If you’re going camping this summer start packing now Leave a comment


I WISH I had taken earplugs when we went camping in Northumberland.

They weren’t on the packing list, but it was one item I could have done with, after being woken at the crack of dawn by a noisy cockerel.

When, at around 5am, I finally decided that enough was enough, I unzipped the tent to find the bird within an inch of it.

Another time, on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, my friend and I awoke in the night to blood-curdling screams. After a sleepless night, we were told by locals it was natterjack toads’ mating calls.

Earplugs are among the items listed by outdoor accommodation provider Pitchup.com, which has shared its packing advice ahead of an explosion in the numbers of people heading off to campsites across the UK this year.

This year stately homes, farms and even racecourses are turning into pop-up campsites to satisfy the huge demand for staycation getaways

As many as 500 temporary camp sites could be set up across UK as ministers relax laws to allow pop-up sites without permission for 56 days.

Recommended essentials include a pocket torch – preferably wind up – earplugs, eyeshades, resealable waterproof bags and warm clothes.

Warm clothes – that’s another thing I wish I’d packed when camping in Rosedale on the North York Moors. As soon as the sun went down permafrost set in. The portable barbecue from B&Q didn’t cut the mustard for warmth. And those things are also very antisocial – for a small foil tray it gave off more smoke than the Flying Scotsman.

‘Almost-wild’ camping is huge this summer, with more than 170 pop-up farm campsites – some very basic, with compost toilets – added so far on Pitchup.com to meet demand.

Camping is harsh at the best of time, even on a site with full working toilets and shower blocks. In Rosedale, I remember a midnight trudge to the loo across dewy grass (remember your flip-flops for this very purpose), trying not to trip over umpteen guy ropes in the dark.

Hordes of travel-starved Brits are heading for campsites this year and will fill cars with everything from sleeping bags to tins of beans, loo roll and giant bottles of water. But many campers are woefully unprepared.

Whatever you take camping, it’s never enough. If you’re anything like me you will miss your home comforts, your bed (airbeds are uncomfortable and unpredictable), your bath, your sofa, the very roof over your head. With camping It’s just you and a piece of canvas against the world.

I was so uncomfortable and exhausted on our last trip that I eventually slept in the car.

If you’re going in summer, I’d start packing now. I’d gather together the insect repellant, the firelighters, the picnic rugs, the little gas canisters, the battery-powered lamps, the 3,000 changes of clothes (if it’s wet, and you have kids, you’ll need that many), the duvets (sleeping bags are ever enough) the fold up chairs, and the ‘all-day breakfast’ cans of food (normally stomach-churning to behold but with Michelin-starred appeal to ravenous campers), I could go on…

Usually overlooked essentials are a windbreak, can opener and portable phone charger.

When camping in France, my husband and I were about to enjoy a bottle of the local wine with our meal and realised we hadn’t got a corkscrew. Neither, it appeared, had anyone else, apart from one couple who asked for a share of our wine in return. They weren’t joking.

To crack camping, ask someone from the Netherlands. They make it look effortless. We camped in Sandsend beside a Dutch family. Their tent was better equipped than our house. It had actual rooms. They even had bedside lights and zip-up wardrobes.

So if you’re camping for the first time, and it’s not in your garden, take note.

I WISH I had taken earplugs when we went camping in Northumberland.

They weren’t on the packing list, but it was one thing I could have done with, after being woken at the crack of dawn by a noisy cockerel.

When, at around 5am, I finally decided that enough was enough, I unzipped the tent to find the feathered culprit within an inch of it.

Another time, on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, my friend and I awoke in the night to blood-curdling sounds. After a sleepless night, we were told by amused locals it was the natterjack toads’ mating calls.

Earplugs are among the items listed by outdoor accommodation provider Pitchup.com, which has shared packing advice ahead of an explosion in the numbers of people heading off to campsites across the UK this year.

Stately homes, farms and even racecourses are turning into pop-up campsites to satisfy the huge demand for staycation getaways As many as 500 temporary camp sites could be set up across UK as ministers relax laws to allow pop-up sites without permission for 56 days.

Recommended essentials include a pocket torch – preferably wind up – earplugs, eye shades, resealable waterproof bags and warm clothes.

I wish I’d packed the latter when camping in Rosedale on the North York Moors. As soon as the sun went down permafrost set in. The portable barbecue from B&Q didn’t cut the mustard for warmth. And those things are so antisocial – for a small foil tray it gave off more smoke than the Flying Scotsman.

‘Almost-wild’ camping is huge this summer, with more than 170 pop-up farm campsites – some very basic, with compost toilets – added so far on Pitchup.com.

Good luck with that. Camping is harsh at the best of time, even on a site with full working toilets and shower blocks. In Rosedale, I remember a midnight trudge to the loo across dewy grass (remember your flip-flops for this very purpose), trying not to trip over guy ropes in the dark.

Campers will fill cars with everything from sleeping bags to tins of beans, loo roll and giant bottles of water. But whatever you take camping, it’s never enough. If you’re anything like me you will miss your home comforts, your bed (airbeds are uncomfortable and unpredictable), your bath, your sofa, the roof over your head. It’s just you and a piece of canvas against the world. I was so tired and uncomfortable on our last camping trip that I eventually slept in the car.

If you’re going in summer, I’d start packing now. I’d gather together the insect repellent, the picnic rugs, the little gas canisters, the battery-powered lamps, the 3,000 changes of clothes (if it’s wet, and you have kids, you’ll need that many), the duvets (sleeping bags are ever enough) the fold up chairs, and the ‘all-day breakfast’ cans of food (normally stomach-churning but to ravenous campers they have Michelin-starred appeal). Often overlooked essentials include a windbreak, can opener and portable phone charger.

When camping in France, my husband and I were about to enjoy a bottle of wine with our meal and realised we hadn’t got a corkscrew. Neither had anyone else, apart from one couple who asked for a share of our wine in return. They weren’t joking.

To really crack camping, ask someone from the Netherlands. They make it look effortless. We camped in Sandsend beside a Dutch family. Their tent was better equipped than our house. They even had bedside lights and zip-up wardrobes. We looked on with envy.





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