Post in collaboration with Blacks
As I sit here typing this, I can’t believe that we are so close to September. It’s been a manic couple of months and I’m not sure where the time has gone.
One of the things that you may have done over the summer holidays is to go camping. Or you may be thinking about going next year, or even with this heatwave expected to continue, be pondering a weekend break back to nature.
I have to confess, I’m not the greatest camper. I coped with camping for the Spitfire Scramble. I actually enjoyed camping as part of the festival experience in my teens, notably Reading Festival. In more recent times, Keswick Mountain Festival has been on my radar, combining outdoor adventures with a line up of speakers and musicians, including Mel C of Spice Girls fame.
The Lake District is a beautiful part of the country, despite the current dramas of Northern Trains making travel there difficult.
For music lovers looking for an active travel weekend away, Keswick Mountain Festival is a great pick. Festival goers can choose to enjoy the music in beautiful surroundings, or get involved with some of the activities on offer, including open water swims, trail races, or even trying something new such as canoeing. There’s also plenty for the kids to do, so this can be a real family weekend away. Rose will be old enough to enjoy it next year, so I’m considering a family trip (17-19 May 2019). The KMF 3 Peaks is something that I am eying up next year, especially now I have a good pair of hiking boots, ankle recovery pending of course!
Other plus points include the proximity to town, always handy if you forget anything or need some extra camping equipment, showers, plus the selection of food on offer. Festival noodles are a thing of the past with things like wood-fire pizza now readily available. Perfect for carb loading if you decide to race too!
While festival season may be over, it isn’t too late to start planning for next year, or even try to fit in a short camping break before we say goodbye to summer. Here are a few of my tips, from a self-confessed mud dodger.
- Assemble your tent in advance and make sure you know how to do it and that nothing is missing. Blacks sent me this Eurohike Cairns DLX 2 Man Tent which I like as it has a “porch” area for leaving shoes. Always size up as you’ll pack more stuff than you think.
- Pack wipes and sanitary gel. They are always handy, especially when you don’t have the luxury of running upstairs to the bathroom to wash your hands instantly.
- Take plenty of socks, especially if you are going on an active camping break. No one wants to be sat around in sweaty or wet socks outdoors, even if it is warm.
- Got long hair? See if you can get it braided. I always intend to get mine done when I camp and never get round to it. I should do. It’s a great way of keeping it tidy and out of the way, especially when it isn’t easy to wash it. And on that note, dry shampoo is your friend.
- Bin bags are really useful. Put wet boots in them. Sit on them. Fashion them into a poncho. Yes, I have done this before.
- Laying on the ground is NOT comfortable. Especially at 2am in the morning when you are cold (and you probably will be cold) and a stone is digging into your back. I have a camp bed now which is brilliant, but is heavy to carry around. If this isn’t a convenient option for you, try an inflatable mattress. Being further off the floor will also help you to stay warm.
- Pack some lightweight waterproof clothing. This is the UK. Rain is ALWAYS an option.
- Light supplies. You will want a torch to find the toilets at night. A head torch is even better as it will keep your hands free and trust me, you DO NOT want to be putting your torch down on the floor in a portable toilet. Glow sticks and lanterns are also useful, especially as you can use glow sticks to put in the ground outside your tent to identify it. Even better, mark your tent pegs with glow sticks. It makes it easier to avoid night-time accidents.
- Solar charger for your phone, or a powerful portable charger. I found myself very low on juice last time I camped. Or, take an old phone. A friend of mine has a Nokia 3310 in working condition (yes, really) that she still takes on camping trips. Plus it means she can play Snake.
- Plan in advance. Camping equipment can be expensive but if you buy at the end of summer/early autumn, you can really grab some bargains – the season of discount tents, if you will.
Are you a camper? What are your top tips for camping and attending festivals?