Last week, I went to a – I don’t know what to call it – festival with a few people from church. It’s exactly like a music festival… with Christian stuff. It was probably one of the craziest and simultaneously most restful weeks I’ve had this year. I saw miracles (perhaps something to write in a blog post later?), rested, ate a lot of British Summer food, been heavily rained on, been sun-baked, had some quality time and a good laugh with the church family, spent some time with God.
It goes without saying that last week involved a lot of camping. I’ve only partaken in this great British tradition a few times in my life, a lot of which for a Duke of Edinburgh award which involves carrying a stupid amount of kit in a rucksack and pooing on the side of a hill (again: another blog post? Or maybe TMI).
This was not as hardcore as wandering up a mountain in Wales with a map, compass and a little spade to bury any excrement. We did have our creature comforts. But here are some of the best practical tricks I’ve picked up whilst slumming it out in a field.
1. Wet wipes are your new best friend
They are indispensable. If you can’t be bothered to potter down to the shower blocks to fight over a cubicle with the other campers, you can have a wet wipe shower in the comfort of your own tent! (I am inherently lazy and inadvertently went the five days without making the trip to the shower blocks once, but we won’t mention that).
You can even use them for light-duty washing up! Even my scout leader boyfriend didn’t know this one.
2. Micellar water is actually a worthwhile spend
I’m not particularly up-to-date on the latest skincare fads but I chanced on micellar water, which in the most basic terms work on your face the same way detergent works on clothes. It’s not as terrifying as it sounds. You only have to wet a cotton wool pad with some of this water, wipe your face and voilá – clean face! No need for soap or water or even going out of the tent. Perfect.
3. Be prepared for all weather
Okay, this is England. We had sun so intense there were sunburned faces one day. The next day torrential rain created rivulets of water running into the Big Top tent whilst we were in there. Sun cream, sunglasses and loose, light clothes are a must in case the sun decides to come out and play. Interestingly, in the torrential rain it’s probably better to either wear complete waterproofs or (for the unprepared like me) bare your legs in mini-shorts and don rubber / plastic sandals. It’s never excessively cold when it rains. Plus there is nothing worse than damp skinny jeans clinging on to your legs and seeping all the warmth out of them.
4. Layers, layers, layers
It gets cold at night. I was lent a second sleeping bag to use as a quilt and I cannot be more grateful. Despite the laughable number of layers I slept under, I was still reduced to a small ball wriggling inside my sleeping bag for a little extra friction-induced warmth.
5. A common “living area” makes the trip
We assigned a big awning to use as our communal space where we just hang out when we’re not off somewhere doing seminars or looking for food. Half the fun of last week was honestly sitting inside a big awning, smothered inside a blanket, drinking a copious amount of wine, sharing ridiculous stories and spending time with each other. Miserable, wet weather is a thousand times more bearable when you’re on the other side of clear plastic, listening to water hammer ineffectually on your sanctuary.
What are your best camping tips and stories? Do you have a different opinion on the things listed above? Join the discussion in the comments!