Complete camping virgin needs a master class on the basics.(134 Posts)
I have a tent. That is it. Want enough stuff to go camping with DH and DCs (6,4,2) for a couple of nights, locally, to start with whilst we find our camping feet.
What do I need? (On a budget ie as cheap as poss)
I assume something to sleep on and in and something to cook on and eat off?
must just don't end up taking duvets, you'll end up very cold.
How about you buy one or two decent sleeping bags (at least one for you?) and try and improvise with duvets or borrow some kit for every one else. Kids often don't get as cold. If you like camping, gradually build up your kit each time you go so spread the cost over a few trips.
We have a folding BBQ like this but you could take a disposable one. It's nice but not essential.
Flip flops or crocs and a plastic bag to keep your clothes dry for the shower
We took our travel potty with disposable liners for night time emergencies. It actually came in useful on a couple of occasions when the children simply couldn't wait. Head torches were really useful too.
Never camped in my life before I met DH, who has a psychopathic love of sleeping in water-filled ditches etc. Still not a great camper (when he takes DC to the water-filled ditches, I head for the spa...) but some tips:
Goretex is worth the money (or, as DH puts it, "Get everything Goretex 'cept condoms" - DD1 was an unplanned camping trip baby!) .
Baby-wipes are the best thing since before sliced-bread was ever thought of (You can have a really refreshing full-body wash with just a dozen!!!).
The only cooking equipment you need (per person) is a small non-stick frying-pan, a wooden spoon & a metal mug with a strip of duct-tape on one part of the rim:
You can cook for 2 in a small n-s f-p, so share chores; everyone eats with their own spoon.
No need to wash-up: use a baby wipe!
For a brew, boil the water directly in the cup, add tea-bag, coffee, spoonful of marmite etc, then drink from the bit with the tape.
Have 2 sets of clothes: one for day, one for night. ALWAYS change back into day clothes in the morning, even if they are still wet; NEVER let your night clothes get wet. With one set dry, you can survive more or less indefinitely; with both sets wet, you've got 24 hrs max, normally a lot less...
Never go barefoot: sleep in lightweight sneakers (baseball boots with hi-sides are ideal) in case DC start crying in the next tent or you need the loo or cows break into your campsite or there's a mega-storm or flash-flood or, as DH puts it, "..you get bounced by the bad guys...!" etc.
DH also says you should keep your personal weapon tied to your wrist so you can find it quickly if there's any bother, but I think this is unnecessary at Center Parcs...
Some great ideas here. I did a few camping trips years ago and had all the gear - stove, table and chairs, mini fridge etc. I'd like to do it again but I really can't be arsed with all the food related faff. Would it be easy enough to camp without having to cook - ie do many campsites serve brekkie, lunch etc without it being too expensive?
...would I be able to get a flask filled up with tea?
Get some lactose free milk. (Lactlose?)
It comes in UHT type cartons that don't need to be kept cold, but seems to taste like normal milk.
For storage I love my flexible buckets http://www.amazon.co.uk/Draper-49099-42-Litre-Multi-Purpose-Flexible/dp/B001GUWUI8
They squish down in the car. I take about 5, one for shoes, one for food, one each for kids toys, can fill with water for water fights/wine cooling.
Depends on the luxuriousness of the site, Flumperoo - I tend to go for the cheaper sites so they might have a little shop and not much more. The bells and whistles places probably have cafes or restaurants.
I looooove camping, off to Dorset in June for a night to give my newish tent an airing. I always take a sleeping bag and a duvet and a pillow, and usually an airbed or thermarest but always with a rollmat underneath as you need something between the ground and the airbed otherwise it can be very cold.
If you're a light sleeper, take earplugs. There will always be someone who stays up later/gets up earlier than you. And there'll always be some arsehole who insists on sitting in their car with the engine running at 7am.
Always have a knife or pair of scissors inside the tent with you so that you can cut your way out of it if an emergency means you can't get out of the door.
I was inside a tent with (ex) boyfriend cooking supper in the entrance. He managed to cause a mini explosion with the camping stove somehow which caught part of the tent alight. Thankfully he had the water container next to him which he chucked over the flames and it put them out. If the fire had taken hold we would have both been trapped in a burning tent - and they can go up in seconds. It was pretty scary.
Also, goes without saying - NO naked flames inside the tent - no candles, no cigarettes, no lighting matches, nothing.
A bucket with a lid for when DS (and me!) get caught short in the night....I am not going looking for the toilet block in the middle of the night for anyone
And yes I have a friend who goes camping and every morning she drives to the shower block and washes and straightens her hair !!!
Ps don't forget hot choc and marshmallows!
Practice run. If you have a garden camp out for the night. It will help to check everything is OK with the tent (no rips, missing or broken poles enough pegs). You can see for yourself how cold it can be but still close enough to go get another duvet. Check the airbeds hold the air and don't deflate in the middle of the night. If it's a disaster abandon tent and go get in bed.
Most important don't stress it, if you enjoy it so will the children chill and have a great holiday.
Normal UHT milk tastes like normal milk these days too, no where near as bad as it used to be.
We have a plastic lidded "kitchen box" we keep packed for camping too, with all cutlery and plates etc in it. we use it as a washing up bowl when we are there as well.
I usually take my duvet and put it on top on my double sleeping bag. I hate hate being cold when camping.
Marshmallows, glo sticks, bubbles and kites type things for the kids. My kids love those velcro catch and grab sets for camping trips.
Pegs and a bit of washing line and duct tape are a handy thing to have about for quick repairs or rigging up shade/shelter if extra is required. My dh mocks me for packing the duct tape every time, but we almost always seem to find a need for it.
I save up those froot shoot (i never give them to my kids really, oh no not me) type small bottles for small amounts of cooking oil, washing up liquid.
We are camping as we speak and this year the extras have been shown going home for the duvets as it really is cold at night and an electric heater. We so camp at a site that does food so no cooking. We are all having a fab time and I have read my first beast quest book. Oh yes we also have kindled and a fridge!
Little reading light (tiny beam) so you can read when dcs asleep (even if dc2 ends up in bed with you)
Double sleeping bag (even if 2 zipped together) or double duvet for you and dh because if 2yo cries the easiest thing to do is take him into bed with you and you can't do that with a little single sleeping bag with narrow foot.
Is the 2 yo in nappies? try to use normal bedding for him in that case, I mean the stuff you have loads of, and bring spares, so that if there is a leakage you just change it, rather than having to find a laundrette or going home or putting him in a shitty sleeing bag. I suppose this is what you would naturally do anyway if you are putting him in a travel cot, but if you are putting him on a camping mat then try to make it up with stuff you have spares of.
My main camping tip is to take way more bedding than you think possible to need. Especially to sleep ON rather than under. More camping mats etc than seem sensible. It's not so very warm as you might think at 2am in the middle of a field, to paraphrase Eyeore.
Camping is fun- a slice of pioneer life and you get to use unaccustomed things a couple of times a year. Great "dépaysement".
If you are camping in UK, hot water bottles absoutely essential
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Definitely definitely get 3 season sleeping bags. I camped Friday and Saturday night, boiled during the day
and am now as red as a lobster but slept in DP's down 3 season, with my 3 season opened over the top and wore proper thermals, two t-shirts and a fleece. I was still relatively chilly!
Buy a cheap picnic blanket for the inside of the tent to put muddy boots on.
Take a dustpan and brush for brushing out the tent before you pack it away.
Asda's own brand cheap hot chocolate (in a white opaque pot) is really bloody good, you need to use a good 4 heaped teaspoons per mug but you can have that for a thick hot chocolate with just water.
I take TravelJohns with me, I also have some in my car at all times in case of an emergency when travelling! They are brilliant though do bag them and bin them as squirrels might take a bite
Gaffer tape for any emergency repairs. Handy to have a spare tent pole .
Take a flask of hot water with you for a no- faff cup of tea when you arrive.
Three- quarter length trousers are handy.
It's worth keeping a spare pair of trousers / shorts and pumps in the car when you pack up, so that if you pack up in rain and mud you have clean dry clothes and shoes to drive in.
Take fresh pasta rather than dried for reduced cooking time, and bags of ready grated cheese. Remember cupboard staples like salt and oil. If you have some ready - made meals in the freezer like casserole or pasta sauce, take them with you frozen and they will help keep the cool box cold.
A colllapsible water bottle is useful.
Pump for airbeds plus spare batteries.
In- car charger for phone if you are not using EHU.
A large platic bag-for- life that stands upright is useful by the door for shoes.
Battery operated lights only for inside the tent, and always leave barbeques/oil lamps or anything that involves gas/oil/burning outside the tent. Not only are they an obvious fire risk but they also pose a big CO risk.
Cool boxes are good for storing food, keeps it dry.
Don't put anything within a good few inches of the tent edges, it will end up soaking by the morning, water proof tent or not. Avoid also touching the sides of the tent as water will come in, usually from condensation.
Plastic boxes for dishes, storage, clothing to keep stuff dry and organised
Wooden sticks to place shoes upside down (especially good for welly boots), dries them out and stops spiders etc from moving in.
Torch by the door, next to shoes on sticks (have a grab and go bag)
If you don't fancy seats, rolled newspapers in an overlap fashion covered in bin bags and stuck with masking tape's always good.
Take tent patches for repair in the possible event that the tent rips, plus spares of everything especially pegs. Spare rope/strong wire for guys. Waterproof spray for the tent.
Take plenty firelighters, also fire proof gloves, and sand/water buckets if you plan to cook on a fire.
Take a first aid kit, spare fully charged mobile in case you can't charge it and need one.
Plenty of spare batteries.
Plenty of loose change for token washers/driers.
Cook simple stuff - e.g. spag bol, salads, pasta dishes. Have big breakfasts and lunches, lots of snacks - camping makes me very hungry..
A groundsheet, fleece, then a raised bed, with another fleece layer is good for warmth. To save time on the first night you can make bedding rolls and stuff jammas in them etc.
Washing lines and the like can be easily made if you have some good strong bits of wood (tree branches etc) and spare rope.
Make ground rules if you want to avoid tent mess - e.g. no shoes to be worn in the tent..
Waterproof trousers and macs are fab for sudden downpours.
Plan day trips or take indoors stuff if it rains - e.g. colouring books, simple toys for kids, kindle etc for adults.
Have camped for years and years since I was tiny, did loads of camping with girl guides in the green bell tents where the sides are rolled up daily and everything has to be packed up each morning!!
Pack clothing in plastic bags inside holdalls - keeps the clothes dry if you have to have the bags out in the rain for any time while you are putting the tent up . Also means that you have bags to put dirty / wet clothes into later.
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