As lockdown restrictions start to ease, many are wondering how they can enjoy the Summer with friends and family while still adhering to social distancing rules so this year is going to be all about the stay-cation.
Fortunately for us, many campsites in Northern Ireland opened on the 26th June so once you have worked out where you want to go, the next thing to do is get planning.
Here are a few tips and tricks to maximise your camping experience this summer.
It’s all in the tent
First time campers can often make the mistake of thinking a “two man” tent is suitable for two but with all your equipment, clothes and sleeping bags it’ll be a tight squeeze. If you want a little space, we suggest a four-man tent which is far more comfortable.
Before you set off make sure that you’ve checked that the poles and tent pegs are inside your tent bag rather than just assuming they are as there’s no going back if you’ve travelled a long distance.
It’s pretty important to know where to pitch your tent too. Set up on higher ground as the last thing you want is rain and water to quickly surround your tent.
Tents can heat up super-fast too so if you want to avoid a sauna sleeping experience, look for some shade to pitch under.
Don’t forget to kit your tent out with a groundsheet, sleeping bags, foam padding pillows, extra blankets and even a hot water bottle – if it’s not a great day, it can get pretty chilly at night.
Whenever you get home, take a bit of time to clean your tent. It might be the last thing you want to do but if you pack it up dirty and wet, you might as well throw it out because when you come to use it again, it will smell really bad and most likely it’ll be covered with mould.
Dealing with creepy crawlies
At this time of year there is no escape from bugs and flies but we have a few tips to help you live peacefully with them about:
Leaving your tent open all day is an invitation to them so keep everything zipped up.
To help keep mosquitos as bay, buy some fresh sage at the supermarket and burn bunches of it on the barbeque. Smoke is a natural insect repellent.
Put small trays of water under each leg of your camping table to avoid ants crawling up underneath.
If you get a tick bite, all you need is cotton wool in soap and place it over the tick for 20 seconds.
it's also a good idea to set up camp a reasonable distance from a riverbank or lake shore.
Food attracts all kinds of unwanted guests, so keep all your supplies sealed and covered.
One of the most common ways of preventing insect bites is through the use of repellents applied to the skin and avoid wearing fragrances as this will attract insects.
Packing the essentials
You might already have a checklist – sleeping bag✅, tent ✅, spare clothes ✅ but here are a few things you may not have thought of that you need that are pretty essential
First aid kit
Zip lock bags
Extra toilet paper
Water purification tablets
Social distancing rules
As campsites reopen, they will have to comply with new “Covid-19” guidelines to ensure everyone safety so here a few things to expect:
There will likely be markers to guide you to keep your distance from other people at pitch points.
There will most likely be less campers than before and they may put a limit on the number on how many is in your “camping party”.
There might be a check-in/check-out system to limit face-to face interactions.
Extra handwashing facilities.
There may be a timetable and you may need to book slots for taking showers.