The Best Camping Hacks of 2016

Image by TIM THATCHER

Image by TIM THATCHER

We caught up with Caroline Pemberton, Veteran camper and explorer to find out what's her best camping tips. There is no bigger satisfaction that arriving at camping and being thoroughly pleased with yourself for finally nailing everything you needed to bring. Alas mother nature still wins sometimes,  but hopefully that this handy list should help with making your (and mine's) camping experience even better. 

1. Learn to pack your pack well.

Have a system. Be faultlessly organised. You don’t want to be trailside in the pouring rain trying to find your waterproofs while everyone waits and watches. I like to pack all my stuff in stuff-sacks so I can quickly empty, find, restuff. They also make good pillows.

2. Have a plan & take a map.

As geeky as it may feel, talk about your plan in detail with your team mates, every time. Don’t just assume everyone knows what is going on otherwise everyone assumes someone else has it covered.  Never ever ever be slack at informing people where you are going and when you think you’ll be back.

3. Never pitch your tent on a slope if you don’t have to.

Duh & always clear your campspot of stones, twigs. Double Duh. (Just remind yourself to put in the extra effort when you arrive late into camp and you are tired and you think at that point you don’t care so long as you get to lie down. You’ll lie down and then you will care)

4. DIM THE LIGHTS

Point your headlamp into your nalgene waterbottle to create a lantern if you want to read by a softer light and not blind your tent buddy. Soft diffusion is more romantic people.

5.   NEED BATTERIES

Learn what things can double up. Yoou can use tin foil to turn AAA batteries into AA batteries. Whaa cool.

6. LEARN HOW TO PACK TASTY TREATS

Pack food that is not only going to fuel you, but get you excited too and is a good source of healthy energy, did you know cheese in wax packaging, aged cheddar, parmigiano and Gruyere will keep for at least a week without refrigeration?.... mmmm cheese. I also pack popcorn kernels, they are cheap, clean, light, tiny and indestructible and as soon as you pitch camp you can blast up a panful and become everyone’s favourite camping buddy. Salt and oil are welcome after a hard day and popcorn is such a happy, moreish feel good food.

7.  GO THE EXTRA MILE 

Dig deep and go that extra mile for a campsite with a view. It’s one of the deepest joys of waking up in the wild. Being able to navigate confidently off trail and back again safely opens up a whole new world of camping beyond the crowds.

8. TEA & COFFEE ESSENTIAL

  Always pack your insulated mug, it will make you a happier, more sane person in the morning when you can enjoy your brew without feeling like you need to chug it down before you set off for the day.

9. PAY FOR GOOD SLEEPING GEAR

Don’t you dare go cheapskate on your sleeping bag and sleeping matt. There are things you can skimp on and then there are things you can’t. This is something you can’t. They are your absolute deciding factor when it comes to comfort in the wilderness and a good night sleep is worth its weight in gold and you get what you pay for. Also chose the right grade sleeping bag for the climate you are heading into, there is nothing worse than dripping in sweat or alternatively curling into a frozen ball because you are in the wrong bag. Check the ratings carefully. I actually own three sleeping bags of different temperature ratings. Always use your liner. It keeps things clean.

10.  KEEPING WARM

 When I was at Everest for 6weeks, I learnt the value of heating up water and pouring it in my Nalgene water bottle and throwing it inside my sleeping bag like a hot water bottle. It also keeps your water from freezing in snowy climates. Just remember to do the lid up really well.

11.  HOW BEST TO COOK

 Don’t cook your food over a direct fire, unless your dinner is marshmallows! Build your fire, let it burn down a bit and then rake some hot coals to one side and cook over the coals. Also not all woods are created equal, when it comes to cooking generally stay away from woods with high sap content like pine, they tend to make your food taste yuk. Hardwoods however do not. 

If you have any other clever camping hacks that make you life easier when you're on the road let us know!