I started camping this summer. Great guidance from a friend in US helped me a lot. I have successfully done three camping vacations so far and it has been a wonderful experience to say the least. So here I am detailing things to take care when camping in Ireland.
Tent specific stuff
- The tent — Buy an inexpensive tent to start with, so that you don’t regret if camping doesn’t turn out to be your thing. Or you can rent out a tent, few camping sites give it on rent. When buying, give size and height a good consideration. In addition to the place to sleep, general covered place to sit, change cloths, may be eat sometime is needed. Height of this general space should be more than height of tallest person in the family.
- Beds, blankets, comforters, pillows — Its good to get an air filled mattress or folding bed. If your car have enough space then I will recommend folding beds, as they are more comfortable. We went with air beds to optimize for space. If you are buying airbed, then buy pump as well. Electric pump with car extension is more convenient. Given Irish weather, always keep enough comforters, blankets, sleeping bags to put under and over your body. Its very important. Sleep and Food are two most important things to take care for a good camping experience.
- Stove and utensils — Buy an inexpensive stove, you will get Butane gas based stove in 12 Euro in Halfords. And buy gas refills. While buying stove, give consideration to cost of refills as that would be the main cost in longer run. You should also carry utensils to cook and eat. There are light weight utensils you can buy. One frying pan, a pressure cooker (if you are an indian :)), plates, glasses, serving spoons, spoon/fork, knife to cut vegetables etc should do. You should also carry a portable sink which can be used as quick sink as well as to keep wet utensils. And don’t forget garbage bag, its always handy to have it near the tent. You should also carry washing liquid, scrubber and hand wash.
- Wind breaker — Buy a wind breaker, one that can be installed without pegs and ropes are better one. Less time to assemble and disassemble. Wind breaker is a must in Ireland given the wind speed. This will help in cooking or even just sitting outside on your chairs.
- Table and Chairs — Buy campers table and chairs. This seems optional, but not having it will jeopardize your whole experience for sure. Better to buy folding chairs separately and table with stools. We ended up using small stools that came with table as leg support when sitting on chairs.
- Campers electric cable and extension — Yes, camping sites have different sockets, so you would need a campers cable that is blue round plug on one end and normal sockets at other end. I would recommend one having enough long wires like 15m. This is optional, as we could survive without electricity for 3 nights in one of the camp site. Used car to charge our cell phones. Sometimes camp site also will provide you this cable.
- Bug repellent — You may encounter midges in some of the camp sites, so having a bug repellent handy is very important.
- Misc tent stuff — Buy a tent light. There are few that are convertible, acts as normal as well as torch light. Buy extra pegs and ropes. Buy a peg remover and a hammer to keep in your camping bags, so that you don’t forget.
Its always good to test out stuff that you bought. May be spreading the tent in backyard or some other open space, testing the cooker etc will be great. It would be great if you can go with a person who has camped before. If you can’t find, going alone is also fine. I couldn’t find any, so went alone first time. I will also advise you to select a good weather, so don’t plan well in advance as Irish weather is unpredictable. If first experience is good then your family will support your camping ideas in future otherwise it will become difficult to convince them.
Selecting a camp site
First decide what is the main attraction you are going for. Then select a site near to that attraction with good ratings and reviews. One of the problems in camping can be midges, and in our experience camp sites near the beaches have less of bugs. Selecting a camp site with easy beach access would be very safe from experience perspective while keeping it within driving distance to your attraction.
Normally camp sites don’t take bookings in high time which is Jul/Aug, so you should plan to arrive at the camp site before 2 pm to guarantee getting camping pitch at your favorite site.
Other general stuff to carry
These can be based on what you use on vacation, here are the generic checklist we have. You can make your own list based on this, but do make a list.
Spices, Salt, Sugar, Curd, Rice, Dal, Dalia, Cooking oil, Clarified butter, Tamarind, Zip locks, Lunch boxes, Juice, Shower gel, Tooth brush and paste, Face wash, Hand liquid soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Wet wipes if you have kids, Tissues, Hand sanitiser, Makeup kit :), Rubber bands, Comb, Toilet roll.
And electronic stuff — Cell phones, Charger, Power bank, Camera, SD cards
And more — Goggles, Swimming suits, Wet suits and water shoes, Hats, Caps, Sunscreen, Sand kits, Slippers, Towel, Clothes, Waste cloth, Surface
Here I conclude, have a great camping experience. All the very best!