How to carry on camping during the lockdown
Campsites may have closed for now, but us campers are a hardy, resourceful bunch who are finding plenty of good uses for our camping gear during lockdown.
Liz Morrell looks at some of the best ways to get your camping fix without leaving home.
CAMPING IN THE GARDEN
If you have the space then pitching your tent in the back garden and encouraging a sleepout will help to create some great, positive memories for the kids and help you get your lockdown camping fix.
Plus you know the toilet block is top notch and there’s even a fully equipped kitchen if you need it. And, if it rains you won’t have to rush to get the tent down. Just no cheating by going back to your proper bed if it does get wet out!
Even if you don't have a garden, you can still make the most of your camping gear. Pitch a small tent in your living room, set up air beds and sleeping bags under the dining table and drape it with a large blanket, or create a den using cushions from the sofa.
CREATE A HOME OFFICE/SCHOOL/HOME CINEMA/CHILLOUT AREA
Once you’ve packed away the sleeping bags, or if you don’t fancy sleeping out just yet, then you can still make plenty of use of the extra space the tent gives you by transforming its daytime use.
Whether it’s a remote working space, a home schooling area for the kids or simply a chillout zone for when inside just gets too much, now is the time to get creative. It’s time to dig out the blow-up sofas, hang up your bunting and make yourself at home. You can also use your camping table and chairs to create extra desk or family game space inside too.
Steve Brown and his partner Zoe sent up their tent as a home schooling area as soon as their sons’ school closed. “We struggle as every parent does to get our boys sat down at the table to do homework and thought of this idea, “ he says. “It’s worked really well and it’s also set up for my partner and I when we just need half an hour to ourselves.”
HAVE A VIRTUAL CAMPFIRE
If you have a firepit in your camping gear collection then it might be tempting to snuggle around the campfire at home during lockdown, especially when there may be extra rubbish or garden waste to burn.
However councils and fire brigades across the UK have been pleading with residents not to have bonfires during lockdown and similar logic should be applied to campfires. They carry a similar risk of accident for fire and ambulance crews that are already overstretched, while the fact that coronavirus attacks the respiratory system makes it even more important to avoid smoke inhalation for you and your neighbours.
Instead take a look online. There are plenty of virtual fire apps available to download so fire up your tablet and put an extra layer or two instead. And you won’t have to worry about making sure your virtual fire is safely out before you go to bed!
COOK A MEAL OUTSIDE
When there’s a perfectly good kitchen a stone’s throw from your garden then it might seem crazy to fire up the camping stove. But remember how much nicer a fry-up cooked on a camping trip tastes?
Drag the kids away from the TV and get them to help cook breakfast/lunch/tea. Or if they are old enough get them to do it themselves while you relax. You can even forget the dishwasher and make them wash up too!
LIVING ROOM CAMPING
Of course you don’t actually have to go outside to camp. If you have a small pop-up tent then clear a space in the living room for an inside adventure or get the kids to build their own shelter using cushions and blankets. Or simply get out the inflatable mats and the sleeping bags for a living room camp.
Claire Nicholl, a Camping magazine subscriber, is working her way through her collection of tents – the family enjoyed the outside life in the garden in one of their bigger tents, then put up one of their smaller tents in the house.
“The inside picture is taken in our dining room,” she says. “My boys (13 and 10) set it up as their sleeping area, then took over the TV with their XBoxes too. It’s helping them keep up their camping skills, promotes teamwork and brotherly love and gives them a change of scene from their bedrooms.”
What are you doing to make use of your camping gear during lockdown? Share your pictures on social media – make sure you tag us or use the hashtag #homecamping.
Or send your pics, stories or ideas to email@example.com