Getting your gear together

Camping is no longer the simple endeavour that it once was. With so many comfort features around the house, many Easter campers try to take the best of the home with them. Yet without handy power outlets, camping generally requires specialised equipment that can run off batteries, gas, or other alternative power sources.

Finding the right tent
The most basic element of any camping trip is the tent. Because of the generally pleasant weather in Cayman, tents are usually only required for sleeping as the rest of the day can be spent outside, lounging on the beach or in the ocean. Therefore it is not necessary to have a tent in which one can comfortably stand, although many people prefer bigger tents, whether for comfort or for show. As the tents do not have to be carried great distances as they do during hiking, a bigger, heavier tent is not a big drawback either.

However, as many tents in Cayman tend to emerge only around Easter, it is important to buy a tent that is not likely to fall foul of mildew or mould. It is also important to know how to pitch the tent, and have enough people in your party to help out, as there is nothing worse than standing on the beach trying to figure out which part goes where.

There are even specialised shower and toilet tents available for those who want to be close to nature while avoiding any possibility of public indecency.

With shaded camping spots at a premium, many campers prefer to bring their own shade in the form of a gazebo. This can add a shaded patio to a tent, creating the perfect spot to relax during the day, while generally being cheaper and easier to put up than a tent.

Cooking up a storm
Even though the ideal camping trip would have you living off the land, at least to a certain extent, you will still want to cook what you catch. Although a fire would be the most traditional way to go about it, most campers opt for gas, which is much more convenient. As tempting as it may be, carting your home gas barbecue down to the beach can be a chore at best and thoroughly impossible at worst, so a portable camping stove or barbecue might be a much better fit.

Keep in mind that a variety of attachments can be run off gas, whether a grill for meat of a simple burner to boil water for the morning cup of coffee.

Many foldable camping stoves also use specialised smaller propane cylinders, so make sure you are stocked up on cylinders if you plan to take one of these along.

There are a number of small but useful accessories that can make your camping life much more comfortable.

Battery powered fan
Never underestimate just how hot a tent can bake during the day. Just getting to sleep can be a chore. However, using a battery powered fan like the Texsport Deluxe fan and light combo, available at AL Thompson’s, can make things much easier. The unit can be used as a free-standing fan, but even better, it can be suspended from a hanging hook, providing your tent with a ceiling fan/light combo. Just like home.

Crank-powered flashlights
A wind up flashlight is perfect for camping as you can just crank up the power the moment it starts running low. Some, like the SolaDyne 7410 from AL Thompson’s, offer even more features, including solar panel charging, a built in radio and the ability to charge mobile phones.

Swiss army knife
From humble beginnings the Swiss Army Knife has become a campsite legend. The top of the range SwissChamp XAVT has a massive 80 functions, or 81 if you include the fact that it is big enough to use as a doorstop. With everything from a thermometer to a humble knife blade, the XAVT should allow any campsite MacGyver to save the day.