Our Top Ten Camping Tips
From lighting a fire with a tampon to keeping yourself warm and cosy with your own urine, our staff have got a few great – if a little unconventional – tips up their sleeves to ensure your night under canvas is as comfortable as possible.
Here are ten of our favourites.
Tip #1: Use a footprint
From Ben & Richard, Fort William
"If you can afford to carry the weight, a tent footprint or tarp is a great investment. It will protect your tent from rising ground moisture and abrasion damage from pitch debris, plus it enables you to pack your tent and other gear away on a drier surface ensuring you remain more comfortable and motivated whilst on multi-day trips. The footprint can also double as tarp extending your weather protected area if not being used under the tent."
Tip #2: Set the mood
From Rob, Web Team
"My favourite tip for camping has to be the use of my head torch. A head torch in a tent at night can be very powerful and mainly focuses on one point. If you want to make a nice ambient light within your tent strap a head torch to a big bottle of water and it will produce a really nice glow."
Tip #3: Pack wisely
From Nick, The North Face, Covent Garden
"If you are backpacking with your tent, remember that the bag that the tent is sold with is often only a convenient way to package the tent for sale purposes. If you pack the inner and fly separately to the poles and pegs, you can fold the tent into any convenient shape and size to fit into your backpack.
Consider using lightweight dry-bags such as those produced by Sea to Summit, so that in inclement weather you can also keep your wet tent fabric safely away from the rest of your trail gear. Should you decide to pack your tent poles into the pole pockets on your backpack, remember to clip or tie the draw-cord of the pole bag to your compression straps, so that they are not inadvertently stolen by a passing tree and you find yourself shelterless at the end of a hard day!"
Tip #4: Batten down the hatches
From John, Liverpool
"Always use guy lines, regardless of conditions. Going out at 2am to fix the tent because its blowing a gale is never fun (or finding it's broken in the morning)."
Tip #5: Get creative
From Graham, Milton Keynes Ski
"A tampon - pulled apart and "fluffed" - makes excellent tinder for starting a wood fire. (Don't ask me how I know that!)."
Tip #6: One soap cleans all
From Sylvia, The North Face Westfield
"I would recommend a bottle of all purpose soap. It's inexpensive and can be used for hair, body, clothes, food or even washing up. This is the only soap you will need to bring camping, which is very practical since you will have less to carry."
Tip #7: Keep the slugs out
From Sarah, Castleford
"Always carry an extra carrier bag to put your boots in overnight in the vestibule of the tent. There is nothing worse than getting up in the morning, putting your feet inside your boots and finding that there was a slug sleeping in the toes! Squashed slugs make a lot of mess…"
Tip #8: Re-invent the hot water bottle...
From Sam, Mail Order Team
"Nalgene make good middle-of-the-night wee bottles - especially their glow in the dark bottle! Just make sure you fasten it properly and give it a good clean in the morning! If you're not squeamish, they even double as an emergency hot water bottle."
Tip #9: ...Or be a little more conventional*
Simon, The North Face Westfield
"Always try to boil some water before you go to sleep. You can fill your Nalgene bottle with it and put it inside your sleeping bag. Not only will you have a heater for the night, but you will also have pure water to drink first thing in the morning, or to take with you on the trail."
Tip #10: Keep your tent dry
From Mark, Marketing Team
"Keep your tent well waterproofed. If you don’t, you're guaranteed to find out as it's dripping on your head at 3am on a cold wet morning in the mountains! Use a Grangers product such as Fabsil to ensure a dry and undisturbed night’s rest."
*Do not confuse Tip #8 and Tip #9!
You can find all the camping essentials you'll need for a successful camping trip here, Camping Equipment.