Over the bank Holiday (long weekend to all the Kiwi’s out there) my Aussie flat mates and I decided it was a good idea to go camping as it would be cheap and the weather was getting nicer and sunny even so we were all excited.
Having recently moved to England bringing with me just over 20 kgs of belongings meant I no longer had any camping equipment so with a very limited budget I went shopping!
I came back with a tent, a sleeping bag and a blow up mattress to sleep on. The main considerations I had when buying these items were they had to be cheap and they had to be light, since I was going to be carrying it! I spent 45 pounds and my items altogether weighed less than 3 kgs shopping success!!
Then having all bought our things 2 of us with the same tent and 2 of us with the same sleeping bag off we went.
arriving at our campsite it was threatening to rain so we dubiously set up our tents as mine and one of the other tents was only a single layer though we had been assured they were waterproof. Tent was fantastically easy to put up and bed took a while to blow up but was a good size and shape. Discovered that a Mummy sleeping bags, weren’t the ones designed for females but instead was talking about its shape, it goes in a the feet so giving an entombed mummy look. I hate that type of sleeping bag I like to be able to move my legs. Should have looked harder at the shop.
Bed time arrived after a fantastic pub meal in Borth. And into our tents we all crawled and suddenly came to the realisation that my tent was a two-man tent not a two-man and gear tent and that if two of us were in it together we wouldn’t be able to move. Bugger! there goes my plans of using this tent over summer to travel with my partner. then came the next problem which I discovered when I lay down and found my head touching one end of the tent and my feet pushed up against the other end it was comfy enough but not so good when its only got a single layer which means when its raining and you touch the sides the water comes through. Great.
Lesson number 1 learnt – think about how you plan to use the tent and how big you are compared to the tent (and don’t go camping shopping just after school holidays when you have no money)
Weirdly enough I survived the night without getting soaked and apart from a very small puddle very little water go through. However there were other problems.
Coming from New Zealand camping in spring is a little cold if you go swimming in a mountain river but if you bring some warm clothes and an ok sleeping bag you are fine. Well it turns out my 2 season sleeping bag that was temperature rated down to Zero degrees wasnt warm enough even with multiple layers of wool, cotton and polypro on. Spring in Wales is not like spring in New Zealand it is like winter in New Zealand.
lesson number 2 learnt – she’ll be right attitude to cold does not work in colder climates buy a sleeping bag from a brand you know and trust, 4 seasons if camping in spring or autumn.
Bed was Fantastic best buy ever!
The next day went shopping in Aberystwyth and bought a polar fleece blanket to go under me a night (and for sitting on during the day) and a cotton sleeping bag liner. These combined with a bit of sunshine during the day and no rain at night (along with a couple of changes in the layers I wore) made for a much more comfortable night!!
So to sum it all up here are some tips for those who wish to go camping
1. Think carefully about the equipment you are buying, you don’t have to pay lots just make sure what you are buying will fit the intended use (the tent I bought would be fantastic for just me camping in summer)
2. Check out the weather and temperatures and make sure you bring enough clothing and warm things(one of those who I was traveling with survived with very few clothes but a warm sleeping bag, I survived with a cold sleeping bag but lots of warm clothes)
3. Having something underneath you makes you warmer
4. Hoods and hats keep you warmer. I didn’t bring a hat but had two hoods other the tops I was wearing putting both of those on my head made a big difference.
5. Even if you freeze at night and the weather turns to crap you can still have a good holiday. We found lots of warm cafe’s and pubs to hang out in put our jackets on and went walking in the rain and overall had a great time. But we learnt a lot for next time.