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.
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.