It’s clearly time to go outdoors, grab the bikes and the family and get happy camping this amazing season.
Maps of course
Last weekend we picked up a few essentials from the local camping shop, donned our outdoor clothing and headed – with our fabric ordnance survey maps of course, – to the New Forest.
Our happy camping site at Hurst View was a fabulous open space, close to the sea and with stunning views of the castle and the Isle of Wight Needles.
Camping in France
As always it was a time to relax, but also a time to gaze at all the camping gear and load-up for next month when we’re camping in France.
Top 10 Gear list for Happy Camping
Here’s our Top 10 Gear list from the thousands of innovations seen on site;
1) Mystical Fire!
Buy these sachets from Mystical Fire and bung them in an open campfire. We were mesmerised under the blood red moon as we watched the spectrum dance.
2) Citronella mosquito coils and tin
Genius! I’ve burnt so many of those “all night” mosquito repellents only to find myself eaten alive by the pests and discover the burning coil had fallen apart in the evening. This simple tin suspends the burning mosquito coil on fine wires and encases it in tin! So the wind can’t blow it out and gravity can’t snap-off the vital smouldering end. We used the Citronella mosquito coils which smell fantastic, but the tins will work on the standard heavy duty versions too.
3) Find your camping spot in the night
Pretty, but practical I’m always checking out people’s choice in solar fairy lights. Batteries are always a pain and these lights will help you find your camping spot in the night and provide that vital individuality. My favourite was the clear light-bulb look like these ones from lights4fun
4) Fabric Ordnance Survey Maps from SplashMaps –
The point of camping is to be at one with the outdoors! What better time to go outdoors and discover? With multiple camping uses a SplashMap (unique OS Maps of anywhere or fixed maps of popular areas like the Lake District map or New Forest map) helps find your way. We found the bike trails easily and picnicked upon them between one place and the next.
5) Gas Barbeque
Added sophistication to happy camping comes with a gas barbeque. We used the Cadac Safari Chef 2. So versatile we cooked risotto, scrambled egg and bacon plus steak, sausages and tuna in the evenings. It’s hard to think of a more versatile device to eat so handsomely.
6) Super sharp when needed
For some time we’ve been getting knife envy from our fellow campers and for 4 years the Outwell 3 part knife set has covered all our camping cook needs– and they never seem to blunt. All sheathed solidly they’re safe to keep around and super sharp when needed. You can buy them at Blacks.
When else do you get the chance to sit around and play family games? We found the most fun was a traditional “guess who” game we found. This version has the added advantage of making you look ridiculous!
8) Erection outshines all others
Okay, there’s always someone who’s tent erection outshines all others. Don’t know who it was this year, but they were in a Go Outdoors own branded Hi Gear Oasis Elite 8 man tent. It put our attempts with aging Outwells to shame and, checking their video, the spec is pretty good too! Certainly the smoothest encampment we saw in the field.
9) Find your camping spot during the day
Increasingly important, when the sun is high and the camp site gets filled, is making it easy for all to find your camping spot during the day . How else would you find your group of happy campers in a rapidly changing landscape? I spotted these beauties from the Camping and Kite Centre.
10) Solid shampoo and shower gel from Lush
The solid products from LUSH cosmetics are designed to need no packaging. But because they’re solid there’s a range of benefits for camping too, primary among these is… they don’t leak!! I love all of these and now take solid shampoo, shower gel and even solid toothpaste! Be warned, the solid Factor 30 sun cream can melt in a hot tent, so keep it in the cool box! Buy in-store is my advice! Really nice people and lively demonstrations.
So Happy camping! And if anyone can recommend a good way of getting rock-pegs out of solid earth – please help me. If the UK’s earth is this hard I’ll need pneumatics when camping in France!