Winter Camping Essentials

When it comes to camping, you can be forgiven for thinking that with the winter on its way it’s time to start packing up and heading indoors. However there are number of reasons why camping in the winter can actually be better, not least because with the cold weather around you don’t have to worry too much about being plagued by over-friendly flies and insects. Many camping sites are also generally a little quieter at this time of year, meaning there will be plenty of peace and relaxation for you to enjoy. Ultimately you don’t have to be crazy to go camping in winter… but you do have to be prepared, so here we give a quick guide to some winter camping essentials.

Plan

We all know the winter weather can be a little unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to research the place you plan to visit first, before setting off. Check out local weather forecasts so you can make sure you are prepared for whatever the winter weather might decide to throw at you. This can also make packing for your winter camping adventure a whole lot easier.

Clothing

When camping in the winter it’s essential you dress warm for the weather. Whilst wool clothes such as your favourite knits are great winter warmers they are not always practical when it comes to a camping trip. This is because when wool gets wet it can become a little heavy and uncomfortable. So if you do wear wool, try layering a few lighter insulating layers underneath. Fleecy materials are usually a better option and whilst lighter than wool, typically insulate your body better against the cold.

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When it comes to staying warm layering is essential, so make sure you bring plenty of basic layering options with you, such as long sleeved vests, plenty of hats and gloves. A good pair of waterproof boots, such as hiking boots, to keep your feet warm and dry, is also essential.

Food

When it comes to camping in the winter, you’re going to want some good hearty meals to warm you up and keep the hunger pangs at bay, after all, we typically need more calories during the winter anyway… promise! Foods such as soup are great for lunches, and for a great warming breakfast you can’t beat a bit of porridge. This is a great source of energy too, helping you get going in the morning. BBC good food has some great, tasty camping recipes ideas to get you inspired.

 

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If you’re planning on cooking don’t forget to bring enough gas with you for your barbeque or cooker, so you don’t end up on the cold dinners. You can easily source gas canisters and refills, perfect for all your camping needs, from companies such as Adams Gas. You could also consider bringing a few readymade meals with you that just require heating up, to make things a little easier. Don’t forget to bring plenty of hot drinks too, such as teas and coffee, or even hot chocolate (with marshmallows of course) to warm you up, and make sure you bring plenty of snacks too!

Essential equipment

Choosing a good warm sleeping bag is vital to ensuring you stay nice and toasty. A lightweight sleeping bag might be just the thing during the warmer summer months, but when it comes to winter you’re going to need something a little more heavy duty. Mummy-shaped sleeping bags are usually a good option at this time of year, as their unique shape helps keep warm air inside and close to your body, offering great warmth and insulation. Specialist outdoor retailers such as Mountain Warehouse currently have a great selection on offer. A handy tip can also be to warm your sleeping bag shortly before you go to bed so it’s nice and warm before you go to sleep. Try filling a hot water bottle and placing it in your sleeping bag around 20 mins before you go to bed; you won’t regret it !

 

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Pick a good spot

Whether you’re lucky enough to own a caravan or are thinking of braving it with a tent this winter, picking a good camping spot is essential and it’s important to pay attention to where you decide to set up camp. For example it’s always a good idea to pick a spot where you will be protected from the worst of the wind and which will offer you plenty of shelter.

 

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Hopefully this has inspired you to get out there and get camping this winter, and as long as you go prepared, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a great camping adventure. For some more camping inspiration check out this article on some of the best cold weather camping spots.

 

The Secret to Cosy Camping: Alternative Accommodation Choices

Are you one of those people who have never been camping but want to know what all the fuss is about? Or have you avoided camping like the plague because it looks far too stressful? Is there just too much mud? Or too many creepy crawlies? Well now there’s a solution to the stressful camping situation; find alternative but still adventurous accommodation. Here’s a guide to the most exciting “glamping” options out there…

VW Camper Van

Camper Van

The good old camper van is a miniature self-catering apartment on wheels. There’s a vast array of makes, sizes and specifications to suit all budgets, and if you don’t think you’ll be using it often, there’s always hiring options. They have everything you need for a short break including a fold away dining table, a tiny TV and some even come with a miniature dishwasher. Check out http://www.chooseleisure.co.uk for buying options and http://www.mcrent.co.uk/ have some great deals on hiring motorhomes. If you really want to camp in style then there’s also many sites available for hiring traditional VW camper vans; they may be slightly less equipped than the modern motor but they ooze charm and boost your happy hippy camper status. VW Camper Hire are as retro as it gets, with bespoke interior design in each of their vans with added luxuries such as a flatscreen TV. Regardless of the camper van you choose, if you look into A Frame towing them you can even bring your car along for the ride, so you really don’t need to want for anything in terms of convenience.

Good points: Everything you could possibly need including the kitchen sink.

Bad points: Expensive.

Glam Rating: 5/10 for the motorhome

7/10 for the VW campervan

Yurt Camping

Yurt

Yurts are undeniably cool and are far cosier than they first appear. These tipi-like structures originated in Mongolia and have been adapted for modern camping use. Each Yurt is typically built with a sturdy wooden frame and has a tough canvas exterior. They are English Precipitation-proof. Don’t worry about being cold because they are equipped with a wood burning stove and many furnishings are provided such as blankets and sheep skin rugs. A fantastic glamping site is Bivouac in North Yorkshire, which has eight Yurts, several log cabins and a bunk barn. You can also explore Yurt buying options at http://www.yurtsforlife.com/.

Good points: Stylish, cosy and something out-of the ordinary.

Bad points: You have to go to the Yurts rather than taking them with you.

Glam rating: 9/10

Folding Tent

Folding Tent

The tent is not to be underestimated. Although it looks complicated, cold and could collapse in a slight puff of wind, tents are getting more sophisticated by the year, and one option is to buy a fold out trailer-tent. Opus have created an innovative camping device that’s part-tent, part-motor home that neatly collapses down into its own trailer so it can be towed anywhere. The trailer becomes a base for the main living area, which comprises of a fitted gas cooker, sink, work top, storage space and then a sofa folding out bed. The two sides hold elevated sleeping spaces which can be zipped up like a tent for privacy. Devices such as these can be unfolded and constructed in as little as 10 minutes and packed away just as fast.

Good points: Highly mobile and easy to set up.

Bad points: No bathroom facilities.

Glam rating: 9/10 because it’s so ingenious.

Best Portable Barbecues

If you enjoy a barbecue but also enjoy going out and about during the summer, then you should probably invest in a portable barbecue that means that on a walk, at the beach, or in the park you can enjoy a delicious grilled burger or sausage and can avoid the expensive summer food vendors.

If you are barbecuing on a budget then the best option for you would probably be Sainsbury’s Bucket Barbecue at the excellent price of £9.99. It doesn’t require any assembly and all you have to do is light the coals and you are ready to go. Make sure it has completely cooled off before you pack it away though as the bucket handle remains quite hot. It is available in bright green and bright orange.

If you enjoy making a feast rather then just food, you should probably look into purchasing the Barbecue Cooking System by Cobb. It is £99.96 from Lakeland and allows you to infuse your food by using a little moat that surrounds the barbecue. You can place water, wine and an array of seasoning into the moat to flavour your meat and keep in tender.

If you want a portable barbecue that won’t take up too much space then you should invest in the Notebook Portable Folding BBQ Grill which goes for about £21.00 currently on Amazon. When the grilling rack is on it has a cooking are of 45 x 30 cm which is plenty of room to grill a whole host of BBQ food.

If you are an impatient barbecuer and don’t like waiting on the coal to heat up then why not try the The Royal Portable Gas Tabletop BBQ which is compact and easy to carry. They are currently selling on the Calor gas website for £25.99 and with a 6KW heat output it will cook your food fast and efficiently.