The first thing most people say to me when I talk about camping is “Oh, I couldn't do that, I like my comfort too much” and the ladies all mention that one essential… the hair straighteners!
Well, to be completely honest, a few years ago, I would have said exactly the same. There’s no way I’d be camping in the summer, let alone during the winter months. Now, however, it’s a very different story and so far this year I've already clocked up four trips.
It’s probably time to confess that my style of camping is more ‘glamping’ but I don’t see that as a bad thing. An electric hook up (EHU) is an essential for me and my family and this has meant that I can camp outside of the normal season. We take a small heater, designed for camping so it’s lower wattage, to help to keep us snug. And yes, ladies, I do take my straighteners!
One of the main benefits I've found is that I've spent a lot more quality time with my husband and son, who’s now six years old. We also tend to be a lot more active and have seen a lot more of the amazing countryside that the UK has to offer than we ever did before we camped. I've also discovered a love for cooking outside and eating al fresco!
If you’re going to camp in the winter months rather than just in the main season, it’s most important to keep yourself warm. Layers are the key here, as well as a waterproof with a quick drying fabric. I usually go for a t-shirt, a fleece, topped with a waterproof coat. The Regatta Maryam jacket is perfect here as it is waterproof and breathable so you don’t get moisture inside the coat when you start getting warm. As for jeans, they’re best left at home. If they get wet, they will take far too long to dry so it’s always best to opt for lightweight walking trousers, and add some waterproof overtrousers if it’s very wet.
One of my favourite camps was the very first one back in January. Most people told me that I must be mad for even considering it, but I knew that armed with the right clothes and our trusty heater, I would be just fine. It turns out that I was right and we had an amazing weekend. The campsite was at the back of a pub; whatever the weather does, the pub is always warm! We spent the day exploring the local area before heading back to the tent and getting ready for our evening meal. Normally we’d have cooked at the tent but it was January so we went for the easy option and had a meal in the pub.
With full bellies and a hot water bottle filled up by the landlord, we headed back to the tent and settled down for the night. Again, it’s important to have warm bedding and your sleeping bag should be at least a 3 to 4 season one (the Hilo 300 for example) and you can add fleece blankets for added warmth if you need to.
In the morning, we woke to a slight frost outside but that just added to the beauty of the surrounding countryside. After a hearty bacon and egg breakfast, we decided to go for a walk. If we had been at home we probably wouldn't have left the house but it was a beautiful sunny and crisp morning, the sort of day that just makes you feel glad to be alive. When we got back to the tent, we sat outside in the warm sunshine, forgetting for a minute the time of year.
If all of our trips this year are as good as this one (and to date they have been) then I am very much looking forward to another great year ahead. Camping has most definitely become a way of life for me, and if you've never tried it then I urge you to try it. Equally, if you’re a ‘fair-weather’ camper I strongly recommend trying an out of season camp.