Don’t forget…

Most camping trips we forget something.  Last time it was the coffee.  Other times we’ve forgotten less important things like a sleeping mat or the tent pole!

The organised goat learnt from this and has lots of lists she double checks.  The less-organised goat doesn’t… and it’s a bit of a worry.

When our top follower of this blog heard about this, she took matters into her own hand and compiled a generic camping packing list.  Here it is to help you pack too:

Shelter

  • Tent
  • Tent poles
  • pegs
  • mallet
  • Gazebo
  • Chair
  • Bedding
  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pillow
  • Hot Water Bottle
  • Eye mask

Clothes

  • Flipflops
  • Wellies
  • Pyjamas
  • Hat
  • fingerless gloves
  • body warmer or fleece
  • waterproofs (including trousers)
  • underwear
  • spare trousers
  • spare top
  • Jumper

Toiletries

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • hair brush
  • baby wipes
  • deodorant
  • flannel
  • shower gel
  • towel

Miscellaneous

  • Lantern
  • Headtorch
  • Penknife
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • insect repellent
  • map
  • hand sanitizer
  • face mask
  • water bottle
  • phone
  • phone charger and/or battery pack

The obvious thing that is missing from this list are food and drink… but those are whole other lists of their own!! 

Hopefully now nothing will be forgotten on your next trip either!

Happy camping

R & L (& friend!)

Camping with COVID

Since the lockdown has eased, we’ve been making up for lost time and camping once a fortnight!

Clearly if you actually have COVID you need to stay home! … but otherwise what is it like camping in a panedemic?

Book ahead

Everyone is having staycations and camping is an attractive option as its out in the fresh air.  You’re also sleeping in your own tent and bedding using your own crockery etc, so it feels a lower risk option than other holidays.  Thing is that the world and his wife have all realised it’s a good idea, combined with campsites reducing their capacity to manage the risk, it means that sites are getting booked up well in advance.

Pack what you need to stay safe

Pack your hand sanitizer, your mask so that you can support local shops, perhaps some anti-bac cleaning spray for your table/equipment and you should be pretty safe.

Think it out

As with everything these days, just think about the contact points that could be a risk and then make sure you are careful about those.  Where is it that everyone in the campsite will touch with their mucky paws? …the water tap.  Better sites will provide sanitizer at the water tap, but if not, just make sure you wash or sanitize your hands after fetching water.  Apply the same logic to other contact points such as the doors, handles and taps in the communal facilities.

Think about who you are camping with.  If you are one household that’s easy.  If you are several, then maybe you need to pack separate tents and travel in separate cars.

It’s a good idea to wash your hands when preparing food anyway, but things which are simple at home can be tricky on a campsite.  A collapsible bowl for the cook and some soap and water for the cook to be able to wash her hands easily and frequently is a good idea.  We always have pre-dinner snacks in the form of crisps.  Usually we’d have passed a big bag around.  Shaking them out into individual bowls is probably a better idea to avoid sharing germs.

Look for recommendations

If you’re feeling nervous, look for some recent reviews or ask a friend where they’ve been and whether it felt safe.  We will list our COVID reviews below.

It’s wonderful to be able to escape to the countryside again, and with a bit of thought hopefully it will be just the lockdown tonic you need!

R & L

 

Rowbury Farm – this campsite is very well thought out.  The facilities are new, which probably helps.  But there were sanitizers in sensible locations eg by the water tap, the toilets were being cleaned very regularly and there were cleaning materials available for you to undertake further cleaning yourself if needbe.

Weekend campfires – this campsite is very basic.  As you will have seen from our review, the toilet facilities left something to be desired, but they did provide hand sanitizer and cleaning materials in each cubicle. There wasn’t sanitizer by the water tap nor were we convinced by the cleanliness of the ‘screwdrivers’… but once you’ve identified these contact points you can of course take your own precautions if you’ve packed some sanitizer.

Hook Farm – there was sanitizer in the toilet cubicles, but there were not cleaning materials available.  There was no sanitizer available near the water taps either.

Cat Inn – while we were at Hook Farm, we called in at the Cat Inn for a cold drink and were very impressed with how they had thought through their COVID prevention.  There was no need to book, but we did have our temperature checked and log our details on an app.  There was sanitizer available on arrival, staff  wore masks and had thought through little details like single use menus.  We sat in the garden, but the inside had been carefully partitioned.

What do you actually do when you go camping?

“When you’re camping, what do you actually do?”

That’s something we’re often asked.  In reality we do very little – by the time you’ve waited for the kettle to boil, had your cup of tea, trekked to the toilets, lit a fire, cooked your breakfast and eaten it, it’s about coffee time!  Then you realise you’re still in your pyjamas!!

So basically we cook, eat and poke the fire.

Occasionally we manage to fit in a little adventure between meals – usually a walk to explore the area.

Our latest stay was at Hook Farm.  We’ve been there loads of times, but we can never remember where we walked the time before.  So we’re going to start keeping a note of good things to do near West Hoathly.

We’ve also updated the Hook Farm campsite scores.

R & L

The second of my finds

After the success of the the first of my finds, we were full of anticipation about what our next campsite would be like! Our first experience of an ‘adults only’ campsite!!

When we arrived it looked very promising – stunning views, lots of space, not too many other people.  The site was called Campfire Weekends and the team running the site were very friendly – with the whole family getting involved.

Our disposition towards the site changed somewhat when we visited the toilet facilities!  They were billed as compost loos, but really they were just bucket toilets.  Even that could be coped with if there was light to see by, but you had to wear your headtorch even in the middle of the day!  And if you’d taken a lantern instead, you would have been disappointed as there was no hook to hang it on!

But before you could experience any of this, you had to overcome the challenge of opening the door!  To stop the doors blowing in the wind you were asked to lock/unlock the doors from the outside using a screwdriver!!  The less-bright goat was so confused by the system she had to go and ask another camper to help her open the door the first time!!  If you need to ask for help to access the toilet, something is wrong!

Normally when you wake in the night needing a wee, you are tempted to put off getting out your sleeping bag and try to avoid going to the toilet until the morning.  Not in this site!!  Waking in the early hours, the first thought was – oh good, all the other campers are in their beds, I’m going to make the most of the opportunity & go for a wild wee behind the tent!!

The experience cemented our plan to get our own camping toilet!!! (More of that another time!)

R & L

PS here’s how we scored the Campfires Weekends site.

 

Good job goats have waterproof coats!

It’s a good job goats have waterproof coats… and trousers…and wellies!  We certainly needed them last weekend!!

Always, always, always pack them all… even in the middle of July. Although you can hide in your tent when it’s raining, waterproof trousers are handy so you can sit down even if your chair has got wet in an earlier shower.

Even on a sunny trip, wellies are useful to wear in the morning when the grass is wet with dew.  And being able to pull them on without worrying about laces is a bonus in the middle of the night!

We’ll tell you more about our soggy camping trip soon.

R & L

goat by kevin

Goats love adventures!

The first of my finds

Last weekend we went  to the first of my campsite finds – Rowbury Farm Campsite.

It was easy to get to, not far from the A303.  I arrived early, but the site was already fairly full when I got there – all these people working from home who can leave work early!!

As the first of the goats to arrive, I had a bit of a panic about which of the remaining pitches to claim.  Turns out I needn’t have worried, all the pitches on this site are nice.  All get the evening sun and they are seperated by pretty swathes of wildflowers.

See how we scored it.

I’d forgotten how much I love camping!… but not long until our next trip.

R

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beating the lock down rush

I was very excited to hear that campsites could reopen from 4 July 2020. But finding one with availability was tricky!

The usual suspects were either booked up or not open…but on the pitch up website it shows similar campsites in the area…. and voila new options were found!

In my excitement, I almost booked one without toilets or running water – so my advice is to double check facilities before confirming your booking!!!

Our first two campsites of the season will be ones we’ve not been to before. Can’t wait to report back!

R

In training…

Sadly we can’t go camping yet.

(Well not anywhere other than our own gardens … and I’m afraid my garden isn’t exciting enough to be worth the effort!!)

… but I have started getting in training!  I put this up in 15 mins – all by myself!!!

Super fast inflatable gazebo!

Super fast inflatable gazebo!

 

 

 

I can assure you that Snoopy dog was no help at all… he only came out afterwards to inspect my work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow morning my neighbour is hosting a socially distanced prayer meeting in her garden… and there’s a chance of rain.  Hopefully now it will be able to go ahead whatever the weather!!

It did make me nostalgic for camping trips… hopefully not long now.

L

PS you can read our review of our much loved inflatable gazebo & the other gazebos in our lives here

I’d rather be…

20200309_200935

As the mug says – I’d rather be… camping.

Wouldn’t we all in this glorious spring weather?!

Instead this is a picture of me trying to perfect my campfire recipes by turning them all into tablespoons and cups – in the hope that one of these days I’ll get to do some more campfire cooking!

L

Caught in the head lights!

I’ve never had a headtorch that I’m really happy with.

Having a headtorch when you’re camping makes life so much easier.  Not only can you see where you’re going, but if you are cooking or eating or pitching your tent or searching for your toothbrush after dark, it’s useful to have both hands free.  It makes a trip to the compost loo in the middle of the night less scary and when you’re not wearing it you can use the elastic to strap it to your tent pole like a little hanging light.

I’ve owned both Petzl and Black Diamond ones, but never been very satisfied with them.

The other goat recently left hers behind on a trip to a youth hostel, so she purchased some new ones to try out.  Headtorch purchasing is always a bit confusing as you can pay anything between £4 and £40 and not really understand the difference.

The assistant manager in our local branch of Blacks was very helpful and tried his best to explain about checking for the battery life as well as the lumens.  Apparently ‘CREE’ is a good word to look out for.  We would add that the bulky ones are annoying to wear and if the button sticks out too much you can easily accidentally turn it on in your bag and waste your battery!

Is red light worthwhile?  Possibly – it can allow you to read without attracting insects to your lamp.  It can also be handy if you want to read while your tent buddy is trying to sleep as it is less bright.

Anyway, on this on this occasion the little goat got overwhelmed and ended up buying two – on the justification that our camping guests never remember their torches, and so a spare would be handy!

Purchase 1:  Eurohike 6 LED headtorch20200110_202114

Only 30 lumens, beam distance 10-12 metres battery life of about 8 hours.  White, bright and red settings and a bargain at only £4 (in the sale, normally £6).

So far it’s only been tried out in the loft – need a camping trip to try it properly, but so far so good.

 

 

 

 

Purchase 2: Technicals 150L CREE head torch

This one cost £10, which is still reasonably priced. It has an optional strap for top of your head, but this can be removed.  However, when turning the torch around to try and fit the straps on for the first use, a little nut dropped out!  It’s from the hinge which allows you to move the angle of the torch…  Needless to say, we will never find out how this one performs as it is going straight back to the shop!

R