Travel Magazine

The Tipi Diaries: Camping in Carno, Wales

By Smartgirltravel @SmartGirlTravel

Bring loads of beer.  Pack all your favorite hoodies.  Learn to chop wood.  Don’t leave your wellies next to your friend Mike who likes to vomit in the middle of the night.  And that’s all the advice I have for you. 

Tipi camping is one of my favorite things to do in the UK.  No matter what the weather brings, there’s always fun to be had. 


The cost of it all is very pocket-friendly for even the tightest holiday budgets, and you can finally do all the things that you tell people you like to do, but in actual fact, you never get round to doing; things like barbeques, countryside strolls, toasting marshmallows, or going to the beach.

Here, I disclose a 3 day camping experience in a Welsh tipi with some of my closest friends.  Enjoy – and look out for the unpleasant remake of a particular camping scene from the BBC’s Inbetweeners.

Tipi Camping Wales Eco Camping Wales

The Tipi Diaries: Day 1

Time to crack open the beers! 

I was very impressed with the facilities when I arrived; the public bathroom / shower area was very clean, the tipi was adorably cute with futons circling a fire, a wooden chest offered all the crockery and cutlery we needed, and the views were really beautiful. 

But first thing was first – the beers needed cooling and the large cool box found in our own little outdoor area was sufficient in size for all our cold meats and drinks.  But the reality was, the great outdoors was our biggest refrigerator so our beers were always nice and chilled.  So if you want cold drinks, choose a crappy season. 

Eco Camping Wales Tipi Camping Wales

Dinner was an industrial cook-up of spag bol – the perfect camping food if you ask me.  We left the barbeque roaring so we could keep warm whilst drinking and toasting our marshmallows, but not before a lengthy forage in the woods for the best marshmallow sticks.  The longer and thicker the better. 

Tipi Camping Wales welsh camping sites

Our first night wound down with more beers, The Strokes, a bit of Metallica, a small serving of old school hip hop, copious amounts of cigarettes and marshmallows, questionable tipi dancing, and a lot of smoke in our eyes from the fire. 

The Tipi Diaries: Day 2

Hobos at the beach

It was about 7am when I woke up to a sharp knocking sound.  My friend Mike was chopping wood outside the tipi.  We survived the first night, I thought.  I’d had a relatively comfortable snooze on a nice futon and the smoke from the fire was sort of bearable. 

Breakfast and coffee in the crisp, fresh air prepared me for a day at the beach.  Dressed like homeless people in brightly coloured knitwear, we set off for the coast of Aberystwyth and spent the day relaxing and eating fish and chips. 

Tipi Camping Wales welsh camping sites 1

Tipi Camping Wales welsh camping sites 2

We got back to Carno just in time for a stroll around the valley in our wellington boots and waterproofs, before retiring to an indoor barbeque due to the horrible, gloomy rain.

This was where the nightmare began…..

Tipi Camping Wales eco camping wales 1
The rain was heavy.  The temperature was freezing.  But using the fire to keep warm meant that smoke was everywhere.  Tipis have natural ventilation at the top but it’s not a perfect system, and the fumes were really starting to cause problems with my breathing.  Had we done it wrong? Should we have wafted it more? Prodded it more? Added more wood?

Sleeping was a little less comfortable on the second night due to a number of reasons, but mainly the freezing cold air mixed with the hazy, smoke-filled atmosphere.  I slowly drifted off.  But it didn’t end there…..

Awoken by a fear-provoking, gut-wrenching, loud heaving noise, I knew the future wasn’t Orange.  I was in the direct firing line of a stomach bug casualty (he insists that it wasn’t the alcohol).  Splash. Splatter. Splosh! 

I need to get to the outdoor bathroom so I can clean this off – and I need to get there now! I hurriedly thought to myself.  As I put my right foot into my wellie, squelch, and it was game over for my nice, dry foot. 

The Tipi Diaries: Day 3

Thanks, Mike!

After a cold night of torrential rain, a tough battle against the Black Lung, and a projectile vomiting incident which didn’t even spare my wellies, it was definitely time to go home. 

Breakfast, done.  Pots, washed.  Showers, tick.

Tipi Camping Wales eco camping wales 2

We had one last chill-out session with coffee and leftover food to take in the stunning view around us.  But however beautiful our surroundings, nothing was going to erase the scarring memory of the warm, wet wellie.  At least it’s something we can all laugh about.


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