A BOY who has raised more than £700,000 for charity after spending 600 consecutive nights in a tent outside his home has shared his tips for beginners starting their camping experience.
Max Woosey, 12, won the hearts of the nation in 2020 by camping to raise money for local hospices and now wants to encourage others to get outside.
Checking the weather beforehand, packing flip-flops for going to the toilet at night and zipping up all entrances to keep bugs out are among the youngster’s top tips.
He also advises bringing extra tent pegs to use with a rubber mallet, wearing polyester clothing that dries quickly in the rain, and turning off electrical devices to enjoy the experience.
His advice comes after a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by Camping in the Forest found that one in six has never camped and 23 percent have only camped once or twice.
Max, who has teamed up with the campsite chain to offer some practical advice to first-timers, said: “I was only planning on sleeping outside for a few weeks but that soon turned into months and before I knew it the year mark was passed.
“I went through several tents – but that is more due to the weather conditions than a lack of preparation.
“Hundreds of nights in the great outdoors have taught me a trick or two during my time in the tent.
“Camping has so many benefits – switching off and embracing nature is good for the spirit and I hope my tips will inspire those who have never camped before to try it.”
Of the more inexperienced campers surveyed, 46 percent admit bad weather can put them off, while 44 percent don’t like the idea of an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
Leaving the tent in the middle of the night to use the toilet, having to lug everything to the shower and freezing at night are other reasons why some avoid the great outdoors.
While 22 percent are concerned about wildlife getting into their tent, and 12 percent fear waking up suddenly to find themselves surrounded by cows.
Bugs (35 percent), mud (33 percent) and even condensation on the side of the tent (13 percent) put people off camping.
But Max, from Braunton, Devon, believes both writing a list and over-preparing for a trip – including reading online tips, watching YouTube videos and finding out about local amenities – can help those who are are nervous about sleeping under canvas.
The study, conducted via OnePoll, found that fresh air, being close to nature and stargazing are among the things people love most about camping.
While others enjoy the stunning views from the tent, have breakfast outside and hear birdsong in the morning.
And while only one in ten adults rates their outdoor skills as “very good,” 45 percent consider camping as a cheaper option in the future.
Camping in the Forest is offering a novice camper the chance to stay overnight at one of its UK locations this summer, along with a £500 cash prize.
Spokesperson Rebecca Phipps said: “As one of the country’s most enthusiastic campers, Max’s experience and passion for the great outdoors is admirable so we’ve been delighted to work with him to advise those tempted to camp there.” but might be a little intimidated by the prospect.
“His knowledge of spending so long under the canvas is undeniable, but we believe he proves that camping is an accessible option for everyone – and at such a young age too.
“With so many beautiful places to discover in the UK and more people than ever considering camping, we want to help potential campers as much as we can and inspire them to enjoy the great outdoors.”
THE TOP 20 TIPS FROM MAX
1. Choose your campsite location carefully – do your research to explore nearby attractions, hikes and beauty spots.
- Embrace it – turning off phones, tablets, and devices lets you be aware of your surroundings.
- Come down to earth – immerse yourself in your surroundings. Whether you’re walking barefoot in the meadow, swimming in a nearby lake, or lounging under the stars at night.
- Find out about the facilities – each campsite has its own rules – from dog leashes to noise levels and parking.
- Make a list of essentials – even the most basic things like a sleeping bag, roll mat, pegs and a toothbrush can be easily overlooked in a hectic packing process.
- Always check the weather forecast before heading out – it’s recommended to pack with waterproof clothing, blankets and extra layers for all weather conditions.
- Have a look around – you can find many quality second-hand items and it’s also worth asking friends if they have gear to borrow.
- Dress for the occasion – bring durable, quick-drying, and comfortable polyester-blend clothing, as well as sensible footwear such as trainers, flip-flops, or wellies for walking.
- Practice pitching your tent before you head out – YouTube is great for advice and tips. Close the doors and windows to set up the tent and open them to take it down to avoid trapping air inside.
- Level Ground – Set up your tent on level ground, remove any large rocks or twigs and look for ant nests to avoid insects in the tent.
- Bring extra pegs – and tap them all the way in with a rubber mallet (if you do it with your foot, they’ll warp). The easiest way to remove them is to unhook them with another pin.
- Choose the right sleeping bag – in winter when the temperatures drop a wider sleeping bag also comes in handy if you are a restless sleeper or if you have extra blankets you want to tuck in for extra warmth.
- Avoid condensation – open the vents in your tent – simple but effective and you won’t wake up with a damp tent.
- Keep the zips closed – if possible it can help to keep flies and mosquitoes at bay if you zip the tent door closed, but if it is warm you can unzip the outside and leave the inner door closed.
- No hassle of going to the toilet – have flip flops, a flashlight and a rain jacket ready at the entrance of the tent for going to the toilet.
- Meal Prep – Bring a cooler to ensure food and drinks stay chilled. All frozen items will slowly thaw in the box, but this can keep other items cool as well. Preparing to reheat beforehand can make things easier when you want to relax – we’ll take a pot of Mama’s curry sauce and just add veggies and serve with flatbread.
- Keep everything in plastic boxes – this is the best way to ensure you and your belongings are as dry and comfortable as possible.
- Home comforts – if you are not an experienced camper, it can be helpful to bring a few things from home, such as: B. teddy bears or a favorite hot chocolate.
- Stow away utensils – at home, once cleaned, stow all camping utensils in a protective box in the garage, ready for the next trip.
- Think about your time – focus on what you liked and what you want to change for your next trip.