First Time Camping Blunders

It’s getting close to that time of year where we head off to go camping again. This time last year we were off to Southern Cornwall to try our hand at camping for the very first time. It didn’t get off to the best start.

Here’s a few things to remember, for those who are first time campers.

Lesson number one: Always practice putting up your tent before you leave. Always. If you are anything like me, then turning up at the campsite and spending hours attempting to put up a tent in front of a load of strangers does not sound like a good way to start your camping holiday.  So try out the tent in the back garden, save yourself the embarrassment of struggling in front of the camping pros.

Lesson number two: Leave at a reasonable time. This may sound obvious, but we thought that we would make it to our campsite with time to spare; choosing to leave after work and make the 5 hour journey down to Penzance. This did not work in our favour. Not at all.  Once it started getting dark, and all hope of making it down to the campsite had left us, we decided we would stop off at a roadside hotel, just for the night, and get a good early start in the morning. Nope. After painstakingly stopping at every hotel we passed, each one of them being full, we had to continue on to our campsite anyway even though we knew there would be no way we would be able to see our own hands in front of our faces, let alone put up a tent for the second time in our lives. (See lesson number one). Once we eventually made it to our campsite, it was closed. We spent the night in the car. Not the most comfortable nights sleep I have ever had.

Lesson number three: Do not stop off at just any campsite (or hotel, see lesson number 2) during a school holiday and expect them to have a spot available. Think about when you are going, and if it happens to fall under a school holiday, phone beforehand and see if you can book yourself a spot. After one of the worst nights sleep of my life, in the back of a small car; crammed amongst all of our belongings, we dragged our feet to the campsite desperately in need of a shower. Once we set our eyes on the campsite and saw the queue forming outside, we realised we were out of luck; the campsite was full and we were ready to give up and head home. Luckily, we remembered seeing a sign for a campsite the night before, not too far from where we had parked our car overnight; and we made our way there hoping it hadn’t been some kind of a hallucination in our sleep deprived state. (Thankfully it wasn’t)

Lesson number four: Pack warm clothes, even in the summer. It gets cold at night, very cold. We went late summer and it was lovely and warm - during the day. At night you’ll find yourself needing thick socks and a good warm jumper.

Lesson number 5: Don’t forget a torch. Or four. Not all campsites have lighting, and you want to see where you’re going when you’re stumbling around at night trying to find the toilet. Also, batteries die; and if you went and bought the cheapest torch you could possibly find (oops) you’ll find that it dies within the first night and you are left in the dark.

Most of all have fun and be safe. Camping is a great experience, whether you are in a campsite with all the amenities or out roughing it in the wild somewhere. Make sure you have your first aid kit, plasters and bug spray. Bring sturdy shoes if you are going to be hiking, and bring food that doesn’t require cooking, just in case you find yourself at a place that doesn’t allow a campfire - or if it rains the whole time you’re there…

What camping blunders did you make your first time?

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