Festival season has arrived, Glastonbury is a stone's throw away and summery weekends are imminent, so it's an essential to get clued up ASAP.
So many of my pals have never been camping and frankly, the idea terrifies them. But what's not to love? The great outdoors, dining al fresco and camp fires! Well coming from me, a great lover of camping, there are elements that I could definitely do without; rain, deflating blow up mattresses, mud, lack of equipment and cold showers.
However, I am now a 'seasoned' camper, but with my first trip to Glastonbury pending, I am well aware of the torrential rain curse and am here to help myself and yourself be as prepared as possible for all eventualities. But something to bear in mind is we live in the wonderful UK, so expect the unexpected and you won't be disappointed.
Here are a couple that are on my essential packing list, which I hope will prove useful;
What is this you ask? 'Heavy-duty waterproof cloth, originally of tarred canvas'. What if you arrive alongside the rain and your tent is muddy from the get go? You'll be in for a treat. Get yourself some tarpaulin, pop it down, kick off your shoes and assemble your tent barefoot and hey presto, you should have yourself a mud-free tent. If you are clever and buy yourself more than one sheet (assuming it's still raining) you could use it as a protective umbrella for outdoor drinking, cooking etc. Or if the sun shines, you could just use it as a picnic blanket; the options are endless.
This may seem like an obvious one, but I think when it comes down to it and you're actually packing and trying to qualify whether you need absolutely everything you have packed, it's easy to picture that long hike from the car park or train station, and you'll start to question whether it's an essential. ERROR, this is an essential! Gathering in a tent for drinking is sweaty and gross, you will be the envy of all your mates as you sit there with your lukewarm cider and umbrella. Also you can now get these cool little pop up chairs, that are super compacted, so there really are no excuses.
OK, fine they may not be as cool or trendy (me saying trendy is definitely not cool) but in terms of being practical and purely for comfort purposes this one is a no brainer. For normal camping over a bank holiday, you can then explore the local scenery by foot in comfort, walk for miles and get that much sought-after Insta shot.
For Glastonbury, word is that the walk carrying all your possessions to your spot is too long for words, so why would you subject yourself to the pain of wellies? Point numero 1; sweaty walking legs combined with wellies equals blisters which equals pain, numbero 2; think of the mud, no one wants to get stuck and do a Bridget classic, faceplanting mud in your cool festival gear. Final and my personal favourite benefit is, if you are graced with sunshine, there is more chance of a better tan coverage.
This is a pretty obvious one, but do NOT underestimate the power of a wet wipe, which is pretty much the only form of shower you'll get at a festival. Unless you count rain or if you fancy queuing for what will feel like an eternity for one massive communal shower, where it is likely you will have forgotten to bring swimwear and end up being the only naked one there (yep, that was me).
For your standard camping trip, you may be lucky enough to have warm showers on site, but the warm water tends to run out quickly, so unless you are an early riser, forget it. Wet wipes are your lifeline - quick shower, toilet roll alternative, hand sanitiser, face wash you name it. Stock up, and definitely over buy!
So there they are, my top essentials on your list of what to take. These might be good ones for festivals but also great tips for just your standard camping trip. Glastonbury is now a mere few days away and it's looking to be the hottest one yet, a proper scorcher - enjoy and keep hydrated!