We Always Pack for a Hiking Trip When Camping
For us, camping and hiking tend to go hand-in-hand and we often pick a campsite knowing that there will be a great trek or at least a long ramble nearby for us to enjoy. We have even been known to set up our tent in the Peak District when the snow is still covering the ground, partly because of beautiful scenery and in part because over the Easter weekend each year, Hope Valley has one of the best beer festivals we have ever experienced.
So, yes, we could be classed as extreme campers and it is fair to say that we are not ones to shy away from a bit of cold weather but we also enjoy camping during the spring and summer months when the sun has begun to warm the ground a little, when you can hear the lambs bleating in the nearby fields and when it is pleasant enough to sit outside as the sun sets with a campfire on the go, ready for us to indulge in slightly over-toasted marshmallows as the night goes on.
However, the art to a successful camping trip is not, as many may believe, only going camping during the high of summer; it is in fact all down to making sure that you have packed the right gear, therefore, below is a handy guide to what we pack for such a trip.
The Basics You Should be Packing Regardless of the Weather
#1 A Top Quality Tent
This really does go without saying, but as camping has become more and more popular in recent years the number of companies that now produce cheaper, low quality products has increased.
When looking for a new tent, regardless of whether we are camping in the winter or summer, the very first thing we look at is the hydrostatic head count which basically means that the higher the number the more waterproof it is.
Why buy something that, unless you are planning to camp in the Sahara Desert, will leak with the slightest amount of rain fall.
Our advice whilst some tents may seem cheaper, work on the theory that if the deal seems too good to be true than chances are it is.
The packages that you now see where you get a tent, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses and so much more all for the grand price of around £200 are unlikely to survive even a summer camping trip let alone one where the weather is slightly more extreme.
Instead, look at the well-known brands that can be trusted and spend a little more. We recommend looking at tents by companies like Outwell, Vango, Kampa and Coleman, all of whom have been producing high quality tents for many years now.
#2 A Comfy 3-4 Season Sleeping Bag
Once again, the lightweight sleeping bags that you see in supermarkets, outlet stores and online for a really cheap price are great if you are looking to head to a warmer climate for a week or two but if you want to camp over the cooler months you will need something that can keep you warm even when the temperature plummets.
Opting for a 3-4 season bag may seem extreme, especially when some will still keep you toasty even if temperatures drop to minus figures, but there is nothing worse than being too cold to sleep.
If you struggle with a thick bag in the summer months, we also carry a couple of silk sleeping bag liners with us. They fold down into a small bag, so add no real weight to what we pack and are a great alternative for the hotter summer season.
#3 Inflatable Roll Mats
There is nothing worst, in my opinion, than lying on the cold, sometimes lumpy ground.
If you value your sleep than an inflatable roll mat is well worth investing in. I guarantee packing one of these into the car will be a far better choice than one of those inflatable mattresses that double if not triple in size. Whilst they will of course keep you off the ground and therefore warmer, they will also keep you awake. Even time you move in your sleep, every time you roll over, the chances of you rolling off the double-decker mattress increases. Likewise, if you buy a double inflatable mattress you also have the added problem of every time one person rolls over the other person feels.
Trust me when I say, both Paul and I have experienced several sleepless nights between us over the years thanks to someone else’s restless sleep.
#4 Hiking Boots
Comfortable walking boots are essential when heading out for long walks or difficult hikes. Not only are you looking for a pair that are suitable cushion your feet, you want a pair that do not rub against your heels causing blisters and that support your ankles against nasty little twists that ultimately happen whenever you are hiking up a steep incline.
Not only that, you also need a pair of hiking boots that have a sufficient tread on them so that you avoid slipping and sliding half way back down the hill you have just climbed up.
Over the years we have tried many different brands and whilst we love the look of Salomon range, for those after a pair of boots that won’t break the budget completely we suggest packing a pair of Merrells instead.
#5 Warm, Durable Clothing
Whenever we go camping, no matter what time of year it is, we always pack for all eventualities. Whilst the sun may be shining during the day, it doesn’t take much for the grey clouds to appear and an almighty thunder storm to then send a deluge of rain our way. Likewise, when hiking we want to make sure that we have clothes that are breathable but also at the very least shower-resistant.
Enjoying the outdoors lifestyle often means that your clothing takes more of a battering than if you were sitting around in your back garden or on a shopping trip. Therefore, we make sure that the clothing we purchase is hard-wearing and versatile. Cheaper clothing may look great on the hanger, but the true test is trying to hike up a mountain in the same cheap gear to see whether it survives to the top.
Over the years there are certain brands that we have come to trust when it comes to outdoor wear and therefore now would only purchase from the likes of Jack Wolfskin, Paramo and Dickies because all of these companies provide clothing with as much stammer as us and our outdoor lifestyle.
#6 Brightly Coloured Rucksack
Hiking is a time when you need to stand out from the crowd and be seen. So often you read about people that have got lost, where search and rescue teams are unable to locate them because they cannot be seen from afar.
That is why we always choose brighter outer clothing and accessories because… well you just never know.
When on the lookout for a new rucksack not only however, did we consider colour we also considered how versatile the bag would be. Not only do I want a rucksack that has enough space for my waterproofs and my lunch I also, on days when we are not hiking, want something that looks nice to carry around.
Cabin Zero offers a great selection of brightly coloured rucksacks in two different sizes that I personally feel fit our needs at a reasonable price.
#7 Waterproof Jackets and Trousers
Even after all the years of camping and hiking it still amazes me to see people wandering around without any protection against the prevailing weather.
Whenever we set out of on a hike, even if the sky looks invitingly blue and there is not a cloud in sight, we still pack our waterproofs. Why? Because when you are high up on a mountain, or wandering a lengthy route the last thing you want is to be soaked on because you haven’t planned properly.
It may sound like we pack a lot but truly; in order to enjoy your trip to you need make sure that you have the right equipment.
Of course, there are many people out there that pack far more than we do and if we are going away from a long period of time in the summer months our list grows considerably, however, the basics remain and we now refuse to leave home without them.
What do you pack for your camping and hiking trips? Have we missed something vital off of our list that you feel should be included?