Jonathan shares the de­tails that take camp­ing trips from good to great

The Simple Things - - OUTDOORS - Jonathan, Gemma, Matt, Bex, Pixie, Olive and Otto camped at the Sy­ch­p­well Cen­tre. Close to Llan­drinio in Mid Wales, this ten-acre camp­site is an eco-friendly small­hold­ing, where you can kayak on the river Wyrnwy, gaze at the canopy from your ham­mock or pl


One of the first things Gemma does on ar­rival at any camp­site is set off with the kids to for­age wild blooms for the ta­ble – picked re­spon­si­bly, of course – leav­ing the adults to pitch the tents in peace. Dis­play in a re­cently fin­ished bev­er­age bot­tle of your choice.

KUBB (VIKING CHESS) With a handy carry bag, this game trav­els ev­ery­where with us from the gar­den to the beach. Great as a fam­ily game with the kids but even bet­ter played late in the evening with a beer in hand. Just mind your shins! HERBS & SPICES Bex ad­vises tak­ing a ‘store cup­board’ sup­ply of your most used herbs and spices – it’ll save your kitchen be­ing over­run with du­pli­cates on your re­turn and means camp­fire dishes can be as flavour­ful away as they would be at home. Her favourites are ground cumin, ground co­rian­der, smoked pa­prika, herbes de Provence and ba­harat.

FIREWOK Matt couldn’t sur­vive a camp­ing trip with­out the Firewok. Hand crafted by a small busi­ness in Bris­tol, this is our favourite por­ta­ble fire pit and comes with great cook­ing ac­ces­sories (

TINDER Logs and kin­dling are read­ily avail­able at most camp­sites but we al­ways take our own tinder to en­sure din­ner hap­pens! For ev­ery camp­ing trip, Matt brings a ma­son jar of cot­ton wool balls and tum­ble dryer lint which he col­lects over the win­ter – free and a great fire starter.

SWEDISH LOG CAN­DLE This is a self-feed­ing camp fire made from one log. Cross-cut ¾ of the way down and stuff the top 15–20cm with tinder and kin­dling. Set a small fire on top of the log. Thin sec­tions of the log at the top will start burn­ing, suck­ing air down and draw­ing fire into the heart of the log. At this stage, it is pos­si­ble to boil a ket­tle or cook on top of the can­dle.

SOUVENIR HAIKUS You don’t need to write a di­ary of your trip in haikus to camp well, but if you fancy writ­ing one or two like Matt’s on these pages (@Matt_633)… A tra­di­tional Ja­panese haiku is a three-line poem of 17 syl­la­bles, bro­ken up into 5/7/5. They of­ten fo­cus on na­ture, and in char­ac­ter are sim­ple and di­rect. For ex­am­ple… How to write haiku: Count syl­la­bles, be di­rect Fo­cus on na­ture

CAMP­ING Swap bricks for can­vas, early morn­ings, out­door life. Body clock re­set

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