Monday, 21 March 2016

A to Z of Camping

A - Camping is a wonderful form of adventure. Head somewhere you've never been before. Or even see a different side of your local area. Camping opens up opportunities to experience areas in a way you just can't do in a car, or a house, or during the day.

B - There's nothing quite like barbecue food when you're camping (disposable or a more environmentally-friendly re-usable one for regular campers)

C - Though not essential, I would always recommend taking a camping chair or stool. Quite frankly, it's just nice to have something to sit on once you've expelled a load of energy collecting firewood and setting up the tent! Expensive ones tend to be comfier, but we use cheap ones and they all work the same!

Our chairs and our make-shift rain shelter, made from plastic sheeting (obviously taken away with us to bin after the camping trip!)

D - Particularly if you're hiking to your camp and don't have immediate access to the car, try and pack a day pack. This way, if you head off on an adventure during the day, you don't have to lug that massive rucksack around with you just to hold your water and spare boot laces!

E - Emergency kit. No matter how prepared you are, you never know what may happen. Always bring a basic emergency kit, including plasters, anti-septic wipes and a foil blanket.

F - Don't stress too much about the weather, directions, food, cold, etc. You're camping to have fun remember!

G - For those who would love try camping, but know they couldn't live without a decent bed or electricity for a night, why not try glamping?

H - Hill-walking and camping go hand in hand, like jam and cream, or baked beans and mashed tatties. Both part of exploring and enjoying the outdoors, whether you park your tent in one spot, head off on a walk then retreat back to camp, or if you take the tent with you and attempt a summit camp, camping is a great excuse for some hill-walking too, and vice versa.

Hiking up Schiehallion

I - Camping internationally can be quite the experience! I've done it once, and can't wait to try it again!

Campsite overlooking Mount Everest :O

J -Always bring a jacket. No matter the season or weather, it's always worth having a waterproof shoved away in a bag for emergencies (especially in Scotland).

My North Face jacket has been a saviour, from snowstorms in Nepal to walking to work in the rain!

K - Camping is a great way to get the kids involved in nature and the outdoors. What better way to introduce them to a more outdoor-sy lifestyle (along with some much-needed family time) than a family trip into the woods or highlands with nothing but a tent, some basic supplies and each other's company?

L - The key to staying warm? Layers. For clothing, layer up different types of clothing (t-shirt, base layer, fleece, waterproof) and then you're ready for if it's a scorching day or if it's a blizzard. Bedding wise, it never hurts to have an extra blanket to throw over on a chilly night,  or even a liner for your sleeping bag.

M - Following from above, you could be as cosy as you like, and may still be uncomfortable. It never hurts to bring a mat for sleeping on. You can get all kind of camping mats that are easy and lightweight to carry and pack.

N - Camping is an ideal way to interact with nature. Whether it's fishing at dusk, shooing a highland cow away from your tent or encountering deer in the middle of the night, there's always something to experience.

Highland Coo - his massive herd became our neighbours for our camping weekend in Perthshire

O - OUTDOORS! It's what we're here for, it's why I write this blog and it's one of the key parts of our human nature, our connection to the outdoors! Explore the wilderness, enjoy the fresh air and embrace the outdoors, as camping is one of the most ideal ways to do so!

P - Preparation is key. Look at your route in advance whether you're walking or driving, always check the weather on the day and, as mentioned above, always prepare for unexpected weather or delays. Check out this example of what happens when you're unprepared!

Q - QUIET! This can be taken in two forms. As will be mentioned below in 'R', if you're in a campsite, you should try to be quieter after a certain time, to let other campers sleep. However, on the other hand, if you're wild camping the peace and quiet away from the city or other human beings is exactly what a lot of people go wild camping for (including myself).

Tranquil loch-side camping is my favourite.

R - When camping it is important to respect the environment and fellow people. When in a campsite, keep noise to a minimum in the later hours, respecting fellow campers who may have children or are having an early night. Whether wild camping or in a campsite, always pick up your litter. don't camp for more than one or two nights in one place and try and cover any remnants of your fire.

S - A sleeping bag is understandably an important piece of equipment for camping. We've camped before without sleeping bags, instead bringing a sheet, blankets and a duvet. While this can be perfectly fine in summer, I highly recommend a sleeping bag for winter. The warmth of a sleeping bag far beyond what you'd get wit a duvet and blankets.

T - A tent should be seen as an investment. If you're having a one-off camp at a festival, then a cheaper one will do just fine. But if you're planning on camping for years to come, it's best to invest in a decent tent. Always make sure you attempt to build the tent before you go out camping with it, and where possible, if it's been raining, dry out the tent when you get home.

Our 5-man tent

U - Again, kitchen utensils isn't exactly a necessity to survive a camping trip. Though they cam be extremely handy. If we haven't got utensils, we use twigs to flip burgers, which makes it feel a little more wild, if you like. But sometimes it is very handy to have a mini knife and fork, or a spoon to eat some porridge with in the morning.

V - Violations. Make sure you read up on the restrictions of wild camping in whatever country you'll be heading out in. E.g. In Scotland, we have a freedom to roam act, allowing individuals to camp where they wish on public land. Where landowners are concerned, one should always obtain land owners permission. Don't violate any camping laws. The last thing you want is your trip ruined by a visit from an angry ranger in the middle of the night.

W - Number one priority: Water. No matter how you do it, make sure you have water. I would always recommend camping near a water source, for example a lake, so you can boil water from the lake to drink it. Obviously you could carry hefty amounts of water with you, but this way, you'll lay off the weight a little! However you do it, this is an important thing to plan.

X - (This was a toughy). Always seek eXpert advice if you're stuck. Whether that's a crash course in emergency survival, or taking some notes from a friend who has had more experience camping or walking than you, if you feel you need a little more knowledge, you're better off asking than regretting it should you end up in an unfortunate predicament.

Y - Yellowstone. Couldn't think of something for Y. SO used Yellowstone National Park as it looked stunning, and is somewhere I personally would love to camp one day. Anyone else have any 'Y' ideas?!

Z - Zzzz.... Enjoy the fresh air that camping brings to you, and once you've got the above points sorted, you should be in for a peaceful nights sleep :)

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