The Camping With Style Story

Our bell tent

The Accident and the Epiphany

I’m Shell, a full time marketing consultant and the editor of Camping with Style. Despite wanting to start a blog for years, what with working full time, being a mum, my freelance writing, and having an active social life and heaps of hobbies, I never felt like I had time, but a serious accident proved to be a turning point in my life.

Top of Snowdon

Nearing the summit of Mount Snowdon, October 2016

After I broke my back in a snowboarding accident back in 2014, I was determined not to let the resulting chronic pain, depression and disability determine what I could and couldn’t do for the rest of my life. Doing everything I could to rebuild my active outdoorsy lifestyle, I started blogging and found it was a huge help during those difficult first weeks and months after the accident.

Camping and spending time with nature helped me to come to terms with my injury, and put me on the road to mental, if not full physical recovery. I still remind myself how lucky I was; it could have been so much worse.

Despite crippling pain and being unable to turn over in bed or dress myself, I was determined that camping and outdoors activity should remain a big part of my life. I held onto that, and it was the driving force behind me starting this blog.

ben-lawers-nature-reserve-06

Walking up Beinn Ghlas in Scotland, something I thought I’d never be able to do again after the accident

In order to continue camping however, I needed to invest in a new tent that was easy for one person to put up alone, that I could stand up in to dress, and I also needed some new camping gear. My disability and the resulting autoimmune joint condition I was now living with (including Ankylosing Spondylitis, lesions on multiple disks and a permanent disk bulge), meant that bending to get into a small tent, sleeping on the floor on a mat and all the things I used to do, now resulted in intolerable pain, making camping a miserable experience.

I needed (and was relieved to find), camping gear aimed at those who needed comfort first and practicality second, and so Camping with Style was born; though I often think I should have called it Camping in Comfort, as style is definitely subjective!

shell-whistler

Snowboarding in Whistler, Canada

Promoting an Active, Outdoorsy Lifestyle

The blog isn’t limited to camping though, it focuses on travel and anything that’s active and outdoors. We think that camping is a great way to explore new places and to foster a life that is more connected with nature. So our aim is to encourage people, especially those with chronic pain and/or disabilities, to explore, travel and generally spend more time outdoors. The stereotype of camping being an uncomfortable and dull pass-time, is something we seek to continually challenge, and whilst those of us who identify as ‘glampers’ certainly get a lot of stick; I challenge anyone with the physical disabilities I live with, to enjoy camping any other way!

I want the blog to encourage people, particularly those living with long term disability and chronic pain, to find new ways to explore the outdoors.

I strongly believe that the healing effects of nature, and the impact it has on wellbeing and creativity are routinely under-valued. I want the blog to encourage those living with long term disability, chronic pain and ‘normal’ people to find ways of fitting nature driven micro-adventures into their busy lives.

Black Diamond Ladies Arete Tee

Learning to climb at Kilnworx 2016

Acorn Adventure Ardeche Family Holiday Review

 Archery in the South of France with Acorn Family Holidays in August 2016

The Natural World Promotes Happiness

I’m happiest when I’m outdoors and regularly need a nature fix, though fitting it in can still be a challenge. I find camping is the perfect way to spend more time outdoors, and I’ve camped in all weathers, from blistering sunshine and torrential rain that has flooded my tent, and even in gale force winds that have snapped tent poles. And I still love it!

 

Kayak hire TaymouthMe kayaking on Loch Tay in Scotland

How I Discovered My Love For Camping

I started out camping as a child with my dad in the summer. His friend would take his son, who was a similar age to me, and the four of us would spend just a night or two camping in the countryside. As soon as I could drive, I bought myself a little 3-man Lichfield dome tent. Any time I could afford to, I’d set off in my tiny, rattly Fiat Uno and 4 hours later I’d arrive somewhere in Wales ready to pitch up. When my daughter was born, as soon as she could walk I took her camping and for the next few years, for several weekends each summer, the two of us, along with my sister, would set off on a little adventure.

on the beach at cae due Relaxing on the beach at Cae Du Farm, practicing mindfulness

Back in those days, and with youth on my side, I didn’t even have an air mattress, just a change of clothes and toiletries, my sleeping bag, torch, pillow and little ghetto blaster. It’s hard to get much more basic, but over the years, whilst my love of camping has continued, I now prefer (somewhat through necessity) to camp in comfort.

One of my hobbies, LARP (you can read more about LARP here) involves camping events which typically last 5 days. I go to a minimum of 4 such events each year, and when you start spending anything more than a day or two living in a tent, you quickly learn how to utilise space and what essentials you need to ensure the experience is a pleasure rather than an ordeal.

Hafren Forest walk in WalesOut walking in Hafren Forest, Wales

With my trusty Canon camera at my side, I’ll be sharing our walks, camping trips, adventures and worldwide travels here on the blog, and I hope I’ll inspire others to #GetOutdoors

Shell x

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  • Tracy

    This sounds my sort of blog, I’m glad I found you. We just started camping this year at Easter so we’re on a steep learning curve and our set up still looks a little utilitarian. Something I’m hoping to rectify over time even if it means buying a top box or (shudders) an estate car. I’d love to see pictures of other people’s set ups.

    I look forward to reading and learning. I’ve already got some ideas of items I’d like to try and track down for our next trip at the end of May to East Sussex from your Pinterest board. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for your comment Tracy, really great to hear that the blog sounds interesting to you.

      I held off buying a roof box for ages, then realised I just didn’t have room so had no choice! It now means I can fit more in and our kit has expanded as a result! Also great to hear your found some good ideas on our Pinterest board – do follow on Twitter and/or Instagram, we’d love to hear how your camping trip at the end of the month goes!

  • rabelandthemule

    HI, This is a fab blog. I have just this second got back from The Secret camp site, in east sussex. If you haven’t been already, you should check it out, as I would love to see you review it. It has beautiful meadows, glow worms and is run by the nicest man in the world… 🙂 Also, please can we have more of the field tests. I love that feature.

    • What a lovely comment! Thank you so much (and sorry for the delay in responding). The Secret Campsite sounds wonderful, i’ll definitely have to look into it.

      Delighted to hear you like the Field Test features, we’ve got quite a few more in the pipeline so should loads more to add to the site before summer is through!

      Thank again for your feedback 😀

  • Sharon Foxwell

    I am new to this blog but it looks just up my street! We have just invested in a bell tent and are being rapidly drawn in to the world of glamping… The list of potential gear seems endless and rather exciting! I have always camped but pretty basic before – excited about adding some fairy lights to the mix now (among other serious essential equipment of course…). One quick question – do you post to Facebook as would find blog easier to follow on there but could not see link. Thank you!