In the process of researching for this latest series of posts, I’ve been reaching out to other camping bloggers to get hints and tips from them. One of the most helpful has been Naomi from the TentSniffer blog – go check her out if you haven’t already.
Naomi writes a lot about camping in general, but also writes a lot about festival camping – she has plenty of hints and tips for first timers. When I asked Naomi for some advice on what her camping “essentials” were, she went above and beyond in her response. Rather than cutting it down or spreading it over a few posts, I thought I’d share her advice in full.
So without further delay, here’s Naomi’s camping essentials.
My Camping Essentials… with the Tentsniffer
I was asked what my ‘essential’ for camping trips was and it made me stop and think for a while. Because as every camper will know there are so many items touted as ‘essentials’.
If you have children then ‘ready beds’ are sold to you in a thousand character options. Glampers will be looking at electric hookups and heaters. Those that hike and carry their kits will be sold lightweight versions of everyday items, and of course, everyone will be targeted by companies selling special camping meals.
Like everyone I sometimes fall into these advertising traps, and some will be all they promised, while many will not! But being a camper, especially a tent camper, is supposed to be a cheap holiday! After the shock of the price of a decent tent, the mattresses, the sleeping bags, the cooking kit, and all the other vital bits and pieces many would be campers will be forgiven for feeling that a two-week break in the Algarve would have been a better option! Stay strong! Your tent and all your kit are reusable, stored well it will last years, you do have a cheap holiday I promise.
But what of the adverts? The ‘extras’ that you had no idea you needed but the camping shop seems to hint that you do. The comfy folding chairs, the table, the lights, the barbecues, the TV (!)..
Well as a minimalist camper that has found her kit grow over the years I can attest to the fact that buying these things (not the TV – I camp without electricity) can be fun and many are useful, for example I adore my Kelly Kettle, but lots are just not necessary. Stay simple is a good beginners motto.
“That’s not a knife… THIS is a knife!”
My essential is a small penknife. While you can buy an expensive beast, I bought a simple Draper penknife for only a few pounds. It has 13 attachments (though seven would probably be enough, I have not used everything, I don’t even know what they all do!).
Attach a lanyard to it so you won’t lose it. hang it near to hand wherever you are in the camp. There are so many uses for a small simple penknife, I guarantee you will need it for at least one of these:
- Simple blade – useful for whittling sticks in preparation for marshmallow toasting, also for wood shavings to light a fire, and of course whittling for fun
- The simple knife also opens stupidly tough plastic food packages, and is excellent to slice cheese if you fell for the ‘take plastic cutlery it weighs less’ advertising hype.
- Bottle opener. No one needs to be in a field with a cold beer only to realise they have no way of opening it! Your penknife will save the day.
- Corkscrew. Like the beer, you don’t need to be stranded just gazing at a bottle of wine, your penknife will be your friend.
- Tin opener. While many tins these days have a ring pull there is always one that sneaks in without. Or that awful moment a ring pull snaps off! The penknife leaps into action.
- Small serrated blade/saw. Great for cutting larger pieces of wood for anything you need to cut wood for (only cut wood where you have permission)
- Scissors. For cutting duct tape (which repairs anything and is my second essential), paper, snagged fingernails, bandages or plasters (may be needed after whittling)
- If you do any fishing while you camp, a knife is needed for so many things, not least gutting your fish! But the more squeamish can still use it to prick and turn a sausage.
- Pointy sharp thing. (I’m getting technical now) Great for making holes for example in tarpaulins or ground sheets.
- Tweezers. My knife has tweezers which are great for splinter remover.
So there it is – my bargain essential. Get yourself a small penknife. And why not get one for the kids too? Teach them knife safety, and why it’s OK to carry one for camping, but not otherwise.
Have fun, be safe, take a first aid kit.