So you are thinking about heading out into the wide blue yonder, your home on your back, without a care in the world. Or you might be thinking more along the lines of forgetting about the whole ‘home on the back’ thing. Your idea about camping might be to bundle your partner and kids into the car, open the boot and throw in the tent, cooker and barbie, beds, chairs, mini-fridge, portable TV and satellite dish, and enough food and drink to feed a small army. Whatever your idea for the ideal camping holiday, there’s only so much you are going to be able to take with you. It is essential not to forget the essentials though, so below are the basic things you are going to need.
The primary thing to consider is your shelter. This is the one thing that’s going to protect you against all the elements. So choose your tent wisely. How big your tent is going to be or what material it is made of are choices you will need to make, but you usually get what you pay for in this department. So if you go to a reputable camping shop, and why wouldn’t you, you can basically judge most tents on the quality to price ratio.
Some tents have a built in groundsheet. I would highly recommend that you buy one of these, especially for the place you’re going to sleep. If your tent comes with a separate bedroom, make sure it has a built in groundsheet. If it’s an all in one tent, make sure it’s got a built in groundsheet. I’ve spent a couple of horrific nights camping because I didn’t make this choice. If you get caught up in a storm, the rain might not get in from above, but it will roll under your tent. If you don’t have a groundsheet, be prepared to spend a wet and cold night or two. Not nice!
Next, choose your bedding to suit the season. If you buy a winter sleeping bag for summer use, you are going to fry. If you choose a summer bag and use it in the winter, you will freeze. You can buy all purpose bags with detachable layers. These are ideal if you’re going to take up camping as a long term hobby. There’s also a huge range of bedding to choose from. When I say bedding, I mean in terms of what’s beneath your sleeping bag, protecting you from the ground.
That is pretty much it for the basics! Most camp sites have places where you can buy food, so you don’t have to lug cookers and pots around with you, or worry about which types of food are going to stay safe and which will go off. As long as you bring a change of clothes, your wallet, and your ID, you should be good to go. A lot of the time, camping is all about getting back to the simple things in life. If you really want to get back to the basics, just do it!