Top 5 must-have camping accessories

It’s important to travel light when camping (my van struggles to average 25MPG when empty and cruising at 55MPH, let alone when it’s fully laden with camping equiment!), but a few well chosen accessories can make life easier and more comfortable. Over the last year we’ve refined our list of essential accessories that we won’t leave home without, so here in no particular order, are our top 5 must-have camping accessories…

The Best Campsites in Britain & Ireland 2010

If you’ve ever browsed the camping section of a bookshop or Amazon looking for a campsite review book, then there’s a good chance that you’ll have seen one of the many Alan Rogers guides. The Alan Rogers guides are well known and well established with the first having been published in 1968. These days there are several guides covering most major European countries as well as this one which is the Britain and Ireland guide.

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The real cost of campervanning

On a recent camping trip in Sussex with friends, a couple of us got talking about the cost of campervanning. We agreed that it’s a great way to get out and see different parts of the UK – areas that, even after living in this country our whole lives, we hadn’t quite got around to visiting until we got our campervans. With campsites costing on average around £15 per night it seems like pretty good value too, but is campervanning actually a cheap way of holidaying when you add up all the hidden costs? Let’s try to work it out…

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Book review: Tiny Campsites

We haven’t been campers for very long, in fact not much more than a year, but in that time we’ve very quickly come to the conclusion that we’re not big fans of sprawling corporate chain campsites. The sites we’ve enjoyed the most have all been smaller independent sites in great locations. That’s why Tiny Campsites seemed like the perfect book for us. In his new book, Guardian travel writer Dixe Wills reviews and recommends 75 campsites from across Britain that are all no bigger that one acre in size. (more…)

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Rother Valley, Northiam, East Sussex

On the outskirts of Northiam in East Sussex just beyond the River Rother and the railway line for the Kent and East Sussex heritage steam train service sits Rother Valley campsite. The entrance to the site is via the car park for The Station House pub and could be a little tight to manouvre for large motorhomes but was fine for our Bongo. Though not officially “on site”, having a pub so close might earn the campsite bonus points except that it had closed down when we visited. The campsite reception is housed in a small green caravan nestled among trees and flowers alongside the entrance. The full Happy Campervanning team with our two vans were in attendance for this mid-August weekend break.

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Outney Meadow Caravan Park, Bungay, Suffolk

We arrived at Outney Meadow quite late so the main reception, housed in a converted stable, was closed but someone appeared from a bungalow opposite reception to greet us and asked us to follow him to our pitch. He then promptly jumped on a bike and cycled off with us driving behind in the van – a nice little touch. The main carpark at the entrance to the site continues the impression given from the road – it’s a large gravel area lined with old tractors and mouldy caravans. The route to the camping pitch is much better though – down a conifer lined lane with three separate camping areas at the end.

Bay View Farm, Looe, Cornwall

Of the three sites that we stayed at during our first Cornwall Camping trip I’d say that Bay View was our favourite. It’s small friendly sites in great locations like this that are what got us excited about owning a campervan in the first place. It didn’t have the best on-site facilities, and in bad weather it could feel quite remote, but did I mention the view?

Rutland Caravan and Camping

Last weekend we stayed at Rutland Caravan and Camping site near Oakham in Rutland. It was a trip that we had arranged with three friends a few months ago back when it was far too cold to contemplate camping so we were incredibly lucky to have picked the hottest weekend of the year so far. For this trip we had three people in two Bongo campervans travelling North up the A1 in convoy (a Bongo Conga as we decided to call it), and two others travelling down in the opposite direction who would be sleeping in our awning.
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