Camping is one of the most exciting experiences in life for everyone, children to adults, but there is nothing worse than going on a planned trip and things start to go wrong because you have the wrong equipment.
Below are some tips and hints that will hopefully save you from things going wrong. I hope this will be a help to you.
Choosing the Correct Tent
I have often said that a two person tent is for two very friendly people! It is so important to realise that there are so many extra items that have to be stored in the tent. Clothing, camp beds, blankets, cooking equipment, toiletries and so much more, including fishing rods.
It is therefore thoroughly recommended that if you have a family of four, then you need to look at a six person tent. The height of the people must also be taken into account. If there are tall members of the family, they do not want to be bent double when entering the tent or not be able to stretch out fully when asleep.
The number of doors is an important consideration. Clambering over someone in the dead of night is not the best thing to do, even though you can hear the fish starting to jump early in the morning! As well as doors, you will want to think about the windows because ventilation is so important. I also find pouches on the sides are so helpful.
I remember being told as a kid when camping “Do not touch the sides when it is raining.” This still rings true so do think about the space because you do not want to have too much equipment for too little space and then wake up in the morning to find your clothes are damp. Again, ventilation will help in this matter, so think of the windows!
The climate of the area you intend to go will also be important in deciding the material of the tent. If you are going to the snow, then you would obviously not decide to purchase a tent designed for warm weather. This brings in the factor of material as canvas will be heavier than nylon but last longer.
An Easy Erect Tent
I feel that putting up the tent must be as easy as possible. You have more than likely traveled a fair distance during the day or night and do not want to spend a long time erecting a difficult tent. Satisfy yourself first by research on various medias regarding the erection of the tent you are thinking of purchasing.
It is possible to do a search on YouTube to find out the routine of putting up your tent. This might save you a lot of problems further on. The kids just want to go and play or swim and come back to bangers and mash later on.
Tent Erection “Must Haves”
It might be stating the obvious, but have a check list before you go and this would include poles, mallet, pegs and guy ropes. Also think of mats for inside and outside. A good mat outside can eliminate sand and dirt from being brought inside the tent.
A large number of the poles are spring loaded and used in combination. An idea that I thought of was to use coloured masking tape for the ends of poles that go together but not spring loaded. Green to green, red to red, blue to blue etc. At one time I had a large awning for a caravan and used this method of colour co-ordination and also the number of rings I would put on a pole, so two blues match with two blues etc. This stopped the hassle of working out the matching pairs of poles.
The site location of your tent is so important. The size of your tent and the amount of people with you is very relevant to the positioning of the tent. A level area must be considered to prevent a roll over during the night. The area around must be included in the thought process as cooking and outdoor activities are also important.
I have never camped under a tree due to the possibility of falling branches caused by wind and this is not in reference to the evening meal. A falling branch can cause severe injuries so please be aware. Also take into consideration the direction of the wind as you do not want it coming straight in through the front door, this will blow your tent away. Yes, I did this once many years ago and have never forgotten it.
Camping – A lifestyle
I hope this has been a help to you, so before you purchase your tent think about the number of people who will be using it and purchase a tent designed for two more than you have, this will ensure you have enough space. Also consider the amount of doors and windows for ventilation which you will realise is so important.
The weight of the tent is an important factor consideration the transport means. Are you taking it by car and if so will you have to lift it up onto the roof? Will you have to carry it on your backpack? The answer to these questions will also help you in deciding the material of the tent you choose, nylon or canvas.
The season of the year and climate you are in are important considerations as you do not want to freeze or cook during the night.
I have not mentioned swags as that is a very Australian word, but a one man tent in the form of a swag is a wonderful style for the single traveler. I used to work on a cattle station in central Australia and slept in a swag while mustering the cattle but now the swags are simply great and I wish they were around many years ago!!
I have many fond memories of camping and I am truly excited for you in your travels. Please have a wonderful time and I wish I could read your stories.
By the way, a spot around 200kms south of Alice Springs is unadulterated by city lights and is such a magnificent place to wake up at 2.00am and look at the night sky.