How To Set Up Camp – Beginner’s Guide to Camping
The big day has finally arrived and you’re ready to take the plunge and get off camping. You followed step 1 and step 2 of our beginner’s camping guide down to a tee, so step 3 should be easy, right? Of course it will be, just follow our simple guide so that you don’t get in a mess when you come to set up your campsite.
1) Trial Pitch – practice setting up camp
Our first blog in the Beginner’s Guide to Camping mentioned trial pitching. It is of paramount importance that you pitch your tent before you go away. Many a camper has come unstuck at the first hurdle, which is pitching the tent once you arrive at the campsite. So a week or two before you go, have a trial pitch in your back garden or at the local park.
A trial pitch ensures:
- You know how to put the tent up correctly, this is important to impress all the other campers who will be watching (judging) you.
- You know the length of time required to pitch the tent.
- You know you have all the necessary components to pitch the tent with. It’s no good getting to the campsite to realise your tent has a broken pole or the pegs are missing! It happens all the time, so make sure you are well prepared!
2) Arrive in Good Time to set up Camp
It might sound really simple and stupid, but arrive to the campsite in good time. If you arrive as the sun is setting or in the dark, you are really going to struggle to get the tent up correctly and you are going to rush it. Also, if you do arrive and it’s pouring down with rain, you can sit in the car for an hour (or a week) until the weather dies off a bit.
3) High Ground = Dry Ground – The best place to set up camp
If you are wild camping or on a traditional campsite whereby you can choose where to pitch your tent, then heed my warnings:
- High Ground is dry ground, not a boggy mess after a typical British downpour.
- Camping near water, you will experience more creepy crawlies and bugs, so keep a little distance from the water.
- Nearby to fresh water supply and toilets – if you need to go potti in the middle of the night, you won’t want to be walking too far.
- Too hot, this mainly applies to those camping in warmer regions (anywhere out of the UK), pick an area to pitch up with some shade, in the heat of the day, you won’t regret this decision.
4) Keep the Kid’s entertained while you pitch the tent
“Are we there yet?” You just suffered that phrase for two and a half hours straight, your patience is wearing thin and pitching the tent is possibly the most stressful part of the camping experience. Especially if it is your first time pitching the tent, though I would hope you followed step 1 and did a trial pitch at home!
Anyway, the last thing you want is super hyper kids disrupting your thinking process. Therefore, once you arrive, have a distraction of some sort ready to keep them entertained and busy whilst you pitch the tent. A football usually keeps the boys entertained and gives them a stretch after being cramped in the car. I have no ideas if you have daughters, I’m sorry.
5) Campfires / Barbeques
On a more serious note, campfires and barbeques are great, but they are also dangerous if not handled properly. Every year, we see many examples of tragic accidents involving fire safety in the UK. We don’t want to spoil all your fun but please take heed of these rules:
- The golden rule is never ever take a barbeque into your tent, barbeques emit carbon monoxide and you do not want to breathe this in whilst you sleep, or else you won’t wake up! The majority of family tents have sewn in groundsheets, so there is nowhere for the carbon monoxide to escape through. This is why we are seeing more incidents of people being hurt from barbeque fumes.
- Have campfires in big open spaces and ensure your fire cannot spread easily.
- If you are cold of an evening, try getting a fan heater / electric heater. Gas appliances and barbeques should only be used outdoors. Gas is 80% water, so it will create a lot of condensation in your tent. See this handy fire safety guide here.
Overall, the main thing is to take your time! There’s no rush.