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Camping is a wonderful, inexpensive way to enjoy time away. For new campers there is a tempting array of equipment to choose from. Before you blow the budget, these tips offer practical advice on what you really need to buy, and what you need to know before starting out on a camping adventure.

Camping is a great holiday option. After the initial outlay for equipment, it can be a cheap way to see the country or the world, depending on how adventurous you feel. There is a bewildering array of camping goods to tempt the inexperienced. It’s easy to get carried away and blow your budget, only to discover later that you could have made better choices and saved money. Keep things simple to start with. You can add to a basic kit once you’ve got a couple of camping trips behind you and have a better idea of what you really need.

1. Buy the right tent. Take your time, look around camping stores, exhibitions and online outlets. Work out what you need in terms of numbers to accommodate and space required for social/cooking areas. Also consider where you will be camping. Will it be a warm or a cold climate? Buy the best quality tent you can afford, it will serve you better and for longer than a cheaper option.

2. Practice erecting your new tent. If your garden isn’t big enough, borrow a friend’s space. There should be instructions with the tent. Keep them with the rest of your essential travel documents and add your own notes to them if necessary. Remember to take them with you.

3. Choose a flat pitch. The slightest rise in the ground will feel like a steep hill once you get to bed and start rolling or sliding down the slope.

4. When packing your vehicle, put the tent in last. It’s a bulky item, and it might seem logical to pack it first and fit smaller stuff around it, but it’s the first thing you will need at the campsite. It’s no fun having to completely unpack a car in the rain, just to get to the tent.

5. Before you buy any of the tempting extras that catch your eye, ask yourself what you really need. Have a look around the house and garden for kitchen equipment, folding tables and chairs, and anything useful that will fit into your vehicle easily. If you intend to eat out a lot, do you really need to buy a folding kitchen range, or will a single burner be adequate? For your first time out, rough it. Buy a decent cool box, basic food, and folding table and chairs if you haven’t already got them in your garden.

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