Camping Chat: September 2010

This article appeared in the September 2010 issue of the ‘Caravan and Outdoor Life’ magazine:

Surviving the ‘Rustic’ Ablution Block

We love camping in remote and wild campsites, but the ablution block in this type of campsite can be grim.  So – how to survive!   

This is not an issue for men, they hardly notice whether the facilities are up to scratch, because their needs are so simple.  My husband saunters off to the ablution block in a pair of shorts and slops, towel over his shoulder, with a super-small toiletries bag.  With this limited kit, he has everything he needs to come back smelling gorgeous and looking handsome! 

I, on the other hand, require a bag large enough for me to climb into just to take along some of the stuff I need – and this selection of toiletries is all in small sizes, otherwise I would need a trolley to get the whole lot to the ablution block!

There are some things that are essential to comfort when faced with bad facilities. Firstly, a bath mat.  A small toweling bath mat, or hand towel, works  well. It can be put down on the floor of a wet/muddy/grassy shower stall, and immediately you have a clean patch to step onto when you have showered.  It doesn’t matter how grubby or wet it gets – just wrap it up dirty side inside, and hang it on a guy rope when you get back to camp.  Works like a charm!

If the shower is just too grim, choose to bath instead (if there is one, of course).  It will typically have no bath plug, so you need you own.  This should live in your bag, and have some red ribbon tied to it, so that as you leave the bathroom and do a quick scan for stuff left behind, your bathplug will say ‘oi’! 

The next item for your bag is a pack of wipes.  Have you seen these??  Most shops stock them, especially Clicks – they look like a pack of baby bum wipes, but are brilliant for cleaning jobs – the bathroom ones are the ones you want, sheer genius, I tell you.  These should also live in your bag, as giving the bath a quick clean is effortless with these babies.  To make swilling the bath out easier,  pack a small plastic jug. It also makes rinsing your hair easier.  Then to get damp skin into clothes in a limited space, you can’t beat talcum powder.  Buy something indulgent, camping should have some luxuries!

I usually put make-up on when I get back at camp – yes, I wear make-up when camping, after all, my husband has to look at me each day! Save up the samples sachets from magazines, they’re great.

Well, those are my tips…… share yours??


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