Okay so I’ll put my hands up here. I am not a camping fanatic. Nor am I an expert. I don’t particularly find camping all that fun and am certainly not a person who classes camping as an enjoyable hobby. Is there a name for this? Hang on, let me go Google.
Right I’m back. Turns out there isn’t a proper name for this, but what I did find was a Facebook page entitled ‘person who enjoys camping’ which only had two likes. lol.
Anyway, recently, I went on a holiday that included camping. I know right, who signed up to that one? I am very much a fan of home comforts, a sofa, bed, hot water, wifi, you know the usual things. I quite like them. However keen to push myself out of my comfort zone, I gave camping a go again on my Trek America trip and well now I’m back to tell the story.
I’d only ever camped once prior to this trip. I’d gone to T4 on the beach with a bunch of pals to Weston-super-mare back in 2010. We paid £20 to camp in a field on a farm, with about 100 other drunken teenagers. Don’t worry, we weren’t all in one tent. Basically it rained, there was an awful portaloo, and we forgot a torch so we couldn’t see a bloody thing. It was also in the age of Blackberry’s so no such thing as a torch on your phone sadly. The first night was fine, but then on the second after a day at T4 on The Beach where it rained all day, and I was so far away from the stage all I saw all day was the back of people’s head, I wasn’t too much of a happy bunny. I mean all I’d wanted in life that day was to be able of seen JLS. But alas, concerts are a cruel mistress for small people.
That night the rain hammered down and we all sat in our tents and went to sleep. The experience put me off camping if I’m honest. However I knew deep down that camping wouldn’t all be like that dodgy field in Weston-super-mare, right? Right?
So I went camping in America, we did four nights camping. We stayed at a campsite at Zion National Park, which if I’m honest could of possibly been the Hilton of the campsite world. There were two heated pools, with a slide. It was like being in Gran Canaria or something. Then the toilets were heated, and spotless and whilst the showers were a little rank, they were fine and most importantly worked. Hoorah. The second campsite was at The Grand Canyon and that was a little more basic. Not as nice toilets and you had to pay for the showers which cost $2 for 8 minutes and 4 of those minutes were waiting for the showers to warm up. Fun times.
But what I took away from camping was that it wasn’t actually that bad. Once you have your tent up, and if you have all the right things with you, you’re laughing. However I did not have the right things with me, so today after that very long opening to this post, I am going to tell in my opinion camping essentials.
My Top Essentials:
Warm Stuff: First of all, check the weather and pack appropriate for this. It will pretty much always get colder at night, so make sure you pack warm stuff to sleep in. Sweatpants, fleecy pyjama bottoms, hoodies, jumpers, you get my drift.
Scarf & Hat: I found my face got really cold in the night, so I would recommend packing a bobble hat or something to keep the warmth in and a scarf to wrap around your face to keep it warm.
A torch: at night it’s pitch black so having a torch is so helpful. We were advised to get a head torch which I did pick up from Decathlon, but tbf I just used a regular torch which helped to find stuff in the night and also led the way when I needed a wee and it was dark.
A good quality sleeping bag; Don’t just buy any old cheap thing, get a good quality one, especially if you’re camping a lot on your trip. It will make such a big difference and you’ll be so cosy, you’ll be like a sausage roll.
A pillow; pick one of these up and you’ll sleep so much better trust me. It can be quite uncomfy sleeping, so if you get a pillow it will make a world of difference. I picked one up from Walmart when I was out there for like $5.
Fluffy/Thick Socks: having something warm on your feet will make a world of difference.
Portable Charger: there will be power outlets at the campsite but in the toilets. So when you’re in the tent have a portable charger to charge up your phone when you’re not near a socket.
Hairdryer: This may seem a weird one, but something most of us forgot was a hairdryer. When its cold and you’ve washed your hair, you do not want to be camping with wet hair. Take a travel hairdryer with you and dry your hair in the toilets. It will make a world of difference trust me. Also everyone will want to use it so you’ll make friends easy.
Dry Shampoo: That being said if you cba with the whole washing your hair thing, dry shampoo will be your best pal. Tbf I don’t wash my hair too often at home, so my hair is used to this stuff. It will give your hair a bit of life and body after camping.
Flip Flops: Again a weird one? But basically the floors in the showers were rank, and I was so glad I had flip flops with me to shower in so I didn’t have to touch the floor. I did not want to have to buy any of that bazuka that verruca when I got home. Buy some from Primark for a couple of quid and throw them away at the end of the trip.
I have also made a downloadable checklist for you (ooh fancy) , of all the other things to take when camping/going on holiday. I hope it’s helpful 🙂
I have to say that when the weather was warmer and we were at the fancy campsite in Zion, I thought I actually don’t mind camping. It’s a fun way to spend a few days, and honestly some of my favourite memories from the trip were sitting around a campfire melting marshmallows and having a couple of peculiar fruit flavoured beers.
That being said, I will always be a sucker for a hotel with a double bed and power shower. Yasss do you hear me. But srsly, give camping a go at least once. Yolo and all that. Oh and don’t get eaten by a bear. I won’t lie, I did google ‘how to fight a bear’ before I left for my trip. Have to be prepared and all that right?