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Camping tips for older people

Older people camping

Camping gives you a chance to appreciate a simpler way of living, with nature at your doorstep and no electricity it is a great activity that allows you to spend some quality time with your loved ones. Some people believe camping is more suitable for young people, however, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages, including older people who may rely on a UK stairlift. Whether you’re thinking of going on a solo camping adventure, a break with your partner or a family holiday with the grandchildren included, we reveal our camping tips for older people that’ll help you camp with ease.

Choose the right tent

Tent lit up in the night

First and foremost, the most important tip is to pack the right tent. You want to be able to live comfortably and sleep properly during your trip, so choosing a suitable tent is crucial. If you’re thinking about using a tent from years ago that’s been buried in the attic you may want to reconsider, as the type of tent you need may differ from the one you used years ago. When looking at buying a tent for your trip there are three key things to look for; living space, height and how difficult it is to pitch.

Kristen from Tales from Home, a lifestyle blog, tells us her top camping tips for older people: “Invest in a larger stand-up tent! A tent with adequate standing room not only makes it easier for older people to move around without any awkward crouching or crawling but it also means there is enough room for a good quality air mattress.”

Choosing the right tent is a popular tip, as Shell from Camping with Style, a camping blog featuring advice and tent reviews, also says: “Ensure you have a good-sized tent that doesn't require crawling into on your hands and knees or bending to get in and out of. Most medium to large-sized family tunnel tents offer great standing-height access. Alternatively, bell tents from 5m upwards can work although they are slightly harder to put up, they have doors that are tall enough to require no bending to get in or out of.”

A tent that has a separate living space to the bedroom also comes in handy, as when it gets too cold to sit and eat outside, you can relax in your make-shift kitchen and living area. This area will also provide you with extra storage space, as nothing is worse than a cluttered bedroom pod in a tent. Use baskets or plastic boxes to keep your food, drink and other provisions neatly packed away. Kristen from Tales from Home adds: “It’s important to keep the tent area organised. The last thing anyone wants is to be tripping over random articles if they must reach the bathroom at night.

“Tents, in general, are already lacking in space and cluttering up the remaining floor space only makes it more of a hazard. Look around for hanging organisers that you can attach to the sides of your tent and tuck things away in unobtrusive locations.”

When finding the perfect tent for a comfortable trip, you should also be aware of how easy it is to pitch and take down as this is your responsibility at most camping sites. If you decide to buy a tent, try to do so instore rather than online so you can ask the shop assistant about its difficulty level, and often you’ll be able to see it standing for yourself.

Beth from La Blog Beauté - a UK beauty and lifestyle blog - has enjoyed camping with her family every year for the last thirteen years, so is in a great position to share her advice, she says: “Learn about your tent as the easier your tent is to put up and take down, the better!”

What to look for in a tent

  • It is tall enough for you to stand up straight
  • It has multi-rooms including a living space
  • It’s easy to pitch and takedown
  • It has a double-layered sheet for added water resistance
  • Glow-in-the-dark guy ropes are useful
  • Heavy-duty and easy to use zippers

Have a practice run

Tent pitched in the garden

There’s nothing wrong with being prepared, so if you have a large enough outdoor space why not practice pitching the tent? This is a great idea if you decide to use a tent from years ago, to check whether it is still in good condition. You should also check whether the tent is still high enough for you to walk around inside without having to bend your back and that the sleeping pod is large enough for a comfortable bed.

Practising pitching your tent is also a great way of testing whether you’re capable of doing so, or whether a new tent is what you were looking for. Samantha from Coco Travels, a travel and adventure blog, tells us: “Have a practice run with your tent first. Modern tents are easy(ish) to put up, but can still be tricky, especially if you suffer from arthritis or joint pain. Put your tent up in your garden or living room, if there's space before you travel to avoid stressful situations when you arrive at your campsite.”

Figure out how you can sleep comfortably

open tent with a nature view

A common misconception of camping is that you’ll have to sleep on an uncomfortable surface, which can make staying home with the comfort of your bed seem more appealing. However, there are plenty of tips you can follow that’ll mean your sleep won’t be sacrificed on a camping trip. Choose from the sleeping arrangements that work best for you, the most popular choices include sleeping mats, air beds or camp beds.

An air bed is recommended by Samantha from Coco Travels, who says: “Bring an airbed rather than sleeping mats. Sleeping on the floor can be really uncomfortable and so an air mattress can help to make your night more pleasant and help you get more sleep, ready for the day of adventures that you have ahead. They also don't take up too much space in the car. Don't forget to take a suitable pump with you - ensure it's easy to use and lightweight so that you don't get weary setting up your camp.”

When opting for an air bed, ensure you pack an electric pump or think of another alternative that will prevent you from manually pumping the bed, which will use up a lot of your energy and possibly hurt your back. Kristen from Tales from Home says: “A raised air mattress with a built-in air pump makes everyone's lives more comfortable. No lumps and bumps on the ground! The built-in air pumps mean no one has to spend time trying to blow it up and the raised design can be easier to get in and out of!”

Instead of an air bed, you could pack a camping bed. These will take up a larger space in the car, but they are easy to put together and you may find the added height more comfortable. Tina from Mother Geek - a family lifestyle and travel blog - tells us her camping tips: “Invest in a decent camping bed. I have a really bad back but sleep fine on a camp bed, with a self-inflating mattress on top. I also find inflatable chairs and sofas are much comfier than camping chairs, and they take up less room when folded away.”

Beth from La Blog Beauté also adds: “When it comes to camping comfortably, having a well-designed camping bed is a must. If you have electric hook-up, you can't go wrong with a triple flocked, self-inflating air bed; if you have no electricity then a traditional camp bed or an insulated mat provides a warm and comfortable bed.”

If you struggle with low mobility, camping can seem daunting because of the sleeping arrangements. However, Shell from Camping with Style suffers from a rare form of Rheumatoid Arthritis, yet still manages to enjoy her experiences staying in a tent: “As someone with mobility issues, my top tips for camping is to focus on comfort. Ensure your bed provides lots of padding and is high enough off the ground to make it easy to get in and out of.

“Carp fishing chairs are amazing, but folding camp beds are good too as you can also get double ones, but camp beds provide a very firm sleeping surface which isn't massively comfortable, so when using a folding camp bed, get a good quality SIM (Self Inflating Mat) of around 7cm depth or more to use on top of the camp bed for a super comfortable night that won't leave you stiff and aching in the morning.”

Be prepared with ways to stay warm

Basket of blankets

Even in summer, especially in the UK, days and nights can get cold. Keeping warm when camping is crucial, and it is easily achieved if you pack the right items.

Packing loads of blankets and pillows are a must, as no matter whether you choose a camp bed or an air mattress, they’ll need some extra softness and warmth to make them comfortable. Sage from the travel blog A Virtual Postcard, tells us her tips: “To ensure a comfortable night sleep when camping not only should you invest in a good quality air bed or camping bed, but you also must pack plenty of pillows and warm sleeping bags.”

Big Man in the Woods, is a camping blog featuring news, gear reviews and camping tips written by Mark, who discovered his love of camping since joining the Scout Association as a Scout Leader. Mark shares with us some of his top tips: “Make sure to stay warm at night-time. The evening temperature can drop quite low even if you’re sitting around a campfire. So, keeping warm is a must. Invest in a nice woollen blanket to keep warm. But be careful around the campfire with any blanket as the sparks from the fire do jump and could land in your blanket!”

Make your tent cosy and warm by ensuring there every zip is done up properly, preventing any unwanted drafts. A great idea is to also lay a large camping rug down on the floor of the tent, this will help keep your feet toasty and better insulate the tent. Beth from La blog Beauté likes to ensure her tent feels like a home away from home, she continues: “I use blankets, cushions and rugs as I like to make my tent - a beautiful traditional bell tent - cosy and comfortable, so I always pack lots of homely items to create the ideal lounging space”

If you often feel the cold, bring along heat pads and hot water bottles as a precaution. Shell from Camping with Style adds: “Keeping warm is essential, especially if you have joint problems, so make sure you take extra blankets and a kettle for a hot water bottle. Single-use stick-on heat packs are also a godsend for camping in cooler weather.”

Tips to stay warm when camping

  • Pack warm layers of clothing
  • Add blankets underneath and on top of you when sleeping
  • Use a thick, high-quality sleeping bag
  • Pack a water bottle and heat pads
  • Bring a kettle for warming drinks
  • Place a thick blanket on the tent floor
  • Prevent any drafts by zipping the tent up properly

Invest in a good quality sleeping bag

Sleeping bag and mat

One of the most essential items to get right is a sleeping bag. Even if you are taking your duvet or tons of blankets, sleeping bags are great to sleep in during cold nights. Make sure you bring one that is long enough for your body and one with a thick layer of padding for extra warmth.

Fi from Two Blondes Walking, a walking blog featuring camping tips, tells us: “Being warm is the most important thing for a good night’s camping sleep. If you are chilly, you will feel more uncomfortable and probably need more visits to the loo. Invest in a good quality sleeping bag that is appropriate for the season you wish to camp in.”

If you have already splurged on a new tent, and do not have enough budget for a new sleeping bag, then Tina from Mother Geek recommends: “Layering blankets over your sleeping bag allows you to wrap up when needed, without having to invest in a super heavy-duty sleeping bag. Remember that even if the days are hot, the nights won’t be.”

Think about the lighting

Lit up tent

Unless you are staying in an electric tent, lighting is something you need to think about before going on a camping trip. Although the sun sets late in summer, you’ll soon be in complete darkness unless you’re prepared with lanterns and torches.

Our top tip is to pack a few lanterns to have around a tent. Most tents will have a hook of the roof of the tent to hang a large lantern from, this can act as your main source of light. You could also add smaller lanterns around the tent for added visibility. Kristen from Tales from Home has some camping tips regarding light: “As an added precaution consider adding a few battery-powered camping lights to your gear.”

Beth from La Blog Beauté also recommends: “A wind-up or solar-powered torch or lantern is a must-have item. At night it can be difficult to see guide ropes, so having adequate lighting is essential for preventing trips and falls. Even the neon, glow-in-the-dark guide ropes can still be tripped over on very dark nights. Make sure to always carry a torch to prevent accidental trips and falls.”

For an extra precaution, you could add a few solar powered garden spike lights into the ground surrounding the guy ropes. These will stay on through the night using the energy they’ve saved up during the day, making any late-night trips to the toilet more hazard-free. It’s also essential to pack a torch so that you can navigate the campsite after dark, head torches are perfect for this.

A head torch is recommended by Fi from Two Blondes Walking, who says: “They’re great because they leave your hands free to read in bed, walk with poles or sort out your tent.”

Check the weather

Sun on a field

Although it sounds obvious, checking the weather is important before you embark on your camping trip. The forecast can change last minute from sunshine to rain, so it may influence what items you pack for your trip. Checking the forecast also helps you plan your itinerary for your trip, if it’s sunny you may want to pack beach gear and a picnic basket, or if it’s meant to rain you may need to pack more waterproof clothing

Someone who has had plenty of camping experience is Inma from A World to Travel, a blog for sustainable and unique travel. Inma tells us her top tips: “Firstly, check the weather forecast before going on a camping trip and adjust accordingly. Low temperatures require better - and more expensive - equipment such as insulated sleeping bags, heavy rains could ruin the experience altogether and a heatwave without enough shade could turn into a nightmare.”

Sage from A Virtual Postcard continues: “Top tips for staying comfortable when camping is based on two things: temperature and how well you sleep. So be sure to prepare for all weather eventualities; make sure your tent is equipped for wind and rain (as well as high temperatures), be sure that your sleeping bag will keep you warm or cool, and, of course, pack the right clothes.”

Create a makeshift kitchen


Although restaurants and cafés are never too far away, part of a great camping experience is enjoying some alfresco dining. To do this, you’ll need to pack the right equipment to create a makeshift kitchen.

Firstly, don’t overcomplicate things. If you enjoy a well-seasoned meal made from many different ingredients at home, you may need to simplify your cooking methods during your camping trip. However, pack a small BBQ and you can enjoy some smoky flavoured and delicious meals. You can add everything from sausages and burgers to vegetables and fish onto a BBQ, and all can be enjoyed whilst sitting outside your tent with stunning nature views.

To store your food properly, bring along a cool box and ice packs, which you can refreeze in the campsite’s shared freezer. It’s also handy to bring pegs and empty lunch boxes to keep opened packets of food fresh for your whole trip. Inma from A World to Travel continues: “Pack enough water and properly stored food (after all, animals can smell it otherwise).”.

Beth from La Blog Beauté adds: “As we camp for a whole week, we take everything you could think of; from a gas BBQ to bucket chairs and a kettle. We create a home-from-home while we camp, and that helps to make the experience far more comfortable. My top tip would be to cook with a gas BBQ instead of a charcoal one, to make the experience easier. I also recommend investing in a camping fridge to keep food cool. Make sure you have a comfortable space to relax and eat in.”

If you decide to bring a BBQ on your trip but you’re worried the windy weather may make it difficult to get it started, we recommend that you pack a windbreak. This will protect the flames from the wind, and it’ll create a more private outdoor space outside of your tent’s entrance. For those of you who may struggle to hammer a windbreak into the ground, remember that campsite staff are always on hand to help, or even a friendly neighbour from the pitch next door.

Sage from A Virtual Postcard tells us her kitchen essentials: “A portable stove and kettle (for that much needed morning cup of tea!) and of course camping chairs! Plus, a pack of cards.” Card games are a great pre-dinner camping activity. For multigenerational camping trips this is a great way for everyone to bond, plus, grandparents can teach the grandkids some new games. 

Shell from Camping with Style also makes sure she’s able to enjoy a hot drink on her camping trips: “A stove and kettle are my must-haves for camping - I almost always have a hot water bottle at night and a mug of cinnamon tea before I get into bed.”

Items to pack for a camping kitchen

  • A gas stove
  • Small BBQ
  • Windbreak to shelter the BBQ
  • Kettle
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Cooler box and ice packs
  • Pans, crockery and cutlery you may need
  • Binbags, washing up liquid and other cleaning products

Pack the right clothing

Person wearing hiking boots

Unless you’re camping in the wilderness, packing the right clothing is simple. You need to make sure you pack plenty of layers and waterproof clothing, as well as the right footwear, especially if you’re planning to go on any countryside walks. It’s good to be prepared for all-weather scenarios, so also pack light clothing that’ll be great at keeping you cool in a heatwave, cotton and linen based fabrics are the best for this.

If you’re going to use the campsites swimming pool, or venture into the sea at any point make sure to pack some swimming gear, as well as plenty of towels to keep you dry during your trip. It will be helpful to create a rough guide of activities you want to do during your camping holiday so that you can pack accordingly.

Although you’re most likely thinking of camping in summer, it may be time to dust off the winter clothes as Beth from La Blog Beauté says: “Remember that even in the warmer months, the temperature drops at night, so taking plenty of warm clothes. It's always better to be over-prepared, rather than underprepared. I personally always pack a hat, gloves and scarf, regardless of the time of year.”

Fi from Two Blondes Walking also tells us her clothing essential: “A warm hat, even in summer, takes up very little space and can make you more comfortable at night.”

Create a first aid kit

If you have any ongoing medical conditions, it’s worth checking with your doctor beforehand as to whether it is the right time for a camping trip. Once you have the go-ahead, securely pack any medicines you take and remember to stick to your usual regime even when camping.

It’s wise to also keep a little box filled with medical items, such as plasters, sting relief cream or painkillers etc., ready for ay minor accidents. Fi from Two Blondes Abroad mentions this in her essential items for camping: “A first-aid kit and charging device can help you deal with emergencies.”

Kristen from Tales from Home also recommends some items for your first aid kit: “Bug spray and Sunscreen - No matter where you are camping it's important to protect yourself from the elements. Sunburns can ruin an otherwise fun vacation and bugs can be annoying as well as spread illnesses.” As well as stocking up on sunscreen, you should also pack some after sun to add some hydration back into your skin after a day in the sun.

Find the perfect camp chairs

Two camp chairs in front of a lake

Finding the perfect camp chairs is a must, especially if you struggle with joint pains or aches as you need ones that will keep you comfortable. Remember to choose a camp chair that you can not only relax in but one that is also upright enough for you to eat in.

When the weather is good, you’ll find you spend more time sitting in your camp chairs outside rather than sitting inside the tent, so they are an essential item for a camping trip. Mark from Big Man in the Woods agrees: “You mustn’t forget a decent camp chair. Putting your feet up with a brew and watching the world go by is one of the pleasures I get from camping. So, making sure you have a good quality and comfortable chair is a priority. I would pass on the supermarkets ‘two chairs for £20’ and go for a better-quality chair and brand.”

You can find chairs that will suit your needs in most mountain and camping retailers. These features can include extra padding, cup holders or they can be lightweight and fold into a small size. Whatever you’re looking for, an investment into a good quality chair can make you’re camping experience all that bit comfier.

Beth from La Blog Beauté also tells us about her recent purchase: “I invested in two low camp chairs that sit just above the floor - these are ideal for comfortable camping seating. I recommend that you don’t buy basic chairs, opt for the more expensive designs. I personally prefer 'bucket or moon chairs' as these are larger, provide more support, and are far more comfortable.”

Plan and research your trip

Notebook and pen

Whilst staying in the great outdoors you’ll have plenty of moments to relax, one being when you enjoy your first coffee outside in the morning whilst watching the sunrise. You can experience a simpler way of living, without the noise of cars or emails to respond to, however, it is also great to have a loose plan of your days so that you make the most of your surroundings.  

Unless you prefer using Google Maps, we recommend packing a local map and picking up some leaflets of local attractions from your campsite’s reception so that you can visit the best things in the area. Fi from Two Blondes Abroad says: “We always like to take a map of the area we are camping in to help us find those exciting hidden places.”

Planning ahead of your stay will also give you an idea as to whether the campsite and area are suitable for your needs and what you want to get out of your camping trip. Sage from A Virtual Postcard continues: “I think for anyone wanting to camp, whatever age, just spend some time researching about the area you want to camp and also the campsite in general. You may find that your campsite is nowhere near that landmark you want to visit, or it's located next to a busy railway line.

“Booking ahead and reading reviews are also other bits of advice I would like to give. Campsites do get booked up in advance especially around the warmer months and festivals so be sure to call or email ahead. Reviews are handy as you'll learn about how good the facilities are, whether or not the site has hot water, allows pets or if the staff are friendly in general.”

There are a few things to look for in a campsite, including what facilities it has and how close it is to nearby attractions. Samantha from Coco Travels also says to “consider the parking at the campsite. If your mobility isn't as good as it used to be, or you can't walk very far whilst carrying heavy items, check that you can park next to or near the tent when you're booking your campsite.”

Pack some tarps

If you’re expecting some spells of bad weather, you need to take some extra measures to ensure your tent stays dry. Nothing will put a dampener on your trip quite like a leaking tent, which will only leave you longing go home to the warm and dry. However, by using tarps you create an extra layer to prevent this from happening.

Kristen from Tales from Home recommends this: “Pack a minimum of two tarps to make your camping life much more enjoyable. Use one tarp underneath your tent to keep ground moisture at bay and use the second tarp as an additional rain shield over the top of your tent. Even the best quality rainproof tents can develop leaks and damp/wet tents are less than fun.”

Find the perfect spot to pitch

Tent with a beach view

In most campsites, you’ll be able to choose your pitch to set up camp and there are certain things you should look out for. If you get assigned a pitch, it is also worth requesting certain things to make your stay easier.

Kristen from Tales from Home says: “Consider your Campground carefully - while it might seem like great fun to go primitive camping in the backcountry, it might be less fun when you have to scramble up uneven and untrimmed trails in order to get there. There are plenty of campsites and campgrounds that offer a compromise between being easily accessible and still allowing you to feel like you’re a part of nature. Consider visiting the campsite beforehand to get a better idea of what you’re getting into.”

Tina from Mother Geek recommends: “Check out how far the toilets are from your pitch before you book. If you’re likely to be caught short at 3 am, consider a camping toilet.”

A camping loo is also recommended by Shell from Camp with style: “The thing I'd never camp without is a camp loo. No one wants to spend the night traipsing across the campsite in the dark every time nature calls, so If like me, you often wake up multiple times during the night needing the loo, a flushing chemical camp loo makes an amazing purchase that will make a huge difference to your camping comfort.”

Finding the perfect spot to camp is crucial, Inma from A World to Travel also mentions: “Definitely search for a nice spot to pitch your tent not too far away from water sources, that’s under some dense shade, and on a flat when possible.”

Consider Glamping

Glamping pod

If camping in a tent still seems to be out of reach for you, but you like the idea of waking up in nature and spending loads of time in the outdoors, then glamping may be perfect for you! You’ll experience a mix of staying in a luxury hotel and camping, with a solid and sturdy home and a full-sized bed, but you’ll still be separate from any outer buildings and just a step away from wonderful nature views.

Fi from Two Blondes Walking comments: “Camping is definitely for everyone but enjoying it can take a bit of practice. If you haven’t camped for a while, try a camping pod, you will get all the outdoor experience you would in a tent but have a bed that isn’t on the floor. Also, if cooking whilst camping seems a bit daunting, they do great breakfasts!”

Camping checklist for older people:

  • Choose the right tent
  • Have a practice run
  • Figure out how you can sleep comfortably
  • Be prepared with ways to stay warm
  • Invest in a good quality sleeping bag
  • Think about the lighting
  • Check the weather
  • Create a makeshift kitchen
  • Pack the right clothing
  • Create a first aid kit
  • Find the perfect camp chairs
  • Plan and research your trip
  • Pack some tarps
  • Find the perfect spot to pitch
  • Consider Glamping

As you can see, no matter your age or if you rely on curved stairlifts, camping is both achievable and fun! Take a look at the rest of our blog for further tips and advice.

This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Image Credit: DerekL (Visualhunt)