While there has been some reductions in the restrictions of where you can go and what you can do during COVID-19 lockdown, most people are still spending a lot more time at home and, if they have one, in their gardens.
Note: In Scotland, the no driving to exercise rule still applies. In England, it seems people can now drive to do as much exercise as they want but the commonsense approach should be to limit this to local outings. Overnights for camping have not been mentioned but, again, it seems likely that the best advice is to keep your camping to the garden just now.
Garden camping, also known as “gamping”, is a great idea. This is a guide to enjoying a gamping trip.
Usefully, WildBounds has created a garden collection with all kinds of items of clothes as kit.
How to go gamping
Just like a trip to go wild camping or when thinking about a camping holiday, you need to make a plan. When is the best time to go? What about the weather? Who will you invite?
With garden camping you know the destination, but you might still want to work out the best place to pitch a tent, or where you could position a camping hammock, or even a tree tent (if you are lucky enough to have large and suitable trees.
Think about where the sun will be when you wake up, or how close you want to be to a door to the house if you plan to use the inside loo overnight!
Get each person in your household to make a list of what they might need for the gamping trip. It will depend on the type of camping experience you are going for (see below) but lists do help with the planning and packing.
Make it a micro-adventure
You could decide to go wild camping in the garden and start with a local walk or a bike ride. Pack all your kit in a rucksack or bike packing bags / panniers and head off for a local adventure.
You could aim to discover a new trail or follow a route you already know but take you time to observe nature as you go. For example, you could get the kids to identify plants and trees or do a bit of bird watching.
Why not challenge the kids to map read and show you the way to get to your gamping spot?
When you return home, head straight to the garden and start setting up camp as you might when wild camping.
Choose your camping style
If you are new to camping, your gamping trip could be more of a “give it a go” experience. So you might pitch the tent, then add lots of home-style luxuries such as duvets, cushions and pillows. Why not take a hot water bottle with you as well?
Because you are so close to home you can enjoy lots of mod-cons and enjoy the luxuries.
Alternatively, for a more authentic experience, limit your gamping experience to the kit you might normally take on a wild camping adventure. This will include a camping mat or mattress, sleeping bag and camping pillow.
You might choose to eat a meal as normal indoors, or go for the more outdoorsy camping experience of making your meal over a camping stove.
It’s up to you to decide how you will “go gamping” but being in your garden makes it a lot easier to enjoy a micro-adventure.
Camp food or dine-in?
Will you choose to eat your evening meal as normal in your home – and then head out for your gamping adventure after dark?
Or perhaps you’ll choose to enjoy a barbecue or a meal cooked over a camping stove for the more authentic experience. With an at-home gamping trip you don’t need to worry about the weight of your food so choose items from the kitchen that are easy to cook over a stove.
If you have the space, you could light a camp fire. Take out your camping chairs and sit around the fire. Marshmallows for toasting are a great extra.
What to wear for gamping
We are still in early summer and temperatures at night can be cool. Choose clothing to suit the conditions, just as you would when planning a wild camping trip.
The key is lightweight but warm, so a down jacket will be a good idea. Make sure you layer your clothes for extra warmth.
Add a beanie or woolly hat for head warmth and if it gets really chilly, you could wrap yourself in a blanket or your sleeping bag while you enjoy the time outdoors in the evening.
Don’t forget the extras
- A head torch or camp light will be a bonus when you need to go to the loo in the night.
- Take your phone or camera so you can take photos.
- Add warm socks for night-time.
- Take a water bottle of fresh water in case you get thirsty in the night.
- Add a wee flask of whisky to you essentials list.
- If you are going for the full-on authentic wild gamping experience, you should remember to pack your toothbrush!
For more inspiration see my video: A gamping adventure in lockdown.