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Help a new girl?

(4 Posts)
daisydotandgertie Fri 19-Aug-11 11:32:12

I really, really fancy a bell tent but haven't done any camping at all since I was a girl guide about a billion years ago.

I've been looking at soulpad and at - what are the differences? I'm looking at a 5m bell tent and I want to make it all look pretty blush. It's for me and DH and our 4 labradaughters.

I've assumed that a zip in groundsheet is the best option, but am very willing to be told I'm stupid.

And what gear can we not manage without? Airbeds? SIMs? Which are the most robust and comfy? And Cobbs seem to generate supreme excitement - why? What do they do?

I don't think I can manage without a tea light chandelier no matter what happens.

Our first outing in it will be in North Wales/Anglesey in early October [scared] for just one night between holiday homes. How much gear will we need to take?

Is it going to be a mistake?


joruth Fri 19-Aug-11 16:42:13

Well I also love bell tents even though our huge family has necessitated the purchase of a big old frame tent. You will find it easy and quick to put up. Zip in GS is perfect, if you can I would buy a really cheap groundsheet to put under and cut it to size as it will make pitching and packing away so much easier and will protect the expensive ZIG. Something to sleep on is vital......depends on level of comfort you want and how much space you have to pack things in....not much I guess if you have 4 labs... personally I go for a conventional flat airbed with no integral pillow as it keeps you warm off the floor and you can inflate to preferred hardness. Very basic equipment would include: very very warm bedding and probably several thin layers to sleep in and a woolly hat (several thin is better than one thick and can be peeled off or put on) (spare no expense or space being cold at night is more miserable than you can imagine) as it will be cold at night in October and also for your girls if they are in the tent they will definitely need something warm to sleep on/under...or you might prefer to keep them in the car. Something to cook on unless you are eating out, a lantern and a good torch and waterproofs/wellies...I can't live without fairy lights at our entrance but...........everything else you can wait until you have done your night in October....Bell tents are single skin tents, if you are going to camp later in the season than oct. you will almost certainly need a form of heater and if you go for a stove that might affect your choice re cooking. Personally I cook over an open fire in a dutch oven and have just a small gas burner as back up for rainy days. Cobbs are trendy but at the end of the day they are just a bar-b-que....and an expensive one at that. There are lloads of other outdoor cookers that are more versatile in my opinion.

best wishes

PS if you are planning to do more than the occasional night then an awning or a tarp is useful to keep a bit of dry infront of your tent to take off wet geat (towel off wet dogs) etc.

daisydotandgertie Fri 19-Aug-11 18:29:37

joruth - thank you.

Very helpful info for a novice. Especially the very sensible additional groundsheet advice - I suppose the zip in groundsheet is likely to be vulnerable to damage which would be a Very Bad Thing indeed. Are they delicate enough to worry about dog claws as they walk around?

ZIG = Zip in ground sheet? Makes sense; even to me. But then I might be wrong grin

The girls do fill the boot, but their boot bed can sit on top of a folded additional ground sheet - probably the air bed and even a duvet. And as it's entirely their fault that we can't just book a hotel for the night, they'll have to manage.

What is safe to use to heat the inside of a tent other than one of the lovely looking wood burning stoves with a flue? Is there anything? It feels a bit risky to me. A stove is going to be overkill just for one night!

I can't bear being cold at all, especially at night, so your advice about bedding and camping quality pjs is invaluable. Hot water bottles all around I reckon.

We are s/c in the cottages, so will have a bbq, picnic gear and basic cooking utensils. At least enough for one night. Anything will do for one night. We can fit in a kettle to make hot water, I'm sure.

I've already found fairy lights (is there a preferred make?). I too couldn't manage without them.

joruth Fri 19-Aug-11 20:06:17

for one night only I would go for hot water bottles in bed and hot choc before bed, bed socks too. If you have an electric hook up an electric blanket might be an option?? Stick some extra hot water in thermos to refresh HWB in the middle of the night if necessary

Yes ZIG is zip in ground sheet

Dog claws could be problem...I would put an old sheet or blanket down or a rug to protect.

Dogs in tent will help to keep you all warm!....could always cuddle up if really really freezing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

duvets are less warm than sleeping bag ( tho'I can't bear sleeping bags so always take my duvet) ...make sure you have enough insulation underyou as well as over.

tent heaters are sold but I've never used one...can't imagine they are that safe...there again I won't even cook inside our tent as I once saw one go up in flames...terrifying!

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