I write this just after the May bank holiday when everybody I know on social media seems to have been away camping over the weekend, no doubt taking advantage of the lovely sunny weather, and who can blame them, and also on the day that my partner and son, has packed ups the car and headed camping with her sister and daughter, to have some fun and spend some quality time together during the kids half term! Getting back to nature and spending some time camping in the great outdoors is a traditionally British thing to do, and with the summer months and the summer holidays on the way, many of us are looking at holiday ideas. The cost of living crisis has put such pressure on families that, now more than ever, we are looking for a cheap way to get some much-needed time away without the expense of flights, hotels and expensive restaurants. With this in mind, camping is a great option; you can find a campsite for much cheaper than a hotel, and experience the sense of adventure of camping in the wild and taking in some nature, but of course that's all well and good if you already have the camping equipment, nor are we all a camper van owner! If you don't have your own tents and accessories, and with tents and equipment likely to cost you hundreds of pounds, sleeping under the stars may not seem cost-effective; however, did you know you can now rent tents and equipment?
Tentshare allows you to rent all the equipment you need for your camping adventure, so you don't have a massive outlay on all the equipment you may otherwise buy and then never use again!
For example, a 2-person tent has an average cost of around £10 per day to rent, with larger tents for around £30 and special event/themed tents for about £100 per night. The average family tent can cost about £400 to buy, so renting one for the weekend, for example, will be far less money; if you then decide that you want to invest in your own camping equipment, as you had such a good time, then you can, of course, go ahead and purchase what you need. Still, on the other hand, if you have spent a weekend under an awning and decide that it's not really for you, then you haven't just blown a small fortune on equipment you aren't going to use again and have the peace of mind that you saved some money!
You can also hire all the other bits and bobs you may need on your camping adventures, such as chairs, beds, trailers, roof boxes, power, and even cupboards, to make your trip more comfortable.
You are asked to leave a deposit when booking your camping gear, which is then returned to you once the equipment is returned in good condition.
The equipment can be collected for use, or some items can be sent via courier to you, and there are some services where equipment can be set up for you, ready for your arrival, or can be delivered to your home and set up in your garden for parties, sleepovers etc.
The renters could be rental companies but are more often members of the public who have all the equipment and aren't using it, and so are renting it out as a great way to earn some extra income from their camping gear, which otherwise would just be sitting in a garage or shed somewhere, and not being made use of!
So if you have a camping set-up you aren't using, you can use this equipment as a great side hustle in this gig economy world we live in. Tentshare takes 15% of your earnings, leaving you with a healthy 85% share of the rental fee, and you get to choose what you want to charge for renting out your kit. The administration of renting your equipment doesn't take up a lot of time, So getting involved with Tentshare is a great place to add some money to your bank account!
So Tentshare is a good option for anyone wanting to spend some time outside with the family, and for nature lovers is a lovely way to enjoy the nature around you, and for those people with camping equipment that's not being used, it's an easy way to make some extra passive income; you can earn £1,000 of rental income, or extra money before you need to declare it to the HMRC. Here are my tips to help you make the most of your camping experience:
Plan and prepare in advance:
Research your camping destination: Learn about the weather conditions, facilities available, and any permits or regulations you need to abide by. Most sites need you to book; the days of just turning up to a site and them having room and more or less long gone, so make sure you book as early as possible, especially for high demand times such as the summer holidays or half-term as they may not have any spare space.
Does the site allocate you a parking space next to your tent? I've been caught out by this before, and it caused issues, so make sure when you book if this is important!
Make a checklist: Write down all the essential items you need to bring, such as a tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and appropriate clothing. Check off items as you pack to ensure you don't forget anything important.
Practice setting up your tent: Pitching a tent can be challenging if you've never done it before. Familiarise yourself with the process by practising in your garden or a local park.
Start with a shorter trip:
Consider starting with a shorter camping trip to get a feel for the experience, maybe a camping location in your local area. This way, if you encounter any challenges or you realise you forgot something important, you won't be too far from home.
Overnight stays don't have to be for several days; it's a good idea to make your first camping trip short; you can just stay for one night to get yourself used to how camping works; I suggest starting with two, though, to make sure you give yourself time to acclimatise to the camping way of life.
Opt for a campground with amenities: On your first camping trip, choose a campground that offers amenities such as bathrooms, drinkable water, and picnic areas. This will make your transition into camping more comfortable. Most of the bigger sites have all the modern amenities and often even an onsite shop where you can pick up supplies, but check in advance!
Pack essential camping gear:
Tent: Choose a tent suitable for your group size and weather conditions. Look for one that's easy to set up and provides adequate space. If you're using a rental tent, then speak to the owners to make sure the tent you're looking at will be suitable for the number of people who need to use it.
Sleeping gear: Bring sleeping bags or air mattresses and pillows for a comfortable night's sleep. Don't forget sleeping pads for insulation and extra comfort.
Cooking equipment: Carry a cheap gas portable stove or grill, along with cookware, utensils, and basic ingredients for meals. The extra cost of a cheap gas stove is small when considering the cost of having to go out and buy a takeaway as you can't cook any food! Many people take a BBQ, which is fine, so long as it isn't pouring down with rain! A kettle and a pot noodle can turn a meal disaster around quickly! Don't forget a cooler for storing perishable food; if the campsite has an onsite shop, then they'll often sell ice.
Camping gas can be hard to find during busy camping times, so buy your gas way before it's needed to make sure you have it. You'll often have to put down a hefty deposit for a gas canister, so see if a friend or relative has one before you go out and get one from a shop!
Lighting: Pack flashlights or headlamps with extra batteries to navigate your campsite at night, most sites have little if any lighting, and it gets very dark, and the trek to the toilet block is much harder in pitch black!
Invest in a solar charger for charging your phone or torch; it's a god send!
Dress appropriately and be mindful of the weather:
Check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Layer your clothing to adapt to changing temperatures, and take extra clothing just in case!
Wear comfortable and sturdy footwear suitable for hiking and walking on uneven terrain.
Bring rain gear and extra clothing in case of unexpected weather changes.
Embrace the outdoor experience:
Disconnect from technology: Take this opportunity to enjoy nature and disconnect from your electronic devices. Instead, bring books, games, or musical instruments for entertainment. I always seem to end up at a campsite with zero phone signal, so this may be easier than your think!
Stay organised: Keep your campsite tidy and organised to prevent any unwelcome encounters with wildlife. Store food securely to avoid attracting animals.
Explore and learn: Take time to explore the surroundings, hike trails, and learn about the local flora and fauna. Camping offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and is the best way for kids to learn about the real world around them.