Last night was 'shakedown' night. I decided to camp out at Kelvedon hatch and see if all my gear worked and if I needed to change anything before my trip...it's all part of the learning curve I am on. I couldn't have picked a better night to test the gear...it pissed own all night, heavy continuos and torrential driving rain from about 1pm to 6 am. The field ended up sodden and water was about an inch deep in places on the site, even though it is on a slight hill. The tent: http://www.quechua.com/EN/files/assets/20839128-t2utralightpro/t2ultralightpro-en.htm I pitched the tent in the middle of the camp site close enough to a fence so i could lock up my bike. It took me about 10 minutes to 'get it up' (so to speak) and all was well...but the footprint I used was slightly to big and in the early hours the water started to seep through the ground sheet a little as it had collected on the footprint. Also the fly sheet held the deluge off ok, but I would not want to rely on it has the deluge continued for another day or two. The inner stayed 100% dry. I am however feeling the need to spray the outer and the groundsheet with some serious waterproofing of some kind....but I am unsure what to use. I may also stab the footprint with my penknife to allow any sitting water to drain. I learn't not to push the tent pegs all the way into the ground as they were hard to get out in the morning. I learn't to count my pegs back into the bag. I learn't to use a full pannier to hold down the tent in the wind whilst pitching and packing. I learn't that my road shoes are bad on campsites under an inch of water...I needed crocs or flip flops, but ended up 'barefoot in the park'. I learn't that i cannot sleep well after two strong coffee...so i'll carry green tea from now on. I managed to cook my dinner and my breakfast on my Trangia 27 non stick with no problems. But it did need two fills of the burner to complete dinner ....bangers, beans and dumplings...with Garlic and chile...yummy....but I was glad of the two tent vents later that evening! I did feel the need to add a frying pan lid to my cook set...so I will cut one out of some heavy tin foil dishes (like ready made dinners sometimes come in)...either that or I will take a few sheets of tin foil. I learn't to pitch away from large groups and caravans...they make a lot of noise and their dogs bark too much. I learn't that I like having two lights in the tent, and that T light candles are homely under a wet fly sheet ( I was careful) I learn't that I want that palm sized telly for sure. I learn't not to pitch between the water supply and the bogs...people trip over the tent in the dark. I learn't that my ear plugs are not able to drown out the sound of the heavy rain on the tent I learn't that I probably will be investing in one of those air mattress thermo rest type thingamy bobs because folding my mat in half was not effective and it's difficult to keep flat. I learn't that camp sites dont sell meths and that the temptation to eat chocolate is overpowering when bored. ...BUT what I really learn't was that i am in fact THIN...SKINNY....a Veritable stick insect....compared to Caravanners!!! I was th ethinnest one on th esite I swear!...The mobile home brigagde were there in force, all the comforts of home...TV, sat TV, Fridges, Diniong table and chairs...you name it...But above all they had BEER...Crates of BEER...lots of CRATES of BEER....it was like a competion ...who could get fattest by drinking th emost beer, who had the most obnoxious beer belly (mostly the women would have won that competition), an dwho could shout loudest from one side of the field to the other at their equally strange friends...who rather than walk across the field insisted their loud friends telephone them!! I learn't that this species keeps Pit bull terriers with spiked collars presumably to guard their satellite tv and fridge...not to mention the BEER from strange looking cyclists in small tents! ...all in all a worthwhile experience....I shall apply th elearning gained and set off into oblivion a wiser man.