Kiwi kids are back at school, the camping grounds are thinning out – and in true New Zealand style, from here-on-in, the summer weather just gets better and better. There’s never been a more perfect time to hit the road with the tent on board. And with our 10 tops tips for mature campers, your experience is going to be awesome!
Tame the tent: those big stand-up tents may look like a home away from home, but they’re heavy-as, take an entire family to erect, and are no fun at all to roll up wet when the storm hits just as you’re packing. The secret to success is to go with a hiking tent. Keep it simple by always opting for one with no more than 2 poles, 4 pegs and an insect screen.
Room to move: While twenty-somethings may be happy to pack into a tent like sardines, mature campers will be more comfortable with room to stretch and change sleeping position throughout the night. If there are 2 of you, choose a tent designed for 3 (and so on).
Aches and pains be gone! A common complaint among mature campers is aches and pains from sleeping ‘on the ground’. What most people don’t realise is that aches and pains come more from a cold bed than from a less familiar one. The answer isn’t an air bed – which is often chilly to lie on. The way to keep warm – and comfortable – is to lie on a self-inflating foam mat. These mats provide sound insulation from the cold ground and help keep you snug throughout the night.
Pillows are perfect: Believe it or not, if you have a comfortable pillow, any imperfections in the rest of your bedding will barely be noticeable. Pack your favourite pillow and get the best night’s sleep.
Pack the warmer PJs! Most of us in the 50+ age bracket find we need to get up at least once during the night. In a camping ground that means a short trek to the loo – and not just down the hallway! Pack heavier weight PJs to keep you cosy. And while you’re at it, choose a pitch that isn’t too far from the ablutions block.
Shower smart: Skip the morning hustle and bustle of the ablutions block by showering mid-day or pre-dinner. You’ll avoid the young campervanners hogging the bathroom mirrors while they apply their mascara, and likely arrive to a shower that’s just been cleaned by camping ground staff!
Dressing gowns are great! The one drawback with camping ground showers is that their floors are usually damp and there are few places to hang your clothes. Head to the shower block with your towel and dressing gown only, and leave getting dressed until you’re back in your tent.
Kitchen cunning: The overseas campervanners are up at the crack of dawn, eager to get away on their next sightseeing adventure. Leave them to it and enjoy a lie-in until the coast is clear. At 9.30am you’ll almost certainly have the dining room to yourself!
Fridge-furore: Camping ground fridges are usually chock-a-block over summer. Organise your food so you have a minimum that requires chilling. Store it in the communal fridge in one sealed plastic container – and name it before you leave home.
Choose your chair: Sleeping on the ground can be thoroughly comfortable. However, for mature campers, sitting on it seldom is. Be sure to pack a full-height deck chair for relaxing in during the day with a book and a drink.
Access the amenities: Check out the camping grounds before you leave home. As a mature camper, you’re more likely to have access to discretionary spending, and the extra amenities offered by some camping grounds. Look for sites which offer the likes of hot mineral pools, spa pools, bike hire, and tours.