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Wild camping by the lake

Watch ing th e st ars

esco Breakfast al fr

su n goes down Cooking as th e

ksack l big ruc ir g e l t t i L

Woodland hideaway

Load her up a nd off we go ch ht on th e bea Romantic nig





When wild camping is this sublime, your house will never seem good enough again. IMAGE: ROBENS

CONTENTS A short guide to…


E ALL KNOW it’s the outdoors that makes sleeping outdoors magical. But how you sleep outdoors is what is going to decide it for most people. For every committed wild camper there is a luxurylover who wouldn’t consider stepping out of the comfort of their own home for anything less than a glamping Eden. For every family that likes to pitch up and put down roots for a week in a campsite idyll with a big tent, there’s the family who likes to load into the campervan and stay mobile on a tour of some of Britain’s wildest places. And for every camper who prefers the sumptuous surrounds of a valley there’s the adventurer who prefers to sleep on a mountaintop. How you choose to bed down for the night is as individual as you are – but we wager you’ll find something to excite you in this: the Country Walking & Trail Guide to Sleeping Outdoors. From the best campervans to the best summits for just lying out under the stars, this is a celebration of sleeping outdoors, however you choose to do it. Enjoy! Country Walking



Family Camping


4 8

Budget Camping






Wild Camping



Extreme Camping 29 .....

What kind of camper are you?




A short guide to




Glamping first caught the public’s eye around the late noughties. Its surge was more or less down to an image of Kate Moss in wellies at Glastonbury and the revelation that she was camping at the festival, but not just camping – this was camping with loos, Moroccan rugs, woodburners and phone chargers in a kind of fire-lit fauxBedouin commune. Some bright spark coined the word glamping from ‘glamorous camping’ and it is now big business. Affordable luxurious corners, replete with safari tents and tipis, are popping up in the corner of many sites, while camping pods and shepherd huts offer a rustic mid-point between a tent and a building. Glamping retreats can cost as much as premium hotels, but with the right gear and an eye for investment you can kit yourself out with your own glamping retreat which is at home on a Lakeland campsite as it is in your own garden. It can be a fantastic way to get your kids (or significant other) excited about a night under the stars. 4 A SHORT GUIDE TO GLAMPING


Top 5 glamping experiences

GRAIG WEN, SNOWDONIA A seriously swish campsite with cabins, yurts and a campsite for your own tent, as well as a B&B, nestled in a secluded birch glade. Located near the Mawddach estuary, this site is convenient for such mountainous delights as Cadair Idris and the Rhinogs, as well as some superb walking along the coast.

HOWBECK LODGE FARM, CUMBRIA A great option for those who like to wander the fells and valleys of the Lakes in between putting their feet up at the canvas lodges or getting involved with the traditional sheep farm on which they are pitched. A winning combination, especially for families holidaying with youngsters.

Big tents like the Robens Prospector (left) and Klondike (right) are perfect shells into which to pile outdoor luxuries. IMAGE: ROBENS




A rural idyll that is as heartland English as you can imagine, this meadow campsite has the choice of pitching your own tent or using one of the site’s five fully-equipped bell tents. Near Hockering, the site is within striking distance of both the Broads and the coast.

Located in the beautiful Quantocks, this farm site comes equipped with that quintessential glamping asset – yurts. Each is gorgeously detailed and comes with its own unique moniker (Gotton Down, Cherrygrove, Meadow, Furzeclose, Moonslade) and is decadently luxurious.

Billed as an eco-glamping site, this award-winning 110-acre farm site near York has just 40 pitches, and also features three basic but comfortable eco pods and five luxurious bell tents. A wooded adults-only site means there are options for those who want a quieter stay.


HOME FROM HOME Ten bits of kit to turn your campsite into a glampsite

p AEROBED COMFORT RAISED INFLATABLE KING SIZED MATTRESS £150 pCOLEMAN NORTHSTAR LANTERN £130 Thanks to the proliferation of LED lighting – no bad thing – vintage lamplight is increasingly a thing of the past. Coleman’s first product was a lantern, manufactured in Wichita, Kansas, in 1901; this lantern harks back to those origins whilst building in modern safety and efficiency. This pumps out an impressive 1138 lumens of light, kicks out a bit of heat and will run on unleaded fuel for up to seven hours – making it efficient to run on a fuel available everywhere.

q ROBENS DENALI TENT STOVE £250 Compatible with any tent featuring a stovepipe, this steel woodburning stove allows you to camp at any time of year in luxurious warmth. The collapsible stove comes with locking legs, a cooking surface and a flue protector. Not one for when kids are running about, but for creating a cosy idyll where you can pretend you’re a gold prospector weathering the winter with a mug of moonshine, this is more or less essential.

If you’re glamping, the chances are you will be unlikely to have to carry your bed any further than the distance between your car and your tent/yurt/cabin. So as the need for a paperback-thin, slightly utilitarian camping mat is somewhat redundant, why not push the boat out? If Therm-a-Rest rules the roost of the backpacking mattress, Aerobed is the king of the slightly more domestic inflatable camp bed. The Comfort Raised Inflatable King Sized mattress comes equipped with a battery powered pump – so is a portable, seriously plush alternative to discomfort for the discerning glamping duo. Also perfect as a guest bed at home.


p ROBENS KLONDIKE TENT £600 Well-made and big – six sleep in comfort, four in luxury – this traditional-style hybrid (part tipi, part bell tent) is based around a central pole and has a stovepipe vent. Low-level windows for airflow, an optional ground carpet which can be part-zipped to expose the floor to put wet gear, and a stable design that will withstand 95mph winds, make the Klondike an ideal mix between luxurious and technical. It’s pricy but this is one tent you won’t be wearing out in a hurry – and with these looks you won’t be chucking it out, either.

YURT, BELL TENT OR TIPI? Starting in order of sumptuousness, the yurt is a central Asian structure, circular in form with a central chimney. Made of bent wood and felted skins, they can house a large number of people. A bell tent is supported by a central pole, with an arched entrance pioneered by the British army in the Crimean War. Tipis are based on designs used by Native Americans, though few follow the original design incorporating smoke flaps at the apex. Like yurts, tipis are typically huge – though of great height as well as diameter.


A campfire is a staple of the camping aesthetic – and a much more appealing cliché than Kum-Bi-Ya and an out of tune guitar. Yet they are not as common on British campsites as you might expect, mainly due to the damage they cause to the ground. But with one of these, you don’t need ground – and they are as at home in the garden as they are on a campsite. Part of Primus’s new – wait for it – Campfire range, this is a quality bit of kit that provides a cooking surface, warmth and some serious ambience to any camping situation, without the damage.

p HELINOX CHAIR ZERO £105 It’s all well and good loading yourself up with bulky, plush things – but if it doesn’t fit in your car, what’s the point? Helinox bucks the trend that ‘comfy’ has to equal ‘weighty’ by creating a revolutionary chair that is genuinely comfortable – yet weighs about the same as an umbrella. Made of lightweight DAC poles (found in high-end tents) and an engineering marvel in itself, it’s more deck chair than easy chair – but it’s so small you won’t think twice before taking it.

p PRIMUS ONJA STOVE £115 Swedish stove-maker Primus knows a thing or two about outdoor cooking – its output has been a feature of just about every feat of exploration since its inception in 1892, from Amundsen’s South Pole expedition to the Everest epics of Mallory, Hillary et al. So there is definite pride in owning one – and in the Onja, you have a very pleasing, slightly posh aesthetic to go with the technical. This is a two-burner stove for the serious outdoor gourmet and can function just as well as a camp stove, too. Folding together with an oak chopping board/plate/lid, it comes with saddlebags for utensils and runs off standard Primus gas cartridges. It’s brand new, but looks like it’s been a classic for years.

p OUTWELL 10L PORTABLE TOILET £50 One of the biggest blockers to many would-be campers is the lack of a private loo. A campsite could be dripping in all the conceivable conveniences – but for some, if you’re sharing a loo, that’s the end of the discussion. Compact, chemical-free and with a built-in bellows flush, this is a temporary solution, ideal for the tent porch – and when it comes to the grim task of emptying it, the detachable waste tank makes it as convenient as such a thing can be.

p DUNELM FAUX FUR THROW £45 The final touch of luxury on any glamping trip is the faux fur throw – or, preferably, piles of them draped around the tent like a particularly decadent episode of Game of Thrones. You can pay quite silly prices for good ones but you really don’t need to – these super-lovely ones are available from Dunelm Mill for under £50 apiece.

u CAFFLANO KLASSIC £80 For those who don’t just like coffee, but who like to grind their own beans then brew their own coffee, there’s this device. Everything slots together with precision and the whole thing fits together to flask-size. You can just imagine the aroma of fresh coffee mingling with the woodsmoke smell drifting around that bell tent, can’t you?

A Kamoto firepit in use – a campfire without the worry or damage.. IMAGE: PRIMUS


A short guide to




Even the most committed outdoors person has to appreciate that when you have a family, life moves on: suddenly it’s not all about you anymore, and you have to consider the fact that other people might not be quite as sold on the al fresco life as you are. The solution is getting your family out there – and making that first experience of camping one they’ll want to repeat. There are plenty of ways to achieve this, and it’s never been easier to get your family camping. But you will still need the four ‘R’s: the right site, the right weather, the right kit… and the right ideas. Nail the first time, and they’ll love it for life. Whether you’re camping with little kids or teenagers, there are few more effective ways to spend time together than camping – so crack it, and not only have you got the recipe for a perfect and affordable family holiday, you’re getting your kids outdoors and spending some time away from the box in some of the country’s most beautiful places.





A mixture of forest and mountain (above) – with great links to the coast – this campsite is only a 10 minute drive to the foot of Snowdon, and is an active family’s dream. Mountain biking, walking, sightseeing or just relaxing under the forest canopy. snowdonia/beddgelert-campsite

With an awesome location in Eskdale (above) this excellent campsite was named as one of the 50 best in the world by The Independent. Next to England’s highest mountains and set in one of its wildest valleys, this site is geared for children with an adventure playground, rafts and a tree house.

81% 91% 76% of families said that camping brought them closer together

of kids said exploring the countryside with their parents made them happy

of kids said their parents had more time for hugs when camping


Catgill Campsite, near Bolton Abbey.


5 great campsites for families




20 miles south of Brecon in the shadow of the Brecon Beacons and on the doorstep of the famous Dan Yr Ogof showcaves – sure to be a hit with young explorers – this recently refurbished site is also an hour’s drive from the Gower coast, making it a great base for South Wales.

Located between the mountains and Loch Lomond (above), this 150-pitch site is ideally positioned in the Southern Highlands, striking a great balance of accessibility and a wild location. With Ben Lomond and the Munros of Argyll nearby, older kids will find much in the grandeur of this location.

Set against the backdrop of Bolton Abbey (above), Catgill is in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s tent-only, welcomes dogs and there’s a shallow stream trickling through the campsite.



FAMILY FAVOURITES Clobber for the whole clan

u GOAL ZERO LIGHTHOUSE 400 £80 With a whole family to power and light (and we’re not suggesting for a second that the ‘no smartphones or iPads’ rule hasn’t been observed) you need something pretty robust for the job. The Lighthouse from Goal Zero offers a rechargeable, mega-bright lantern which uses its battery as the charging unit for anything that pulls power from a USB connection. Dimmable (400 lumens), frugal and enduring – up to 48 hours of light on low power – this has a hand-crank so you can charge it up even when you’re away. Great in combination with the Light-a-Life Mini Quad set (£25)

One for the grown ups, the HydroFlask beer growler (no sniggering – the name comes from the tendency for 19thcentury beer bottles to make a growling noise when opened up due to the build up of carbon dioxide inside) allows its extremely proud owner to transport large quantities of beer (3.3 pints) from the pub to their tent whilst retaining flavour, temperature and carbonation. It works for other liquids, but it would be a shame to waste such thoughtful technology on water. Smaller versions are available (for smaller adults.)





This pretty gadget is designed to suspend 4 bits of bread over a stove to make toast without a toaster. And a family without toast is like toast without a toaster, so this should be on your list. Just don’t mistake it for a crown when it’s just been in use – it gets hot.

If the weather is playing ball, maybe you should take the hint and… play Frisbee. It’s the simplest ideas that are the best, and the classic flying disc still has the capacity to make even the most journey-weary family perk up and jump about. Plus they double as a dog bowl!


p OUTWELL ARUBA CUPBOARD £90 Yes, you can get camping cupboards – which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense. If you’re spending a long weekend (or more) in a tent then the last thing you want to be doing is tripping over piles of clothes, living out of a bag or not having anywhere to vaguely organise anything. Which is why a nifty folding storage unit like this is such a good idea. You can use it as a bit of everything – part wardrobe, part table, part larder. It packs down to a bootfriendly size, you get a rigid tabletop/work surface, hooks on the side and the shelves can take a surprising amount of weight.

Coleman have got a pretty practical eye on things – and this new Rocky Mountain 5 Plus tent comes loaded with the latest innovation: Blackout Bedrooms. We probably don’t need to explain what they are, but the reasoning behind them is one of the most forgotten aspects of


camping – most tents don’t keep light out very well. So if you’re expecting a long lie in or an uninterrupted sleep, presuming you’re camping in summer, this could be right up your street. This tent also

comes complete with a familysized porch, SPF protection, and a blackout room divider which helps to regulate temperature, as well as light, inside the bedrooms.

FAMILY CAMPING: 5 GOLDEN RULES EXPERT: SIMON MCGRATH is the Editor-in-Chief of the Camping and Caravanning Club magazine (www. and the author of Camping With Kids, pb. AA (£14.99)

p THULE TOURING M ROOF BOX £330 With the best will in the world, when camping needs get chunkier, the space required to cart it all about has to get bigger too. Most people’s cars aren’t made of elastic therefore a slightly more economical solution has to be found. For most people this is a roof box or a trailer, and while the latter is a good option for really enormous loads, the least troublesome solution is a box for the roof. Coming in three sizes up to 420 litres (L) and effectively doubling the boot space of the average family estate, the Thule Touring roof box is a sleek but spacious addition to the arsenal of a family that regularly camps. With enough space inside for the bulkier bits – tent, sleeping bags, mats, blow up beds – it helps keep the car a noncrammed place for those long journeys.


p TOP MUNRO/PLOP TRUMPS/HARVEY MAP PLAYING CARDS £8-12 Plop Trumps are a charming set of cards that review, rate and illustrate types of… well, poo. While this may seem a little silly, kids find this just about the funniest thing in the world, which on a rainy day inside a tent, is probably no bad thing. For those who prefer their card choice slightly less horrible, Top Munro is a competitive way to get to know Scotland’s highest mountains, while the Harvey Map cards are conventional playing cards emblazoned with squares of map for a variety of outdoor locations.

q BOGS WELLIES £37-90 You can‘t deny the practicality of wellies – the problems they have are, they’re cold and generally hard to get on. Bogs solve both of these problems rather neatly, with an insulated four-way stretch fabric rated for sub-zero temperatures, useful handles and an easy, comfortable fit. They come in a huge range of sizes and offer far more comfort and practicality than traditional wellies – even the baby versions will keep little toes warm well below freezing. Ideal for slipping on at the tent door and pootling around the campsite and on muddy trails – whatever the weather.

TAKE A COMPASS Yes, it’s essential for navigation but there’s another good reason for using it – to determine east. Why? So you can pitch the tent with the main door facing east. That way your tent will warm through nicely as the morning sun rises. It’s also a simple way to get children using a compass. And it’s far nicer for everyone to poke their heads out of the tent door first thing in the morning with the sun shining on their faces.


SLEEP TIGHT! Getting a good night’s sleep is key to having a fun camping trip – life feels so much better after a decent bit of shut-eye. So maximise your chances by thinking warmth and comfort. Invest in a good sleeping bag, and remember to insulate yourself from the floor, too. A decent self-inflating mat will do that and be comfortable too.


RISE WITH THE DAWN CHORUS… A good night’s sleep is essential but, that said, it’s best to avoid having an arm wrestle with the dawn chorus – you’ll lose every time. Chances are you’ll wake up with the skylarks and the sunrise, so embrace it – it really is the best part of the day. Prepare a breakfast picnic the night before, tip-toe off the campsite and go for an early morning walk. Find a picnic spot and crunch through your cornflakes as the wildlife around you wakes up too.


… AND STAY UP LATE... Campsites are mostly located in the countryside, away from light pollution, meaning they’re great for stargazing. Make a hot choc, lay your roll mat on the floor outside to avoid getting cold and a crooked neck, then see how many constellations the family can identify or shooting stars you can spot. How often do your little ones get to see this window on the world when at home?

5 u JACK WOLFSKIN GROW UP KIDS COMFORT SLEEPING BAG £40 Buying kit for your little ones can be a daunting exercise, especially as 1) kit is expensive 2) kids grow. So if you can avoid most of the pitfalls of both of these, you’re on to a winner. This sleeping bag is a quality bit of kit that can be lengthened from 130cm to 170cm so it grows as your little one does. It’s available in a collection of funky designs and has extra insulation in the places where kids feel the cold.

...WHATEVER THE WEATHER We cannot control the weather but we can control our attitude towards it. So come rain or shine, ensure you’ve planned plenty of activities. If you do see plenty of the wet stuff, enjoy some classic board or card games. Take along a campsite craft kit – you’ll have nature’s palette at your fingertips. Or why not make your own campsite weather station? That way you can catch and measure the rain rather than moan about it.

n More ideas in Simon McGrath’s book Camping with Kids, pb AA (£14.99)


A short guide to



Sleeping under canvas doesn’t have to hang you out to dry – so don’t fork out for top-whack high-end kit when you may not need to. You don’t need to have loads of cash

to have a good night’s sleep outdoors; there are many manufacturers offering reasonably priced gear, which might not be as light, is made in larger numbers or may not be as durable long-term – but is perfectly good

for occasional use. As many of us only camp occasionally, the question that should often be askedis ‘why pay more?’– and this kit falls into the category of affordable but decent.

Coleman Aravis in action: you don’t have to spend a packet to be here. COLEMAN


SHOESTRING WEEKENDS Camping kit that won’t break the bank u EASY CAMP ORBIT 300 £52

u MULTIMAT DISCOVERY 10 XL £20 Tipping in at 368g and £20 the humble foam mat has always been an affordable and durable way of insulating yourself against the cold, hard ground when camping. With nothing to blow up and nothing to puncture, this is a classic bit of kit that won’t let you down.

q ALPKIT VIPER II HEADTORCH £18 The Viper II is a very functional and, at 280 lumens, very bright headtorch for the cash. The burn time is only six hours on three AAA batteries so you may need to watch how much you’re using it.

p QUECHUA ARPENAZ 50 £20 The price of this is unbelievable considering what you’re getting – that is to say, plenty of pockets, a back system, side compression straps, access points in the front via a zip and the top via a traditional lid and pretty decent look, too. It maybe won’t last as long or be as comfy under heavy loads as pricier sacks – but considering most 50 litre rucksacks are about five times the price, will you care?

Sleeping bags are generally not things you want to skimp on in terms of quality. There are cheaper bags than this one, but in terms of quality and versatility for a decent price it’s pretty good. With comfort to -9°C and an extreme limit of -28°C (a few degrees less in both for women) for most this will cover their needs. With double wall design to eliminate cold spots and a pocket inside the hood for valuables, it’s not heavy for its spec at 1600g.

p VANGO COMPACT GAS STOVE £16 A simple burner that weighs just 102g and screws straight onto the top of a canister, the Compact Gas Stove is a powerful cooker that just requires a pan and a lighter to complete. Like most Vango kit its build quality far outweighs its modest price. It should last for years.

u COLEMAN ARAVIS 3 £160 This compact 3-person tent can often n be found for less than £100, which is a bargain if you’re looking forr a stable, pack-friendly tent. Two porches and two doors, so there should be enough room for packs and/or cooking, too.

q EUREKA! DUOAIR £100 An amazing price for a smart tent that hits the shelves this year, the Duoair has a fold-back flysheet that allows for bug-free stargazing (or daytime airing) in a clever design that will house two people in comfort. At a little over 2kg it isn’t heavy, either.

p GELERT NAVAJO 10 £330 Hardly cheap but for the type of tent (sleeps 10!) this is pretty stonking value. This is a way of getting the glamping feel, space and look at a price that will make you feel like you’re getting a bargain. The style is fab and while you can’t light a fire in it, get 10 people and blankets in there and you’ll be plenty warm enough…

A wild camp on the Isle of Eigg. Views like this needn’t cost the earth... TOM BAILEY


Left: that rucksack was home-made, the top recycled and waterproofed. It is possible! TOM BAILEY

SAVE A FORTUNE AT THE SUPERMARKET! You don’t have to buy kit that was designed for the purpose it ends up serving. These supermarket buys might see you right...

MORE WAYS TO SAVE CASH WAIT FOR THE SALE A lot of outdoor gear gets sold off when the next model comes out. Set up a Google alert for a particular model you’re after so you get the heads up whenever anything goes on sale, or bookmark sites like Go Outdoors. BUY SECONDHAND It’s never been easier for people to hook themselves up with the kit they need via people who want to offload it; either via sites like eBay and Gumtree, or more recently Freecycle or Shpock. There are some specialist sites out there for outdoor gear too – and it’s well worth checking these out as outdoor gear is generally built to last, so you’re likely to find something with years of life left in it. There have been some issues with counterfeiting, so use caution if buying a ‘label’ item – but usually common sense and gut feel will sniff out whether a seller is genuine or not.

MAKE YOUR OWN Slightly dodgier territory, but the history of outdoor gear is littered with enterprising individuals who took matters quite literally into their own hands. Prime candidates include beer can stoves, tarps and tents made from items bought from Homebase and sleeping mattresses made from industrial foam; while some of these items may lack a certain finesse, most great ideas start that way – so innovate away! GO HALVES Camping is quite often a sociable thing. So if you find yourself sharing a camp with the same bunch of people, consider whether you should be sharing the cost of your dream items of kit? Instead of doubling up on everything you could buy twice as much, or kit that’s twice as good, by pooling resources.

Expensive water bottle (£12-£20) Normal water bottle (50p-£1) All we’re talking about here is a means of carrying water – and there is little to challenge the humble Evian/Volvic/supermarket’s own brand water bottle for that. They’re also a lot lighter than anything you’re likely to buy at an outdoor shop. Saving: up to £19.50 Pricy drybags, liners and raincovers (£5-£30) Good quality bin bags (£2) When it comes to keeping stuff dry, you don’t need to spend much. A durable plastic rubble or bin bag will keep the rain off just as well as a nylon bag – so consider whether you need to spend that cash. Saving: up to £28 Costly sporks and titanium cutlery (£15) Plastic cutlery from M&S (£0) Whenever you buy a lunchtime salad and get those little bags of cutlery think twice before chucking them – you won’t get much lighter weight and you certainly won’t find cheaper. Saving: up to £15

Whenever you see these logos you’re likely to be in for a bargain…

The more affordable arm of technical tent manufacturer Terra Nova, Wild Country tents often share design with their pricier big brothers, whilst sourcing slightly cheaper materials. The offset is that weight is slightly higher and finesse slightly rougher.

Huge on the continent, Quechua is another well-priced brand that uses Far East manufacturing to undercut competition. Quality can be hit and miss, but functionality is now wellproven for those who aren’t likely to be bludgeoning their kit too hard.

Based in Wales, Gelert have long been associated with making affordable kit for the entry level camper. Durability and weight can be let-downs but quite often the accessories available are great.

Legendary in terms of its Force Ten range, and long-associated with solid kit, in recent years Vango has streamlined its tent designs and – owning quality subsidiary brands Trangia and Force 10 –


has an output that is formidable in the camping world. The kit is ideally pitched at youth groups and DofE students, so tends to be both affordable and decent, and increasingly technical in its offering.

Innovative, bright and affordable designs with genuine technical prestige make Eureka! a brand to watch. Originating in the US they are making waves over this side of the Atlantic with a range that looks quite different to anything over here – and the functionality and weight of the kit makes its middle-of-the-road price all the more appealing.


Now a CW subscription takes you ANYWHERE! We’ve teamed up with Ordnance Survey to help you unlock a whole new world of routes, maps and inspiration. Come and have a play!


subscription to Country Walking was already a wonderful thing. But now it’s your one-stop shop for route ideas, inspiration and planning – and a helping hand when you’re out on the trail as well. Thanks to our new partnership with the world’s greatest map-maker, subscribers now get a year’s Premium membership of OS Maps (worth £23.99), and it unlocks all these brilliant benefits…


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When durability counts If you’re camping in wild, rugged terrain you need a sleeping mat that’s tough enough to survive. Try the foam, self-inflating and inflatable mats in our Adventure range which are designed with a careful balance of comfort, lightness and durability so you can depend on them for a good night’s sleep wherever you are in the world.

Multimat’s foam, self-inflating and inflatable Adventure mats come in a range of different sizes, all built to survive. @Multimat_UK Available in all good retailers ®

Multimat , the specialists in sleeping mats since 1986. It’s what we do

A short guide to



Campervanning is one of those things that, until you’ve had a go, you might be a little mystified as to the appeal. But when combined with the motivation to explore and cover distance, a campervan is about as

close to perfection as you can get. For the sake of variation, we’re generally talking about the more nomadic kind of campervan adventure, as parking up on a campsite with a van is essentially just comfortable camping on wheels. But being out on the open

road, with the world on your doorstep, is a fabulous way of covering ground quickly and experiencing much more from a short break than you ever thought possible.

Campervanning in Scotland’s northwest Highlands. TOM BAILEY

PEMBROKESHIRE AND THE BRECON BEACONS Some fine roads skirt the Brecon Beacons and The Black Mountain – high, wild and close to some of the best walking. Starting near the border and working your way across the Brecon Beacons, then along the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast makes for a fine long weekend with plenty of contrasting overnight stops.



5 top UK campervan experiences





There is nowhere like the Isle of Skye – a place of otherworldy landscapes and dramatic, jagged mountains, Skye’s roads are unique in that they are seemingly endless for such a modest-sized isle. The upshot is you can really get your teeth into this incredibly varied place, from lochs on the edge of the Atlantic all the way to the toughest mountains in the land.

A bit like Scotland, Cornwall is one of those places that puts drivers off due to distance. The roads wind and wend too, so this is one for a more compact camper – but it’s a fine destination. With 295 miles of coastline and wilder inland highlights like Bodmin Moor, Cornwall’s cultural atmosphere is fab.

...continued overleaf


5 top UK campervan experiences... continued






A newly-designated 500-mile route that takes in Britain’s most unique scenery in a country as geared for ’vans as could be. Looping the entirety of Scotland north of Loch Ness, the NC500 takes in everything from the empty east, the dramatic far north and the mountain zoo of the north west, before taking in Torridon and Wester Ross on the west coast before travelling back up the Great Glen to Inverness. Perfection!

The Lakes isn’t perfect campervan country – those narrow roads and steep passes – but the major routes and orbitals still take you to striking distance of some fab scenery and there are plenty of sites. Perhaps combine a tour of the Lakes with the Pennines, exploring Cross Fell and Dufton, before entering the Lakes to the north into the National Park, later exiting near Kendal and heading for Sedbergh and the Howgill Fells.

As you’re kicking back to relax with a few drinks once you are pulled up and settled, be aware you are technically still in charge of a vehicle in a public place. Note this is not necessarily the same as drink driving. The law is grey here so you need to be careful; if there’s any suggestion of your intention to drive while under the influence you could be in serious trouble. Ensure you are presenting a clear picture of your intent to stay put and you have located yourself in a place where it is safe and legal to do so. Make sure: have moved to a proper overnight place and you don’t need to move again later. don’t sit in the driver’s seat, or put keys in the ignition. don’t just park at the side of the road. Even a layby can be dicey. If you’re unsure, don’t drink.

GET MILES A few essential bits of kit for motor roamers... q ROADMAP


p WINDSCREEN COVERS Many campervans come with curtains and privacy blinds already fitted, but if they don’t, or if yours is a DIY affair, you will need something to do the job for keeping warm in, and prying eyes out.

This sounds obvious but you can’t beat a map for planning. And while satnavs are great, they do like to send you down small roads and unsuitable shortcuts so it’s worth planning your route using your own nous rather than a satellite’s.

If your camper has a fridge, great. But fridges in the classic sense don’t take too well to hard cornering and general motion – so it’s worth having a backup that keeps things nice and cool but is a little more motion-friendly. There’s little to challenge the humble coolbox on this. This one plugs in to your van’s lighter socket and keeps things warm, as well as cool.


p OUTWELL COLLAPSIBLE KETTLE Space is of the essence in a campervan, particularly a small one. Bulky things like kettles are huge space suckers so consider investing in clever products like this which collapse when not in use. The same principle can be applied to storage boxes, cups, pans and washing up bowls.

Think how cold cars get at night: campervans are no different. You’re basically in a tin box and if condensation is a particular foe, you may also have a window open. So always take more blankets than you think you’ll need. The light, compressible Therm-a-rest Antares down blanket is a perfect option to throw over an existing sleeping bag or use as a warm cover in itself. And it’s just as good for summer camping.


p CHOCKS The same as sleeping in a tent, if your pitch is at all on the jazz, you’ll know about it the second you lie down. Levelling is a common process for motorhomes, but even small vans might need a bit of help before you settle down. These are cheap and easy to stash.

u SPONGE AND KITCHEN ROLL Essential! Condensation is a scourge at any time of year, particularly the chillier seasons. Make sure you’ve got plenty.

JERRY CAN WITH SPARE FUEL Travelling to remote places can take you far from fuel stops – don‘t let something this simple foil your trip!

A CAMPERVAN! Ah yes, that small detail. If you lack your own, try hiring from: SCOTLAND Highland Campervans ENGLAND Bunk Campers WALES Snowdonia Vans



Rolf Hilleberg

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A short guide to



Camping on Garnedd Ugain, near Snowdon's summit. Not a place for sleepwalkers.


The joy of waking up next to a chuckling stream or high on a mountaintop with clouds around you having slept wild, is one that is tough to beat. There are fewer purer experiences to be had in the hills – aside from anything else, you get to witness the two most dramatic and beautiful moments of the day (sunrise and sunset) and the most extreme (the darkness) – the feeling of which you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry. Humans

are programmed to operate by day and scurry home by night, so when the sun goes down and you’re still on a hill it’s entirely natural to feel slightly… uneasy. But spending the night on a hill isn’t any different to spending the day on a hill; it just seems different. And with wild camping, by default you will be looking at hilly places, as, by its very nature, this activity should be conducted in remote places where you can enjoy it to the full and remain undisturbed.

You should legally ask a landowner’s permission before camping. In practice, this isn’t always possible, and it’s worth bearing in mind that most of the concern around wild camping relates to irresponsible behaviour. Do the following and you’re unlikely to be bothered: Arrive late and leave early Keep your group small (3 or less) Don’t light fires Don’t leave litter Bury poo well away from water sources (or carry it out with you) Camp beyond the last wall of any grazing area and away from paths

WILD CAMPING: 5 GOLDEN RULES PHOEBE SMITH was the first person to sleep at all the extreme points of mainland Britain, solo, on consecutive nights. Her books Extreme Sleeps and Wilderness Weekends are out now. ( LOVE YOUR MAP Being able to spot a wild camp pitch before you even set foot outdoors is a great skill to have – and you just need a map. Look for somewhere flat, not too boggy and near a water source, such as a stream, for cooking.


RECCE IT FIRST Distances are covered much slower in the dark than walking in daylight. Same goes for wild camp spots – what looks promising on the map can look foreboding once the sun sets. So, if you can, go and check it out during the day first, so when you head back later you’ll know what you’re looking for.


WATCH THE WEATHER Whether sleeping in a tent or a bivvy bag, the weather can make or break a trip. So keep a watchful eye on the forecast and plan to go when the weather is good.


KEEP YOUR GO-BAG PACKED I keep a bag packed at all times with everything I’ll need for a wild camp ready – sleeping bag, mat, tent, stove, gas, food, waterproofs, walking poles – and I leave it by my front door or in the boot of my car. That way, when I get a weather window I can head for the hills.


ENJOY, DON’T ENDURE Wild camping is not supposed to be a Bear Grylls-type man versus nature event. Take treats – from an inflatable pillow to hot chocolate or a half bottle of wine (decanted into a foldable bottle naturally).





GRRR! Kit to bring out your wild side

p ROBENS BUZZARD UL £440 A brand new top-spec backpacking tent from classic tentmakers Robens, this 2-person tent weighs less than a kilogram – so for those who spend a lot of time carrying their home-from-home on their backs this is an investment they won’t regret.

q PRIMUS LITE+ £105 Personal cooking systems have come a long way since Jetboil first brought rapid-boiling, compact modular stoves to our shores in 2004. The Primus Lite+ scores highlywhen tested and presents a thoroughly well-featured water boiler with options for using a pan support and suspending it from above (!) while in use. The whole thing slots together beautifully and a litre of water will be steaming in under three minutes.

u THERM-A-REST EVOLITE PLUS £125 Packed with technology to reflect and retain heat kicked out by your sleeping body, this is a relatively light (616g), very comfortable and rather warm mat that will cover you for just about every camping contingency you’ll encounter.


p PETZL TIKKINA £20 p EXPEDITION FOODS CAMP MEAL £6 Dehydrated meals are the sensible choice when wild camping as the principle weight-giving agent – water – is absent. Add the contents of a boiling stove once settled at your camp and these meals swell up to nutritious, calorific and occasionally rather delicious meals you can eat straight from the bag.

A headtorch is absolutely essential if you’re wild camping – out there, off-grid you need to be able to see. And should you need to get yourself off the hill in a hurry, you’re scuppered if you can’t map read. This headtorch has a maximum burn time of 180 hours, making it perfect for lighting a tent – with plenty of juice left for nocturnal emergencies.

The perfect rucksack for your first wild camp, the Highlander Ben Nevis 65 comes with a generous load size of 65 litres, and plenty of features – from side compression straps ideal for sliding in a tent, to wand pockets and an adjustable back length – which make this a very reasonably-priced, tough and capable ’sack.

q VANGO VENOM 300 £160 An excellent price for a sleeping bag filled with water-resistant down, this will keep you warm down to freezing and weighs less than a kilo, so is ideal for summer wild camps. You might want to pack an extra fleece just in case it gets a bit chilly.

q PLATYPUS SOFTBOTTLE £10 Perfect for water, wine or anything else liquid, this bottle weighs practically nothing, doesn’t impart any peculiar tastes to whatever you put in it and squashes up when not in use.

At the other end of the price scale to the Buzzard, Wild Country tents represent excellent value for money, and are the perfect choice for the camper just starting to explore the potential of wild sleeping. At 1.4kg it’s very light for the price and, while there’s not a huge amount of room, it’s more than adequate for one.


p EXPED DRY BAGS £9+ Essential for lining your rucksack to keep things dry, then just as essential as a stash bag for kit you can sling outside in any weather if needs be. Smaller versions can also be used as a water carrier – which takes a lot of the sting out of multiple trips to the stream.


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HENDRE MYNACH TOURING PARK The AA five-pennant site is 100 meters from a glorious beach, ideally situated for touring, walking and cycling in north and mid Wales. Cycle Route 8, Wales Coast path and public transport are nearby. Hardstanding and grassed pitches available. Pets are welcome, and Wifi is available.

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Side Farm Campsite Patterdale Small, quiet campsite near the lake. Toilets, washbasins and hot showers. No single sex or large groups unless previously agreed. For more information

Adult only campsite set in ancient woodland with firepits Easy access to great coastal & country walks across West Wales

please call 01768 482337 or email

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Explore the beautiful Cotswold Way Friendly camping in an ideal walking location.

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Camping £6pppn Bunkhouse £14pppn

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Jurassic Coast Caravans & Camping • Beautiful walks • Extensive sea views • Set in 4.5 acres • Beach 200 yds • Electric pitches now available

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A short guide to



Call it what you like – extreme camping, tarping, bivvying – it all basically means camping without a proper tent, and either embracing the wild or making do with a lot less than a glamper would consider acceptable for a night’s sleep. While the disadvantages may be detailed as a less comfortable or secure experience, the advantages are much more measurable: you have a lighter backpack so can get to more places with fewer blisters, and your connection with the outdoors becomes that much closer. WHAT IS... THE 7KG RULE?



A stove is pretty important whichever way you cut it – if you don’t need it to rehydrate your meal, you’ll need it to boil some water for hot chocolate. You could probably manage without it, but when you can get a decent burner that weighs less than a pack of cards and costs a snip over £30, why? Combined with a titanium mug, that’s your system sorted.

We’re not recommending for a second that emergency kit should be used as ‘normal’ kit… but this is waterproof, breathable, heat-reflective and windproof. It also comes complete with a drawcord closure hood and tips in at just 241g. The best part is, it can be had at a fraction of the price of a Gore-Tex bivvy yet essentially does the same thing. Maybe you could get away with using this for the odd cheeky bivvy.


It’s said that the body starts to notice weight on the back in a truly detrimental way when your load exceeds 7kg – which means if you can get what you need into a rucksack and stay under this limit, you’ll be faring an awful lot better than someone who can’t.

mi minimalist sleeper m q OUTDOOR RESEARCH WILDERNESS COVER £215 Brand new for this year, this is a novel product which essentially mixes the concept of a poncho with the concept of a survival bag with the concept of… well, a tent. Capable of being pitched, worn or draped, the breathable material comes with Velcro closures so you can adapt it to your needs. A top tool for emergencies and otherwise.


p MSR THRU-HIKER WING (£150) AND MESH HOUSE (£170) This isn’t a cheap shelter, but it is excellently designed, and has the option of buying with an internal Mesh House to keep you enclosed from bugs, or just using as a tarp with a compliant set of walking poles. You can have it as high or as low as you want – therefore as open or enclosed as you want – allowing an awful lot of flexibility.

You’ve got all this lightweight, compact stuff – so now you need a light ‘sack to cart it about in. The Montane Featherlight 30 is a decent-sized 686g daysack which stuffs down into its own pouch. 30 litres is a reasonable size for an overnighter if you’re packing very light – consider 40 or 50 litres if you plan on taking a little more kit. montane.

q RAB SILTARP 1 £55 Measuring 1.5 x 1.2 metres, the Siltarp is a compact bit of protection for anyone sleeping in a sleeping bag or bivvy who wants something to keep the wind and rain off. Weighing just 237g and a mere 9 x 9cm when rolled up, this is an ultra compact, ultra-simple bit of shelter that punches way above its weight.

q KLYMIT INERTIA X-FRAME £68 Certainly one of the more oddball products of recent years, the Klymit sleeping mat keeps its folded size and weight down using the tactic of filling it with holes. It works, though – it’s a little like lying on a scaffold and it doesn’t like it if you sleep on your side. But as this goes down to the size of a mug and weighs little more than one full of tea, comes with a hand pump to allow you to fine-tune the mat‘s inflation, increasing support, it’s great for those who want to keep weight and space right down. klymit. com

q SMIDGE INSECT REPELLENT £8 If you’re spending time in the open in anything other than cold weather, bugs are going to be an issue. Smidge is made by a Scottish firm who know what makes little beasties tick, and what makes ticks such little beasties – so get some Smidge on and you’re more likely to stay free of unwelcome guests. This credit-card sized spray is a great solution.



Struggling to decide what to do with your next holiday? Need some help navigating this camping guide? Take our questionnaire and pick the options that sound the most like you…

“The wine list is limited... but the view is okay.” Wild camping beneath Suilven, Northern Highlands. TOM BAILEY

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘four seasons'? A An average day in the British hills, isn‘t it? Bring it on! B The temperature rating on my sleeping bag! Mmmm. Cosy! C Sounds cold. Maybe a nice warm cabin in the snow would be nice… D Oooh, those lovely hotels. What’s the best thing about camping? A Feeling close to the elements. B Feeling close to the landscape. C Feeling close to my family. D Feeling close to a bottle of whisky. What’s your ideal camping itinerary? A Peaks, peaks, peaks, peaks. B Peaks, pitch, pub, pint. C Park, paddle, picnic, Pimms. D Pulled pork, Prosecco, pillow.

What’s the most uncomfortable place you’ve slept? A Top of a mountain. In a gale. B In a field, in the dark. We woke up and realised it was a cow paddock. C A dodgy campsite in Cornwall. The toilets were filthy! D End of the bed. [Shudder] What’s your ideal company for a night away? A The wind, the rain, the stars and the hills B A good mate. We share a small tent, see… C The kids – it’s the reason we camp! D A lovely farm hamper of cheese and wine. And Ben Fogle/Julia Bradbury if free. What do use to carry your camping gear? A I’m down to a 30-litre rucksack. B A big-ish rucksack, and I split everything with my mate. C We tend to basecamp and walk from there. D You mean for the food? Our estate car.

What’s the most expensive bit of camping kit you own? A My waterproof sleeping bag. Ouch! B My backpacking tent. Ouch! C Our family tent. Ouch! D Our faux fur wolf pelts. They are lush though... Where do you tend to go camping? A Wherever the light runs out on my walking route. B Close to the hills, for the walking. C Anywhere that has attractions and nice walks nearby. D The place with the nicest accommodation!




SO, HOW DID YOU DO? Mostly As – The Nomad. You’re not a prude when it comes to sleeping out. In fact you’re as rugged as they come. You’ll find some cool new extreme kit on p29, but perhaps consider embracing the comfortable end of camping for once...?

way to spend time with your kids, and get them away from digital distractions. These holidays can be basic and brilliant, or a bit more civilised – you’re happy to have both, as long as there’s something amusing nearby for a rainy day. Find some ideas on p8-9.

Mostly Bs – The Camping Walker. Camping is generally a pleasing component of your walking – whether it’s a wild camp (see p25) or pitching up on a conveniently-sited campground, you’re game as long as it’s got good walking and a pub within striking distance.

Mostly Ds – The Indoors-Outdoors Type. Let’s be honest, you’re not camping to be close to nature, are you? It’s merely a pretty backdrop to some rather comfortable digs that will not at any point be on your back. And good for you: there‘s nothing wrong with wanting to relax on your holiday and for any kids that might be coming along to get to know the outdoors in a comfortable, safe place. Check out p4-7.

Mostly Cs – The Fit Family. You know that family camping is a brilliant


The ground can be a cold, hard place … But our Camper range of affordable sleeping mats provides a warm, soft layer to ensure you and your family get a good night’s sleep. Choose from foam, self-inflating, inflatable, and even double mats … and remember your nights under the stars for all the right reasons. @Multimat_UK

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PA CK: As cent Sup e rl ig ht 20 17

In 1967 we made a backpack that in one moment, changed travel in the mountains forever. This year we created the Ascent Superlight. A pack made for fast & light alpinism. It is the pinnacle of our experience and a testament the moments we spend in the vertical worlds of rock and ice.


Country walking and trail camping guide 2017  
Country walking and trail camping guide 2017