You don’t have to sacrifice comfort when sleeping in the great outdoors, says Liz Connor.
Holidays are back on, but with many people still understandably hesitant to book international travel, more of us are discovering the beauty of staycationing – and camping in particular.
Anyone who has woken up freezing cold in a soggy tent will know that being a happy camper is all about being prepared.
So if you’re headed outdoors this May Bank Holiday, here are some top tips for making your trip to the countryside more comfortable…
1. Waterproof your tent before you leave
Rain can easily turn an idyllic weekend into a miserable washout. The water-repellent coating on tents, like rain jackets, can wear out over the years, so it’s important to check yours is still working before you leave.
The easiest way to do this is to pour water onto the unpacked tent to see if the droplets seep through into your sleeping space. The urethane coating on tents will flake if it’s wearing out, so if you’ve noticed any lumps or bumps on the rainfly, you’ll need to apply a new coating (you can pick up replacement spray in most camping shops).
2. Wash and air the tent
There’s nothing worse than setting up your tent and finding dirty face wipes, grass and other remnants from music festivals (remember those?) lurking inside.
Before you plan to set off, unpack and spot clean your tent, and if there’s time, submerge it in a tub of warm, soapy water. Leave it to air dry outside to get rid of any funky odours too.
3. Take a reflective tarp to keep your tent cool during the day
You’ll naturally be hoping to catch some rays, but if you pitch your tent in a sunny spot, it can soon feel like you’ve woken up inside an oven.
If you can’t find a shady spot to pitch on, most camping stores will sell reflective tarps – lightweight blankets that reflect the sun away from your tent and minimise the heat that can become trapped inside. Place a couple of these over the dome of your tent to keep your sleeping space cool and comfortable.
4. Arm yourself with bug spray
Annoying insects are one of the less enjoyable parts of the camping experience, and if you’re sleeping near a lake or other body of water, they can be rife.
Wet and damp low-lying grassy areas are catnip for mosquitoes, so try to set up your tent in a dry, flat spot. An insect repellent containing DEET can also help keep you bite-free during the night.
5. Pack a camping loo
Lots of campsites will have toilet facilities, but if you’re really heading out into the wilderness, you might want to think about taking a portable loo.
This one from Theford (£82.24, amazon.co.uk) even has its own chemical flush, so you can comfortably do your business without worrying about dealing with it afterwards. Once you’re done, you can pack it away and simply empty the waste container when you next have access to a toilet.
6. Invest in a camping shower
A warm shower feels great after a night of sleeping in a tent. Camping showers are a great way to ensure you don’t need to rely on the campsite facilities all the time.
This smart Risepro portable shower (£18.90, amazon.co.uk) uses solar energy to heat up the water inside the bag. It can hold up to five gallons of water, so there’s enough to get a decent time under the jets. It can also easily be folded down and packed away in the boot of a car afterwards. No shower? No problem.