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Camping is ideal for a short summer staycation, but this popular activity can quickly turn into a stressful experience if you’re under-prepared. From being caught in bad weather to battling a broken tent, there’s plenty that can go wrong and potentially ruin your time in the great outdoors. Express.co.uk spoke to David Scotland, owner of camping equipment retailer, Outdoor World Direct and Giorgos Mouratidis, marketing lead for Stasher.com, to find out the best ways to keep your bank holiday camping trip on track this weekend.
Check your equipment
While camping in the UK is a welcome break from airport queues and luggage restrictions, packing for a trip outdoors can be tough.
Making sure you’ve got everything you need is one thing, but David Scotland, owner of camping equipment retailer Outdoor World Direct said it’s not all you need to worry about.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he said: “If you originally bought your camping gear a couple of years ago, then check if your equipment is still in working order now.
“You don’t want to arrive at your campsite only to find out your tent has a tear, it’s better to deal with the repair before you set off or replace equipment if required.”
Packing the right type of equipment for the weather is a given, but what exactly should you be taking with you?
David said: “If your sleeping bag is one-two season and the nights are going to be chilly where you’re headed, you’ll need to upgrade to a two-three season sleeping bag or risk spending the night shivering.”
The unpredictable British weather is also notorious for spontaneous downpours, so it’s important to make sure your tent is waterproof as well as your clothing.
David noted that campers should be taking a tent that’s at least 3,000mm waterproof or more, unless the weather forecast is really on your side.
Know your ‘quick fixes’ for a broken tent
If you encounter a problem with your tent while camping, there’s not a lot you can do unless you can easily access a shop which sells the tools you need to fix it.
To avoid being caught short while you’re enjoying the natural landscape, David suggested stocking up on repair patches to take with you, should your tent encounter a tear.
Replacement air valves for air mattresses, air tents and replacement poles for traditional tents are all useful to have on you.
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Mr Mouratidis, added: “The ring/pin system on the four corners of your tent (assuming you have a standard issue igloo one) is by far the least durable part, and the easiest one to tear, especially if your tent is on the cheaper side.
“You can avoid damage to it by not stressing the poles too much through the loops, but even in case the ring does tear, all is not lost.
“You can survive a couple of nights by jamming the end of the pole inside of the outer fabric. The tent should hold up just fine, just enough to not ruin your holiday.”
Duct tape can be incredibly useful for holding broken poles together and temporarily covering tears if all else fails.
Always stock up on water
While most campsites have good access to nearby services and amenities, a flat car battery or unexpected issue could leave you unable to venture beyond the site.
For this reason, it’s important to be prepared with food and drink in case you’re caught short in bad weather, or during the night.
Giorgos warned: “This one goes mostly to people who go wild camping, but never, ever, under no circumstances forget to have at least a few bottles of water with you.”
Respect camping etiquette
Camping in nature can be liberating, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow some basic rules.
To avoid nasty run-ins with fellow campers or site owners, it is crucial to keep your space clean and tidy.
Giorgos explained that no matter where you are, leaving rubbish behind you is unacceptable and generally proves you’re “not right” for this kind of holiday.
He added: “Another mistake is doing your business in nature and not digging a cathole before.
“Faecal matter takes a lot of time to decompose above ground, so make sure to always bury it and provide food for the nearby trees.”
Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly
Varying weather is to be expected in the UK. However if there is a weather warning in place you must respect that, said David.
He explained: “We often have customers call to say their tent was damaged in gale force winds – camping in those conditions is dangerous and even the most robust tents will struggle.”
Polycotton Tents are your “best bet” in the hot weather as they offer much better protection from the dreaded condensation that leaves you waking up sticky in the morning.
According to Giorgos, the removable rainfly should also be used to cool you down during sunny, warm periods – though be warned, you will be slightly exposed by removing this.
He said: “Most mid-tier canopy tents have a removable rainfly. During August in Greece, I’ve never not slept comfortably by removing this part and leaving just the mesh.”
Another thing to look out for with ‘regular tents’ is blackout bedrooms.
David said: “Many of the newer models have this feature which keeps the bedrooms darker and cooler for a better sleep in the morning particularly as the sun rises early now.
“Also, check the rating of your sleeping bag, if the nights are going to be mild then opt for a one-two season sleeping bag to keep cool.”
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