Camping at age 73


I finally decided to try camping for Magic Monday. I thought I would give it a shot for a night or 2 but unfortunately because of the rain this got extended an extra night. I realized the benefit of camping versus arriving in the morning and would say if you can manage it then camping is by far the better way. You will most likely be in the first few hundred (depending on when you arrive) and this means your time waiting in the morning will be quicker and more tolerable. Once the stewards lead the queue through the park to the security checkpoint, you will have about an hour just to sit on the ground and relax. When the security check opens at 9:15am you move through pretty quickly to the ticket office and then to the grounds. Even though there is a bit of a wait after that, at least you can sit down, use the bathroom, get some food and just relax a little. Plus, you will have first dibs at prime spots on the outer courts when the grounds open at 10:30am.

Being almost 74, I was most likely the oldest person camping on that damp, wet field.  The stewards directed me on where to set up my tent and we began the wait for queue cards. Once these were given out in the late afternoon, your place in line is held and you can go for some dinner. I recommend heading up to the Wimbledon village (you can take bus 493) and there are a lot of restaurant options.

wimbledon village

Returning back to the queue in the early evening, most people are sitting in front of their tent (very helpful to have some sort of folding chair), chatting or kicking around a soccer ball. Soon it is ready to get organized to get to bed. Being my age, I knew I would be taking 1 maybe 2 trips to the rest room. So time to check it out and here are some very helpful hints. Make sure you can find your tent in the night. Finding the rest rooms are easier as they are well lit. But getting back is another story. All tents begin to look alike. Here are some helpful hints. Make sure you know exactly where your tent is. Count the number of rows from the end; count the number of tents where you are in the row. Observe background, particularly trees or any other landmark. Also a large or unusually shaped tent nearby is very helpful. Now here is very key point. Remember you are walking in a particular direction towards the rest rooms. On the way back, in the opposite direction where all perspective has changed and it is very easy, in the dark, to be confused. So observe your tent in both directions, looking for some landmark to help in the dark.

Here there are about 6 rows of tents lined up back to back. Picture this in the dark and trying to find your way back from the restroom!

Here there are about 6 rows of tents lined up back to back. Picture this in the dark and trying to find your way back from the restroom!

Finally, the obvious. Be organized. Note where you put your flash light; remember where you put your eye glasses.  But most of all do not worry, do not panic. The stewards are very helpful and you will find your tent.

Having all the stuff you need with you as your camping really makes the difference. This packing list has everything you need.

One positive note. Having camped somewhat in the states, one is always harassed with mosquitoes. After several nights camping the Wimbledon field there were none and not sure why. I am speculating that it has to do with the fact there is hardly, or no fresh water nearby. No lakes, streams etc. So just relax and enjoy the experience. If I could do it at age 73, you will surely have no problem!