As much as we all love complex and beautifully made camping gadgetry and equipment, sometimes it's the simple (and even silly) things that can make a trip more enjoyable. This post, keeping with our recent winter theme, begins our series on camping hacks - a beginner's guide to the tricks and tips that will make you the envy of your friends and the most comfortable person at the camp site.
1. Sleep with your clothes
By stuffing your clothes for the next day into your sleeping bag with you, you'll have warm clothes to put on in the morning, avoiding that awful feeling of wriggling out of a warm sleeping bag and into icy fabrics.
2. Use your rucksack as a foot warmer
You can keep your feet even cosier at night by shoving the end of your sleeping bag into your rucksack once you're inside it.
3. Use a tarp as a wind break
Not only will a tarp rigged between two trees keep your tent protected from gusts of cold wind, it'll help shelter your fire and make it easier to build and sustain as well. Good quality tarps like this one are available from Vango for £27.99.
4. Keep matches in a metal container
If it's cold enough for plastic to freeze, it can break, and a broken plastic match container quickly leads to lost or soggy matches. Keeping them in a metal container will ensure their safety and usefulness.
5. Two person sleeping bags are the ultimate way to use the Buddy System
Having a two-person sleeping bag allows you to make the most of the Buddy System, whereby you share warmth with others to keep your body temperature up at night. The Vango Aurora Double Sleeping Bag is a three-season rated bag with a glove-friendly zip pull, and is currently available for £95.
6. Don't let your gloves get cold
If you take your gloves off for a minute to wash your hands or do something fiddly, keep them inside your jacket until you're ready to use them again. This way, they'll stay dry and warm rather than forming a frost from any moisture that was inside them when you took them off.
7. Shake it up
The insulation in sleeping bags is designed to trap air, and therefore functions better the more air it traps. You can facilitate this simply by giving your bag a good shake before you go to bed at night.
8. Bring spares
It sounds obvious, but you really will kick yourself if you lose one glove halfway through your trip and are stuck with one cold hand. Even worse, if you lose your hat and have nothing else handy to keep your head warm, your whole body temperature will suffer,
9. Keep your water upside down
If there's a chance the temperature will drop below freezing at night, store your water bottles with the lids facing down. Ice forms from the top down, so by keeping the lid at the bottom, you'll be able to drink from the bottle in the morning even if some of the water has started to freeze.
10. Eat big and eat late
Eating at 6pm and going to bed at 10pm when you're already starting to feel slightly hungry again will not help you keep warm through the night. By delaying your food and eating a lot of it, you'll go to bed full and warm, and be better able to maintain your body temperature.
For more ways to up your camping game, stay tuned for next month's Camping Hacks: Part 2. In the meantime, let us know if you can think of any to add to this list - the crazier, the better!