Brand new to camping - what do I need?

(20 Posts)
AndyMurraysBalls Tue 20-Aug-13 09:43:26

A tent, obviously, but what type, how much££££ ...... what do I need?

Other stuff???

I've only ever camped once before, years ago, as a guest of a seasoned camping family and I just rolled up for a few days while they were there and can hardly remember anything about their kit etc.

Do you get the best deals on sites by pre-booking online or can you just drive around, find a place you like and find a camping site nearby? Do they need ID?

I only have an old Ford KA. Will it all fit?

What about personal security? Am I being a bit anal or is this a consideration?

Any advice greatly appreciated......

AndyMurraysBalls Tue 20-Aug-13 10:17:36

Shamelessly bumping ......

Ok, how many people will be sleeping in the tent? I'd tend to go up by 1 or 2 for size (e.g. if 2 of you go for a 4 man tent).

For sleeping - sleeping bag, roll mat (basic) or SIM (more comfy) or airbed (never found these comfy myself). We tend to take blankets too.

I always book online or via phone but plenty of sites also let you pay as you turn up. Never needed ID.

We fit everything in a Ford Fusion (bit bigger than a Ka) but we have a big tend (Vango Maritsa 500) so depends on how big your tent is/how long you're going for/how many people are going.

MissWimpyDimple Tue 20-Aug-13 16:56:02

Depends how many people in your party! We struggle to get 4 people's worth of gear into an Audi A3

Blu Tue 20-Aug-13 17:35:49

Have a look at the advice on this thread.

And the list for camping under 'Travel: useful MN stuff Packing Checklists (see the link down the R hand side of your page here).

I don't think you can fit a family plus kit in a Ford Ka, they have tiny boots, don't they? You might manage if you add a big roof box and manage on minimal kit: v small stove (not the kind with a big gas bottle), sleeping bags that pack v small, don't take a big cooler, chairs will take up space but you can get small stools... If you are camping child-free you can probably fit it all in.

Basically you need a tent, something to sleep on, many people favour SIMs or self inflating mats these days, something to sleep in (though you cann manage with your home duvets until you decide to invest in the long term), something to cook on, plates, cups, cutlery, pans accordingly.

In peak hol seasons and sunny weekends it is important to book in advance. You can search CampsiteUk by map, or by type of campsite (e.g by those that allow campfires), and many have an availability checker.

AndyMurraysBalls Tue 20-Aug-13 19:02:18

Thanks for all advice.

It'll probably just be me going plus possibly one of my (almost) grown up DCs.

I just fancied doing something I've never done before.

AndyMurraysBalls Tue 20-Aug-13 19:20:25

Thanks for that link Blu. (I did search but obviously not very well!)

I wasn't thinking of doing any cooking or chairs/tables scenario. Just grab and go food.

Still unsure about the security question. I don't mean possessions as I honestly don't have anything worth nicking, (phone and debit card in pocket). I was thinking about personal security.

fossil971 Tue 20-Aug-13 19:59:45

If it is just 1 or 2 of you it's easy to go lightweight envy

About a 3 person tent maybe like this
Small stove & panset
Coldbox or cold bag (not too big a one - a big insulated lunch bag might do) & some iceblocks.
A 3 season sleeping bag, mat (ideally a SIM) and pillow. If you don't have much space a mummy style bag with a stuff sack packs down best.
Torch
Picnic rug (for sitting/lounging outside)
Chairs not essential but something to sit on even a stool does help unless you are very flexible. Likewise something flat to put the stove on if you don't have a table - I am a fan of a sturdy plastic box like a 35litre really useful box - it does as table, chair and foxproof food box.

Then you just pack as much or as little as you like of picnic crockery, cooking stuff, tins of beans, tea bags, wine etc and away you go.

It gets chilly in the evenings and damp in the mornings so you need some warm clothes and shoes you don't mind getting wet and probably a backup blanket!

We've camped for years and never had any security issues - I don't think those sort of people can be bothered with camping. If you are getting annoying neighbours or attention from weirdos because you're a woman alone, just pack up & go home.

Campsites are fairly cheap but it's usually worth booking in the busy season. There aren't often deals but it might only be £10 for the night. We just browse UK campsite and look for sites than have a nice view/setting and not too dire facilities.

fossil971 Tue 20-Aug-13 20:03:23

sorry box these are my camping secret weapon.

In the summer there were people camping right next to us who were touring right across Europe in an old Mini - you can definitely do it with a Ka. In fact here they are!

Blu Tue 20-Aug-13 21:29:19

Go for it AMB!

In that case a smallish tent will do fine. Look at the Decathlon pop ups such as a 2 seconds XXL III or a small 4 person weekend tunnel tent. A SIM each, waterproof rug or camp chairs ( worth it: the sitting out enjoying the stars, and a beer). A sleeping bag or sheet and duvet. A bottle of water, some cereal bars, you'll be fine for a couple if nights.

I really recommend the more wild camping style of sites which allow camp fires. They will deliver a bag of logs to your tent, you build your fire, pack some marshmallows and there is no better evening's enjoyment.

What area are you thinking of visiting?

Blu Tue 20-Aug-13 21:32:23

Oh, you need a good penknife for whittling a stick on which to toast your marshmallows smile

Blu Tue 20-Aug-13 22:25:26

I really wouldn't worry Bout safety. Campsites are very friendly places and people are helpful. At night you can hear everything, opening zips, snoring, everything. It would be hard for anyone to commit an assault.

I sleep with my penknife open by my sleeping bag in case of fire, but I have been happy for DS to sleep alone in a small tent a little way away from ours since he was 9.

ViviPru Tue 20-Aug-13 23:14:41

OP my BFF regularly camps with her partner and they use their Ka. They have a 5 man tent, airbed, table, chairs, stove, cool box, gazebo, bedding etc etc. Its fine.

Blu Tue 20-Aug-13 23:27:28

Indeed you should be fine if you have the back seats free!

pausingforbreath Wed 21-Aug-13 01:45:48

Ford Ka easy peasy to
Get it all in grin
Last time I went I took my mini convertible - got a canvas frame tent, camp beds, bedding stuff, ehu and associated appliances, loads of pretty lights, bunting a windbreak and my full size cadac . Where there's a will....
Nothing on the back seats was over full so I
Had my roof down too ....

AndyMurraysBalls Wed 21-Aug-13 08:26:25

Mmmm - getting round to the idea of a bit of campsite catering now ....

No idea where I'm thinking of going. Just somewhere open and lovely.

Now for the stupid questions ....

I know things have moved on considerably from Carry on Camping days, but is it easy for a single person of less than 9 stone to put up and put away a modern tent? Do you have lots of practice runs in the garden?

Also - I think I remember that there was a sort of washing up area where you take all your cooking stuff in a washing up bowl to a communal site and wash it all. Is that still so?

Blu Wed 21-Aug-13 12:34:36

like this

or this

or this

or this

Would all be easy to pitch on your own.

If you went to a site like Forgewood in Kent you could have a campfire and hire one of their Campfire Grills and cook burgers, sausages etc over your fire, and take one of these and a pan for baked beans, milk for hot choc, hot water for tea in the morning, a tin of hot dogs sausages, or brilliant ready meals like this currently on offer in Waitrose with a baguette!

And then at Forgewood (which is why I suggested it) and similiar sites you also have an on-site cafe!

Blu Wed 21-Aug-13 12:39:31

P.S - yes, most sites which have toilet blocks and showers have a washing up area - sinks - to which you take your stuff. Some people take a washing up bowl or bucket to carry dirty dishes in, but you can use a plastic carrier bag, or crate, or anything at all. Folding or collapsible washing up bowls are available to save space.

Some people take paper plates for short trips to avoid eashing up altogether wink

Some basic 'back to nature' sites do not have a washing up area - you can then accomplish washing up in a bucket or bowl with a small amount of water and a sponge and some washing up liquid - hot water if you have a pan and stove. But a washing up area is better. The websites for campsites will describe the facilities fairly accurately.

MarianForrester Wed 21-Aug-13 13:57:28

I think a tent with a sort of peak thing (technical termgrin) over the door to stop the rain coming in when you unzip is really good. Our pop up decathlon be seconds has it and it really works.

Our Vango Beta doesn't, and can be a pain, although its a great tent otherwise.

troutsprout Wed 21-Aug-13 16:51:53

Pluck and a good sense of humour
smile

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