I’m a big believer in doing one thing every day to make your life better tomorrow. As a result I often make last minute decisions to go camping as the opportunity arrives. Having a daily driver that can be converted in less than 30 minutes to camper is ideal. Camping and being outdoors is (in my opinion) the best remedy for any stresses life throws at you.
It was obvious from the tone of UK press briefings that the UK was soon to be put on lockdown so I quickly booked my local camping spot and set up a quick overnight chill out in the woods. There’s very little chance of any social encounters and none will be in violation of the 2m social distancing rule. This would be a solo trip. My wife had other plans… as usual, but that’s fine ☺️probably sick of the sight of me anyhow lol.
- Roof tent and sleeping bag.
- A few bags of firewood.
- Food, beer, water and coffee, lots of coffee.
- Camping kit and tools.
Once you get your camping set up fine tuned and have experience of deploying it quickly your main chore is keeping the fire going. Once you get the hang of that (learn some basic bushcraft if you’re into doing things properly 😉) the whole day becomes easy.
Being prepared and organised means you have plenty of time to kick back, read a book and enjoy the sights and sounds of the woodland. This begs the question… what else you can do to while away the hours?
An enjoyable camp pastime is to make something. Wood carving is a great choice and this trip I decided to start another Kuksa. I’ve made one before from a tree that fell over in high winds near our home. It turned out okay and was fun to do.
There’s hours of tutorials on YouTube for how to make a Kuksa and it doesn’t need to be perfect. You also don’t need to be a Kuksa elitist and forage Birch Burl. My advice is to just have a go, done is better than perfect.
Here’s a time jump to a clip of me making a start on our new cup 😊👍
Will it end up a usable camping cup? Who knows? Doesn’t really matter if it does or doesn’t. Many crack after hours of chipping and carving but that’s the fun of it.
I’ll continue this project on my next camp.
One of the simplest campfire meals is a steak and vegetable stew. While I won’t profess to be a good cook, there’s something about eating a hearty meal in the woods that you can’t beat!
You can make it super easy for yourself by buying chopped mixed vegetables and that’s what I recommend. Camping should be about downtime to relax with not too much graft.
- 1 bag of mixed chopped vegetables
- A portion of braising steak
- 500ml of red wine
- Beef stock
- Oil (coconut oil is our fav)
- Seasoning of your choice
You brown off the steak first in the hot oil. I usually do this however this time I couldn’t buy any braising steak due to (stupid) panic buyers clearing the shelves. I had to opt for fillet steak, poor old me lol, and I thought it would get too tough if I added it at the start. So I added that to the pot later instead.
Essentially you throw everything in the pot and let it cook for a good few hours, directly on the hot coals of the campfire.
Here’s a time jump to the finished meal.
It was a beautifully still night in the woods with no rain. Thankfully, as I left the tent fly at home. My top tip for a great nights sleep is ear plugs. The local wildlife really don’t care about waking you up earlier than you’d like.
I slept well but am seriously considering upgrading my sleeping bag. There were some cold spots that meant I woke up a few times during the night. No big deal but it’s better to sleep right through. Obviously I could have put another layer on but the UK weather at this time of year isn’t that bad and a good quality sleeping bag would allow you to sleep light. Not sleeping in padded jackets to stave off the cold is more comfortable.
Breakfast and a surprise visitor
While I was making breakfast, the usual eggs, bacon, asparagus, red peppers and mushrooms, I was honoured with the company of Boy. The friendly dog of a few guys hammock camping close by. I was recruited as chief stick thrower and he gave me a good giggle.
Shortly after breakfast I packed up and headed home. Super chilled and rested after another amazing mini trip. Can’t wait for the next one.