Camping and Kayaking wasn’t on my radar on this particular Sunday. It was a very sunny day and my friend Ann convinced me to pack my brand new tent and get to a local camp site in Surrey, UK. She also insisted on bringing her Kayak and Zebby her dog!

I didn’t mind Zebby, but I was a little resistant to the idea of Kayaking!

Be More Spontaneous!

Lately, ok, ok, at least the last year or so, I have been spending a bit too much time in the comfort of my local Caffe Nero. I like to think I’m busy either studying something or trying to get organised by writing down crappy ideas, plans, notions, dreams and ambitions.

The thing is, I need to do things, not just write about them. The pen is mightier than the sword, but Action is mightier than the pen (or keyboard). There would be nothing to write about, if I didn’t do anything!

Last week I sorted out a hotel, packed a bag and went off to Wokey Hole *[Wookey Hole Wanderings]* in Somerset. And it was great. But I need to do more of that!

So, I got a bag packed, stuffed the necessaries in the car and headed off to Mytchett for camping and kayaking!

Camping & Kayaking In Mytchett, Surrey

After a little arm-twisting, or maybe it was a thumb-lock from Ann, it was time to try my new tent. That sounds like I had a tent before, but that was years ago!

So packed with 2 tents, 1 kayak and one Zebby (dog), we toddled off to the Mytchett campsite run by the Basingstoke Canal Society in Hampshire & Surrey. You can see the tariffs on the HCC website.

Luckily we arrived late in the day as the Race at the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club was finished and many people had already left. Otherwise it may have been a bit of a wait to get in. It might be a good idea to check the Canal Canoe’s Facebook Page for events.

What Do You Need For Camping?

There are the obvious things you need to pack just for camping and then there are the things you might need depending on the location, weather, length of time away and what you plan to do. I realise that there are some people who like to camp under the stars, so no tent is required. You might consider a tarpaulin in case it rains.

Bare minimum for Camping

Here is a list of must have items:

  • Tent – I know it’s obvious, but have you packed it?!
  • Backpack – to carry the kit, or maybe you’ll just stick it in the car,
  • Torch – Check it works
    Remember Spare Batteries for Devices too (AA, AAA, etc)
  • Sleeping Bag,
  • Ground Mat,
  • Change of Clothes – even if its just pants and socks!
  • Rubbish Bag,
  • First Aid Kit,
  • Toiletries including Toilet Paper

If you are using a Tarpaulin, how do you plane to hang, raise or attach it?
Do you have an A-Frame and ropes for the Tarp?

Love them or hate them, you’ll probably be taking your Phone or at least some electronic devices, so make sure you have the means to charge them or at least have them charged (phone for emergency) before you go!

Active Camping

I’ve just made this term up (based on my knowledge of stretching!). For Active Camping, You will be active in all aspects of the trip.

You will need to remember all the cleaning, cooking and other basic essentials. Consider using Bio-degradable and eco-friendly detergents and toilet paper. Oh, and you’ll need a shovel!

Passive Camping

This is my term for when you go camping, almost glamping I suppose, where all the services and faciltiries are provided, if required. For example Toilets, Showers, Power points and Meals can be catered for by the site that you’re on.

Additional Equipment For Camping

So that was the Basic list of items. Camping is Camping but what will you do while you are away?

Be very sure you have all the essential items you need and then the important items. You don’t want to be taking slippers, tv, dressing gowns and your favourite cushion on a camping trip.

Consider things like activities and meals when planning your camping trip:

  • Does the site have Toilets and Showers?
    You may need to buy a portable toilet!
  • Will you be Hiking or staying on a campsite?
    So pack Hiking Boots, Waterproofs, Whistle, Compass, Maps
  • Will you be Eating On-Site?
    Does the site have a café/restaurant and when do they open/close?
  • Does the site have Gas Bottles and/or Electric Points?
    For charging and powering your stove/devices.

Preparation Is Key!

“Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail”

Benjamin Franklin

Always check the weather for where you are (going). If you are hiking, learn about the area and the terrain first. If you are going up the hills, the weather can change very quickly, especially at higher altitudes. For example, the Highlands of Scotland, Snowdon and Scafell Pike can all change very quickly and you need to be prepared for Wet & Windy, even Freezing conditions – even if it is Bright Sunshine before before you leave to Hike or Climb!

How Did I Choose A Tent?

I did a little reading up before I bought my tent. Factors of choice included:

  • Budget
  • Seasons
  • Waterproofing
  • Size (how many peeps can fit)
  • Weight

The tent was only for me (maybe someone else, who knows) but was also lightweight enough to carry a fair distance; I was planning on doing a bit of hiking up some hills, with tent the tent. It’s amazing what an inexperienced hiking camper (like me) wants to take with them.

After a lot of reading and checking, checking ad reading, I went for the Coleman Cobra 2 which I purchased from the Coleman Store on Amazon.

The Coleman Cobra 2 Tent is lightweight (2.26Kg ) 2 person, 3 Season tent, suitable for Trekking, Camping and Festivals. It is waterproof (HH 3.000 mm) and fits in a backpack. It only takes up 300 x 235 cm (L x W) of space, which will be useful on the hills and moors!

Torches For Camping And Kayaking

LED Torches are very bright and tend to consume less power than the old bulb torches. But what else would you need in a torch?

Even if it is just basic camping, you will still need a torch – those trips from the tent to the toilet and back….

Camping may also include other activities such as Hiking, Kayaking, even just Walking, so you might want to bear these in mind when choosing a torch. Especially if you will be carrying the torch and spare batteries or if you are near water, or you are camping in the UK.

  • Brightness (Lumens),
  • Battery consumption,
  • Water resistance,
  • Impact resistance,
  • Weight / Size.

You will find hundreds if not thousands of torches. They vary in so many ways but you can search for torches on Amazon and use the filtering to find the one that is bet for your needs.

Don’t forget to check the reviews – you can even sort on reviews!

What Are Lumens?

The Mountain Warehouse website describes a Lumen as:

“A lumen us the measurement of the total amount of visible light, in other words the ‘brightness’. The higher the number of lumens the brighter the light. An average torch will output around 50 lumens, with torches capable of 1,000 lumens plus available.”

Kayaking On The Basingstoke Canal

Kayaking for the first time wasn’t scary at all. It wasn’t my Kayak so I didn’t really have to much, just try not to get in the way as my friend Ann assembled the inflatable Kayak.

The DG Aquaglide Chelan 155 was the Kayak of choice. Well I didn’t have a choice, it was my friend Ann’s Kayak! And it is a good one! Ann gives her reasons for choosing this model of Kayak:

  • Avoid Material Outer Layer – they need to be completely dry before you pack away,
  • Drop-Stitch base makes it solid
  • Easy to pack away (by herself if needs be)
  • Big enough for 1 Adult, 2 pre-teens and a dog!
  • Doesn’t need a roof rack
Kayak DG Aquaglide Chelan 155
Kayak DG Aquaglide Chelan 155

I’m looking forward to more Camping and Kayaking trips in the future and who know, I may even buy my own Kayak!

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