Staycations are bang on trend this year, and camping is on the ‘let’s do’ list for families, couples and groups of mates alike. The great thing is, by doing just a little homework, you can make your staycation memorable for all the right reasons.
Here’s our top five tips for choosing the right tent for a great UK break, whether you’re feeling the festival vibe, keeping cool in the countryside or baking at the beach.
1. First on the list, of course, is a tent to make you smile – you wouldn’t choose a dull B&B or distinctly average hotel for your special break, so why choose a run-of-the-mill tent when you can shine on the campsite?
2. Make sure your tent is up to the job. ‘Cheap’ and ‘cheerful’ don’t always go together, especially if your tent can’t withstand the unpredictable British weather. Check it’s 100% waterproof and ideally go for a ‘Three Season’ tent – this means it’s ultra-reliable and will withstand unexpected changes in weather conditions. Also, as with all important purchases, check the small print – you need a tent that’s fire retardant with a CPAI-84 stamp of approval. (P.S. They don’t come sturdier than ‘Bricks and Mortar’).
3. Staycations are for R and R, not stressing over putting up a complex system of poles and guylines. Find out how long it will take to put up the tent before your adventure begins. Smaller tents should take no longer than ten minutes to unpack, lay out and erect. In fact, practice before you go, if you want to look like a real pro in front of other campers.
(Make sure it’s a vacation to write home about: ‘Wish You Were Here’).
4.There’s nothing wrong with being a bit nerdy about your camping gear either – impress the other campers with your knowledge of the of Aluminium Alloy poles over Fibreglass (spoiler: they are stronger and lighter). Even better, if you can move on to the subject of metal pegs which provide a better anchor than plastic ones, especially in harder ground. And finally, who could fail to be captivated by your knowledge of waterproofing when you talk about the need for a flysheet with a Hydrostatic Head of at least 3 metres? (You can talk about the intricacies of tent design to your heart’s desire, ‘By the Light of the Fire’).
5. Finally, even though you’re camping, the amount of space you have under cover is important. Enough height to sit up or even stand in the tent is vital – and maybe look for one with decent porch space to keep your essentials safe, like wellies, bags and even bikes. (The perfect Space Invaders design – a limited edition, but not limited on space).
Oh and some final words of wisdom for novice campers…
Always aim to act like a scout – and ‘be prepared’! Make a list of everything you need to take, and check that it’ll fit in your car. Remember, it’s not just holdalls and hand luggage – a tent, sleeping bags and mats, fold-up chairs, cool box, stove, and foody treats are just some of the essentials on any camping trip. A car top box might need to be added to the shopping list if you struggle to travel light. (Would a ‘Shabby Chic’ camper van help solve the space in the car problem? Nope, but it looks really cool).