It’s Camping season!

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Image of 5m Bell Tent
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It is time to dust off that tent, wash your plastic plates, bowls and cutlery, make sure your chairs are free from spiders after having sat in the shed for the past few months and go camping!

We absolutely love camping!  You really feel the Summer is on its way when you can look forward to sleeping in the beautiful outdoors and for some of us, under the stars!

We are currently working with a few very well known brand name camping suppliers to give you honest and real experience using their products.

If you have never camped before, here are a list of essentials that you shouldn’t leave home without!

Bell Tent (click here to view on Amazon)

Image of 5m Bell Tent
HomeGuideExpert Image

Last year we bought a 5 metre Bell Tent (image above) and we found it made camping a very stress free and really beautiful experience.

We decided to buy a bell tent after watching other campers put them up quickly without much help (ie on their own!).  From time to time I like to go off camping with the girls and the kids so I needed an easier way to do this.

We chose to purchase our Bell Tent from Boutique Camping because the front door height is 2m.  This means that you do not have to do much stooping to get in and out of the tent.  Depending on where you buy your bell tent, other brands can have lower door heights, so if you want to shop around, check the door height of the tent before you buy.

We read reviews about the ease of having a zipped in ground sheet that comes as standard with this tent.  After spending 5 days in the tent, we realised why it was so much better to have one.  Not many creepy crawlies got in and it kept the draught to a minimum at night.  The luxurious feeling of sleeping inside this tent is on another level.  The view from the bed is just stunning, even if you do not decorate it.  The tent doesn’t have that claustrophobic feeling when you wake up in the morning and you don’t feel hot and bothered when the sun starts to warm the tent.  In terms of keeping it clean, we used a groundsheet protector to keep the underneath of the tent off the ground.  We also used a broom daily to brush the outside of the tent whilst it was still upright (it does get cobwebs, birds poo and insects trying to stick to it).  We never used the brush if it rained, it is much better to use it when it’s dry.

We cannot highly recommend this way of camping enough.

If you get problems with ants or spiders whilst camping we devised a few methods to help with this.

This year we bought tent carpets from Boutique Camping and have already used them.  They made our tent even warmer at night.

The carpets are water resistant so they can be used indoors and outdoors.  Lightweight and easy to carry, colour will not fade and they are easy to clean by simply shaking them off and wiping/hosing them down.

Click here to view on Boutique Camping/Amazon.

Tent Carpet (click here to view on Amazon)

Whenever you are camping you need a tent carpet, particularly if you have children or animals.  Tent carpets help to keep the tent and your family warm.  Carpets that can be easily hosed down or put in the washing machine are much better to use.  You also have the option of laying down bedspreads to keep the cold from coming through.  Good tent carpet comes with a sturdy bag and should have a woven fibre and polyethylene base.

Waterproof Rug/Mat (click here to view on Amazon)

You could buy something more versatile like this instead of a tent carpet.  This type of rug has a waterproof PVC back so it can be used anywhere.  It may not keep your tent as warm but at least you would be able to use it for a tent carpet, seat protector for your car, a family picnic or garden party.

Ground sheet protector (click to view on Amazon)


In order to preserve your tent you need to invest in a good ground sheet protector.

This is the Guvnor of all ground sheet protectors.  Specifically made for garden use, it is made of heavy duty premium quality and comes with rubber reinforced corners and edges.  This protector is coated on both sides, it is mould proof, water resistant, eco-friendly, washable and blends with the garden.  Click on the link above to find the size you need.

Double or Single Sleeping Bags

Click here to view Single on Amazon.

Click here to view Double on Amazon.

If you prefer a double or single sleeping bag, be sure to invest in a durable microfibre polyester type of bag to keep warm throughout Summer and early Autumn.  If you intend to camp in colder months, you should look to invest in a much warmer sleeping bag.  We love Vango products and purchased a double and a single size sleeping bag for our family of 3.  I loved the fact that these colour co-ordinated and not many other brands do this with double and single versions of the same sleeping bag.  The sleeping bags above are exceptionally soft, snug and breathable and kept us warm while camping from March to September.  They are easy to wash (in the launderette) and the bags come with straps to compress them into a smaller size to store away for the winter months.

Air Beds (click here to view on Amazon)

For our sleeping set up, we use either air beds or self inflating mats depending on how long we are camping for.  Air beds are quick and convenient for a weekend.  They do not take up much space as they can be completely flattened so that they don’t take up too much room in the car.  Air beds can be quickly assembled using a car pump (if no electrical hook up is available).  Whenever using an air bed on top of camp beds, ensure you place the air bed vinyl side up so that the air bed will not make a noise whenever you move).

Air bed Pump (click to view on Amazon)

 

For under a tenner, this air bed pump is the most easiest way to inflate airbeds and inflatables.  We do not just use ours for camping, we use it at home throughout the Summer to inflate garden inflatables.  It comes with 12V car charger so it can be inflate or deflate anywhere and it has an air pump with three nozzles (according to the charge hole of arbitrary size selection).

Self Inflating Mat

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to view Single on Amazon

Click here to view Double on Amazon

When you sleep on one of these (which is packed with 10cm of insulating foam), you will find it warm and comfortable (even on slightly uneven ground).  This type of sleep set up is perfect if you are camping for 5 days or more.  The mat is very compact, the bag opens wide so the mat can be easily removed and re-packed.  The mat is easy to inflate, you just open the valve and it fills up with air in no time.  To deflate, you just turn the valve then roll the mat to get the air out.  These are perfect to use on camp beds too.

Camp Beds (click here to view on Amazon)

For the ultimate camping experience, we recommend using camp beds.  You can either use these on their own with a sleeping bag on top, an airbed on top or a self inflating mat on top.  We have tried all methods and found the airbed or self inflating mat on top of the camp bed the most comfortable experience.  Using camp beds also give you storage space under the beds to store your camping toilet when not in use and/or clothes in bags.  It is a great way to keep the tent clear of clutter.  As long as you seal your clothes in bags properly, nothing will get wet or damp.

When using the camp bed/airbed combination for a weekend, we as a family of three use three single camp beds, one double airbed and a single airbed.  We place them all together at the back of the bell tent and place a double airbed over two camp beds and a single over one of them.  We use a double sleeping bag over the double airbed and a single over the single airbed.  They all stay firmly in place by making sure the flocked side of the airbeds come into direct contact with the air bed.  We also bring a superking throw (for under £20) to cover all three beds (just to make it look nice!).  You can also use a superking duvet cover (for around £20) without the duvet inside if you have limited space in the car.

Superking throw (click here to view on Amazon)

  • Product Dimensions – 250 cm x 380 cm Approx.
  • Material – Premium Extra Soft 100% Cotton.
  • Pattern – Chq Design, Colour – Grey Cheque with Natural Background.
  • For use on a Super King Size Bed or a 4 to 5 Seater Sofa.
  • Can be in guest room, kids room, as a picnic blanket or a throw on bed or sofa.

Superking Duvet Cover (click here to view on Amazon)

 

  • 1 duvet cover super king (260 x 220 cm) and 2 pillow cases (50 x 75 cm), duvet cover with zips rather than buttons or poppers, making it that easier when it comes to changing.
  • Material: 100% hypoallergenic brushed microfiber with hotel quality, lovely soft material, wrinkle, fade and stain resistant.
  • Features 4 durable corner ties on duvet covers keeping the duvet NON-SLIP when sleeping at night.
  • Machine wash cold (about up to 30℃) with similar colours; tumble dry low.
  • 5 year warranty for every product and 45 days for returning without any reason.

Portable Toilets

40cm height, 33cm width  (click here to view on Amazon)


If you need to go to the loo during the night, you need to invest in one of these.  Quick and simple to put together, it will even fit underneath a camp bed if you want to keep it out of sight.

34cm height, 39cm width, 48.5cm from front to back (click to view on Amazon)

This toilet is very sturdy but it does take up a little more room in the car due to its wider base.  Again, this will fit under a camp bed if you want to keep it out of sight.

Toilet/Storage Tent (click here to view on Amazon)

If you need a toilet for your tent but don’t want to keep it inside your tent, this is a perfect solution.  This type of tent can be used for extra storage space too.

Gas Cooking (click here to view on Amazon)

This is perfect for use when you are truly camping in the great outdoors with no electricity in sight.  We have had ours for four years now with no issues.  Easy to store and easy to clean, it has cooked many a fine meal whilst camping with friends and family.  Hooks up very easily to gas cylinders.  All you need is the ring hose kit and connector and a gas bottle.

Ring hose kit and connector for gas camping stove and grill (click here to view on Amazon)

 

Gas bottle (click here to view on Amazon)

This 907 sized gas bottle lasted us seven camping trips over a one year period.  It costs around £35 to fill with gas at many locations throughout the UK.  Click here for camping gas directory or Calor Gas to find your nearest stockist.

To connect a gas bottle to a gas fired camping stove, watch the video below:

Electric cooking

Table top hob (click here to view on Amazon)

We absolutely recommend getting one of these if you are camping with an electrical hookup.

This hot plate can be used for camping, holiday homes, offices as well as an extra appliance in a busy family kitchen.  It comes with twin hobs with individual variable temperature dials and 4 heat settings allow for cooking two dishes at different temperatures with 2500W of power.  It includes an automatic cut off feature ito prevent overheating as well as non-slip feet for safety and security.  The power indicator light lets you know when the appliance is ready to use.  Equipped with a fitted plug and 1m power cord.  Comes with a 2 Year Manufacturer Warranty. Power: 2500W. Product Size: 53x24cm, Hot Plate Diameter: left ring – 19 cm, right ring – 15.5 cm.

Table top grill (click here to view on Amazon)

This is a must for those camping fry-ups in the morning because everything can be cooked using one of these all at the same time. The cooking plate is an impressive 43cm x 22cm so there is plenty of space for all your ingredients. 

The flat aluminium hot plate is complete with Teflon coating, meaning very little oil is needed to get started.  It also makes cleaning simple and easy because the oil drip tray catches any excess far and oils from your food.  The grill also features cool touch handles meaning it is fully portable, perfect for camping trips, indoor barbecues and more.

With 6 individual heat settings you are in control of the cooking process meaning perfect results every time.  It makes a great centre piece at lunch/dinner time whilst camping and/or for a dinner party or social event.  It comes complete with 8 spatulas, so everyone can get involved in the cooking process.  2 year manufacturer warranty is included.

Cooking preparation areas

Royal Easy Up Storage Unit (click here to view on Amazon)

This type of unit provides a very sturdy base to cook on and has plenty of space to cook, prepare and store food/cookware and utensils in one place.  This unit zips up at the front to protect your food from ants and unwanted flying guests!  Dimensions are 90cm height, 110cm length and 52cm width.  It has 3 double compartments, each with shelves.  It has handy storage compartments on either side, that are a perfect place to store condiments or utensils for easy reach.  It also comes in a storage bag so it can be stored away nicely in the shed until you next use it.