Camping – it’s not for everyone that’s for sure, but something must be said about it when year on year we have customers returning to Westport House for their annual camping trip! There really is nothing like leaving all the digital devices at home and getting out and about in the great outdoors!
However, for those of you who’s idea of a holiday would be a luxurious hotel near a beach or with a pool, but have decided this year to brave it and give camping a go, here are a list of top tips that we recommend for all ‘first time’ campers:
- Get familiar with your gear – Even experienced campers will recommend this one. Tents can be tricky at best to put up correctly, which is why we HIGHLY recommend you practicing putting up and taking down your tent before your big adventure. You won’t always be lucky to have beautiful 22 degree sunshine while you pitch your tent, unfortunately the reality is that you may have to pitch your tent in the pouring rain (but hopefully not!), so it’s best to have had some practice done in the garden prior to your holiday.
- Buy a tent that is big enough – Yes, holidays are all about spending quality family time together, but that does not mean you all want to sleep and chill out in a crammed, small space. Your tent is your ‘hotel’ for your trip.. so make sure that you have enough space for everyone! We recommend always going ‘up a tent size’ for your group size. For example, a family of four should invest in a six man tent, and so on.
- Observe camping ground rules – Just because you are becoming ‘one with nature’, does not mean that all matters of decorum go out the window – be mindful of your neighbors on the campsite. Don’t litter, stick by the campsite curfew and keep noise to a minimum.
- Plan for the weather – As much as we wish we didn’t have to write this – it rains more in Ireland than it doesn’t, so bear this in mind. If you are planning a camping holiday, we know that in your mind’s eye you are picturing glorious sunny weather with the kids out and about playing football while you cook up a storm on the BBQ, and as much as we love an optimistic attitude, it is also important to be realistic too. Bring the rain gear (just incase).
- Bring sufficient clothing – This one is a bit similar to number 4, however here we are talking about the ‘suitability’ of clothing. When in the great outdoors, one thing is a certainty – DIRT. When outside, you are bound to get a little dirty, so be sure to bring suitable clothing that you don’t mind getting mud on. Also remember that it can get quite chilly at night time, so bring that extra layer to ensure you stay nice and cozy throughout the night.
- Make (and use) a checklist – New campers often overlook a checklist. It’s no fun getting to the campground and finding out that you forgot something. Stay organized and make sure nothing is left behind by keeping a camping gear checklist. Use it while packing and check off each item. Update and revise the list as needed. As the saying goes, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail!’
- Try glamping – If all of the above sends a shiver up your spine, why not give glamping (“glamorous camping”) a try instead? There are so many different types available out there (including our bell tents 😉 ) that you will be a ‘happy camper’, singing ‘koom-bi-yaaaa’ by the bonfire in no time.
- Finally, HAVE FUN! – Camping is meant to be a fun, family experience.Yes, there may be a few challenges and bumps along the way, but that is what makes the experience all the more enjoyable and memorable! At the end of the day you are on your holidays, so have fun!