Nature is in full swing and full of bright colours, everything around is flourishing, the birds are singing with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures, lighter evenings and mornings make camping in the summer an amazing experience.
Many people have been enjoying sleeping under the stars through the winter, hunkered down with winter sleeping bags, thermals and plenty of hot drinks but for most, the approaching better weather means it's time to get out the gear and head out for some summer camping.
Before you head out into the great outdoors, do you have everything you need for a camping trip? Here's a simple roundup for some essential gear to pack.
What you'll pack depends on how long you are planning on camping, where you're heading and the weather conditions but the basics will be the same. It's best to break it down into categories:
• Sleeping - tent or shelter, sleeping bag and sleeping mat
• Eating - stove, pans and plates
• Clothing - waterproofs, staying warm, spare kit
• Carrying - you'll need to carry everything in comfort
• Accessories - Head torch, fire starter, first aid kit
Other items to take are enough water, food and provisions to make the camping trip super comfortable and fun.
A roof over your head
In the summer, your choice of how you sleep can be much more varied compared to camping out in the winter. With warmer weather a bivi bag, basha, hammock or tarp can be great and will keep the overall weight down in your pack. If you are taking a tent, the tent you choose depends on how many people are going to be camping and how much you can carry. For a lightweight camping trip, the Blackthorn is a great choice.
Cosy night ahead
After a long day walking, there's nothing better than looking forward to climbing into a cosy, soft sleeping bag and getting a good night's sleep. Although the day might have been hot with glorious sunshine, at night, temperatures can drop to single figures so be prepared and pack the correct type of sleeping bag. If you take a lighter summer sleeping bag, you can always add a sleeping bag liner that will provide so added comfort and warmth.
A sleeping mat not only delivers added comfort and relive from the rough ground but provides extra insulation from the cold ground meaning your sleep will be so much better and you'll be fresh for the next day's activities.
There are many types of stove available to take on your summer camping adventure from the tiny Hpx100 Compact Gas Stove to the Cabar Wood Burning Stove. All of which have their merits and drawbacks depending on your planned activity so finding out more about the options available and the benefits will be time well spent. Before heading off on your trip take care to ensure that you are familiar with the operation and take plenty of fuel for your stove.
You'll need something to cook your food in. The fastboil includes a cooking pot which makes it a great all in one cooking solution. If you're taking a smaller gas stove and canister then camp cookware pots and sets are lightweight, compact, and packable. Don't forget a plate/bowl and knife, fork and spoon or you'll be spending your time whittling some wooden cutlery!
Take care when cooking... make sure the area is clear of combustible materials, dry grass, etc and don't cook in your tent as this can create a build up of carbon monoxide which is deadly.
This is where you can use your imagination but it's best to keep things simple so you don't have to carry too much and you don't waste your gas. Pasta is always a good choice as it will keep you energized and is easy to make. For long journeys, it's useful to pack lighter, dehydrated meals which with some hot water, turn into some tasty meals.
Over the summer, we hope for fair weather for hiking and camping which means t-shirts and shorts but be prepared for when the weather changes. Take layers to add / remove depending on how hard you're working and the temperature. It might be hot in the day but as soon as the sun goes down, the evenings can turn bitterly cold. Even in summer it’s a good idea to take a warm fleece or mid layer with you for the evening. Add a lightweight pair of hiking trousers like the Munro Trousers made from a lightweight and highly breathable fabric.
Be prepared for a change in the weather
Don't forget to pack a rain jacket and even some waterproof trousers as the conditions can change from sunny to torrential downpour in a moment. Moisture and warmth are crucial to thunderstorms, which is why they would occur more often in the spring and summer.
Packing your camping kit and the size of the rucksack depends on how long and how much you're taking with you but it's a good idea to try and keep the weight down. It's best to lay out all of the gear you're planning on taking before packing into your rucksack or duffle.
40 - 60 litre packs are great for 2+ days. These packs have a large enough capacity to carry everything you need to stay self-sufficient for days.
60+ litre packs are great for 5+ days. These packs have a much larger capacity so you can pack everything you'll need to stay self-sufficient for upto and over a week. These are a more serious option and offer more padding and features to make the carrying of kit comfortable over long distances.
Kitbags and Cargo bags. If you can walk within a short distance to the campsite from the car then it might be good idea to consider using a bag like the Storm kitbag or a Cargo bag. These bags have a big enough capacity to pack loads of camping kit and everything you need and more. Because you're not carry these packs far, you can afford to add more items and not worry too much about the weight!
Must have essentials...
As well as the larger camping gear you'll be taking, there are some smaller essentials that you'll be pleased you didn't forget. Don't forget to pack toilet roll, matches/lighter/flint, a pocket knife, first aid kit and a map & compass.
A bit of comfort
The are also plenty of accessories you can take that can make your camping experience more comfortable including lightweight furniture, tables and lanterns.
Wherever you go, whether it's a short over night sleep out or multi day adventure, summer camping is a treat for the senses and the more you do it, the easier it is. Have you gear at the ready so you can head out for that last minute trip.
Pack your kit, go camping and have fun! Show us your adventures with #highlanderoutdoor