Camping and Hiking Activities
Last Updated on December 10, 2021 by Bruce
Going Camping – what to wear camping
Clothing…what to wear camping – It is important to pack suitable clothing to be used during your camping trip. Experience has taught us that it is generally better to take more clothes than seem necessary at first thought.
Having to carry clothes in rucksacks during walks may be a burden, but it is preferable to finding yourself cold and wet with a long walk back to the campsite!
• Dress in layers. To adjust to temperature changes and varying activity levels, you simply add or remove clothing accordingly.
• In cold conditions fleece is effective at trapping your body’s warmth.
• Always pack a quality coat that will provide wind and water protection. Gortex generally provides very good protection from the elements and is breathable.
• For maximum comfort and to prevent blisters wear two layers of socks, a thin polyester sock liner with a thicker outer sock. Socks should be changed if they get wet.
• Quality footwear is important for any activity. They provide stability, warmth and comfort. Make sure that you waterproof your boots. (If your feet hurt, you will not enjoy yourself).
• Hats are good for both warmth and sun protection.
• Scarves are also useful in cold conditions.
• In cool weather, sleeping with a hat can provide the warmth you need. Up to 80% of your body heat can be lost through your head and neck. (Also, make sure you select a sleeping bag with a hood).
• Gloves protect your hands. Exposing your hands to extreme cold can quickly cause frostbite.
• Sunglasses are also useful to prevent glare in both summer and winter.
• Pack T-shirts or pyjamas for wearing at night when temperatures can dip sharply.
• Slippers can be useful for use within the tent as outdoor shoes can cause wear and tear to the groundsheet.
• Flip-flops are useful in the shower block to help prevent verrucas.
Check out our Cold Weather Gear for Outdoor Sports
Our deterrent bug tips
The list of deterrent bug tips below may just help you avoid sleepless nights and irritated skin. Bugs can be a real nuisance on camping trips. Horseflies in the daytime and mosquitoes in the evenings can be a big problem with bites causing itching and irritation for several days.
Below are a few tips to help keep the bugs away.
• Pitch your tent in well-ventilated areas, as air movement will help deter mosquitoes.
• Try to avoid still (nonflowing) water areas (ponds, ditches, lakes) as these are ideal breeding areas for mosquitoes.
• Make sure your tent has “no-see-um” mesh on the doors and windows to prevent bug entry.
• Keep your tent zipper up in the evenings to avoid getting a bedroom full of bugs.
• Wear light coloured long sleeve shirts and trousers.
• Wear socks as the ankles are prime biting points.
• Keep cool as bugs are attracted to sweat.
• Avoid using scented toiletry products.
• Use bug repellent (most contain DEET as the active ingredient against bugs. This chemical may be harmful and should not be used for children).
• Citronella candles and oil helps keep mosquitoes out of the area.
• Garlic, Zinc and Vitamin B will secrete through your pores and repel bugs.
• Coconut soap and coconut oil also help repel mosquitoes.
• See other camping articles on the side bar for further useful hints.
A guide for campsite health and safety
Remember the following tips to help with campsite health and safety and avoid injuries and accidents:
• Take care not to trip over guy ropes and tent pegs.
• Keep gas canisters upright and store away from the campfire.
• Use your stove outside the tent.
• Make sure your food is stored in a cool place to avoid food poisoning.
• Take care if your tent is pitched near to a campsite roadway.
• Pack a first-aid kit.
• Use sun cream.
• Take special care when cooking to avoid burns.
• Make sure the pots, pans and plates are washed up properly to avoid food poisoning.
• Wear flip flops in the shower block to avoid verrucas and warts.
• Be careful around water, especially with children.
• Use insect repellant to avoid infections.
• Clear away your rubbish at night to avoid encouraging foxes and rodents.
The following camping tips and advice are difficult to categorise in the other sections of this camping manual and so have been grouped here.
• Keep a checklist of useful items to pack to save time on your next trip.
• Pack postage stamps in case you want to send postcards.
• Remember to pack saucepan lids. They can vastly reduce the time taken to cook items, especially in windy conditions.
• Pack playing cards for when it is raining, or you need some quite relaxation time.
• Pack plenty of plastic shopping bags for use as bins, storage, keeping things dry, etc.
• If you have enough room, pack a fold-away chair as sitting on the ground can become uncomfortable.
• Take plenty of cash with you as campsites in rural areas are probably further from an ATM then you are used to!
• Talk to the campsite staff as they can provide lots of useful information about places to go, areas to visit, etc.
• Pack candles to create a romantic evening environment (and to help keep the bugs away!).
• Don’t forget to pack a pillow as sleeping without one can be very uncomfortable.
• To increase the visibility and to avoid tripping on guy ropes purchase coloured guy ropes (or make sure any tents you purchase already has these).
• Always bring a roll of duct tape and a Swiss army knife. They can be useful for many things.
• Use solar-powered path-marker lamps as alternative lighting sources
• Use a throw rug or a piece of outdoor carpet in front of your tent to reduce the amount of dirt carried in.
There are loads of things to do in the countryside. The selection of camping activities you choose to do will be influenced by where you are planning to spend your time away. For example, camping near to the beach will allow activities such as swimming, snorkelling, investigating rock pools, sailing, etc. Similarly, a trip to a woodland area, such as the New Forest, may encourage walking, horse riding or cycling.
Take a look at the camping activities and camping games listed below to see if anything inspires you. Just remember that if you are planning to undertake any of them don’t forget to pack the relevant equipment and clothing:-
• Horse riding
• Clay pigeon shooting
• Hang Gliding
• Learning about the area, its history and culture
• Visit castles and estates
• Metal detecting
• Bungee jumping
Horse riding is a fantastic way to explore the countryside. It is a great experience and for a couple of hours in the saddle doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive activity. There are plenty of horse riding centres around which will provide all the equipment and expert tuition. If you are planning to go riding just remember to wear loose-fitting clothing (jeans aren’t advised).
There are many different types of designated routes to go on including byways (red arrows), bridleways (blue arrows) and quiet lanes. Horse riding centres will have prepared routes that may follow these routes or may follow paths on the owner’s own land. If you are fortunate, you may be able to ride on the beach.
The British Horse Society provides advice and information to access and rights of way. Also, to access a directory of national routes suitable for horse riders visit the Bridleways website.
Diving can be a relaxing activity if you are camping near the beach. Packing a full face snorkel mask in your bag can allow you to comfortably swim and see the surrounding fish and coral in their natural environment. For more information about snorkel masks visit The Best Scuba Diving Gear site
Orienteering is an outdoor activity involving navigation with a map and compass where the participants try to navigate between control points identified on an orienteering map in a preset sequence. The skill is to decide on the most suitable route to complete the course in the quickest time.
The course is kept secret from the competitors until the start. At this point, they are provided with a detailed map marking out the course. Competitors start at staggered intervals and are individually timed. The rules and principles of the sport are defined by the International Orienteering Federation.
The activity is suitable for both the young and old, fit and unfit with participants able to progress at their own pace.
Orienteering can take place anywhere including forests, open heath city parks and school playgrounds. It’s a great sport for people keen to improve their navigation skills or for anyone who loves the outdoors.
The environmental camping holiday
What is environmental camping? Camping is one of the most environmental holidays available. It leaves one of the smallest environmental footprints as only minimal changes are made to the landscape. Apart from the provision of reception and shower areas little change is made to the surrounding environment. Compare this with hotel complexes where major disturbances are made to the land with little chance of reversal to the previous state.
Also, campsite landscapes are often enhanced by the provision of additional trees, hedges and wild areas to give privacy, wind protection and a feeling of being out in the wilds to the holidaymakers. These areas, in turn, provide habitats for insect, animal and bird ecosystems benefiting the wider area.
The daily lives of the campsite dwellers change enormously during their stay as compared to their home life. More time is spent observing and enjoying nature as well as partaking in countryside pursuits and less time is spent watching television, driving cars and engaging in other fuel-burning activities.
Most campsite holidaymakers arrive by car, however, once on-site alternative transport is often used, for example, cycles and walking, all adding to the environmental benefits of camping.
The essence of camping is to live close to nature. It provides a great advertisement for the benefits of the countryside and helps change peoples’ habits to be more environmentally conscious which hopefully they take back into their normal lives.