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Tom's Tips & News

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What Do I Need to Take Camping

1: Safety

It is always a good idea to take a small first aid kit as you never know when bumps, bruises or burns are going to appear.

2: Lighting

This depends on whether the campsite provides electric or not. If it does and you have your electric hook-up kit, why not make the most of it and take an electric light so you don't run the risk of running out of batteries. If you don't have the luxury of electric there are some very bright camping lanterns now available with more than enough run-time from of a set of batteries to last a weekend.

3: Sleeping

We always recommend that you try out anything you are going to sleep on as you would your bed at home, as there are many different options. You can choose between camp beds, airbeds or self-inflating mats. All feel different to lie on and all suit everyone's different requirements. When it comes to sleeping bags there are a lot to choose from they are mostly temperature-rated nowadays and this makes life a lot easier as you normally know what the weather is generally going to be doing when you go away. If you only go when it's hot there is nothing wrong with the duvet from home.

4: Cooking

There are a wide range of different cookers available now in the camping industry; you can now go down the traditional route of a gas double burner and grill, or the electric route of double burner electric hobs, to ovens & griddles all at low wattage to run off your electric hook-up. All are as good as each other but with electric you are always relying on there being an electric pitch available at the campsite you choose, which can be tricky in high season. So it could be best to always have a little single gas burner just in case.

There are lots of sets of pans available in the market so just make sure - the same as you would at home - that they are big enough so you're not limiting yourself to what and how much you can cook whilst away. If there is an old pan set in the cupboard at home that you don't use anymore why not take that?

5: Cooling

This is where it can get a little bit tricky if you're not on electric hook-up. You will have to rely on either the campsite being able to re-freeze your ice blocks for you, otherwise purchase a very well-insulated cool box that will keep cool for a weekend at least. If you have tried both of those and failed there is also the option of 3-way fridges that run from 12v Mains & Gas that work just like your fridge at home and will have no problem cooling your food. When you go to a campsite and you're on electric hook-up you can purchase cool boxes that run from a 12v supply and then buy an adapter to change the end to a plug for your hook-up. Just always remember with cool boxes that they work best when full as they circulate air to cool so the less air there is inside your box, the better it will cool.

6: Fun

Sometimes it's hard to avoid the nightmare of turning up at a campsite to discover there are no children's activities or playground - so why not take your own entertainment just in case?

The most popular games for the campsites are:

  • Swingball
  • Soft cricket
  • Boules
  • Kite flying

Many sites do not allow footballs as these can travel quite fast and damage other people' s tents or caravans what can end up being costly.

7: Glamping

Glamping must-haves include:

  • a carpet for the tent
  • inflatable chairs
  • electricity supply
  • portable radio

If you have had a glamping holiday and have ideas for this list please let us know so we can add them here!

Looking After Your Tent in Bad Weather

We never know when bad weather is going to strike when were on holiday but it’s always best to be prepared just in case! This is England after all...

1: Ensure all your guy ropes are out at least a minimum distance of 1.5m from the tent itself. Guylines are put on tents for a reason by manufacturers and always use them - it may be calm when you erect your tent but what happens when the weather changes and you are having a day out?

2: Pull out any wire pegs you have in your tent and replace them with a more sturdy peg, such as 12” or 8” plastic pegs as these will grip the ground if it ends up raining. Wire pegs that most tents come with will pull out from wet ground very easily if it rains.

3: Is there the option for reinforced tie-down kits with your tent? If there is, make sure you purchase these as they are not expensive and can reinforce your tent a great deal more.

4: Take down any extra canopies that are not physically attached to the tent as these will become unsafe and have a high chance of breaking.

5: Finally, please remember no family tent on the market is covered under a manufacturer's warranty for storm damage, so if one hits don’t risk putting it up unless you are fully prepared. 

Advice on buying a tent

1: Explore the market for all different layouts as there more than you may realise. Try and actually see the tent erected that you are considering - it may be totally different in the "flesh" to images on the internet and a brochure.

2: Do not buy it just because it’s cheap...normally this is for a reason. Why is something cheaper? It may have smaller windows or less of them, less pegging points and less attention to important detail and features that could ruin a holiday.

3: Is there enough space inside for when it’s raining and you are all in there with the children causing chaos?!

4: Are there a good range of extras available if you need to make it bigger/more comfortable ?

5: Always go for sewn-in groundsheets as they make life so much easier. From pegging to not getting wet when it rains.

6: Do not buy a tent on its H/H level - this means nothing over 1500mm. All tents above this level should keep you dry, levels above this are more of a marketing tool than essential to keep you dry.

7: Are there enough bedrooms for the future and will the layout still work for you and your family if your needs change? Remember this will be your holiday home for a few years to come.

8: Always purchase some better pegs than the wire ones your tent comes with - this is normally the main reason other people's tents will break or blow away. All due to wrong pegs being used that don’t adequately grip the ground.

9: Always put any new tent up at home or in the local park before you go away on holiday for the first time. It saves any stress pitching at the camp site and gives more time to enjoy your holiday.

10: Finally, just enjoy your tent never be afraid to ask your dealer for hints and tips as to how to put your new tent up (if your purchased it from them!).