Having spent last weekend camping solo for the first time ever, I thought I’d share some tips I picked up from the experience…
1. Tents should be set up according to their specifications. Slapping it together with a ‘that’ll do’ attitude will only result in it collapsing around your ears during the inevitable rain storm that will occur on the first night. Leftover tent poles are not a good thing. Guy lines should be set as close as possible to your tent; they should not be attached to another tent or passing camp-goers.
2. Keep an eye on your socks as they are mischievous and will try to make a break for it during the night. I found one of mine in the middle of the field one morning. I’m pretty sure I know how it got there, but I will be taking a sock-lock-box camping with me in the future, to keep the little bastards under control.
3. Should you find a large, leggy flying insect in your tent at any point, that insect will have instant claim over your temporary home until it either decides to leave of its own accord, or can be coaxed out by a much braver fellow camper.
4. Visitors should always be made welcome to your tent and offered every courtesy. This applies doubly if they bring presents or alcohol with them. If they are still there the next morning, you should offer them a cup of tea and both be quietly thankful that neither of you ate baked beans directly out of a can the night before.
5. Large, bright lanterns should never be waved around near the camp toilets at night, unless your key intention is to thoroughly embarrass the man who’s peeing into the hedge next to them.
6. Keep your clothes handy when you go to sleep. Even though you never, ever have to pee during the night while sleeping in your bed at home, camp rules state that your bladder will inevitably become full to bursting at 2.30 in the morning during a torrential downpour, no matter how many times you visited the facilities before you turned in.
7. A snoring camper can be made much more entertaining by attempting to whistle the 1812 Overture in time with their snores.
8. Don’t underestimate how freezing-ass cold camping can be at night. Hot water bottles, blankets, thick sleeping bags, heavy duty pyjamas, and compliant hot-blooded friends can all help you to stay warm and hypothermia-free. Picking a fight with a ram or a grumpy bovine can also warm you up enough for a good night’s sleep, but be sure to wear good running shoes.
9. Fit puffy sleeping bags and inflatable beds back into their miniscule storage bags by running them over with your car.
10. Take the time to lay on your back next to the camp fire and gaze up at the stars. You won’t regret it as there’s no light pollution in the countryside. If your back becomes hot, you’re laying in the fire; get up as soon as possible. If someone starts yelling at you, you might be inadvertently laying on their dinner/marshmallows/closest family member; be more careful. You’re only doing it right if your back becomes cold, muddy and damp. And the myriad of ants ranging through your underwear are just a bonus. Enjoy.
Please feel free to add your own…