Things you should know by now: how to camp

Is it just me? Does everyone else know how to camp?

Having forgotten to marry one of those men who knows his way around a ground sheet (my husband only does en suite), I seem to have missed out on the recent camping craze. Preparing for a long weekend camping near the Jurassic coast, I’ve been on a steep learning curve.

Things I really should know by now:

* how to light a fire (tip: use firelighters. and matches)

* how to barbecue  (tip: buy kebabs from local free range/organic butcher, and colourful portable grill from Bodum)

* how to put up a tent (tip: take 11 year old with you – young people are quite good at this sort of thing)

* what to take on a camping trip. Other than pétanque, cricket, a football, kite, a polypin of Wandle ale, venison burgers, a gadget for charging your Blackberry in the car, I-spy at the Seaside (yes they still make the, but they really aren’t the same, and Big Chief I-spy seems to have hung up his headdress), solar-powered garden lights, and the latest Tove Jansson translation.

* how to fit it all in the car (as well as the children)

* the correct pressure for my car tyres

* how to work the machine at the petrol station that pumps tyres up

* that the machine only takes 50ps

* that after the third time of having to go into the shop to ask for change, you really should have worked out how the machine works by now

* the best route from Peckham to Battersea, avoiding the traffic jam in Brixton and police incident tape at Goose Green

* what kind of gas you need for a camping cooker

* where you buy this gas (hint: it’s not the camping shop that sells the cooker, amazingly)

* the best real ale pub/fish and chips/ice cream/tearoom in Dorset (if you know, then please give us your tips)

Incidentally, here’s some useful advice from the BBC (who else?) on how to cook while camping


About JCT

JCT was Deputy Editor of weekly London arts/listings magazine Time Out but left to freelance in 2007 – just before the recession. She writes for a number of publications and has edited 'London Calling: high culture and low life in the capital since 1968' (Time Out/Ebury 2008) and 'The World's Greatest Cities' (Time Out/Ebury 2009). She is the co-author of The Midlife Manual (Short Books, 2010).
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