By: Blonde Two
Camping Pods – Not Quite Wild Camping, Not Quite Glamping
I haven’t decided yet whether or not I am going to count my two nights with Mr B2 in a New Forest YHA camping pod as two of my 50 outdoor sleeps for 50 years but if I am, my total wild camping (or indeed not so wild camping) score so far for 2018 is 6. Camping pods are new to me and, I guess are a bit on the glamping side of camping but I have to say that I would like to commend them to you as a dry and comfortable camping alternative, especially during the winter. I can particularly recommend YHA New Forest for their lovely camping pod set up and very warm welcome, the bell tents are arriving in time for the Easter holidays and sound maybe even more luxurious.Here are my answers to some of the questions about YHA camping pods (and probably other camping pods) that I think you might want to ask.
I have never camped before, should I try a camping pod?
If you are a bit worried about your tent skills then absolutely yes! What a camping pod does is take away some of the tricky bits of camping, finding a site, pitching your tent, staying dry etc, but still gives you enough of the challenges to make your stay a learning experience. Some pods have a bathroom but generally, you will still have to go outside to find the loo, learn to live neatly in a small space and cook either outside or in a camp kitchen area. All good camping skills with the advantage that, if it is raining, you won’t be put off camping for good.
How warm will I be in a camping pod?
Some camping pods have heating (ours had underfloor heating) but they are so well insulated that you may well find that, like us in January, you are too hot overnight if you leave the heating on. We awoke the first morning convinced that we were in a sauna and left the window open for the second night. Camping pods are much warmer than a tent, they are also much darker (but often have lights) and quieter (a boon on a busy campsite).
Would a camping pod be a good solution for a family?
I wish there had been camping pods around when we first started camping with our three. They loved the camping experience and so did we, but pitching and striking our big tent for just a couple of nights did take a bit of effort. A camping pod extends the camping season well into spring and autumn, gives you somewhere that is guaranteed to be dry and (particularly good if you are a concerned single parent) allows you to lock the door. That is not to say that I don’t recommend tent camping as a family, nothing really beats it.
Where will I cook if I am sleeping in a camping pod?
Our YHA camping pod in the New Forest had a lovely kitchen, all set up for campers and just across the green space. It had everything you would need including electric kettles, ovens and toasters. Most campsites with camping pods either offer a kitchen or a washing up facility (they also offer loo and shower blocks). Cooking inside your camping pod would be unsafe and we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it inside a tent.
How much do camping pods cost?
Camping pods are, as expected, generally more expensive than tent pitches but if you shop around you may well find some good prices. What you are paying for in a camping pod is a guaranteed dry roof over your head, a bit of extra warmth and the same kind of sense of adventure that you get from being in a tent.
I once camped in a very soggy midge-ridden tent somewhere along the West Highland Way, there were camping pods on that site and boy did I wish I had booked one. A camping pod isn’t a tent, and never will be but life, especially Get Outside life, is all about experiences and this is one that I recommend you try.
The Youth Hostel Association also offer other glamping options with actual canvas, for the nearly camper!