As I type this, it’s grey, drizzly and 13 degrees outside, which can only mean one thing… that’s right, it’s summer in Britain! So while the weather is so appropriate, I think we should talk about camping.
Staycations are becoming an increasingly popular way for Brits to get away from it all. The number of Brits taking staycations increased by 17% between 2008 and 2013, with 70% of Brits factoring staycations into their holiday plans in 2015. With swathes of beautiful British countryside to explore, millions of Brits choose camping trips every year, which is why Halfords has put together a brand new camping this summer.
Around the campfire
If you’re going to be sleeping under canvas, nothing can earn you hygge points as fast as a campfire. If, like me, you’re not a dab hand with the flint or dry sticks, don’t forget your matches to get it started quickly. Even if it’s 30 degrees in August, this is the UK, so you’ll need something to keep the chill off as night falls. If you’re going camping with kids, make it even more magical with these Mystical Fire sachets, which change the colour of the campfire for a vibrant rainbow flames. And if you have any leftover sparklers from Bonfire Night (I always end up with a spare pack), take them along for some pretty, sparkly fun after dark.
Chilled tunes for camping
As much as I love the sound of rain on canvas (and let’s face it, it’s not unlikely you’ll get to hear it), some well-chosen music can really kick the camping experience up a notch. I love this atmospheric Deep Dark Indie Folk playlist on Spotify, or this Acoustic Covers playlist. Of course, if you’re feeling especially brave, you could always get the guitar (or harmonica, or flute, or bongos…) out and have your own little sing song. Or there’s always my Hello Hygge playlist if you want to take a chance on me…
The best part of camping is definitely the food! In the summer it’s all about barbecues, Boston beans, s’mores and marshmallows, but if you’re looking for afternoon snacks before the campfire is lit, you can’t go wrong with picnic food. For a touch of the Scandinavian, how about preparing a smorgasbord? It’s easy – just fill a coolbox with cured meats, smoked fish, cheeses and breads and set them all out on a rug or camping table for a quick, easy taste of Sweden in the British countryside. If you know what you’re looking for, you could also go foraging for berries in the hedgerow. And if you have any left over, why not bring them home and make your own jam?
Staying warm and dry
Ergh – wet shoes, wet jeans, wet face. It’s inevitable that at some point, you’ll be soaked to the skin and wondering what the hell you’re doing shivering in a tent in howling wind and rain. That’s why you need to make sure you’re kitted out with the right equipment. You’ll need a good-quality weatherproof tent, a warm sleeping bag and a sleeping mat at the very least. If you want to avoid bringing a bulky pillow, try stuffing the empty case your sleeping bag comes in with clothes (this has saved my neck so many times!). A massive scarf or shawl is also a camping must-have – wrap it around your shoulders when it gets chilly, use it as a cover-up in the heat of the day, spread it out as a makeshift rug or use it as an extra blanket at night. Or, of course, it may come in handy if you need to help haul someone out of a massive puddle in true Vicar of Dibley style…
And if all else fails, you can always share body heat with this adorable two-person rain poncho.
Getting out and about in the British countryside
I love being outside, and this year in particular I’ve had so much fun exploring the British countryside. There are so many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and they all show off a completely different facet of the British rural landscape. From the rugged Cornish coast to the chocolate box villages of the Cotswolds, and from the sweeping moorland views of the North Pennines to the snaking rivers of the Wye Valley, there are so many options for walking, hiking, climbing, kayaking, horse riding or even hang-gliding. And luckily for us, our little country is abundant with campsites. I rounded up the troops to gather some hygge-approved campsite recommendations, and wanted to share a few with you here to help inspire you to get out into nature this summer:
- Ocknell campsite, the New Forest
- Stubcroft campsite, West Witterings
- Budemeadows Touring Site, Bude
- Hidden Valley Park, North Devon
- Applecross campsite, Ross-shire
- Llyn Rhys campsite, Llandegla
Do you have any camping tips or recommendations? What will you be doing to cosy up your camping experience this summer? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to download Halfords’ free guide to camping for more inspiration! It’s filled with everything from practical tips for choosing the right tent to delicious campfire recipes and even a mini-guide to glamping, so it’s a must-read if you’re planning a camping trip this summer!