Here at Certainly Wood we love nothing better than to find local businesses who share our passion for the great outdoors. Our latest discovery is www.olproshop.com – a family-run business based in neighbouring Worcestershire, who describe what they do as ‘colourful and technical camping and caravanning gear designed for the Great British Outdoors’. We asked them to give us their top tips for creating the perfect pitch for your tent in readiness for the forthcoming camping season.
So, you’ve found the ideal tent to protect you from the elements that Mother Nature will inevitably throw at you when camping in the UK. However, it’s a common misconception that, when you arrive at a campsite, any pitch will do.
In some cases, you may be allocated a pitch leaving you with no choice, but, if you have the luxury of choosing a spot, then you may want to keep these tips in mind.
Know before you go
No matter how easy a tent is to erect, it gets a lot harder if you have to put it up in a crowded campsite with other campers watching.
Have a trial run before you leave to make sure you know where everything goes. Measure the approximate footprint of your tent including the area needed for pegging out. That will give you a good rule of thumb as to the pitch size you’ll need at the campsite.
Make sure the pitch is big enough for your tent and then some – you’ll need space to peg it out and then to be able to move around your tent as well as room at the front for sitting out and so on.
It’ll huff and it’ll puff
A tent can be a nightmare to pitch if the wind is blowing and a single gust can rip it out of your hands and away like a kite.
Try to find a pitch that offers some protection from bushes or trees. Failing this, put up a windbreak or strategically park your car prior to getting your tent out! Pitch your tent with the back facing into the wind too.
Rain, rain, go away
Finding suitable cover for your pitch can take you from zero to hero. You’d be surprised how much protection a bit of foliage or a tree will provide from the rain. There’s always a compromise when camping – grass growing below trees tends to be less lush and the ground will be harder. Also, leaves drip for a long time after that rain has stopped.
Also, if the campsite has a slight slope, you should position your tent so the entrance is downhill as this will prevent the rain from coming in.
If you’ve got a young family, you might want to think about pitching close to the toilets or washing facilities for obvious reasons. If it’s raining, it will also minimise the time you’re exposed to the elements. However, these areas are also likely to be the busiest and noisiest throughout the day and night.
Again, if you have children, then pitching next to the play area may be the smart thing to do – you can watch them from the comfort of your own awning.
However, it’s also going to be another noisy area and you’re likely to get the odd ball or Frisbee heading into the side of your tent! If this bothers you, a pitch further away makes a better bet.
Do you enjoy a lie in? If so, you’re going to have to find flat ground for your tent. Sleeping on a surface that is not level inevitably means disturbed sleep pattern as you’ll slide off your roll mat or inflatable bed.
Sticks & stones
It’s easy to pitch somewhere looks clear, but, once you’ve pitched your tent, you’ll discover sticks and stones hidden under grass.
As well as being uncomfortable to lie on, these can rip the groundsheet of your tent. It’s worth taking the time to clear the site before making the pitch.
Water, water, everywhere
Rain has to drain somewhere so if you’re near a pond, river or lake, that’s probably where it will head for. Check that the water won’t be draining through your pitch.
Although being near water sounds romantic, it can also be a place beloved of midges and mosquitoes so bear that in mind too.
Make sure the ground is soft enough to be able to get your tent pegs in without using the strength of Thor. However, if it’s too soft, that could mean it’s going to be a damp pitch or it might not give your pegs enough hold.
Camping is a great way to make new friends but not if you pitch your tent too close to someone. Be considerate of people’s views and privacy.
It’s also a good idea to try to pitch near like-minded people – campers with young families are not going to bother if a car-load of kids park next to them whilst a couple might!
Some campsites have dedicated areas for campfires and BBQs. While it’s nice to be nice to be near these areas, put everyone’s safety first.
Make sure your tent is not too near the fire (your tent manufacturer should suggest the recommended distance in the accompanying instructions) and also think about which way the smoke will be blowing – you don’t want to turn your tent into a smokery.