Firstly, don’t panic – Gary isn’t a human! Gary is the name of our gazebo! (Yes, we know we are a bit odd – maybe that’s why we like sleeping in fields when we have perfectly good houses with beds?!).
Gary join our camp equipment family in 2019. You can read about his arrival here. He has worked hard over the last few years – he’s been a sunshade and a rain protector, he’s been battered by the wind at many campsites, been dusted in frost, held puddles of rainwater on his roof and once got weighed down by a pile of hail stones! Over lockdown he put in extra hours turning gardens into outdoor rooms hosting dinners, lunches, tea parties, beers round the fire and even a hen party. Every time he gets bowed down, he bounces right back up – literally! Although we don’t leave him up in high winds unnecessarily, it is fun to watch him be pushed right down by the wind and spring back up a moment later!
Hard work takes it’s toll and Gary developed a tiny hole along one of his seams. We hope he has many adventures ahead of him this summer, so we wanted to repair it as straight away before it got worse.
Step 1: purchase some ‘seam grip’ and some ‘tenacious tape’
Step 2: working on the inside, clean the affected area with hand-sanitizer
step 3: cut a little strip of tenacious tape, just bigger than the hole. Peel off backing and smooth over hole, pressing down firmly.
step 4: now clean the outside with hand sanitizer.
Step 5: apply seam grip over the hole. Leave it to dry a little bit.
Step 6: cut another strip of tenacious tape and apply on top of the seam grip
Hopefully Gary is now almost as good as new and looking forward to hosting many more adventures!
R & L
PS You can read our other thoughts on gazebos here.
When we arrived at Stockbridge View recently, not only was the weather cold, it was very windy. We thought it might be helpful to share our tips for pitching in the wind:
- choose your location well. We are actually notoriously bad at this, we always want to pitch for the best view – usually the windiest spot on the top of the hill. We are slowly learning that sometimes it is wiser to forego the view and pitch in the shelter of a hedge or wall.
- consider your angle. You probably want to try to pitch streamlined, especially if your tent is long and thin. Put the lower bits of the tent into the wind to guide the air over the tent rather than to buffet it. You don’t want to put your door into the wind – if you do the wind will come in when you open the door and lift your tent up like a kite. Pitching with your back to the wind also means that you can sit in your tent doorway and enjoy the shelter of your tent.
- where will the fire go? Fires are an essential part of the camping experience, but in the wind you have to be a bit careful. Firstly you need to think about which way the wind will blow the flames. A gust can make the flames lick out quite far. You need to be a safe distance from your tent which is highly flammable! Of course the wind can also make lighting the fire difficult, so locating the firepit down wind of the tent, might make it easier to light as well as making sure the flames blow away from the tent. Bizarrely as well as being hard to light fires in the wind, it is also hard to get them properly out. A strong wind during the night can relight embers that looked like they were dying. In windy conditions knocking a fire out isn’t enough, always add water too.
- make full use of guys. Sometimes it’s tempting not to use all the peg holes and guy ropes, but in the wind you really need to. Your tent was probably designed to withstand a bit of wind, but they were assuming you put it up as per the instructions! Guy ropes should be pegged out and then tightened. On normal tents, tighten as much as you can. On inflatable tents, it’s possible to overtighten and bend the poles out of shape – moderately tight should be fine.
- pick good pegs. Our favourites for the wind are delta pegs . We put a few on the key guy ropes of each tent. If you are using normal metal pegs, angle them into the ground – if they form a continuation of the line of your guy rope, they are the wrong way round, they need to be pointing in towards your tent and roughly forming a 90 degree angle with your guy rope. Especially if the ground is soft try to get the pegs all the way in. If you can get the hook bit down onto the ground it will help stop it spinning round and the guy rope breaking free. There are also various v-shaped pegs available which stop the pegs from doing this. A mallet is an essential tool for getting a tent up firmly. A peg-puller might also be needed to get it down again!
- weight your tent down. You can also help your tents stability by thinking where you put your heavier items inside the tent. If the wind is tending to get under a particular corner, maybe that’s the location for your suitcase or coolbox or whatever other weighty items you have.
- know your limits. If your camp arrangement becomes unsafe, be sensible about when you need to put the fire out or retreat to your car.
Hope you have a safe camp trip & don’t get blown away.
R & L
The camping season has begun and last weekend we tried out a new campsite called Stockbridge View . The overnight temperatures went down to -3 at the nearest weather station, although we suspect it might have been a bit colder in an exposed field at the top of a hill! In the morning we had to clear a thick layer of frost off our table and the water in our containers stayed frozen for quite a few hours (the eagle-eyed might spot the melting ice in th photo!).
We will wait until we’ve done another trip before properly reviewing the new sleeping bag – it was a bit of a extreme test. But we both slept reasonably well considering.
At one point on Saturday afternoon we had to shelter inside our tent because of a snow shower, but we were able to cook our dinner and breakfast by a fire to keep us warm. In the sunshine it was actually quite pleasant (as long as we were wrapped up!) and Stockbridge is an interesting little town to potter round with plenty of little gift shops to browse.
For more details on what we thought of the campsite see our review.
R & L
What are we up to this weekend? This morning we’ve had two snow showers – what lovely weather for camping! This isn’t an April fools joke…but perhaps we are April fools!! Will certainly be a good test of the new sleeping bag!
We’re at a new site, so we’ll let you know how we get on.
L & R