DUNCAN BARKES: Guantanamo Bay? Just try camping

The news that 90 per cent of Britons detest camping, compared to other forms of holidaying, has generated much chuntering among those who prefer a break in a tent or a tin can.

In these austere times a camping trip is obviously a cheap way of taking a break.

But there are those who genuinely favour this kind of holiday.

According to the latest statistics from the Great British Tourism Survey, 17 million Brits took a camping or caravanning trip in 2011.

This compared with just six million UK holidaymakers who visited France, and ten million who hot-footed it to Spain. For years I have taken part in a one-night-only annual camping trip with other dads and our children.

And one night under canvas (or nylon) is all I can endure.

Nothing is ever simple when staying outdoors.

The most basic of tasks requires planning and/or effort, which hardly makes for a relaxing stress-free break.

To make a mug of tea you have to faff about getting water and coax it to boil on a little medieval stove.

To achieve this without causing an explosion or getting grass in your cuppa is a feat in itself.

Having a pee is fraught with challenges.

After beery japes around the campfire, the inevitable three-mile trek to the loo in the pitch black might be sobering, but that’s about all you can say for it.

After a night under the stars I need a soak in a hot bath, a medicinal brandy, 24 hours’ kip and the ministrations of an expert physiotherapist to repair my aching body.

President Obama should shut down Guantanamo Bay and simply make terror suspects camp for a month.

They’d soon ‘fess up to anything.

Obviously caravanning is less of a hassle. With a loo, mattresses, oven and even a fridge, it is a less primitive experience than the tenting lark. But whenever I encounter someone towing a caravan on the roads of West Sussex, they always appear to be rather frazzled. But maybe that’s due to being roundly abused by other road-users?

Why anyone would holiday in a tent or caravan out of choice is beyond me, but if it’s your (enamel) cup of tea then jolly good luck to you. But for me, especially as I get older, room service is a prerequisite for any holiday.