Guest Post – A beginners guide to camping by Simply Hike Camping Equipment Store

What are you waiting for? Get out there!

It’s been in the news a lot lately…..”Camping is a trend re-appearing in many families”. It’s been said to bring family’s closer together. So, why is this?

I suppose there’s something still appealing about going back to basics and embracing nature.

Perhaps for the keenest of us this seems to be the basis behind the new trend, but for me I think it brings the family’s closer because for one, you have the opportunity to re-engage with what family is all about.

Fun, relationship building and good old honest fun! The idea of breaking free from this over rushed commercial rat race is very refreshing.

So, interested?

Enjoying the great outdoors

I have prepared an essential guide for beginners, so for all of you who are keen to engage with the great outdoors, be it for a small break or for a family get away, please read on….


What sort of tent will you need?

There are literally dozens of styles to choose from. I suppose it all depends on how often you plan on using it. But generally the main things to take into consideration are:

  • Weather conditions – Ideal for the UK, many people fail to properly attach the waterproof sheet. Also, check out for a sewn in groundsheet, very helpful. However, most tents come with this nowadays.

You can also get waterproof sealant from many stores these days, it’s worth investing in if you’re planning on becoming a serious camper.

Family camping in the Lake District

  • Amount of people and size of tent – Consider how many people are going? Do you want it for the family, just a few friends or just yourself? There are many sizes, even up to 12 man. Some tents come with a lounge – no joke! So, it all depends on your trip, if you’re wishing to please the family these big tents are the way to go. The extra storage space makes everything much more comfortable.

  • Location – This should be take into consideration. If you plan on going to a quiet destination then fine, it’s worth spending a few extra pounds to get something more comfortable and durable. But some other locations just don’t warrant a lot of spending. Festivals for example, most people leave their tents behind because they’ve been vandalised or they just don’t care for them after it’s one time use.

Sleeping Bags

Again, there are a variety of different styles and features that come with sleeping bags. I suppose the most important thing is how comfortable it is. Nobody likes a sleepless night. Be careful when purchasing your sleeping bag, like tents there are often sold seasonal. Don’t buy a winter sleeping bag for a summers camping trips, you’ll never get to sleep. Other things to look out for are the quality of the zip, a cheap sleeping bag can be ideal for a short festival, but for a couple of weeks camping or backpacking they can prove a nightmare. It’s worth spending the extra money on something that’s going to guarantee you a good sleep.

You might also want to consider a sleeping matt. In a nutshell, a sleeping matt can make your stay so much more comfortable, and you won’t be waking up a grumpy so ‘n’ so!

Sourcing water

Wash Kit

This idea is a little life saver. Camping can sometimes be an UN-comfortable experience with regards to hygiene. Wash kits are relatively cheap and can include your essentials such as razor, soap, nail cutters, tooth brush, anti-bacterial gel and a mirror.

No matter the length of your trip, a wash kit should be an essential buy. The last thing you want to resort to is a horrible porter loo that hasn’t been cleaned for a generation.

Tool Kit and Digging Equipment

May seem a bit far fetched, but I suppose it depends on the scenario you’re in. A tool kit and digging equipment are essential for a wild camping trip, not so much a small weekend on a commercial site or a festival event.

Toll kits can be handy for preparing food (you may also want to consider a camping stove, too), lighting, pitching a tent, they can be used for a whole variety of situations. But as important is a digging tool. It’s good etiquette to have a toilet no less than 25-30 metres from water, also making sure to bury any toilet waste in the process. This makes the whole experience a lot nicer for other campers in the region. You may well be using that water source for drinking, for example.

And that’s the basics…..

Thanks for reading,

Michael Sparkes
Simply Hiking Camping Equipment Store

And now for a competition!

Guess how many tents terrybnd has in his garage, for the chance to win £35 worth of camping equipment with Simply Hike!

Competition open to UK residents only and will close on Thursday 26th May 2011.

All answers to be submitted by email HERE or posted in the comments facility below. One entry per person and in the event of a number of correct answers, a winner will be picked at random.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. terrybnd says:

    OK We have a winner!

    Some of you were way out 😉 And only a few of you were very close but only one person got it bang on the money (which surprised even me!).

    So, here's how many tents I have in my garage (not including a bivvy or two or tarps):

    1. One large Outwell family tent (can't remember the name)
    2. One Vango Orchy 400 family tent
    3. A old tent from Argos used for the odd quick camp with the kids
    4. Vango Tee Pee tent
    5. Vango Beta 450
    6. Outwell double skin pop-up tent
    7. Gelert single skin pop-up tent
    8. Terra Nova Laser Competition 2008 model
    9. Terra Nova Laser Competition 2010 model
    10. Wild Country Sololite backpacking tent
    11. Gram Counter Gear Solo single skin tent
    12. Terra Nova Voyager 2.2 (on test)
    13. One large family tunnel tent on test of which I'm not allowed to name at the moment as it's a demo/sample

    There were more but I only recently sold them on ebay. There were some Mountain Hardwear ones and The North Face, too. All gone to happy homes, now.

    So, even the family has a tent addiction – to be fair, each of the tents serves a different purpose. For example, I don't use the Laser Comps in the heights of a storm in winter. I may well take the Sololite then. Same goes for the family tents.

    And so….the winner is?

    4th place was Mick Thornton with 19 tents
    3rd place was Kevin with 11 tents
    2nd place was Gary Dickson with 14 tents

    With bang on the money was Paul with 13!
    Well done, Paul – email will be winging it's way over to you soon with your prize 🙂


  2. I can't believe it, I haven't won nothing before lol, am the unluckiest person alive reason why I picked 13 lol, nice one I shall be checking there website out very soon…


  3. Anonymous says:

    Soooo close! Well done, Paul.



  4. @ Gary Thanks, now all I got to do is decide what to get, I can never make my mind up


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