The joys of camping in the 21st century
Camping has been enjoying a bit of a revolution in the UK. Some folks reckon this is because we’re looking for cheaper holidays. Others point to the staycation. Another thought is that families are keen to spend more time enjoying quality time in the great outdoors. I’m happy with all these theories – and certainly I’ve come back to camping in the last six years after a decade or two away from it.
While camping was once seen as the roughing it option, these days more people are going for the “glamping” option. New and modern tent fabrics, the most amazing range of tents, gadgets and luxury items have opened the doors on a far more luxurious style of camping – and I have to say I love it.
Two styles of camping holiday
Family-style camping trips
There are family camping trips, where you drive to the campsite and unload all manner of modern equipment including tents akin to a small house, inflatable mattresses, luxury sleeping bags and pillows, as well as a full camping kitchen, fridge, table and chairs, gazebo and even a solar shower. On trips with another family to the Gower In south Wales we’ve even had a toilet tent to save us traipsing to the toilet block in the middle of the night! Being able to load up the car and unpack close to your camping spot – and hopefully for at least a few days – is the key to family camping trip.
Wild camping trips
On the other hand, I really relish the chance to get away for a wild camping trip. This requires a lightweight backpacking tent and a wealth of lightweight equipment such as Thermarests (instead of a large inflatable mattress), lightweight down sleeping bag, tiny cooking stove and ultra lightweight pots, pans, crockery and cutlery. Packing everything into a rucksack that you can comfortably carry while walking to your camping spot is ley to this style of camping. My absolute favourite place to camp is Knoydart, in the far north-west of Scotland, after a six walk in. Sandwood bay is another wild camping spot that is top of my get-away-from-it-all list.
Great camping kit to choose from
From Bivi bags and minimalist one-man tents for ultra lightweight backpacking or cycling, to fridges, solar showers, stoves, BBQs, kettles, head torches, lanterns, toilet tents and 10-man tents (that require a large boot to transport) there is a wealth of camping equipment to make your camping holiday everything you ever wanted! My personal favourites are:
For family camping:
- Tents with bedrooms – to keep kids and adults separate
- Blow-up mattresses – for a good night’s sleep
- Double sleeping bags – for cosiness with your partner
- Double gas stoves – for more cooking options
- Fridge for the beer – obvious, really!
- Camping heaters – warmth on a cold night
For backpack camping
- Lightweight stoves – so you can eat hot food but without need for carrying heavy equipment
- Water purifiers – for obvious reasons
- Lightweight, down sleeping bags – for warmth but not extra weight
- Bright light head torches – for night walks from your tent
- Thermarest – lightweight for carrying but still comfy at night).
Tell me your favourite item of camping equipment.