Readers who entered our Kathmandu Summer Camping competition give their best tips for making camping holidays go more smoothly.

Freeze water in soft drink bottles to use as chilly blocks for your chilly bin. They serve a double purpose, keeping food cold (or frozen) and when thawed, you have ice-cold drinking water. Works best in the chilly bins that keep items frozen for a few days. Happy camping

- Michelle Cheyne

My best tip for kids camping is to buy the $2 packs of Christmas lights from Bunnings and wrap them around the guy ropes holding up the tent so the kids don't trip over them when, as always, they have to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.- Nepia Kaa

My 9-year-old son's best camping tip is to turn off all technology/devices so you can spend your time actually living.


- Kirsten Harris (and family)

Pitch your tent under a tree for shade if you can. However if it's a pohutukawa, you'll need an extra cover over the tent, as the sap destroys the tent material.

- Cedar Hendry

Make sure toilet paper is the first thing you put on your packing list and the first thing you pack. Not just for the loo but also for games, fire starters and medical supplies

- Mark Vince

Always take a hammock and a selection of ropes with you. Find a new scenic spot to set up each day . . . you'll have the best seat in the house and a great way to relax with a book.

- Lynn Baker

Leave the place as pristine as you found it by being environmentally aware and dispose of all waste correctly (take it with you if necessary), so you only leave your footprints.

- Virginia Alpe

Take two chilly bins. One for the day's items and another that is only opened once a day to take the day's needs from. This way your food and drink items and the ice will last much longer.

- Neil Millar

My best tip for a successful camping holiday (apart from taking all the basics) is at night to peel the rind off half a lemon, poke some cloves into the outside of the part of the lemon you have peeled and place on your camp table or at the base of your tent. No mozzies guaranteed. You can even sleep with your net open.

- Mike Morrison

What I have found useful in the past is having a trial run at home. So this means putting the tent up in our back garden a few days before we leave. This is a good way of checking that we have all the gear we need. This is also a chance to give the tent an airing and to see what parts may need to be repaired or replaced. We have even been known to enjoy sleeping out in the garden for a night or two before leaving on a bigger trip.

- Paul Hodnett

Take a couple of solar showers, heat in the sun, then you have hot water for the dishes, hot water for toddlers' bath in a bucket, solar shower, hot water to soak feet etc. It saves gas and power heating water. We take 3-4 solar showers for these reasons.

- Lee-Anne Willis

My best camping tip is to relax and take in the natural surroundings wherever you end up. And always take more underwear than you think you need.

- Marc Lambert

Have a good gazebo if camping in a group . . . Especially for those rainy days when you can't get out to do anything. At least you've got a nice dry spot where everyone can gather and eat, drink, be merry, play games and hang out and keep dry.

- Melany Eason

Go with the right people, whether it be your family or your best friend. It doesn't matter where you are camping; as long as you have your favourite people with you, you'll have an amazing time.

- Linda Seabourne

My best tip for a successful camping holiday is to pre-make some meals beforehand and store them in a fish chilly bin which will keep them frozen for up to two weeks (if you replace the ice regularly). It's an absolute life saver to bring out a meal that you just need to re-heat in a pot on the barbecue when you're tired after a big day out in the sun and surf.

- Vanessa Miller

Low "sand chairs" are perfect for campers in small tents. They saved our backs on a year-long journey around the Med. When visitors in pup tents came by for a wine by candlelight, I remember their smiles when we offered them the chairs while we sat on the air bed. Magic!

- Brenda Ward

When you arrive let Hubby put up the tent and you go and find the shower block. This will truly save your marriage and be the best start to a very nice trip.

- Haulwen Turner

Always take your best attitude: she'll be right, I can do that, I will do that . . . the right attitude goes a long way . . . so does sunblock, mozzie repellent, a pack of cards and maybe one or two - or a whole tribe - of people you love.

- Rena Parangi

Cut up some lengths of pool noodle, and push on to tent ropes to make them more visible and help prevent people falling over them. If someone does trip over them, at least it won't be made worse by having a rope catch between toes, as the noodle will stop that happening.

- Gayle Carrick

Think green before heading off on your next camping holiday. Limit or eliminate plastic bags. Pack clothes in T-shirts, food in paper bags or wrap; think about the imprint you'll leave when you return home. Happy camping.

- Suzanne Schmidt

Put a tarpaulin under your tent before pitching it. When it is time to pack up the bottom of your tent is clean. Pack up the tarp inside out and clean at leisure.

- Cathy Pearton

My daughter's suggestion for success when camping is to share your trip with 4106 other like-minded people. We have just returned from 21st Scout Jamboree in Renwick, tired but oh so happy. My daughter says she could live like this all year long. Be prepared.

- Sarah and Michaela Briggs

When you need to light a fire use clothes dryer lint. Lighting the lint is easy and will very quickly get some serious flames, way better than searching for dry twigs, bark or wood chips. Plus it packs light if you stuff a zip lock sandwich bag full of lint.

- Mika Tofield

We've just returned from camping on the West Coast, and hands down our best tip is to pack frozen bottles of water in the chilly bin. When they melt they don't turn your chilly bin into a swimming pool (as ice does) and they are so versatile . . . You can wrap a head torch around a bottle at night time for some ambient camp lighting (best camping hack ever). The frozen bottles make great first-aid ice packs if needed and they're really soothing on insect bites and sunburn. And after keeping your food cold for days you then have refreshing, super chilled water to enjoy on your (hopefully) sunny camping adventure.

- Claire Van Beek

Make a bacon egg pie or similar for the first night of camping so you don't have to cook after the stress of setting up camp. I make mine in a small roasting tray and we then use this like a frying pan for cooking on the gas cooker, killing two birds with one stone.

Also an easy peasy recipe is a zucchini slice as follows:

6 zucchini, about 375g
1 large onion
2 cups grated cheese
1 cup self-raising flour or 1 cup
plain with 1 tsp baking powder
½ cup oil
5 eggs
3-5 rashers bacon

Coarsely grate the unpeeled and washed zucchini, finely chop onion and bacon. Combine all ingredients well.

Pour into baking dish, bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes until set and browned. You can eat it cold - it makes for an easy evening so you can relax on your first night.

- Evelyn Schonewille

When going camping my tip is to take a positive attitude. Gin and tonic can also help.

- Jo Faulder

I recommend taking a decent camera on a camping trip. It's been my experience that something always goes awry while freedom camping, no matter how prepared you are . . . The cows wander over and eat the sweetcorn in the trailer, the bacon gets maggots by the end of the week, someone twists an ankle playing Stuck in The Mud, the open fire gets a little out of control, the tent gets flooded.

Among all these crazy times are magic moments best captured on film to jog the memory for stories further down the track. The gorgeous sunsets, toasting marshmallows around the fire, speeding down rapids with an inner tube, discovering a waterfall on a brilliant nature walk. What a fantastic country we live in, with beautiful people and wildlife to boot.

- Heidi Rambhai

• Heidi Rambhai wins $2000 worth of Kathmandu camping equipment. Thanks to everyone who entered.

For more fantastic reader tips, see Travel in the New Zealand Herald this Tuesday.