Camping on a budget

Whilst we’re all encouraged to minimise international travel for the foreseeable future, staycations look to be the dominant theme of holidaying this summer.

Camping in the great British outdoors could provide the ideal value-for-money short break as many of us begin to think about the school holidays.

Experts give their tips to make camping trips a fun and inexpensive experience for all.

Robin Pitkin, owner of Farley Camping site near Salisbury in Wiltshire, gives his tips for camping on a budget.

When asked for ideas about locations, he said: “There are quite a few new pop-up campsites like ours to help more people get away this summer. They are only allowed to open for 28-56 days a year. They tend to be located on farms and more unusual places and they tend to be cheaper than the more established campsites.”

For activities, Robin recommends fossil hunting for a day at the beach with a difference.

He said: “We are only a few miles from the Jurassic coast. Hunting for fossils is a great free day out and will keep the kids entertained for hours, even on overcast/rainy days. It’s educational and you might even get a souvenir to take home. All you need is a hammer.”

There is plenty of tasty food you can easily cook on a camp stove as Robin said: “My top tip would be to make some family favourite meals such as beef chilli which are easy to heat up when camping. Freeze this before you go and it also acts as an ice pack to keep other food cold.”

Tom Oldham from Campshores, a USA-based tent specialist and reviewer, suggests taking the family kayaking.

He said: “I always recommend kayaking as a great option for family fun. They can often be hired by the hour and provide great family fun.

“It is important to note, especially if there are younger children involved, that it is better to find a lake as opposed to a river or the sea for this family fun activity, just to ensure safety.

“Also be sure to ask the staff where you hire your kayaking gear to advise on the best nearby places to kayak. Always make sure they provide the correct safety equipment and guidance.”

Tom recommends hot dogs for a delicious and quick meal in the great outdoors. He said: “My personal favourite is hot dogs for sure.

“The kids always love them and they taste so much better when grilled over a barbecue than when they are cooked at home.

“They are cheap, easily available and they cook in minutes, providing the kids with a quick snack to keep them quiet whilst the rest of the food is being prepared.”

Additionally, Tom gives his expert advice for maintaining your tent’s condition for the next trip.

He said: “Be sure that your tent is totally dry before storing it in a bag. Never pack it while it is still damp as it may lead to mould growth and an unpleasant smell. You can also keep it in a mesh bag or pillowcase to allow the fabric to breathe and relax.

“I recommend tent poles be stored in their assembled state. This will increase life due to the reduced tension in the shock cord.

“Store your tent in a cool and dry place. Never keep it in hot and damp areas including your garage, attic or basement.”