NEELS’ RALLY TENT

When you go camp­ing next to the sea there are a few items that need to go with. Oth­er­wise you’re go­ing to run into trou­ble, says Neels van Heer­den.

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents -

For the first time in years I towed to the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal this past De­cem­ber hol­i­day. Friends asked us at the last minute whether we would take over their book­ing and we had to move fast. The pack­ing list for a sea­side hol­i­day is sig­nif­i­cantly more com­pli­cated than one for a week­end camp­ing trip out­side Pre­to­ria. But this goes with­out say­ing, and right from the start there were a few items at the top of my list. A proper fly­sheet is non­nego­tiable, even if you have air con in your car­a­van. By the way, I am yet to in­vest in the lat­ter. In KwaZulu-Natal some trees bear fruit in De­cem­ber and if those fruit fall on your tent roof, it leaves sticky residue that is dif­fi­cult to clean. Dur­ing the day these trees are of­ten swarm­ing with spar­rows and at night it’s fruit bats – and all of these winged crea­tures do their busi­ness on your roof. Your fly­sheet, there­fore, will come in handy be­cause it’s eas­ier to clean with soap and wa­ter than the roof of your tent. Be­sides keep­ing your tent cool and pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion from messy trees and an­i­mals, it also keeps the roof dry. Feel for your­self how damp the un­der­side of an un­cov­ered tent roof is when the rain starts to fall. IF YOUR STAND has an ocean view, chances are that you’ll be in the path of the wind and this is why you need sturdy storm straps and a large cargo net. You pull the fly­sheet over your tent and an­chor the storm straps. Then you cover every­thing with the cargo net, fas­ten it and you’re ready for any wind. One of the best new gad­gets to hit the mar­ket re­cently is storm pegs that are at­tached to an­chor ropes with a spring. Where I used to use seven an­chor straps to firmly hold the front three poles down, one spring peg pro­vides the same peace of mind that your tent won’t blow away. You can even con­sider us­ing two spring pegs at each pole if you want to make 100% sure your tent isn’t go­ing any­where. The pegs work to­gether in tan­dem de­pend­ing on the wind di­rec­tion. If one of the springs wears out slightly, the other one works harder and pre­vents the pegs from pulling out of the ground. That’s one of the big­gest prob­lems with L-shaped pegs. They even­tu­ally pull free of the ground. Take along ex­tra poles that can be used par­al­lel to your car­a­van to con­nect the mid­dle poles to the side poles. This pre­vents wa­ter from pool­ing on your tent’s roof. Pools of wa­ter tend to bend poles that slide into each other. I even use up­right poles to prop up the ones that con­nect the car­a­van to the front walls. It’s ad­vis­able to add a proper foot piece, as big as a li­cence disc, to the bot­tom of the mid­dle up­right poles be­cause it pre­vents the poles from sink­ing into the ground. If these foot pieces have holes in them, they can be nailed down with straight pegs. NEXT ON MY LIST is a shal­low plas­tic dish or drip tray, sim­i­lar to what you’ll find in your house’s roof, un­der­neath the geyser. Put one on the nose and an­other on the back of your car­a­van. This is where the wa­ter runs down and then flows un­der­neath your ground sheet. These pans are light­weight and have an out­let hole that you can con­nect a pool pipe to to re­di­rect wa­ter even far­ther away. If you have some­thing like a Dri-Buddi, pack it in. It’s handy, es­pe­cially if you want to dry tow­els. We had to pay R100 to wash and dry six damp tow­els in the car­a­van park’s laun­dry. The prices in the town’s laun­dry range be­tween R15 and R25 p/kg. So if you buy a Dri-Buddi it’ll soon pay for it­self.

The pack­ing list for a sea­side hol­i­day is sig­nif­i­cantly more com­pli­cated than one for a week­end camp­ing trip out­side Pre­to­ria.

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