Camping as an activity can be great fun and when combined with additional outdoor activities can be a fantastic holiday experience. That said without the right gear and a bit of forward planning a camping trip can quickly become a harrowing experience.

Here we have a few tips on camping that will hopefully help guarantee a great camping experience.

A camping trip can be ruined if you forget a key piece of equipment. Ideally make a list of everything you will need a week or so beforehand just in case you need to make a purchase upfront. If camping is going to be a regular occurrence maybe update your list on your return and use this for the next trips. Our camping kits have all of the main items but you will still need to bring all of your personnel kit.

If you are touring in a vehicle then it is easy to pick up bits you may have forgotten but for more minimal approach type trips such walking, cycling or kayaking detouring can be a problem and a good upfront list is more critical.

We will give full instruction on how to assemble and use all of the kit and offer a helpline if you are struggling. If you are however using something you have just purchased it is a good idea to try it out before you need it in anger.

The weather in Ireland can change quite rapidly. Thankfully extreme weather you may encounter in some parts of the world in a summer in Ireland is highly rare but it is quite common to have “all the seasons in one day”.

If you have a full week of sun forecast it is still best to plan for some rain and a layer or two to keep warm.

Make sure you have the right clothes for your trip and where possible plenty of dry clothes to change into if you get wet.

Keeping warm when outside it is best to layer rather than have a BIG coat. This allows for adjustments.

Trying to sleep when cold and/or wet is an unpleasant experience. Make sure your sleeping bag or quilt are rated for the anticipated night temperatures, A good liner can increase your sleeping bag temperature rating and typically pack down small giving some flexibility. If you need to layer up make sure you keep some dry clothes for inside your bag or under your quilt.

Keep your sleeping stuff and sleeping space dry. This can be difficult when sharing a three man expedition tent for a full week or rain but it is critical to achieving a good nights sleep.

Packing your critical stuff into dry bags when on the move is a good idea. We supply heavy duty dry bags that a great when you have space and not concerned about weight but if these two elements are critical for your trip lighter weight dry bags should be purchased.

Always try to choose a camping spot that is in harmony with the weather or anticipated weather. If a North wind is forecast try to find a location with some barrier (trees, rocks or campsite buildings) on the North side of your site. If no barrier is available you may need to re-enforce your pegs and guy lines on the North facing side of your tent.

If overnight rain is forecast a good covering of trees can offer some respite from the noise on the tent. Beware of large native trees that tend to gather rain and create larger noisier droplets and sap that will ruin the tent.

A real luxury is a tarp suspended above the tent in rain or wind. This can keep your tent dryer and a place to pack your gear if the weather is still not great when uprooting your camp.

I have pitched a tent on the side of a Scottish mountain many years ago and woke in the middle of a stream running down the mountain. Check the ground you are pitching on for traces of past water flow or puddling if heavy rain is forecast.

A nice flat surface to pitch your tent is recommended. This can be challenging even on official campsites but sleeping when rolling of your mattress or slowly sinking into the wall of your tent is a pain.

We only rent out Tipis and Teardrops to be used in registered campsites and not used for any unofficial camping.

A list of these campsites can be found at:

http://www.campsitesireland.com/campsites.php

Although there are others you will find as you travel.

Our Terra Nova expedition tents and Sea to Summit hammocks are more aimed at expeditions involving walking, cycling, kayaking etc that may involve some level of wild camping.

Wild camping is a term used to describe putting your tent up not in a registered campsite which does suggest you are in either a public place or trespassing on private property. There are however some wild locations in Ireland where camping is tolerated by either the authorities or landowners. A good source for locating some of these wild camping sites:

https://totalcampingireland.ie/wild-camping/

As mentioned on the website always seek permission to camp on any private land.

If visiting other countries always check the rules on Wild camping but quite often they are clearer to understand and tolerated as long as the rules are followed.

Follow all the rules stipulated by the site managers/owners

Noises inside a tent are as if you are outside so keep to a minimum late in the evening

Keep the dog under control and clean up. Dogs usually find a way out of the tent when they hear a noise.

Open fires are generally not acceptable but check if a fire pit can be hired on the campsite. Definitely no fires inside the Tipi.

Wild camping General Rules

  • Never leave any type of debris or rubbish behind.
  • Obtain permission from a landowner in advance if you are staying on private property.
  • Do not harm any animals or other wildlife.
  • Camp on safe ground.
  • Never disturb the environment (leave what you find).
  • Be careful when managing campfires.
  • Do not pollute any water sources

Hammock camping is great when weight is at a premium and you are anticipating lots of trees with no clear ground to lie on.

The Sea to Summit hammocks we rent and sell have a dedicated clip system and are easy to put up. Makes sure the trees or supports you are using is strong enough to take the weigh and the supports are at least 3 metres apart. Any less than this will be more seat than a bed and not very comfortable.

Remember the insect repellent especially in Spring and Autumn when they the midges are most hungry. A mosquito net is useful as well or as an alternative. If there is high midge or mosquito activity keep the tent zipped up until you are ready to bed down. Ideally zip up the tent before any lights are turned on to avoid attracting the little beauties.

Some level of sun factor or block would be recommended in your camping kit. Even on overcast days there is still a risk of UV if you are outside for extended periods.

You are on holiday even if you have chosen a gruelling mountain hiking week and decided to have a drink, please remember the rules and Etiquette at all times.

Remember the hassle of getting out for a wee, one of the most annoying things after a few beers.

Tents and Tipis are passive pieces of equipment that can’t bite you but always be careful when erecting the poles and pegging out especially on hard ground when a mallet may be required.

Make sure that the tent pegs are firmly in place especially if a windy night is expected. The Tipis and Terra Nova tents are exceptionally stable in poor weather compared to other brands but make sure that the pegs are well placed and all present.

Cooking with gas involves a flame and heat. Make sure that the fuel cannister and cooker are stable before igniting

Always be aware of open flames when children or pets are present.

Open fires (if allowed) and fire pits should be located at a safe distance from your tent and any other tents in the vicinity. An open fire does not need to be large and it is best to arrange a few perimeter rocks or stones in a circle and maintain your fire within the perimeter.

Always extinguish a fire before you retire for the night and never leave a fire unattended.

Hammocks require a solid support at each end usually a couple of trees. Make sure both supports are capable of taking the weight.

Look at the floor between the trees, a badly placed rock or tree stump will hurt if one of your trees fails or you might be touching rock when you lower your weight into the hammock.

A hammock does not need to be high off the ground. Aim for 150mm to 200mm off the ground when weighted.

When you have your hammock fully fixed slowly test the hammock by slowly lowering your weight and slowly lifting your legs of the ground.

When you have full confidence in your installation avoid jumping sailor style into your hammock, always lower yourself slowly.

Kids love hammocks and everything swing like but hammock camping isn’t suitable for young kids. Best get a swing for fun and a tent for sleeping.

When hitching a teardrop onto your vehicle position the towing cup over the towing ball on the vehicle and turn the handle on the jockey wheel until the ball is fully engaged. Then connect the electrical plug.

  • Pull up on the tow hitch to make sure it is fully engaged. Your vehicle should lift as you pull up.
  • Wind the jockey will fully up into the two slotted sections of the upper tube
  • Undo the jockey wheel clamp and pull the assembly to the highest point and clamp in position.
  • Check the electrics are working
  • Road Lights
  • Indicators
  • Brake lights
    •  

The Camping First Aid Kit is designed for dealing with accidents that can happen when you are camping.

Tipi Kit Safety Equipment will additionally include fire blanket.

Teardrop Kit Safety Equipment will additionally include fire blanket and fire extinguisher.

When towing a teardrop unlike larger trailers or caravans they fall into the same wheel base of an average sized car which means you don’t need to take large swing outs on tight turns or roundabouts to avoid curbing the inside wheel. That said experience in pulling a small trailer would be an advantage.

When turning on tight turns be aware and check in your side mirror the position of the trailer wheel in relation to the curb.

When passing through narrow gaps or pulling into gaps in parked vehicles be aware of the width and additional length of the trailer and avoid sharp turning manoeuvres.

Our teardrops are unbraked but are stable under braking but avoid excessive late breaking and look ahead to anticipate any emergencies. Remember that under braking the weight and momentum of the trailer is suddenly pushing your car so anticipate this when starting to slow down.

In general practice smooth planned driving when pulling any trailer.

Reversing a trailer takes a bit of practice and smaller trailers can be more difficult than larger trailers as they respond very quickly to small movements of the towing vehicle. Our teardrops would be described as mid-sized and can be reversed with some care and practice.

When you have chosen your pitch at the campsite and thinking of reversing the trailer into place plan your start point and visualise where the towing vehicle will be to get the turns you require on the trailer. Then check that the space is available in relation to other caravans or cars and be aware of big muddy sections of grass that your vehicle could get stuck.

Another consideration would be whether it will be possible to hand manoeuvre the trailer instead or more critically hand manoeuvre if the reverse goes wrong.

Remember that caravaners are a docile species and in most cases are friendly and helpful but they do love to watch other caravaners reversing and take great joy in others failing. Put this aside you have a highly manoeuvrable teardrop trailer and a good plan. When you are set up pour a glass and wait for more new arrivals to watch.

Teardrop caravans are super light and are easily moved by hand on a reasonably smooth flat surface.

Most caravan pitches are flat but not always. We supply wheel chocks and the two legs on the front of the teardrop will act as ground anchors when lowered but it is still recommended to avoid excessively sloped pitches. Always position the wheel chocks before unhitching the trailer and if there is any slope on the pitch have the two front legs ready to catch the front of the trailer before unhitching.

Finally adjust the legs and jockey wheel to get the teardrop level. There is a small spirit level located on the fridge that will help you find a level position.