A CAMPING expert has revealed the most common mistakes people make whenever they go camping that could ruin their holidays.
David Scotland owns camping equipment retailer Outdoor World Direct and knows all about how to make a camping trip run smoothly.
Among his tips are testing out tents before you travel, testing the ground you want to camp on and investing in a good chair.
Here are his best tips for making sure your camping holiday, be it a trip to a campsite, or a weekend at a festival, is pitch perfect this summer.
Check your tent
Before heading on any trip, David recommends putting your tent up a couple of weeks before you're due to travel to give you enough time to repair or replace any damaged parts.
He told Sun Online Travel: “You’d be surprised how many people turn up with broken tents.
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“Outdoor World Direct used to have a stand at Leeds Festival and we’d have people on the first day buying a new tent or spare parts because they realised theirs was broken.
"Pitch it a couple of weeks before and check for any signs of damage and get it repaired, or if needed, then get a new tent.
"There’s nothing worse than carrying it all the way there only to find the groundsheet is ripped. It’s no good doing it the day before either, because you won’t have time to repair it/get a new one delivered.”
Test the ground
Picking a good spot to pitch your tent is difficult, with lots of things to consider.
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One of those should be the condition of the ground you're putting your tent on top of, according to David.
He said: “Once you’ve found the perfect spot, test the ground with your pegs before you commit to camping there to make sure the ground is soft enough.
"Sometimes you’ll hit hard ground and in that case you’ll need to move, or risk breaking your pegs.”
Pitch your tent properly
It may seem obvious, but some people don't put their tent up properly – which can either get them wet, or ruin their gear.
David said it's worth spending the time following the instructions and making sure your tent is properly pitched, rather than rushing the process.
He said: "If the weather’s fine you’ll likely get away with a haphazardly pitched tent, but if wind and rain comes, it’ll need doing properly to keep you and your belongings dry.
“Another note is to pitch the tent with a little bit of give, you don’t want the fabric so taut that it looks stretched. A little bit of movement is needed or it’ll wear your tent down quicker if there is wind and rain."
Take an inflatable mat rather than an airbed
Getting comfortable in a tent can be difficult, but luckily modern technology has made it much easier.
David believes that a self-inflating mat is the best way to go when it comes to picking a bedding option.
He said: “Most campers take air beds – that extra insulation from the ground is a welcome sniff of what a real bed feels like, but technology has improved and you can do even better.
"We take self-inflating mats now, you have the benefit of insulation from the ground in a much more compact package and with much less effort required.
“As they’re self inflating, you don’t need a pump, you just release a valve or use the stuff sack to push air into the mattress and it does the hard work for you.
"Look out for models that roll into a small pack size, some pack down to smaller than a sleeping bag.”
Don't nap in your tent
It may seem the perfect place for it, but a nap in a tent could end badly, if it's done at the wrong time of the day.
David explained: "Sometimes there’s nothing more appealing than a power nap during the day.
"If the sun’s shining and it’s hot inside your tent – don’t do it! One of our friends nodded off in his tent during a heatwave at Glastonbury and ended up at the medical tent with heatstroke.
"If you really need a nap, find some shade outside or somewhere well ventilated.”
Pick a good camping chair
Having no furniture on your camping holiday can be a problem – including at festivals.
David recommends one that packs down into a very small package.
He said: "This was a game changer for us at Glastonbury, where you sometimes just need a little sit down.
"I don’t want to sit on the ground, especially if it’s wet. They’re also
handy for the queue too.
"Unlike standard camping chairs, which just fold up and slip into a long but rather cumbersome bag, look for a chair with collapsible legs as they can pack to a smaller size and can be put inside your day rucksack or just slung over your shoulder easier.
"I’d recommend the Robens Searcher chair or the Vango Micro Steel chair which pack down incredibly small.
"There’s also a tall version of the Vango Micro Steel, which is even more comfortable."
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