Camping hacks: what you ACTUALLY need to know

There was once a time I thought getting murdered in the woods on Friday 13th wouldn’t even be the worst thing about going camping. But as I’ve… well, I was going to say matured, but that’s a long way off, so let’s go with ‘hit my late twenties’… I’ve started enjoying getting out in the great outdoors.

For those of you that follow this blog you’ll know that I went camping for three days a few weeks ago – and really, I say ‘camping’ in the loosest sense of the word. Not only was there a shower block with clean toilets, but there was a kitchen with a microwave. And I slept on a camping bed instead of the floor.

But,  much like when I manage to eat healthily and go to the gym for three days on the run and think “fuck me, I should start a fitness Instagram” – I’m going to stand here on my pedestal and give my top ten hacks for surviving the wilderness.

Your move, Bear Grylls.

camping pin up

So, first things first:

Shit you 100% can’t camp without.

Baby wipes. There’s absolutely no reason you should be in the woods, your thighs burning from squatting, desperately looking at a bush wondering if the leaves are safe to wipe with. Plus baby wipes also double as cleaning wipes for pots and pans, as well as being on-hand for emergency slut-washes if you’re away with your partner.

A pillow. I know, camping is all about space saving – but this is one item that’s 100% worth taking up space with. Not only will you be thankful for it when you’re tossing and turning at night, (trust me, a rolled up hoodie will only leave you with a face full of carpet burns) but it’ll also keep your bum from going numb on long car journeys.

A head torch. I hope wherever you go has a toilet block on site – I really wish that for you. But if not, you’re bound to need to go for a midnight wee in the woods after too much wine at some point. And trust me; squatting, wiping, not stinging yourself on nettles and holding a torch requires more than two hands. Do yourself a favour and get a head torch – you can also point it into a plastic milk bottle full of water to create a makeshift lamp.

camping hacks

Starting a fire

(A lot of campsites don’t allow campfires – so check beforehand. If you go down for starting a forest fire or burning down a row of caravans it’s nothing to do with me, you’re on your own.)

Now let’s not forget that this is 2017 and you’re probably going to take a gas burner to cook with, so starting a fire shouldn’t be a problem. But for the sake of staying true to retro camping, here are some tips to help you get the fire going.

Use wax. If you want a proper, roaring fire, you can get the flames going by throwing some wax in there. Rather than lugging full candles around with you, dip make-up remover pads in wax as easy to carry fire starters

Take a fire-starter kit. The last thing you want to be doing is hauling bags of coal or wood around with you, so make your own little kits by filling empty egg cartons with coal. The cardboard will work as kindling – but if you run out, I hear Doritos work just as well. Please, can someone try this for me, I need to know if the fire smells of crisps!

Add some sage. Not technically ‘fire-starting’ advice, but apparently adding sage to your campfire will stop any mosquitoes from lurking around.

campfire tips

Campfire cooking

Before I went fishing I assumed we’d be eating nothing but crisps and butties – but, honestly, I ate better from a gas burner than I do at home!

Take tinfoil: You can cook almost anything on a campfire if you wrap it in tin foil. Seriously. Baked eggs, stuffed bananas, a full roast dinner – i swear just wrap it all in tin-foil and you’re set. For actual recipes, rather than just winging it like I do, there’s some great ones on this list.

Invest in a toastie maker. Can I just say that I’ve absolutely not been paid to plug these things, but these sort of sandwich toasters are the best things I’ve ever used – to the point where I actually considered buying one to cook food in at home. As long as you remember to turn them over the heat regularly so nothing burns, you can cook just about anything. As well as toasties, we were making pigs in blankets for breakfast and cheese-stuffed chicken breasts for tea.

camping toastie maker

Happy camping… and watch out for nettles xx

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