A boy who raised more than £700,000 for charity after spending 600 consecutive nights in a tent outside his house has compiled a list of tips for camping beginners.
Max Woosey, 12, captured the hearts of the nation in 2020 by camping out to raise money for local hospices, and now wants to encourage others to get outside.
Checking the weather in advance, packing flip flops for night-time trips to the toilet, and zipping up all entrances to keep the bugs at bay are among his top pieces of advice.
He also advises taking extra tent pegs to be used with a rubber mallet, wearing polyester clothing which dries quickly in the rain and turning off electrical devices to enjoy the experience.
His advice comes after a survey of 2,000 adults carried out by Camping in the Forest found one in six had never been camping, and 23 per cent had only been once or twice.
Max, who has teamed up with the campsite chain to help offer the advice, said: “I only planned to spend a few weeks sleeping outside, but that soon became months, and before I knew it, I passed the year mark.
“I’ve been through several tents – but that’s more due to weather conditions than lack of preparation.
“Spending hundreds of nights in the great outdoors has meant I’ve learned a trick or two during my time in the tent.
“There are so many benefits to camping – switching off and embracing nature is good for the mind, and I hope my tips will inspire those who’ve never camped before to give it a try.”
Of the more inexperienced campers polled, 46 per cent admitted that bad weather can put them off, while 44 per cent did not relish the idea of an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
Having to leave the tent in the middle of the night for the toilet and feeling cold at night were other reasons some said they avoided the great outdoors.
Meanwhile, 22 per cent were worried about animals getting into their tent and 12 per cent feared they would suddenly wake and find themselves surrounded by cows.
Bugs (35 per cent), mud (33 per cent) and even condensation on the side of the tent (13 per cent) had put people off the idea of camping.
But Max, from Braunton, Devon, said both writing a list and over-preparing for a trip away – including reading online tips, watching YouTube videos and reading up on local amenities – can help those nervous about sleeping under canvas.
The survey, carried out via OnePoll, found fresh air, being close to nature and seeing the stars were among the things people loved most about camping.
20 top camping tips from Max Woosey
- Choose your campsite location carefully. Do your research to scout out nearby attractions, hikes, and beauty spots
- Switching off phones, tablets and devices will allow you to be mindful of your surroundings
- Immerse yourself in your surroundings, whether that’s walking around on the grass barefoot, swimming in a nearby lake, or lying under the stars at night
- Read up on the amenities – each campsite will have its own rules – from keeping dogs on a lead, to noise levels and parking locations
- Create a list of the essentials to avoid forgetting even basic items such as a sleeping bag, roll mat, tent pegs and a toothbrush during the frenzied packing process
- Always check the weather forecast before heading off – packing for all weathers with waterproofs, blankets and extra layers is recommended.
- Search for quality second-hand items and ask friends if they have any gear you can borrow
- Take durable, quick-drying and comfortable clothies made with polyester blends, alongside sensible shoes
- Practice putting up the tent before you go. Zip the doors and windows up to put the tent up and open them to take it down so that air doesn’t get trapped inside.
- Pitch your tent on flat ground, removing any large stones or twigs, and check for ants’ nests to avoid insects in the tent
- Bring extra pegs and tap in all the way with a rubber mallet. The easiest way to remove them is using another peg to hook them out
- In winter when the temperature drops, a wider sleeping bag is also handy if you’re a fidgety sleeper, or if you’ve got blankets that you want add for extra warmth
- Avoid condensation by opening the air vents in your tent
- Keep zips closed to help keep flies and mosquitoes at bay, but if it’s warm you can unzip the outside and keep the inner door zipped up
- Keep flip flops, a torch, and a waterproof coat by the entrance of the tent for night-time toilet trips
- Take a cool box to ensure food and drink stay chilled. Any frozen items will defrost slowly in the box but this can also keep other items cool
- Keep everything in plastic bags or boxes
- If you’re not a seasoned camper, bringing a few items from home such as teddies or a favorite hot chocolate
- At home, stow away all camping essentials, once cleaned, in a protective box so they are ready for next time
- Reflect on your time – focus on what you enjoyed and what you would like to change for your next trip