Darn your easy-going friends and a budget limiting 5 star hotels. You’d rather ‘hot-tub it’ in a penthouse or slum it in a ski resort but a camping trip looms. You don’t want to be the ‘whinging wet blanket’. Here’s 10 tips to enjoy the trip and still be styling.
1 Old clothes
The clothes you’ll take camping will most likely get stained and muddy but that’s no reason to start the trip looking like an old army recruit. From your usual wardrobe work out which comfortable clothes you could spare, like your 3rd best jeans and your washable sneakers and shirts and at least feel presentable. Even if it’s for your own sanity and self respect.
It’s the little things that turn a dwelling into a home, or so thought the early settlers who enjoyed the ‘woman’s touch’ their wives brought to their simple dwellings in the colonies. It’s the same principle camping, except the guys can add the ‘ comfy touch’ just as well as the gals. A tablecloth over an ugly camp table goes a long way to raising the camping aesthetic, as does a decent doona, a good sheet or a good quality pillow. A good quality towel makes your trip bearable in place of the cheapest ‘will not absorb moisture’ supermarket variety. It’s all about comfort.
3 Panty liner
Don’t laugh or sneer or turn your nose up at the idea. You can get a lot more mileage out of your underpants utilising a panty liner. Don’t try the ‘ wear them four times’ thing without a panty liner. It’s much more comfortable and bearable. You’ve earnt yourself eco-recycling karma points from not switching on electricity for the trip duration.
4 Your Usual Cosmetics
There’s few things that make you count down till you head home like itchy or spotty skin. Don’t get all ‘Celebrity Survivor’ by using cheap and nasty supermarket products if you usually soothe the day away with a skincare range tailor made for your needs. It’s a little like giving your pampered pooch yesterday’s dry bread crumbs on your holiday, of course it’s going to freak out. Even if your surrounds are like nothing you’ve ever experienced you can at least keep a semblance of order in your cosmetic bag.
5 Nail polish
Going against the above advice, keep the nail polish off the nails for the trip. Don’t learn this hack the hard way, consisting of starting the trip with groomed colourful nails, packing, sawing, climbing, digging or cleaning on your camp trip only to find splitting, disgusting nails and all the time in the world clutching mugs of hot chocolates to constantly remind you that you forgot the polish remover. That feeling of ‘can’t wait till I can’t take my nail polish off’ can ruin your day. Keep it simple with the nails.
From sunup to sundown you’ll be out in the elements and this means you’ll need constant reapplications of sunscreen. Choose an oil-free brand from a beauty salon or skin clinic, don’t be stuck reapplying ‘toddlers 50+ bulk pack’ or your face full of zits will itch you and you won’t be able to do much about it. You have to wear sunscreen so make it count.
When you camp your clothes get dirty faster, there’s more opportunity for hot chocolate disasters, mud up to your knees and your clothes smell of smoke from the campfire. This all adds to the great experience, campfires are the best but you don’t have to suffer through it all. Take along a small travel bottle of laundry detergent and a few pegs and rinse your dirtiest items. Peg them to your tent ropes or fling them on your tent roof out in the sun. If it’s rainy don’t be shy to use a town laundromat. There’s no prizes for being the most stoic camper. If you don’t have access to a shower at least your clothes will be fresh and you’ll feel a million bucks.
- Cheap utensils
It’s a sad old dinner cutting your steak up on with plastic utensils on a soggy paper plate. They don’t have to be Royal Doulton but it does help if they’re picnic quality metal and sturdy plastic or tin or melamine or similar. Spend the money and buy a decent set and make them your camping utensils. It’s the little comforts that make a trip. Don’t forget the dish-washing detergent and equipment.
You’ve heard of the 80:20 rule some people live by? Plenty of us wear by organic, fresh and packet-free living for maximum health benefits but when you’re camping sanity is a massive factor not to be dismissed. Plenty of health-conscious camping newbies start out keenly making elaborate fresh meals from scratch by fireside, only to realise if there was ever an affair to be had with a few packet foods now is the time to be a-sampling. Simple one pot flavoured rice meals, nutrition-devoid 2 minutes noodles, sugar-rich baked beans, crisps, breakfast cereals, simple sausages and packet salads all have their moment in the sun. And that moment is now.
- Plug ins
Don’t be a purist, although making damper is fun and a real novelty, appliances are absolutely fine. If your vehicle has a power point outlet charge your phone in glee. As with a toaster, thermomix or coffee maker. If it’s health we’re talking a cheap Kmart jaffle-maker trumps highway McDonald’s food every time. Don’t forget the butter! See, it’s not so bad after all.