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A Practice Camp is essential!
It's always a good idea to have a Practice Camp – if not in your garden, then in someone else’s, or at a quiet spot somewhere where you won’t be disturbed. Basically it's much better to get used to the tent and basic gear first, before you pack the car up, drive a good few miles and then discover that you underestimated the time required for pitching and setting up camp. Or worse, that you don’t thoroughly understand how to erect the tent in the first place. If you have a bell tent it is one of the easiest tents around to erect – but having said that I have still seen some rather basic mistakes, which have resulted in the tent being unstable, wonky and something that would not resist much of a breeze. 
 
Once properly erected for the first time, and especially if it’s in your own garden, a good idea is to furnish it with stuff that you think you’d either (a) need or (b) like to have with you on a camping trip. Take time to work out what you need around you to (a) function and (b) feel comfortable. 
 
So then you can build a check-list of essentials that you ‘need’ to take on either a short or more basic camp, or alternatively things that you ‘would like’ to take on a longer, more comfortable camping trip. Categorise things such as bedding, cooking, wet wear, dry wear, hot/cold weather gear, kids stuff, games, relaxation (wine!), basic kit, glamping items, whatever suits you.  Sorted!
 

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