So, we used to go camping regularly, pre DCs. We were the minimal and practical lightweight type.... solid 2man tent (think Everest base camp!), pitched in 10 minutes, wild camping or minimal campsite, sleeping bags, thermarest, brew on and/or beer/wine open within 30 minutes, bbq on within the hour and feet up until sunset and/or rain and midges forced us into bed! (We're in Scotland).
Now we have 2 DDs. 3 and 1. We went camping when I was pregnant with DD2, in a borrowed "family" tent, got a whole load of "family" camping equipment (which we might possibly have scoffed at pre DCs) and loved it. but made a list of what kind of practical things we would look for in our own family tent. Found it online but was much too expensive... that was 18m ago and we finally found THE ONE last week in a mega sale at half the original price. (if you're interested it's a Kampa Studland Classic 8)
Hooray! But, the thing is I feel a little daunted by the whole thing now. I feel like, since it's such an investment we need to use it all the time to make it worth it, can never have a non-tent holiday ever again, worried that we will never get it pitched in Scottish wind and rain whilst also keeping an eye on DDs, don't want to put the DDs off the whole camping thing by pitching for too long (in the rain), still like the wilderness and non-conformity of wild camping, or more accurately hate the regimented style of campsites that are appearing more and more. (All these signs saying NO THis, NO That, NO Fun).
Also, given the unpredicatableness of UK weather, can we take a tent this massive into Europe?? Do European campsites readily accept foreign visitors with huge tents.? How do we find somewhere less regimented or more remote that still offers large pitches?
On the upside, if we ever are forced into homelessness, we can always live in the tent! I think it is bigger than my first flat!
Bumping this thread. Bought a vango 8 berth tunnel shaped tent with 5 lovely seperate sleeping/living compartments last year but not used it. Is it best to practice pitching it first? How long will it take on average? Got 2 dc (6 & 9). What would we need to take/buy. Only previous experience of camping was for a weekend with dh in small tent over ten years ago!
janji - Definitely practice! The most we have practiced so far is putting the poles in and raising the outer canvas, in our driveway. Obviously we couldn't put the pegs in so tied a couple of guys to the car and the fence to brace it up. It was bloody hard to get the poles in and raise it but I think that was because the canvas was new and had never been stretched out - was all folded/stuck together. It took the two of us about 45 minutes just to work that all out, (meanwhile DD1 getting moany and DD1 in pram sleeping!) but i think it will be faster next time.
i would think your DCs at 6 and 9 could help out a bit, guiding the poles through etc, so might speed things up?
Last time, for "family" camping equipment we bought - Coleman's petrol stove, some coleman's tables, a mini fridge (works plugged into car and/or with gas canister i think) Previously I would have thought this major over-kill, but with kids it just makes sense to keep things like milk properly cold, and means you can buy meat and cheese for sandwiches etc and not worry about it being off. Lot of rugs and blankets for keeping warn and/or sitting on. And we also took our duvet and pillows from home - I was pregnant so wanted to be warn and comfy.
Next on this list to purchase before we actually go camping is some solar powered tent pegs - I saw these around a big tent last time we went, and it looked fab and also means you dont' trip over the guys at night.