Top 10 summer camping essentials

BE PREPARED: The Tayler's from Waikanae - Jacob and Symi (front) with parents David and Zoe - enjoy camping in the Catchpool Valley near Wellington, despite the weather.
BE PREPARED: The Tayler's from Waikanae - Jacob and Symi (front) with parents David and Zoe - enjoy camping in the Catchpool Valley near Wellington, despite the weather.

Under canvas this summer? Unless you're glamping or driving a three-tonne truck to your campsite, there are a few essentials that can save your camping trip from ending in divorce or involuntary manslaughter.

1. Ball of twine: Few breakages can't be fixed by lashing with a length of strong natural twine. Encourage your inner boy scout or girl guide by binding manuka staves into a camp kitchen or a handy washing line. And when did you last do Cat's Cradle?

2. Tarpaulin: apart from your tent, your only shade and shelter might be a giant sheet of canvas with eyelets. Try and hang it with the middle higher than the sides so that the inevitable downpour doesn't turn your tarp into an airborne reservoir.

3. Bag of bungies: Those hook-ended elastic cords can perform miracles when rigging and securing flailing canvas sheets.

4. Hanging safe: Possums, keas, gulls and rodents are looking forward to your arrival. Stash your fruit and fresh food in a hanging mesh larder and foil nature's thieves. Bonus extra: if the toddlers misbehave, they can be safely incarcerated.

5. Foot pump: Because you just know that inflatable mattress will go flat. Probably at 3.16am.

6. Ukulele: Campfire singalongs annoy fewer fellow campers when accompanied by a well-tuned stringed instrument. If the insults still fly, can be handy for self defence.

7. Rubbish bags: A tidy camp's a happy camp. Leave it like you found it and take your detritus away with you.

8. Box of dry matches. Lighters fail in the rain, as do wet matches. This is fundamental to your enjoyment.

9. Bog roll: You're advised to find a proper loo or dig a really deep hole if you're going to dump in the great outdoors. Either way, two leaves of four-ply are going to be more satisfactory than a handful of scratchy bracken.

10. Five litres of insect repellent: Because bugs love camping too.

- Got any better ideas? Any camping stories you want to share? Comment below.

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