beautiful new tent might blend in with all the others making it hard to find home, especially after dark. Bring a tent marker such as a flag, windsock, bunting or battery-operated fairy lights to distinguish your tent. We’ve got a great range of flags and windsocks in store and online. And remember to bring a torch. There are few things worse than stumbling around a campsite in the dark looking for your tent.

5. Take only essential items and keep electricals to a minimum. Use resealable waterproof bags to store your phone and any valuables so they stay dry and take a supply of plastic bags to keep worn or wet clothes and boots separate from clean and dry ones.

6. The Great British summer can surprise the best of us, but should the forecast predict wet weather don’t be put off. Check your site has a drying room so you can still enjoy the great outdoors when the weather isn’t fine. Some larger sites even have a laundrette.

7. Some wilderness or more rural locations may lack full recycling and refuse facilities so adopt a “leave nothing behind” policy wherever you go. Minimise what you take with you and bring as much home as you can to dispose of correctly. Travel with reusable crockery, cutlery, water bottles and equipment.

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