Camping Online Blog, the camping equipment information
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Now and again we will bring you special discounts and resources to help you make the best use of camping equipment purchased from our online store. Visit the Camping Online Store for more info on our product range.
With the weather brightening up across the UK, you may be considering taking a family camping trip during the half term. You certainly won’t be the only ones as Monday 27 May to Sunday 2 June is National Camping and Caravanning Week!
National Camping and Caravanning Week is celebrating its 13th year by inviting lovers of the great outdoors to join them at Club Sites and Camping in the Forest Sites across the UK.
Various on-site events will be occurring across the UK to highlight the perks of the club, such as: Archaeology in Salisbury; a Treasure Trail at Moffat; Great Cake Bake Off in Weston Super Mare; Photograph competition at Tregurrian; Fancy Dress competition and a Crab Catch and Release competition at Folkestone.
NCCW is also running several competitions on the website, including a Children’s Drawing Competition to win UK theme park tickets!
The Camping and Caravanning Club is not just about the location, campsite and pitch during National Camping and Caravanning Week; they aim to provide a memorable camping experience by promoting a great family holiday, the ability to make new friends and offering special club Perks.
Each Club Site is carefully located to provide many opportunities of experiencing what the UK has to offer; their Perks including forestry or coastal walks, family attractions, off road cycle routes etc. many based on recommendations from other Club members.
One of the biggest issues campers have with choosing a site is finding one with a good quality washroom. The Camping and Caravanning Club really take pride in their washrooms; they guarantee that their washrooms will be clean to the highest standards so you can really feel at home during National Camping and Caravanning Week (as well as at any other time of the year). In fact, they are so certain of their high standards that should any issue with a washroom not be resolved within two hours, you will receive a free night’s stay. That’s reassurance for you!
If you are new to camping, washrooms may not be the only concern you have. Check out The Camping and Caravanning Club website for essential information on camping equipment and camp sites so that you can enjoy a successful, stress-free camping holiday.
To celebrate National Camping and Caravanning Week, visit their page to book your pitch and then start preparing for one of the best weeks of the year for British camping!
One of the best things about living in the UK is the incredible diversity of its coastline. OK, so we may not have the best weather but that does not deter us Brits from going out and making the most of our beautiful beaches. Summer will be here soon enough, so now is the time to start planning a beach camping trip for the family.
Unfortunately, most authorities across the country will not allow camping on the beach itself but to be honest, the notion of waking up with sand in places you’d rather it didn’t (and a lack of bathroom!) is not the most thrilling. There is a fantastic alternative of course and that is pitching your tent at a campsite by the beach. But where should we go? Here are ten top camping sites for you to make the most of.
1. Ok, perhaps I am biased as I live here, but the Gower in Swansea is truly beautiful with incredible views and gorgeous beaches. Three Cliffs Bay is a spectacular spot and its campsite has won awards such as “Number One View from a Campsite in the World”. The campsite has excellent facilities and is close (but not too close!) to the city.
2. Bay View campsite site in Cornwall is another wonderful camping spot, overlooking the beautiful Looe Bay. There is a coast path situated by the entrance to the campsite and kids (and adults too!) will love the prize-winning Shire horses in the field opposite the site. Facilities include ladies and gents toilets and shower blocks, as well as a laundry room.
3. Trevornick, another Cornwall campsite, is situated within walking distance to Holywell beach and is five miles from Newquay. Facilities at this site include heated swimming pool, health spa, kids club, golf course, fishing lake and a variety of shops and restaurants. You can also take your dog!
4. If you don’t mind carrying your items and walking lots, Seagull campsite on Herm Island, Guernsey is a beautiful site. You cannot take cars onto Herm so will have to carry your items on the boat, but a tractor will meet you to transport your items to the campsite (which is huge). There are spectacular beaches and being one of the Channel Islands, the climate is the warmest in Britain.
5. For surfing lovers, St David’s in Pembrokeshire is a great place to camp. Lleithyr Farm campsite is situated half a mile from the beach, Whitesands and less than 2 miles from the Cathedral city of St David’s. There is an onsite shop, good male and female showers and toilets, a launderette and Wi-Fi throughout the site.
6. Clachtoll Beach campsite is situated in about 100 metres from the beach, five miles from the village Lochinver, Sutherland. Facilities include toilet and shower facilities, laundry, sinks for dishwashing and dogs are welcome. This area of outstanding natural beauty is not one to be missed!
7. Manor Farm in Norfolk is another excellent campsite, a short walk from the beach and the seaside town of Cromer. Great facilities and a good play area for children.
8. For camping in Devon, Bolberry House Farm is a spacious camp site with beautiful sea views, situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Easy walking distance to National Trust coastal paths and facilities include ladies and gents showers and toilets, utility area and a dishwashing room plus play area for children.
9. Holburne Blue Anchor in Somerset has beautiful sea views on one side of the park country views on the other. There are excellent facilities at this holiday park and plenty of fun activities for the family, including crazy golf, fishing, an indoor pool and an adventure playground.
10. Take a trip to the Isles of Scilly and visit Troytown Farm campsite. An absolutely stunning location with incredible views across the Atlantic. As well as the typical facilities at a campsite, there is the added benefit of secure lockers and power points. If you don’t fancy lugging your own camping gear to this site, Troytown offers rentable canvas bell tents, fitted with air-beds, camping stove, cool box, table and chairs, kitchenware and even buckets and spades for the kids!
When it comes to erecting a tent, I know it sounds obvious but reading the instructions really does make a difference. It’s surprising just how much of us ignore them actually! Make sure you have them handy as well as following these handy tips in your quest for the perfectly-pitched tent.
Check that you have everything needed to erect your tent before embarking on your camping trip i.e. all the poles, pegs, a mallet (believe me, it hurts trying to stamp in tent pegs with your feet!) and something waterproof, such as a tarpaulin, to situate your tent on (flattened cardboard boxes are not a good substitute!). Don’t forget the instructions either. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you to bring the tent itself…
Location, location, location
When you arrive at the campsite, give some thought to where you will pitch your tent. High, flat ground is perfect; you don’t want to find yourself in a puddle or sliding down a hill as you try to get some shut-eye. Also find out who your neighbours will be for the duration of your camping trip. If you have children, setting up camp near rowdy individuals may not be ideal (and vice-versa).
Erect your tent
Now you’ve found your spot, clear the area of anything you don’t want to be sleeping on (rocks, twigs, tree roots, rubbish etc.) and lay the tarp. Find the instructions to erect your tent. If the tent is not erected in the correct fashion, you could damage the poles or tent itself so lay out all the components in order to avoid confusion (the majority of tents will have numbered poles to make this easier). Pitch up the tent in accordance to the instructions. To ensure the tent is kept taught, peg down each corner one at a time, pulling the corner out as far as is safe. Tuck the tarp under the edge of the tent to ensure that water does not collect underneath the tent and make sure the tent pegs are secure.
- Practice erecting your tent and packing it back up at home. You will appreciate being a pro at it if the heavens should open!
- Taking an air bed or extra duvets to pad out the tent makes for a much more comfortable sleep than just a sleeping bag.
- If the camp site is on a slant, erect the tent in accordance to where you want your head to be.
- A broom or dustpan and brush is useful for clearing the area you wish to camp on.
Article by Emma Walters
If you love camping and exploring the outdoors then you will probably be starting to sigh with the first signs of winter setting in. However, do not despair just yet. Autumn is a great time to get out and explore the English countryside.
Atumnal colours will be abundant at this time of year with all the golden yellows, reds and browns of the beech, oak and ash woodlands. If you’re going to be doing some autumn walking then you’re probably going to want to invest in a thermal flask. Thermal flasks can be the perfect item for stocking up on hot soup, coffee or tea to keep you going.
Beautiful country locations throughout the British Isles with offer up an autumnal spectacular, but here are a few suggestions.
Situated in the heart of Herefordshire, Symonds Yat is cut in two by the beautiful River Wye.
There are plenty of scenic walks in the surrounding woodlands with caves and quiet woodland tracks to explore. The area is mainly made up of ash, beech and yew forest.
There are several campsites such as Sterretts which is situated next to the river and within easy walking distance of the local pubs such as the Ferry, Old Court and a hand drawn ferry boat will take you across the river to the Saracens Head Inn.
Forest of Dean
Gloucestershire has some lovely parts to discover, and non so is as majestic as the Royal Forest of Dean.
This is one of the largest forest areas in the UK with many towns and villages scattered throughout the forest. The Forest of Dean stretches from Lydney to Chepstow on the Welsh border to Herefordshire and beyond.
Local attractions include the incredible Puzzle Wood, Sculpture Trail and dozens of bike and walking routes. If you’re lucky you may just see a deer or wild boar.
The New Forest
For those who like the combination of the ocean and the countryside then the New Forest is ideal.
Situated near to Bournemouth, the New Forest has many walks and tracks which will keep you entertained for hours on end. The forest is home to some ward winning gardens, museums, leisure and wildlife parks and a farm.
Once you’ve finished exploring the woodland you can take a trip to the beach at nearby Bournemouth.
Autumn is by far the best time to explore these woodland havens and the changing of the season will provide a colourful colage of natural beauty. Make sure you are fully equipped for your woodland walks with some reliable camping equipment from camping shops such as Camping Online.
British summers are becoming less predictable and rain showers seem to be a little more so, with this in mind it’s really worthwhile ensuring you are well prepared for all weathers, including the rain! Camping out or heading off in your caravan can be a great experience but if you’re not prepared for wet weather you can find your holiday ending up an unpleasant experience or worse still, cut-short.
Here are a few camping suggestions and cheap camping equipment items which we stock in our caravan equipment store which could help save your next camping or caravanning trip if the weather turns bad:
- Barometers - For caravan owners, you may want to invest in a barometer, this will probably give you more reliable weather forecasts than the news channels, barometers are affordable and are a useful accessory to any caravan.
- Waterproofing - If you plan on camping outdoors in the rain, thenwaterproofer for tents is always advisable if you have an old tent. This will maintain your tents resistance to rain, you can use it on the exterior canvas and also the groundsheets (good quality waterproofer will retain the breathable aspect of your groundsheet).
- Rain-wear - Obvious as it may sound, a good pair of wellingtons and a rain mac or coat are an essential investment for any camper or caravan enthusiast. Even in summer these items can come in handy with sudden downpours and thunder storms.
- Thermal Flasks - If you’re out for a walk and you get caught in the rain and cold, it’s surprising what comfort a nice hot cup of coffee or tea can be, and a thermal flask will deliver just that. Unless of course you can find a cosy tea room or coffee shop.
- Toys & Games - When it rains on holiday, any parent will know how quickly children become bored, and boredom can lead to unbearable bad behaviour when couped up in a tent or caravan. A few board games and toys can offer a quick fix until the rain passes and unlike hand held computer games the whole family can join in.. far more sociable form of entertainment!
- Portable TVs - If the forecast is bad weather for a few days the relief of having a TV and a portable Satellite Receiver or TV Aerial can be a god-send and definitely a wise investment for caravan owners.
- Clothes Airer - If you’ve done your washing and it’s raining, you’re going to need to dry it some how and the best option by far is a concertina clothes airer, simple but effective and beats hanging your wet socks all over the caravan furniture.
- Caravan Awnings - A waterproof caravan awning and possibly groundsheet/zip up liner can offer a much needed extra room or even bedroom. A luxury, but for caravan owners it can be that extra bit of space for preparing food, dining or even act as a playroom for the children (if you own a dog and it’s wet you can let it dry off before coming inside your nice clean caravan).
- Camping Location - Use your common sense when setting up a tent, if the forecast is rain you need to choose your pitch wisely. Be wary of setting up camp at the bottom of a hill and especially on level ground, or anywhere you think water may gather and potentially flood. Setting up camp on a slight hill or higher up a field is best practice.
When you holiday in the UK then rain is just part and parcel of the risk you take, having said that, there is no reason why it should spoil your vacation, especially if you’re camping or out and about in your caravan. Try investing in some camping or caravan equipment as mentioned above and you’ll find it a far more comfortable experience.
There are plenty of good reasons to invest in high quality caravan awnings. If you require more space when on holiday with your caravan, motor-home or campervan then maybe it’s time to consider a caravan awning by Dorema. Caravan awnings can increase your holiday space dramatically and are weatherproof too. They can double as an additional room.
Caravan awnings start from around £250 and one of the quality brand names to look out for is Dorema. You can pay up to £1000 for top end Dorema caravan awnings. Caravan awnings come as tall annex or standard annex, you can also buy a porch, which is effectively the same thing only smaller than a full sized awning.
Awnings provide an extra room attached to your caravan, or motorhome, they offer wonderful value for money and can be fitted to either side of your vehicle.
Caravan awnings are often weather proof, the roof of an awning is usually made of polyester with cotton sides. More elaborate awnings are all-season grade. The material will be quite strong, easy to clean and shower-proof. The awning fabric is coated polyester.
An awning comes fitted with windows and a door. These are either roll down or zip up in design, some being both. Zip up doors and windows can help to keep insects out in summer months. If you do need some extra ventilation then look out for awnings with a zip panel vent.
Dorema awnings will be either steel framed or lightweight aluminium and they are held together by support poles which come as legs and roof supports. Some frames come with additional triangular bracing for extra strength, this is well worth the effort in windy conditions. Some awnings come with locks too.
For the ultimate comfort one should consider adding flooring. Flooring comes as in tiles and ground sheets. Ground sheets offer good protection from damp and wet conditions and also help keep worms and bugs at bay. Gound sheets are often breathable and are usually sold by the metre here in the UK. The breathable fabric also helps to keep the grass alive beneath your temporary campsite. A close weave will allow the air to circulate but also reduces insects, worms and worm casts from penetrating through. Ground sheets are quite tough wearing and rot proof. They are easy to clean with a quick hose down. For an complete luxury you can even buy carpet for your awning which can make it a home from home.
Accessories For Awnings
The most useful awnings accessory is an ‘inner awning’ which turns your awning into a tent which is attached to your caravan, motor-home or camper-van. These will have a zip entrance and are useful if you have guests as it offers a bit more privacy.
Other accessories include items such as the pole suction pads and awning hangers made from tubing, which can provide more wardrobe space.
If you want to create more room on your next caravan and camping holiday then you should consider investing in a Dorema awning. It will give you the luxury of extra space for eating sleeping or just relaxing come rain or shine.
Article by Simon Lucas
Many people see camping as a great way to experience the outdoors, but for some campers and caravan enthusiasts, the much loved home comforts can be sorely missed while away on vacation.
Comfort of Furniture
If you’re going away in a caravan then most likely you will already have all your table and chairs to help make your time away more pleasant, in fact some caravans now have these items already fitted. However, if you have a caravan awning or porch then you may have the extra space to set up some more furniture creating an additional room to your caravan.
For campers, a table and chairs could be classed as luxury items, providing a much needed bit of comfort after lengthy car journeys and being cooped up in a tent.
Furniture can come in the shape of tables which are usually fold-able. Fold up tables or ‘trestle tables’ as they are also known offer a rigid surface for preparing food, eating and drinking or general use for games or drawing for bored children. The fold up tables are great at space saving too and will pack away neatly.
Camping chairs are also very portable, nearly always folding up, camping chairs are used by fishermen, campers, caravan enthusiasts and generally people who enjoy the outdoors, including beach goers.
Camping chairs are usually either padded for comfort or breathable to reduce sweating in the summer time. There are various other types of camping furniture which are used these days such as camping kitchens and cupboards.
Caravan accessories are also very useful. These fall into categories such as electrics, furniture and covers.
Caravan electrics are essential items, such as camping lights, fridges, heaters, torches and other such items which will help bring a little bit of comfort from home away with you.
Covers and awnings are also useful providing protection from the elements and creating extra space when camping or in your caravan.
It is really worth considering investing wisely in caravan accessories and camping furniture to help make your holiday a comfortable one.
Caravan covers are slightly different to Motorhome covers in shape and dimension, although they both offer similar features to protect against the elements.
Waterproofed covers will offer good protection during wet weather and they prevent an accumulation of mold and grime.
A caravan cover not only keeps the damp weather out, it can also act in a breathable way. “Air-Breathable” covers allow water vapour escape, and they stop water penetrating and staining the shell of the caravan or motorhome.
Some covers provide UV protection, which is important for protecting against ultra-violet rays. UV protection keeps external bodywork free from discolouration and fading, whilst protecting internal furnishings from the fading effects of the sun.
You may also find that a cover which is weather resistant and breathable will protect against snow, dust, bird lime, tree sap, air-bourne pollutants and heat build up. Generally, covers should offer all year round protection.
Before you start shopping around, it is important to know the dimensions of your caravan or motor home before looking to buy so as to ensure you purchase the correct size. Some covers are adjustable whilst others offer a universal fit. It’s advisable to discuss this with the sales person before purchasing.
Don’t forget to measure taking into account any bike racks or other external fittings to your caravan or motorhome.
High quality covers have strengthened corners, and zippers can be useful for fast access to the door without having to take off the whole cover. It’s also worth purchasing non abrasive covers to protect the paintwork when fitting.
Covers are usually secured with straps which pass under the vehicle, and if you opt for a lightweight cover fitting will be much easier to handle.
Cover Features worth looking for:
- Non abrasive – to protect paintwork.
- Lightweight – for easy fitting and storage.
- Waterproof – protects against severe weather.
- Extended UV protection – to prevent fading inside and out.
- Breathable – lets moisture escape.
- Finish – consider for minimal visual impact.
- Corner Zips – for ease of fitting and easy access to caravan door.
- Quick Release Buckles – for easy installation and removal.
- Storage Bag – for convenience and safe keeping.
It’s always best to ask for advice when choosing a cover for your motor home or caravan, if you value your portable holiday home then don’t leave it out to the mercy of the elements.
Which sleeping bag should you choose when going camping? It’s a question that most of us have contemplated at some time or other, In this post we look at some of the different type of sleeping bags available on the market today.
Sleeping Bags will vary in quality depending on the how much you are willing to spend and what type of conditions you will be sleeping in.
If you’re camping in a warm climate you can get away with a lightweight compact sleeping bag, but for colder conditions you’ll need a high-tech sleeping bag which will keep the frost bite out.
Making The Right Choice
It’s best to consider what time of year and where you’ll be needing your sleeping, here’s some tips:
- Size/Shape: It’s best to consider your height and size, being inside something which restricts your movement can be uncomfortable. A mummy style bag may offer the most warmth, but if you’re using the sleeping bag inside or in warm conditions a semi rectangular bag will offer far more movement inside and will be less claustrophobic.
- Storing Away: Will you require something small and compact with a pouch for travelling light? Or will it be used in-doors where weight or packing away are not so important.
- Season/Temperature: Sleeping Bags are rated by season and degrees Celsius, it is always important to check with the supplier which will be most suitable for your need. As a rough guide: 1 will be for summers months (around 5 degrees Celsius), 2 will be for spring into summer (0 degrees Celsius), 3 will be for spring right through to autumn (around -5 degrees Celsius), 4 will be for winter (around -10 degrees Celsius) and 5 is rated for expeditions in colder climates (around -15 degrees Celsius).
- Outer Lining: Inside or outside use? Using it in harsh weather conditions? Down sleeping bags are usually more expensive than synthetic sleeping bags and generally last longer, however, these would not be ideal for wet or damp conditions. For wet or damp conditions the ultralight shell fabrics are more suitable as they often possess a durable water-repellent coating.
- Inner Lining/Insulation: Will you require something that is light and breathable for really warm climates, or are you camping somewhere really cold where you will need to be cocooned inside? If you will be in dry but cold conditions then down sleeping bags are effective, they possess a high weight to warmth ratio (down insulation is measured by one ounce per cubic inch with 900 being the around the highest). For machine washable and damp resistant sleeping bags, those with synthetic insulation work best.
- Hood: Will your sleeping bag need a hood for really cold weather or to keep insects out? Other related features may be draft collars and draft tubes behind the zip, combined, these all act as effective draft insulators.
When you’ve made you choice, you may want to consider sleeping bag accessories too. Items such as sleeping bag heaters are great for emergency or really cold situations, mats to help cushion the ground and insulate from cold beneath are useful, travel pillows can add comfort and sleeping bag liners offer extra insulation in cold weather.
To be sure that you are spending your money wisely, it’s always best to ask the advice of someone with a bit of knowledge on the subject. Camping-Online are one such company who will be happy to offer free advice and point you in the right direction whatever your need: Camping-Online.co.uk