Having advised that I was craving camping…
I went camping… in my garden!
This was a more than worthwhile exercise. The camping that I’m practicing for is having to carry everything on my back. Even if that’s not really the case, I like to imagine that I’m on some epic wild hike!
My old Vango Helium 200 tent, is, for the most part, okay. The inner droops a little close to my face but it’s manageable. That said, it didn’t rain but fingers crossed that it can still keep the water out! I used a Vango groundsheet beneath the tent and had my new Levin sleeping mat. I think that I need to revisit inflating the mat! The instructions aren’t clear but you need to pump it but also ‘let it’ inflate.
I’ll admit that I was cold! I’ve got a foil sheet on order but it’s yet another thing to carry. My sleeping bag is okay but claims to be two-season. I’m not quite sure what the temperature information on the bag is telling me! It’s mid-May and I was at low elevation in the UK so if I was more exposed I could’ve been struggling. I have seen some suggestions of buying hand warmers (Not actually sure how these work!) and putting them inside your sleeping bag.
I do have some thermal clothing that I picked up in an army surplus store in Auckland over a decade ago. The New Zealand military must freeze to death though… because it’s useless!
Crucially, I couldn’t get my old cooking implement to work. It has been in the attic a while but it did seem to be trying to spark. I’m not sure that the gas was leaving the bottle. The screw end of the cooking ‘stove’ didn’t quite seem to attach 100%. It may just be that the portable unit is old. The only thing that I can do is buy another (About £20). That said, my current one fit perfectly into my cooking pans. Will a new one?
Above is a photo of my gear. I previously had a blue backpack that got me around New Zealand and Australia for fifteen months. Red wouldn’t be my choice but the compartments on offer are good. The bottom section is a great fit for my sleeping bag. In addition to the things that I’ve already mentioned are items such as waterproofs, food and water, Swiss Army knife etc. Having weighed most things, I think that the bag weighed below 10kg but a sufficient amount of water plus more food would push it closer to that mark.
I tried to practice as real as possible. Being able to pack things away is as important a camping skill as any and of course I could have to do it in strong wind and rain!
In summary, it’s practical advice to test out equipment before heading off. I’m not a complete novice… but feel like one!
If you have any camping tips or experiences that you’d like to share, then please let me know…
Oh, one more thing! I previously posted about the sound of birds….
Well, sleeping in the garden made me realise quite how much variety there is. They went on late into the night and were up early. It wasn’t quite as loud as in New Zealand but it hardly induced sleep!