Pitching in the wind

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

Bell tents aren’t only for camping!

In our last post we confessed that we hadn’t camped as much as we’d like to last summer, but that our tent had been up to other things. Turns out bell tents aren’t only useful for camping in…

One of the goats had the honour of being her sister’s bridesmaid this summer and with that came responsibilities for a hen party. With the help of a party decorator Sandy the Bell Tent and Gary the Gazebo were transformed into a stylish venue for a garden hen party!

R & L

Equipment Storage

In the last post we talked about the end of season sort out.  But once everything is cleaned, dried, repaired and stocks replenished then what?

Having dedicated place to store camping equipment is helpful.  It keeps everything in one place, making it easier to pack and unpack – and as a result hopefully you are less likely to forget something (having a list also helps with this!).

Be mindful of what you are storing.  It is better to store things like sleeping bags inside the house.  And generally you are advised to store them loose, not tightly screwed up in their compression sacks to help preserve their loft (that is their fluffy-ness) and warmth.

It is also ideal to store tents indoors, particularly if they are canvas.  However, not many people have space for this and ours live in the garage.

We’ve found the best way to store things is in plastic storage containers.  We particularly like the ‘Really Useful’ boxes as they have proved to be sturdy and durable.  They are also made in the UK and can be recycled in the rigid plastic section of your local tip… although I’m not sure we’ve actually broken any to need to recycle them!

It’s helpful to store items in your in categories.  For example, we have a. kitchen box, a peg box and a lighting box.  This makes it easy to find things… especially if the next time you are looking in these boxes is in the dark in the middle of a camping field!!

Be careful where you store food supplies.  Animals are good at getting into lofts and garages.  Only keep tinned items in these places and then in a plastic box to make sure they don’t get damp.  One winter a squirrel tried to gnaw its way through a plastic box in the loft to get at our supplies!  Since then the sleeping bags are also in a roomy plastic crate in the loft – imagine getting your sleeping bag out for your first trip in Spring and finding that baby squirrels had also decided it was a warm place to sleep!!

If you are storing in the garage, it’s probably worth investing in some shelving.  These metal mesh shelves in my garage keep everything organised and easily accessible and also keep the tents off the ground and with the air circulating to avoid them getting damp.

Hopefully the kit won’t be in its Winter hibernation for long… counting down until the camping season begins again!

R

Picture of shelves made of metal racks with storage bags and boxes.
Storage shelves in the garage
logs stored in a plastic rubbish bin
Got to keep the precious wood supplies dry!

The real tents are back!!

The real tents are back…

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our tent set up at Barefoot Campsite

I know you’re keen to know about the new campsite we tried out last weekend.

It certainly scores well in terms of an attractive setting…

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sunrise

Situated in a bend of the river Thames in Oxfordshire, Barefoot Campsite certainly is pretty.  We were fortunate to have riverside pitch. Somehow the white noise of the weir was oddly calming, distracting us from the normal campsite sounds of what was a pretty busy campsite.

Barefoot campsite 1

View from our pitch

And not only can you enjoy the view of the river, you can swim or kayak too.  We hired kayaks from the campsite and paddled upstream to the pub for a drink.

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Kayaking on the River Thames –

This is a well organised campsite, but unfortunately that means it comes with quite a lot of rules!  They were enforced in a friendly manner, but I was asked to alter where I’d pitched my gazebo and move my car 6 inches to the left (someone over-estimated my ability to park with any degree of accuracy!!).  The booking process was hard work and for a campsite that is clearly fully booked every weekend of the summer, they could do with more toilets…but they get away with it, as it really is a beautiful location!

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sunset (over other people’s tents)

 

See how we scored it!

L