CAMPING | 10 Common Camping Questions Answered By Camping Experts

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🕒 4-5 minute read

Camping provides the best possible way to connect with nature and unwind, but after more than 25 years of camping, we thought we’d answer 10 common questions people are asking about camping.

Expert answers family camping questions

Ready to find out what the common camping questions are? Read on for the lowdown!

1. How do I choose a camping location?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, whether you’ll be camping in a tent and traveling by car or not, or whether you intend to wild camp or camp at a campsite.

We’ve got some great tips for choosing a campsite, but to keep things simple here, let’s assume you’re talking about tent camping and you intend to camp at a campsite or campground.

Whilst the geographical location of the campsite you choose matters, it’s far from the only thing you should consider.

You’ll also want to think about;

  • Do your research and choose a campsite that matches your needs. A family-friendly campsite with additional facilities like a play park for the kids, a wild-feeling back to basics campsite that doesn’t allow cars on site, a campsite with set pitches and strict group and noise level rules etc.
  • Think about what you value most in a campsite, whether it’s access to hiking trails, proximity to a river, lake or the sea, scenic views, or privacy and choose a campsite that aligns with your preferences and preferred camping style.
  • Look for flat ground that’s free of branches or stones and if you can, pitch in a spot that affords some shelter from the wind, for example, near a wall.
  • Consider how close you want to be to the campsite facilities, for example, the toilet block or other amenities.
  • Also, consider views, what do you want to be able to see when you unzip your tent and look out?
  • If possible, arrive at the campsite early in the day to have the best selection of pitches.

2. What camping equipment do I need?

The camping equipment you need depends on the type of camping you want to do and your preferred level of comfort.

For many years barebones wild campers expressed scorn towards those prioritising comfort, but we say, you do you! However you want to experience camping is the best way to do it, and your individual needs will determine what camping equipment you really need.

As a bare minimum, we’d recommend a decent tent (read more about choosing a tent here), a good quality SIM to insulate you from the floor and give you some padding, and a good quality, season-appropriate sleeping bag.

If you’re camping for more than a night, you’re probably going to want to be able to cook and make hot drinks, in which case a folding camp table, camp stove and some camping cookware and kettle will serve you well.

If you’re camping in summer you’ll definitely want to consider a decent cool box, an absolute must for enjoying cold drinks and keeping food fresh.

3. What does “HH” stand for when buying a tent?

HH stands for Hydrostatic Head, which is a measurement used to gauge the waterproofness of fabrics, particularly those used in tents and rain gear.

Hydrostatic Head is measured in millimetres (mm) and indicates the pressure at which water will begin to penetrate the fabric. The higher the HH rating, the more waterproof the fabric is considered to be.

HH stands for Hydrostatic Head

For example, a tent with a HH rating of 2000mm means that the fabric can withstand the pressure of a column of water 2000mm (or 2 meters) in height before water starts to seep through.

HH ratings are commonly found in tent specifications and are used by campers to assess the suitability of a tent for different weather conditions. It helps campers determine how well a tent will perform in keeping them dry during rainy weather.

4. What does the season rating mean for sleeping bags?

The season rating indicates a sleeping bag’s insulation level. Think of it as being like the tog rating of your duvet at home, a light 4 tog duvet is ideal for summer, similarly a 1-2 season sleeping bag means that it’s suitable for summer and warmer late spring or early autumn weather.

A 3-season sleeping bag will comfortably take you through spring, summer and autumn, whilst the warmest 3-4-season sleeping bag will be suitable for use in the cold of winter.

Do look out for the ‘comfort’ and ‘extreme’ ratings however, and I’d recommend sticking to the comfort rating. A comfortable sleeping temperature for someone who is generally quite warm and doesn’t feel the cold will be very different to someone who feels the cold!

Expert wild campnig tips
Wild camping

5. How do I handle bathroom needs when wild camping?

Handling bathroom needs while wild camping requires some preparation and adherence to Leave No Trace principles to minimise environmental impact.

Bury human waste at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water sources or trails. Carry nappy sacks or dog poo bags to put toilet paper in and expose of them in a bin or transport them back home to dispose of.

Alternatively, consider taking a portable camping toilet, there are plenty of folding and lightweight options which provide much more practicality than needing to dig a hole and crouch.

6. Is it a guide rope or guy rope?

Both terms refer to the same thing, the ropes used to secure tents. They are generally called guy ropes and are used for tensioning purposes. This additional tensioning won’t stop a tent from blowing away, but it will make it much less likely, giving your poles or air beams more support in wind, helping to keep the structure stable.

7. What is cowboy camping?

A term generally used in the US, this refers to a kind of wild camping that doesn’t involve a tent, just a tent or simple bivvy to facilitate sleeping under the stars. In the UK we’re more likely to refer to this as bivvy camping.

This type of camping is about as basic as it gets and doesn’t suit everyone, particularly those with mobility issues or a fear of bugs, but it does ensure you are sleeping as close to nature as possible; if the climate allows!

8. Where is the most expensive campsite in the world?

In terms of glamping, a top contender must surely be White Desert Camp in Antarctica. As you might expect from such a remote location, this glamping site is pricey, with stunning en suite sleeping pods priced from $15,950 for 7 nights. That’s a whopping £1,796 per night.

Wild camping on a working farm or in a field of livestock should be avoided
Wild camping on a working farm or in a field of livestock should be avoided

9. Can I camp anywhere in Scotland?

In Scotland, there is a tradition of “right to roam” laws, which allows camping on most unenclosed land. This means that wild camping is legally permitted in many areas of Scotland, as long as campers adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

This doesn’t mean that you can rock up and camp anywhere though. Some national parks like Loch Lomond and the Trossachs have special permit zones where you must register and book first.

Additionally, camping in the middle of a field full of cattle on a working farm isn’t a smart idea, so ensure you’re aware of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and use common sense when choosing a camping spot.

10. How much is it to camp at a UK campsite?

The cost of campsites vary hugely. At a rural countryside campsite that markets itself as ‘wild camping’ you may encounter costs as low as £10 per person per night.

However, at a premium Lake District campsite, you might expect to pay £40 per pitch per night or even more if you want a pitch with an electric hookup and you’re visiting in the height of summer.

The cost of camping really does depend on the location, time of year and the facilities on offer which can vary greatly. From nothing but an empty field and no running water or toilets, to holiday parks with full entertainment, kids club and swimming pool.

For an average UK campsite though, you’ll want to budget for at least £25 – £30 per night for a pitch. For basic glamping, in a bell tent that’s pitched and ready for you to stay in, you should expect to pay at least £70-£90 per night.

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Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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