This will give you an idea of what is involved and the frequently asked questions by those that have never been camping before.
MitraUK has been organising camping events since 2003. I love the outdoors and I know once you are out there you will love it too. Camping makes it makes it easy, accessible and gives you a completely different view of the outdoors.
You can really appreciate it and be in it. We can go camping at any time and by organising events like this, those of you that want to have a go and try it, can do so with the knowledge that you don’t have to learn about it on your own, and for those that have camped before be able to meet other people and camp with them, sharing a fun experience along the way.
The idea is to camp, spend a day doing an activity and finish with a joint dinner. You will get to cook your own food, put up your tent and sleep outside.
Some of you will have a number of questions about the event. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, based on what we have been asked in the past and you can also ring us with your questions as well if they don’t tell you what you need.For anything that is not covered simply call either me (Purnima Gore) on 07752 878663. I will be more than happy to answer whatever questions you have and give you advice on the event.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the point of camping when you can stay in a hostel or bed and breakfast?
For one thing, it is a lot less expensive and you have access to the countryside right outside your tent ?. Not convinced? Read On
Is camping really for me and my family?
Yes, absolutely for anyone who wants to see the outdoors and have an inexpensive break, whether it is for a week or a couple of nights away this is perfect for you. We find that having to put your tent up and make your own food, the whole family gets involved in the activity and it is a great way for getting out and about.
What are the facilities like?
Most campsites have good facilities and the ones we have chosen for MitraUK always have hot showers and flush toilets (some even have hair dryers ) We don’t book pitches with electric hook ups but you can if you want to. It means more equipment to bring when you don’t really need it. Good if you are going for a week, but not for a couple of nights out. The pitches are level, which means you will not be rolling around. If you are choosing for yourself, make sure you read the reviews for the campsite. Some campsites will let you book in advance, and some you can turn up to. If you are going during a busy period, it is often good to give them a call and check.
Is it difficult to put up a tent?
Not at all. Pitching a tent can take about 15 and 20 minutes when you know how (sometimes faster) and you get better with practice. We always suggesting taking the tent out and putting up in your living room or garden if you have one, before you come so you know where the bits go and how to put it away again. If you want some help with that, then call me and we can arrange to meet up and put the tent up so that you will know how to do it before you come along.
Are tents expensive and what is the best one to buy?
As you can imagine, tents come in all shapes and sizes. There are a couple of good websites which can help you choose. As a rule, look for tents that have a flysheet and inner tent. The flysheet helps to keep the rain out and the inner tent keeps you in.
When looking at the specifications, if the tent is described as 2-man, it generally means there is enough room for 2 persons without gear. If you think you are going to need a lot of room for your things then get one which is bigger.
A dome shape gives you more head height, which means you can sit in it and get changed.
Last but not least, choose a size that you can put up. On our outing there will be lots of people to help, but plan a head. Don’t buy a 6-man tent if you need three people to put it up when there are only 2 of you. You may not always go camping in a group ?
Will I get cold?
That does depend on you….Being in a tent is fun as long as you are prepared. It is not like being in your bedroom where you can control the temperature, but you can control what you wear!
Best to wear jogging bottoms or tracksuit bottoms, and if you feel the cold, leggings inside. I always suggest wearing socks as this really does keep your feet warm. On the top, a t-shirt (with long sleeves if you like) and a sweatshirt as well is good. I wear a hooded top, which means I keep warm. By wearing layers if you get warm you can delayer easily in your sleeping bag. Thermal underwear is good for being outside. It is really the difference in temperature between a warm day and a cold night that affects you.
What do I use for bedding?
The best thing in a tent is a sleeping bag. Mainly because you zip it up and so keeps the air out and helps you to keep warm. I use a duvet cover inside as well as this provides an extra layer (like a double glazed window). You can bring duvets as well, but remember when you move it does too. It might be worth sleeping in your sleeping bag a couple of times because it can feel restrictive the first time as you are closed into the bag. There are lots of different types and styles. Have a look at the specifications and choose one suitable that you can use more than once. Having a bag which goes below zero degrees are standard and good enough.
Can I bring a pillow?
If you have room in your car or in your pack, of course you can. I use my sleeping bag cover with a jumper which works just as well and I don’t have to carry the extra item in my car.
Will the ground be comfortable?
Regardless of where your tent is pitched you will find that you will feel the ground underneath. There are a number of things you can use to protect yourself and make it more comfortable.
A sleeping mat is for those that sleep on the ground regularly. They roll up every easily and don’t take up much space. If you want to try one out to see if it is for you, then please call and we can help with that.
There are air beds as well which you can bring along which are not expensive. You can buy an air pump, which connects to your cigarette lighter to inflate it. They will take up space a little more space in the car, but are comfortable, particularly for those of you that bring your parents along.
I use an insulated mat called a Thermarest that is no more than 1” thick but is just as comfortable as an air bed. It is more expensive so you might want to stick to an air bed until you decide that camping is for you on a regular basis.
You can always use camp beds. These are bulkier but I have one for mum who is 72 as she can’t sleep on the ground any more. With some additional duvets she sleeps like a log and they are wide enough for most people.
Is cooking difficult on a stove?
Not at all. There are plenty of different stoves that can be used for cooking on. Because most campsites do not allow fires, this is the best way.
They use a gas canister and you can put a pot on top. The three styles we have used is cooker type that is very stable and easy to use. The second style as has a canister underneath with a potholder on top (this is much more compact but just takes a little getting used to). The other types are gas burner cooking pots which use methylated spirits. These need to be handled with care and are extremely efficient.If you want to have a look at some stoves before choosing, then you can us so you can have a look before you buy and try it out.
What food should we bring and will it keep fresh?
The key is not to bring too much with you, because you probably will not use it all and it is important to plan your meals carefully. On this weekend, you will need to have enough food to have breakfast on 3 mornings, something to eat at lunchtime and something to put on the BBQ in the evening. Having easy to cook items such as pasta and rice is perfect. You can bring chutneys along with you and because we are going just for the weekend, you can bring chapattis, theple etc.
Only bring what you really need and plan for the kids as well. You don’t want to end up spending all your time cooking and washing up. Bring high energy snacks like cereal bars so that you can take one out at any time, particularly if you have children with you as they will be expending a lot of energy. You only really need 1 pot to cook with and your bowl to eat from, a knife to cut and a spoon.
Do I need special clothing for the trip?
You probably have everything you need in your wardrobe; you just don’t know that you do ?
One thing from experience is that because the weather can change being prepared is important and as long as you are you will always have a good time.
Waterproof Jacket /Coat
Having one of these is the difference between getting soaked and having a good time. If you have one with a hood even better because putting up an umbrella is not going to be easy when we are on our walk.
This is a good idea if you have time to buy. It really does keep the rain off and means that you are left feeling dry and comfortable even if the weather changes. It means that your own clothes don’t get as dirty.
Walking Boots or Shoes
These are better than trainers because they will keep your feet dry but if you are wearing trainers make sure you are comfortable in them. Best not to wear anything with a heel, they will not make walking very easy.
You really don’t have to spend your money on specialist trousers for the trip. We are not going to do a lot of walking and unless you are planning on doing lots of trips, probably not worth it. What I would suggest is that you wear items similar to jogging bottoms or tracksuit bottoms because they are comfortable and not too bulky rather than jeans because they do not get heavy if it rains and will dry out faster. If you are used to doing a lot of walking and trekking then you probably have the trousers you need.
It sounds like it rains a lot; doesn’t that make it really miserable?
Of course it can rain at any time. We are in the UK after all. The idea is to be prepared for rain so you can still have a good time regardless.
We have had very little rain on our trips and even on our recent trip to Scotland when the weather was particularly bad, we had rain mainly in the morning and then at night when it was really windy as well.
During our activities this it was a little dull sometimes, but we did have a lot of sun as well.
Hearing the rain on your tent (as long as it is not coming in is quite nice) and you see things in the rain that you might not see otherwise.
I have children, will they enjoy it?
To be honest, they are going to enjoy it more than you. They use up excess energy, run around with others and sleep really well. Most of them will not want to go home.
If you want to speak to parents about their experiences let me know and we can put you in contact with them.
I have my parents with me what about them?
My mum is nearly 73, has a cochlear implant and has had a total knee replacement and she comes along?. Another family brought their parents along to Scotland. Some have brought both sets of parents and other family members. They try and come here just to do that.
What will concern you is whether or not they will manage in a tent. The main thing is to practice getting in and out. Putting up a tent beforehand and letting them try sleeping out is a good idea. That way it is not new to them.
The other thing is to make sure they are comfortable whilst sleeping, so warm sleeping bags and clothes. (Because mum wears a sari, leggings underneath are a must for her). Once they have got used to getting in and out, they will be fine. If you want to speak to us to ask us what we did to make their stay more comfortable then please call any of us for advice.
Is there a list with all the items I need to bring?
Yes, we have a kit list that you should follow as a guide. There are some items that are optional and others that are recommended and some that you must bring (like torches and your own personal medication).
I use this as a basic kit and find that other than extra food, I don’t need much else for even weekly camping trips.
What are other campers like?
Really friendly. Most people that go camping love the outdoors and so are happy and friendly. There have been plenty of times when camping that we have mixed with another group and borrowed a piece of equipment and they have joined us for our BBQ and vice versa. Being with our group will help you enjoy it and share the experience with people like you. If you go on your own, then you will find that they are there to have fun just like you.
Who is responsible for health and safety?
Because this is a community event, you are responsible for your own health and safety so you should take out enough insurance to cover any eventuality. It is important to be sensible and follow the rules and that is usually enough to keep you safe.
We are facilitating a gathering and so there is no liability to either the event organiser or organisation for any issues or accidents that might happen.
I really am not sure that I will be able to camp, can I come along anyway?
After reading this I hope you do come and camp with us. It means you are spending time with the group and if you have kids with you, they don’t have to go home at the end of the day. You can book B&B’s and other accommodation if you like and let us know so we can meet you and organise any activities together.
I have a few more questions, is there anyone I can call?
Yes, you can call me Purnima Gore on 07752 878663
I will ask other people attending if they are happy to take your calls and update this document.
The following is a guide of what to bring. Any items that are considered very important are in red, those that are useful in green and those that can do without are in blue.
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Mat/Air Bed/Camp Bed
- Waterproof Jacket / Coat
- Waterproof trousers
- Walking boots / shoes
- Flip flops / chapla (to be used when having a shower)
- Jumper – at least one
- Warm Hat
Cooking & Eating Equipment
Medicines & First Aid
- First Aid Kit
- Personal Medication (bring enough)
- Chair (you may want to bring one for someone who finds it difficult to sit on the ground)
- Groundsheet (you can sit on this rather than straight on the ground)
Washing and Personal Hygiene
- Towel (something like a pancha is great because it dries very quickly)
- Deodorant (we are in the outdoors anyway?)