Decided I want to go camping with a bell tent. Now what?

(25 Posts)
Callmecordelia Fri 19-Apr-13 08:12:11

Hi all,

I've decided that I'd like to go camping. This is quite out of character for DH and I, but we've been seduced by the idea of easy trips to French campsites (we live very near the channel ports), electricity on pitches.... oh and bell tents that look pretty.

We've never camped before, but I can really see its appeal, especially now I have an outdoors loving toddler. Am I mad to think that I should get all the stuff so if it goes well (and I don't see why it shouldn't) we have everything for summer holidays for years - if it doesn't we'll just flog it on ebay (DH is quite into ebay selling), and we'll still be quids in because the amount we'd spend on going on a hotel etc would have been the same anyway?

The only thing that worries me is keeping DH warm. I was thinking a small fan heater (can't afford a stove yet) might be a good idea. Also, this might be the push to getting the Remoska I've always secretly wanted too.

Anything else I should be thinking of?

AtYourCervix Fri 19-Apr-13 08:18:18

Tent
Airbeds
Cooker
Kitchen unit
Carpet
Tea light chandeler
Sleeping bags
Bunting
Mallet
Micro towels
Saucepan set
Washing up bowl
Potty for night wees
Massive estate car and/or trailer

Callmecordelia Fri 19-Apr-13 09:05:29

Thanks for the list, it is really useful.

Anything wrong with buying rugs/cushions etc from Ikea?

Are the zonk pad things worth it, or is an airbed a better bet?

soulpad.co.uk/products/zonkpad

Quenelle Fri 19-Apr-13 12:50:58

Great idea! For us camping is the only way we could afford a two week holiday in Europe so it's a good job we like it.

My 3yo DS absolutely loves the freedom of camping. He cried on arriving home after two weeks in France last year because he wanted to carry on living in the tent.

I'm very envy of you living near the channel ports. That would take 2.5 very dull hours off our journey to France.

To answer your main question, if you buy a used tent at a good price from ebay and decide you don't like it, you should be able to resell it and not lose any money. Particularly if your DH is a seasoned ebayer. We sold a used 6 berth last week for just over £120. It's pretty busy on ebay at the moment though, because camping season has just started.

You don't need all the proper gear first time. You can buy things like gas stoves for £10 each from Go Outdoors. They also do cheap cutlery and crockery. Or you can use stuff from home. We take cheap nonstick saucepans we bought in Wilkinsons and proper mugs (because I hate drinking tea out of plastic).

I don't know if Zonkpads are any good, we have airbeds. We put a blanket underneath and an opened sleeping bag and sheet on top, and sleep under a duvet. It's very snug. Self inflating mats are better insulated though apparently. Ikea fleece blankets are only about £3 each I think and make very good rugs.

Alternatively you could try a Keycamp type holiday where you hire a ready pitched tent with all the equipment provided. This doesn't give you as much flexibility with location though.

One last thing, please read all the safety advice about not using stoves or barbecues inside tents. Their fumes are lethal. If you want a heater in the tent use an electric one.

Callmecordelia Fri 19-Apr-13 13:36:02

Thanks for all the tips Quenelle.

Quite frankly, naked flames near canvas and gas bottles scare me, so electric would be the way to go. That's why I was thinking of the Remoska - I've secretly wanted one for years.... I could always take my slow cooker though, instead. Chuck it all in one pot meals are my speciality, in normal life. I was looking at a little ceramic heater from Go Outdoors as a possiblity. Link . I particularly liked it as it said it cooled rapidly after being on.

Callmecordelia Fri 19-Apr-13 13:37:05

And how many commas could I use in that post? Sorry, was a bit distracted.

Quenelle Fri 19-Apr-13 15:31:40

Me too Cordelia.

We have managed without heaters so far. The weather was a bit iffy in the Dordogne last year so we've decided to (hopefully) solve the problem by going further south to Provence this year.

Callmecordelia Fri 19-Apr-13 20:22:10

Hmmmm. A few people have said we're mad. I should never have posted about this idea on Facebook.

I'm not going to get massive amounts of gear or solar powered fairy lights, oh no but we've been to France loads of times. We go over regularly, are reasonably proficient in the language.... Apparently also bell tents are heavy and not that user friendly. hmm

Is it really that mad an idea? I've done being holed up in a small self catering flat before, although admittedly one with a telly and that was bad. It looks like I can get most of the stuff for about £1K, which is roughly what it would cost for us to go on holiday anyway.

Callmecordelia Fri 19-Apr-13 20:25:13

As in, I was holed up in a self catering flat on holiday for a week because it was raining. I should not have a beer and then attempt to post.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Fri 19-Apr-13 20:30:49

If you are near ferry, them presuming you are in/nr Kent. There is a campsite called Welsummer nr Lenham that have bell tents already erected. Perhaps you could give it a go before you get all the kit?

Callmecordelia Fri 19-Apr-13 20:44:10

Oh, that's a good idea. I looked for a site near us, but that one didn't come up. I'll give them a call.

I'm probably being too precise on my location, but between coming off the shuttle and getting to my own kitchen for a cup of tea is about ten minutes. grin

Quenelle Fri 19-Apr-13 22:31:19

So lucky! I would give anything to not have to schlep round the M25 and M20 before we can get to Forrin and start our holiday.

But no, you're not mad at all. Millions of people camp all over Europe every summer and love it. They can't all be wrong.

<I might have had a few glasses of wine >

hillbilly Fri 19-Apr-13 23:01:01

I second Welsummer for having a go with a bell tent. And the folks there are lovely too....

Callmecordelia Sat 20-Apr-13 08:22:02

I sent an e-mail to Welsummer last night and they replied within minutes with a friendly and helpful e-mail. Let's see how this goes!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Sat 20-Apr-13 08:56:12

You've made me fancy camping again now. A bit, I'm not very hardy. grin

Callmecordelia Sat 20-Apr-13 09:14:33

I wouldn't class myself as hardy either.

The thing that has made me think of doing this is my toddler. She wakes up in the morning demanding to go outside or for a walk. She loves running free. The sort of self catering places we can afford to go to are small with limited or no gardens, and hotels can be quite restrictive for her.

Then I saw a bell tent on a blog of a knitting designer that I like. And it looked so different to how I imagined camping - peaceful, a tent that looked like a pleasure to be in, even if it was raining. And I thought of how much DD would love to wake up and be outside, so I googled, and then I kept on googling.... and then it snowballed into a full on obsession and in my head I have a fully furnished tent. grin

imtheonlyone Sat 20-Apr-13 09:25:42

We have a Bell tent that we camp in frequently. We got it from pukka tents. It's brilliant. It has a ready made hole in the side for a wood burning stove. We have used this many times and never had a problem - and been totally toasty warm smile. Not sure the zonkpad is worth it THB - we use an inflatable bed with blankets underneath and sleeping bag liners if really cold. But frankly the stove is far better investing in!! We love our bell tent - you will love it too. They are heavy though but not really an issue if you're going to put it in the car, drive to campsite and pith tent. We do lots of canoeing and wouldn't dream of taking out bell tent then. But for car journeys it's by far the best tent we have grin. And the prettiest wink. Have fun. As you say, if it doesn't work out for you, you can re sell on eBay - bell tents are very popular.

hillbilly Sat 20-Apr-13 09:46:13

Do you have enough space in your garden to put the tent up again to dry if you have had to pack up in the rain?

hillbilly Sat 20-Apr-13 09:56:58

Do you have enough space in your garden to put the tent up again to dry if you have had to pack up in the rain?

Callmecordelia Sat 20-Apr-13 10:25:36

Erm, no. Not currently. We're planning to move this summer.

However, my Mum and Dad do. And plenty of nearby friends. And I could ask the management company here (rented flat with no outside space of our own) if they'd allow us to pitch it in the communal space.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Sat 20-Apr-13 13:11:58

Thanks to you I have spent all morning looking at bell tents online grin. I have visions of setting it up in the garden for the summer and totally doing a cath kidston thing with it for the children to use with friends, it will just be like in the magazines, won't it?
Just suggested to DH but he just moaned that it will kill the grass <boring> I may have to work on him.......
I wish there were more showrooms to look at the different types, love the idea of ones with stove, we were really chilly last year in the evening (may) at welsummer.
Talking of children and camping, your little one will love it. Honestly, I hardly see mine they have so much fun. I would like it if it wasn't for the beds.
I really, really want one now.

nizzy99 Sat 20-Apr-13 15:43:15

I've been camping a lot over the last year but I've only recently bought a soulpad 5000 hybrid g, absolutely amazing looking thing and it just makes you feel so relaxed looking at it.

hillbilly Sat 20-Apr-13 21:16:50

I now really want to move house so I can have a big enough garden to have a bell tent at the end of it all summer for the kids to play in. Nothing to do with camping!

Callmecordelia Sun 21-Apr-13 08:27:49

Oh yes. My garden requirements have expanded a bit since I got bell tent obsessed. My DH wouldn't give two hoots about grass, and I burn as soon as I look at the sun. The idea of being able to sit in reliable shade sounds amazing.

Callmecordelia Mon 22-Apr-13 10:04:05

Right. This tent obsession has got to stop. And digging through old camping threads. You've now got me looking at Les Valades! It looks amazing. And totally doable for first timers with its' fridges, individual toilets etc.

Having said that, some of the pitches further down towards the lake look nice and shady looks at pale ghost like skin that burns easily. And the temperatures in June look v. nice.

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