As most of you know, I love chilling out by the beach with family and friends. The experience is made even better with a charcoal fire BBQ. Yums! Here's a snippet of my recent 3D2N camping trip if you're interested. Idyllic, I know. ;)
For the uninitiated, camping outdoors can seem overwhelming. Especially if you're used to the comforts of home and the convenience of amenities nearby. However it isn't really that complicated if you can resolve to live simply for a couple of days.
In this post, I'll discuss some important considerations when selecting the ideal spot for your little rustic retreat.
// Beach ?
Countries like Singapore have very few camping spots open to the public where you can set up a legit tent. If you live elsewhere, you're likely spoilt for choice, in which case I'd say camp in different spots to determine the environment you prefer.
Locally, however, I'd recommend East Coast Park simply because you can pitch a tent in designated areas with a permit (it's free - visit the National Parks Website to apply) and it is probably the best option out of all the camping grounds out there.
// Amenities ?
Assuming your chosen location has amenities available, how close by should you pitch your tent? It depends. Situating yourself close to the public loo / shower does mean that it will be more convenient for you when the time comes to go about your hygiene routine, but it also means that you'll be in the thick of it when others use it. These are high traffic zones.
Consider parking yourself some place where the loo is a short dash away should any unforeseen circumstances happen, but far enough so that someone's hygiene routine doesn't rouse you from peaceful slumber.
Also, if there are shelters nearby that might aid you should your tent leak during poor weather conditions, try to lay claim to them. Having benches in close proximity will aid you when you prep meals in true camper style.
// Safety ?
Safety is important. Never camp alone. Even if you're there by yourself, find a well-populated area to pitch your tent. There is safety in numbers. Singaporeans who enjoy camping are generally quite helpful and full of the kampung spirit. Don't hesitate to ask for help should you require it. We campers look out for one another.
I haven't had anything pinched despite not having my eye on things 24/7. Most Singaporeans respect your goods. Most of the time "goods" involve lots of stuff for cooking. Having said that, don't be a goon and bring all your valuables with you. That's just not wise.
// Weather ?
The worst weather to pitch a tent in is in a thunderstorm (duh). Or after pouring rain. The ground is soggy and driving those tent stakes into soft soil isn't going to stabilise anything. Take a rain check instead. Live to camp another day. Better retreat than have a terrible camping experience and ruin your perception of a very legitimate past time. Dry is best.
You can pitch a tent at night if you have sufficient lighting (either from what's available or something you brought yourself) and have had some experience doing so. Don't do it when it's your first time. You'll cry trying to figure out what goes where in semi-darkness.
I hope the tips above gave you a few things to think about when planning the location of your rustic retreat. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Stay tuned for vol. 2!