Frugal Living - Camping Equipment
Preparation is the key - expect all weathers !Sleeping
This has to be about the most important, you don't want to be up half the night because you cold, too hot, damp or just uncomfortable. As far as beds go, you have the choice of Air Beds and Camping Beds. Air beds are comfortable and just have to be pumped up. It is surprisinf though how much they weigh. Plus you may not like the awkwardness of getting up from a low postion. Scrambling around on them can make some of the 'ties' break and lumps can start up. Camping beds are erected by joining poles together and fitting the material accordingly. These are also comfortable, but it's worth putting a blanket down under the sleeping bag as the air can be a little cold on you.
There are a wide variety of sleeping bags with various tog weights. Some have built in cushions and some hoods as well. For the average summer holiday I would go for a summer//autumn tog. Go on the theory that it's easier to cool down than it is to warm up. Also, if you feel the cold, wear many light under garments rather than one big one, for the same reason as above.Cooking
Leo and I camp one week a year with just a single burner gas stove. If you stick to casserole type dishes or fry ups, this is quite adequate. It also saves you having to carry around a large gas canister as most of these just screw onto a small one and last quite some time. You can of course go the whole way on this and get proper stoves with grill and oven connected to a gas cylinder which most campsites can fill up for you if required.
On utensils, it isn't always necessary to buy the proper camping pans etc. You have to bare in mind that you're probably only going to use them 7 - 14 days a year. The more lightweight they are, the better, this will make things boil and cook better and easier on the car springs!
For hiking you can buy pans and kettles with retractable handles for simpler carrying in a rucksack. I brought 3 pans and a kettle at a cheapy shop for £5 some five years ago and all are still serving me well.
An ice box is a good idea. Ice cubes can be brought at most campsite shops and keep food and drinks cool for quite some time. If there's a stream close by, try putting the milk container in the water and food in sealed plastic containers.Lighting
You can get the gas type or battery type. A little tip here is to put some aluminium foil next to them. This throws the light out more for reading etc.
The good news for us frugal and green types is that there are now wind up Camping Lights available at reasonable prices. One good wind and they'll last a good hour on full power. The advantage of these is they are also useful for keeping next to your Bed at home should there be a power cut!
Besides that, that's all there is to it basically. It's obviously a good idea to keep a first aid kit, tent repair kit, insect repellant and a torch for that midnight venture to the Bath House !
Blimey, nearly forgot - and a nice bottle of wine !
Buying equipment at a Campsite Shop could be more expensive
How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire? ~Author Unknown