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Geocaching: Our Tips For Your Adventure

Geocaching: Our Tips For Your Adventure

In case you haven't heard of it before, geocaching is a craze that was first founded by Matt Stum in May 2000. Since then it has increasingly gained in popularity worldwide. 

So, what is Geocaching? In a nutshell, it is more sophisticated version of treasure hunting tailored for today’s technology savvy world. It is a virtual community of treasure hunters that share particular details of caches (the treasure) on various websites across the world. All a geocacher needs to do is choose a cache, navigate there, find it and then log it.

Caches come in all shapes and sizes, however, the most common is in the form of a small plastic box.

You can also get them in varying levels of difficulty, they span right from just a simple find on the GPS system, through to a multi-cache where you get a series of clues leading to the final destination, and then finally all the way to puzzle caches, where you will need to solve a puzzle to find out the coordinates.

You can search online to reveal all different kinds of geocaching websites, including regional, national and international kinds. The one that the professionals recommend is GeoCaching.com as it is the most comprehensive. All you have to do to be a part is sign up, log on and enter a place name or postcode to start a search.

Geocaching is a brilliant way of falling in love with the countryside you know so well again. It encourages you to look strongly into the wildlife, and has the added bonus of being relatively cheap, with no outlay if you use your smartphone.

This appeals to all ages, and is perfect for children as it will teach them about navigation and maps as well as getting them into the great outdoors.

You can easily combine geocaching with camping, as a fun dimension for a typically daytime activity. Why not take our Stamford 20L backpack with some snacks in, and our kids Dinosaur Wellingtons, for an authentic geocaching experience?

Here is a quick guide to getting started with geocaching:

  • Log on to a geocaching website and either download a geocache to your GPS or write down the co-ordinates and clues

  • Set up your GPS and off you go

  • Find the location and use the clues to find the exact spot where the geocache is hidden

  • Open the geocache and see what is inside. Fill in the logbook if there is one

  • Put it back exactly where you find it, but do not let anyone who is not with you see what you are doing

  • Log the details of your find online when you get home if you want to, and then do it all again!

Some Geocaching rules:

  • If you take a ‘treasure’, replace it with something of equal value

  • Always put the cache back exactly where you found it

  • Report a missing or damaged cache as soon as you can

  • Do not spoil the cache for others, and do not give away too many clues to other geocachers to ruin the hunt

  • Always observe the countryside code and respect your surroundings, and do not cause any damage or alarm the general public.

And finally, some top tips:

  • Have a practice run close to home so you can get a feel for it somewhere you know well

  • Carry a pen to sign the log book – some caches are not big enough to store one, or they may not work

  • Do not forget to log your find (or not) online when you get back

  • If you are struggling to find a cache (even with the clues), step back and try to look at the area objectively. Where are good places to hide a cache? Where would you hide it?

  • Make a day of it- take a picnic! We have a huge range of picnic attire including a range made out of rice husk

Happy Geo-Caching!

The Key Rules to Wild Camping

The Key Rules to Wild Camping

Wild camping is sleeping outdoors pretty much anywhere other than a campsite. This can be done in a tent and is ideally done quite far away from any roads or buildings.

It's the perfect way to escape from the stresses of everyday life whilst also exploring the wonderful scenery of this world.

However, there are some rules that you have to follow if you are to have a successful and safe trip. Here are the ones that we feel you should be aware of:

  • Firstly, you have to follow the Outdoor Access CodeYou have to make sure that you leave no trace of where you have camped and also make sure that you don’t disturb other people or wildlife whilst you’re thereAlso make sure that you don’t dig ditches, trample on plants or move rocks.
  • Secondly, know where you’re going. It’s not as simple to just pick up your tent and head off- wild camping is allowed in most of Scotland (some restrictions apply near Loch Lomond) and on Dartmoor in Devon, but currently it is technically illegal elsewhere in England and Wales without the landowner’s consent. Consequently, if you want to travel to areas like the Lake District, responsible wild camping in certain places on higher ground is tolerated.
  • Another tip to know about is that you should pitch your tent up as late at night as possible and then pack up again as early as you can the next day.
  • You shouldn’t stay in the same place for any longer than a night or two.
  • You should also pay attention to ‘no camping’ signs, you should keep it to a small group and also look for a site that is flat and sheltered from the wind.
  • You should always stay well clear of pitching up in fields that have crops or grazing livestock inside.
  • When people pack to go camping they often pack a lot of luxury items, however, you really only need a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, some kind of cooking gear, food, a water bottle, a torchyour smartphone and rucksack. Anything else is just a luxury.
  • It’s always a bonus if you can choose a tent with a colour that blends well with the scenery. If you check out our shop you will be able to find lots of different tents that do this perfectly- maybe try having a look at our Pioneer tent in particular.
  • You should also try to avoid lighting a fire, even if you can tell that other people have done so. The landowner may find this extremely disrespectful so it’s best to just stick to your camping stove and put more layers on if you're cold.
  • It is important to leave the site as you found it. As well as packing up your own littertry taking away any you came across whilst you were there too. 
  • Finally, before heading off, you should always let someone know roughly where you will be and when you’re expected to be back.

Happy camping everyone! 

How to make the perfect campfire!

How to make the perfect campfire!

Making the perfect campfire isn't always as simple as you would expect, so here are our tips on how to make it as good as it gets.

A first point to make sure you're aware of is that you should always have a source of water or a bucket full of water, and a shovel nearby at all times in case of an emergency.

One bag of logs and some sticks should be enough for a couple of evenings. Also please ensure that you have a word with children about fire safety.

To start with, you can break up a couple of firelighters and set them in the base. This might just take a little patience.

You can also try a web of small dry sticks. Place enough to really get the fire started before adding your bigger logs. You can also use charcoal briquettes, as this will extend the life of the fire and give a steady heat without having dancing flames.

Screwing up some paper and pushing it down around the sticks will let you set light to the firelighters without burning your fingers on the flames. Of course, if you don't have firelighters then more paper will be needed - this is best twisted in spirals, and laid down before the sticks are added.

Once the sticks are burning well, you can add a couple of logs. Leaving this too late will see the sticks burn out before the denser logs start to burn. The variety of wood types used plus how dry it is means that you'll have to use your own judgement as to when and how much to add.

The fire should be fully underway at this point, but try to resist the temptation to keep adding bigger logs for a huge blaze. You can keep the fire smaller and sit closer which will firstly allow you to keep just as warm, but also it will allow you to use less of your logs etc., so it is also cheaper!

Once you have the perfect campfire, why not use some of our picnicware to accompany the food?

We hope this blog helps you in your campfire adventures!

Your guide to camping throughout the year

Your guide to camping throughout the year

For many, the end of Summer doesn’t mean the end of the camping season. As long as you prepare yourself with the right equipment then you can enjoy camping all year round. You’ll also be one of the lucky campers that get to experience waking up to a frost-covered field, or enjoying a mug of hot chocolate from the comfort of your own canvas - which brings us to our first obvious topic to cover:

Weather Conditions – Preparation really is key to overcoming any of the challenges posed by the trickier weather conditions. A tent and awning that is pitched properly should be able to stand up to most weather conditions, although this does not mean that they will withstand a storm, so make sure you keep an eye on weather forecasts when necessary.

What gear to take – Big woolly clothing and hot water bottles will definitely help to keep you safe from the chilly weather. A tent carpet will also help to protect you from the harsh cold ground. Taking waterproof clothing and footwear will save you from the trouble of having to sit in cold, wet clothing throughout the day.

Take plenty of lighting with you – Taking a strong torch and lantern with you will help to keep everything visible during the longer nights of winter. Some campsites will also provide you with an electrical power supply, so it’s worth considering your options before your travels. Don’t forget to take plenty of spare batteries with you just in case.

Pitch smartly – Make sure to pitch in the shelter of a building if possible, as this will help to protect you from the chilly winds. A well-placed windbreak will also help you to combat the wind and leave less of it crashing against the canvas of your tent bedroom. You should avoid pitching next to any open water as this may lead to condensation problems and avoid pitching at the bottom of any slopes to avoid the possibility of small flooding.

Factor in the nearby entertainment – The nights get darker a lot earlier during those Winter months, so it’s worth investigating whether your campsite has any nearby entertainment that you can rely upon during the long evenings. A nearby restaurant or pub can really help to warm you up for example, and gives you a perfect excuse to let someone else cook for you for a change. The nearer by these points of interest are, the better.

Take the right bedding with you - Make sure you purchase and pack your four-season sleeping bags and take any duvets and blankets from home. A sleeping bag with liner will help to improve the bag’s warmth significantly. Sleeping on a thick self-inflating mat will also help, as the air inside of an airbed is more likely to get cold more quickly. Also, don’t be tempted to have a hot drink before going to sleep, as you might have to wake up during the cold dead of night to go to the loo!

Build yourself a campfire – You can’t beat the feeling of sitting around a campfire with friends and family during a dark night, but of course this is only possible if it’s allowed within the rules of your campsite, so make sure you check first! The best way to build a strong campfire is to build it up gradually, adding larger logs in stages - but be careful not to build it too high, and be careful of wind direction as you may get smoke in your tent which will cause damage.