Help from the experts on choosing the right tent, perfect pitch and more....
The BBC has reported that more and more Britons are packing their tents and heading for the countryside. Market researchers recently Mintel reported a surge in short-break camping holidays while membership of the Camping and Caravanning Club has increased by 10% in three years.
So why, what, how and where should we go camping . . .
Whether you plan a weekend in North Wales or a fortnight in the Costa Brava, camping is an economical and attractive holiday option – and an increasingly popular one too. However, to enjoy camping you need to know what you are doing – what equipment to buy, how and where to pitch your tent and what to do about water, electricity, gas and toilets. In addition, you will want to know some great destinations for camping holidays.
Newly published, The Camping Manual is an essential campers’ guide. Compiled by Peter Frost, who has camped in more than 30 countries from Iceland to South Africa, The Camping Manual is published by Haynes – renowned worldwide for its car and motorcycle manuals.
Peter begins by detailing the sorts of tents available and how to erect them. Numerous illustrations and clear diagrams in The Camping Manual explain how each sort of tent is erected and there’s important information on tent repairs. Everything else you could possibly need is covered in detail – from sleeping bags to wellies and lanterns to gizmos. Frost’s experience is reflected in his many useful suggestions. He writes: 'Whatever kind of sleeping bag you choose you should give serious thought to using an easily washable sheet liner'.
And he questions whether some equipment is really required: before you think about electricity, ask yourself do you really need it? Gas or liquid fuel lanterns work well. Gas-powered fridges are excellent for camping, so unless you must take your television camping you probably don’t need mains power...
Getting to the campsite is the next topic. If you are tempted to carry everything on your back The Camping Manual provides an invaluable guide to the weight you should expect to carry and relates this to the size and type of rucksack you will need. For the less adventurous, cars, racks, roof boxes, bikes, motorbikes and trailers as means of transporting your camping equipment are examined.
Now you are ready to go but to where? In Part 4 of The Camping Manual, Peter covers wild camping, small sites, certificated sites, forest holiday sites, commercial sites and sites abroad. Again, his experience is mirrored in his writing. Here’s a useful tip about where to pitch: although you’ll probably want a level pitch to sleep in comfort, a slightly sloping pitch may give better drainage; and if the site gets waterlogged, you won’t want to be at the lowest marshy point. Ideally, a soft, flat, lightly grassed pitch that doesn’t look like it’s the lowest point of the site, nor where water might run through during heavy rain, is what to aim for.