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Accommodation / The Facts About Camping

History of Camping
Camping holidays have been popular for decades and today there are some 1.2 million people in the UK who choose camping as their choice of holiday or holiday accommodation.

One of the very first known campsites was that of the Cunningham Camp in Howstrake, Isle of Man which opened in 1894; and strangely enough all of the campers were male.

It was open from May through to October and by the end of the century was attracting over 600 men to the site per week. The success continued which led in 1904 to the acquisition of 5 acres of land where a staggering 1500 tents and a 100 foot dining pavilion were erected in time for the following season.

In the 1920's and 1930's camping flourished when the obsession for 'healthy living and the great outdoors' became popular amongst British holiday makers.

By the 1960's camping holidays were becoming more and more popular as an alternative to the very much traditional boarding house or hotel. It gave people more freedom from the restrictions often imposed by boarding houses, and they could also make large savings on their holiday.

Today, camping is still popular and with new technology the choice and quality of camping equipment has reached new heights.

Choosing your Tent
There are various types of tents available, each designed with a particular purpose in mind.

So before you travel you must ask yourself these questions.

  1. How is the tent to be carried, e.g. in a rucksack or by car?
  2. How many people are to sleep in the tent?, and
  3. Do you require one large sleeping area or do you prefer separated sleeping compartments?

FRAME TENTS
These have the best all round headroom and living space. They offer separate sleeping compartments, kitchen and living area. The frame is generally constructed of tubular steel.

RIDGE TENTS
These are triangular in shape with a horizontal pole supported by two vertical end poles. These tents are very sturdy with plenty of headroom; however, the sides are unsupported so it is advisable that these tents are pitched end on to the wind, by the guy ropes.

DOME TENTS
These are very simple to erect using lightweight flexible poles that thread through a sleeve in the tent fabric. The poles are usually made form fibre-glass or alloy. This type of tent is a great choice for the backpacker and can range from a 1 berth up to family sized.

GEODESIC TENTS
These are very similar to the dome tents, except that they have a different pole configuration. The flexible poles cross at different levels and hold the fabric taut and because of this are better suited than other tents in windy conditions.

TOURING TENTS
These have an extended ridge and dome and a good size porch area for shade, shelter or cooking; some even have windows. The poles are of tubular steel, alloy or fibre-glass.

VIS--VIS
This is a term that applies to tents with sleeping compartments on either side of a living area. The basic tent can be either ridge or dome style. Most are made in lightweight nylon or polyester.

HOOP TENTS
These combine the features of the ridge and dome tents in a single design. They are strong and offer plenty of room inside. The hoop tent is favoured by the backpacker because of its lightweight, size and strength.

Camping Safety Guidelines

Mountain Safety

  • Wear the appropriate clothing
  • Plan your walk very carefully
  • Check the weather forecast - remembering that temperature drops 2-3C per 300m climbed
  • Always carry a map and be confident using it (a compass, whistle and first aid kit are useful too)
  • Carry enough food and water - including reserve supplies
  • Remember that most accidents happen on the descent; especially when you are tired so take care

Fire Safety

GAS APPLIANCES

  • Change disposable gas cartridges only when completely empty
  • When changing cartridges and cylinders, do so in the open air, away from any ignition source
  • When an appliance is not in use, the cylinder should be turned off at the valve
  • Ensure that flexible pipes are securely clipped and do not leak

LIQUID FUEL APPLIANCES

  • Avoid using appliances fuelled by petrol, if possible and ensure the correct fuel is used
  • Filling and lighting should be carried out in the open air. All fuel used should be stored in a cool place away from combustibles, and in the correct containers
  • Remember, hot weather will cause fuel to evaporate! The fumes will follow ground contours and may travel a long way unobserved.
  • Ensure that your group know the location of the telephone to call the Emergency Services
  • Ensure that your group know the location of the nearest fire point and how to use the equipment provided.

COOKING

  • Site cookers away from the entrance of your tent
  • Only cook in tents which have a designed 'kitchen area'
  • Ensure your cooker is stable and not likely to tip over
  • Keep flammables including long grass away from the cooking area

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