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Getting Ready For The New Camping Season

Top tips help you make the most of your camping trips Feel you're in a bit of a rut? Take a little time to think about where to go this year and for how long. Maybe split a week or two between sites or tour further afield than usual. And think about more weekend trips. 'Research' sounds rather boring but could save time and money and help you make the most of precious holidays. By contacting tourist information centres well in advance, you can avoid the frustration of missing a fun event by a few days as well as checking out discounts in the area. If you have your heart set on a particular site and even a specific pitch, book it now rather than putting it off and missing out. Now is the time to find out more about economical, easy to prepare meals to cook on site. Try to avoid the same old roptions and being forced to raid tins at an on-site shop. Fundamental to planning for the coming season is a checklist for your camping gear. A list that doesn't just read 'tent' but 'inners, flysheet, poles and pegs' as well. If you are off to Europe, check all your documents are valid well in advance, shop around for good ferry and site deals and get some sound advice on changing and withdrawing money abroad. First aid kits are often prepared, packed and forgotten about. As a result, supplies go out of date, leak and spoil other items. Plus, of course, plasters get used for cuts and scrapes and are rarely replaced. Haul out the kit, check and replenish the contents and hope it will not be needed. The big job that often gets pushed down on everybody's agenda is the unpacking of gear stored away in garages, sheds and lofts months ago. Take a deep breath and haul it all out - clean, repair and reproof is the mantra. It is not just the almost mythical attack by giant mice that might be a problem but, more likely, the "I'll fix that over the winter" syndrome. Now is the time to replace that dodgy chair or table, to buy the camp kitchen you promised to get last year and load the dice in favour of a great holiday for everybody. When you are checking over your gear, sleeping bags need to be washed and aired plus zips and stitching checked rather than just pulled out of stuff sacs and shaken before repacking. Checking tents goes beyond the obvious areas or rips, holes and tangled guylines.  Make sure the zips run smoothly and seal the seams again. Most of us now use some sort of area lighting as well as torches so give lights the once-over checking mantles and connections on gas lanterns and charging up electric versions or replacing batteries. As well as big items, review last year’s trips and if there was anything you wish you had taken to make camping more comfortable, buy it now.