Went camping this last weekend and as a result we are tired, relaxed and have a huuuge pile of washing.
here is what I learned this weekend...
It is important to be comfortable, our friend Simon never was a fan of camping, at our last trip he could be heard saying to his girlfriend 'this is fucking shite' ... at about 1am and at top volume. This time round however they had a decent tent, decent chairs and decent mattress. And I'm quite sure he'll be back for more next time.
It is important to find a moderately flat space, we didn't and I woke up with wet feet...
You should share (i.e. steal) ideas. we now have a box for storing all of our gear in which fits straight in the car. I wish I'd though of it myself as it's so simple.
Have a fire. It is for far more than just cooking and smelling of smoke is a small price to pay.
Go somewhere with decent toilets (even chemical ones, when cleaned regularly) and at least the option of a hot shower, I walked about 3/4 of a mile for a shower at 1.30am on Sunday and it was well worth it.
Decent coffee is priceless... we don't have one of our own but friends had an Atomic coffee machine http://www.made-in-england.org/atomic-coffee-maker/ and the smell of coffee in the morning is a godsend for any hangover.
Buy the best stuff you can. I'm not a fan of cheap short-lifespan goods. Quality tells and over the long term it is better than to replace something lots of times.
Go to charity shops. Instead of spending a fortune on a camping bbq (although I was very jealous of other people's) I bought a £3 metal wine rack that acts as a stand for the grill on top of the camp fire; also takes up less space than the BBQ would.
Big parties are great fun! We had 21 adults, two-and-a-half babies and several dogs and we all had a blast!
Learn an inappropriate song to recite around the campfire, Happy's tune about diseases was particularly amusing!
And finally, pray for nice weather! A (teeny) bit of rain is okay but you do need to be able to spend a lot of time outside.