Camping style is much more than how much you spend; it’s about how you manage tent life.
A key element is living with rain. It’s not so bad when looking out of the patio doors at home. But not so hot when camping. Unless, that is, you’re assessing the monsoon from a nearby pub.
The mark of a true survivor is… No, not staying at home. Nor checking into a hotel. It’s beefing it out, laughing in the face of adversity. Enjoying the ‘challenge’. Because it’s not really a challenge. It’s an essential element of being alive. It’s when you play Scrabble, wrestle the baby, squirrel down in a sleeping bag. Enjoy the pitter patter on the fly. Embrace it. Love it.
Plus, keep the wellies and umbrella handy.
As a backpacker, pitching a tiny tent at the end of a long, wet day was a blessed refuge and the routine of keeping the interior dry went like clockwork. Relief from sitting on the ground to cook and eat was soon gained by lying down to sleep – exhausted, usually, but happy.
With a baby, the tent size increased but it was still essentially a one room cabin. As the novelty of parenthood wore off so did the desire for an easier style of camping grow. That meant a bigger tent, more gear and a change in outlook.
A key element of that change was how to deal with rainy days. Not by shelling out cash for ‘things to do’ but on site, in the tent and around it. The excitement of waking at dawn was rarely dashed by rain. Not that it never rained, of course, but it was an integral part of camping.
With our large porch and awning, young Matthew was able to get up, read, draw and play with friends in the comfort. He once even made us breakfast. No flames involved but simple cornflakes and milk. As he tripped during delivery, it wasn’t a success in terms of eating but excellent for long-term humour.
With a generously-sized porch, it becomes possible to get up, dress, lounge around in comfy chairs and move around without getting wet. Planning the day with tea in hand before dressing to beat the weather is miles better than scrambling off the ground to scurry to the car pulling on waterproofs.
And it’s much more than rising as evenings spent playing games, snacking and laughing in the face of torrential rain add a great dimension to any trip. With soft lights, folding chairs and a decent heater, there’s no need to endure life ‘under canvas’ in adverse weather.
No need to suffer at all. Be prepared, brace up and sing as if nobody can hear you.