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Multiple tent pitching versus long drives!

(27 Posts)
Ispywith Thu 03-Jan-13 09:57:53

Ok, we are going to France camping in summer holidays with 4 and 6 year old. Plan is for 2 weeks stopping at Fontainebleau for 3 nights then 4 hour drive to Annecy, stop for 3 nights, drive onto Chamonix (only 1 hour) for 2-3 nights, then back up to Reims area for 3-4 nights before home. I am now dreading having to put our Hartford XL up and down 4 times in 2 weeks!
Guess I have two options; make less stops but have longer drive with small kids confused or sell tent & purchase large pop-up tent!
Any ideas or advice?

Slubberdegullion Fri 18-Jan-13 17:20:09

1) Can't be doing with spending 4 out of 7 or 14 days of holiday in the car.
2) Train/cheapo flight deals pretty similar/not hideously more than ferry + petrol.
3) Last time in hot Forrin we pretty much only slept in the tent. Once the sun was up we were outta there. Too hot. Sat outside all the time.
4) Quite fancy the challenge.
5) Big Forrin campsites have everything on them. So for breakfast walk to shop and get croissant/roll. Lunch: roll/fruit. Dinner either one pot meal (we will take small burner/saucepan and bowls) or eat out cheaply.

I will miss the tekster for cold booze and the table + chairs. Apart from that would rather get there faster and crack on with the hotness.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Fri 18-Jan-13 07:20:55

I definitely couldn't face putting up our Hartford XL more than once in a week, we also have the jam packed car/roofbox scenario.

zumo Fri 18-Jan-13 07:10:39

What if it rains???
I would leave the tent in one place and stay a few days in a hotel
NO hang on a mo I would just buy a cheap caravn far easier and warmer than a tent

sunnymum44 Thu 17-Jan-13 18:10:51

Agree with the consensus here. Our tent takes a good hour plus to put up and there's no way I would want to do that in the hot weather more than once. We were in the Alps last year and bear in mind the Alps & Annecy temperatures are 30 plus degrees. Also, for us, it's not the TENT that is the hard bit, it's packing and unpacking the rest of it that's the real pain - if you have a lovely big tent like us, it's great to make it a proper home for 2 weeks. But I certainly wouldn't want to be packing & unpacking every few days with all the stuff we take to France. You'd probably have a load of food to pack up too. Maybe we just like to take too much! As you probably guessed, we do an overnight stop on the way down, rather than pop up tent and there are literally hundreds of hotels to choose from - they range from about 30 to 70/80 (with ensuite) Euros and in my opinion are well worth it. You can drive till 7/8pm then be up and gone again by 9/10 in the morning to get to your campsite by mid afternoon. They all have secure parking usually right outside your room so you can keep an eye on your stuff. We've done it this way the past 3 years in France with now 4 and 6 year olds and it has always worked for us. Have fun in the Alps, they are stunning in the summer!

IloveJudgeJudy Thu 17-Jan-13 16:29:27

We usually camp in France. I would do a longer drive each day. Your DC can definitely cope with longer than a 4-hour drive. You should be able to drive to Annecy in one hit from Calass if that's where you're going from.

Driving in France is a breeze compared to driving in the UK. There are so many rest places; about every 20 miles or less. Even if you're not going on the motorway there are still loads of picnic areas.

Take your big tent, but only pitch it once and do days out from there, or get a Decathlon pop-up. We've seen loads of them in use in France where everyone eats in the big middle square pop-up/s and the bedroom pop-ups go from that.

Definitely agree Lafaminute that the striking camp was much more stressful than putting up. When putting up you can just put in the tent whatever you want and sleep, but when going home you have to leave your pitch by a certain time and you know everything has to go in a certain order.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Lafaminute Thu 10-Jan-13 12:02:39

Last year we did 4 sites in 2 weeks. We found the breaking down of the camp probably tougher than the setting up but we were fairly efficient by the last site. Our main problem was that we have a TEENY TINY car and an equally teensy trailer so every inch was stuffed with essentials so packing had to be extremely careful. We reckoned at every stage that the whole trip would've been easier, less stressful if we'd had a bigger car and trailer (top of the wishlist) At the same time, the best aspect of the holiday was the change of scenery every few days - I think we might aim for three sites this year, and maybe a mobile in the last one...or just bite the bullet and buy the bigger trailer!!

ReshapeWhileDashingThroTheSnow Tue 08-Jan-13 13:59:43

Slubber -can I ask, what is your rationale for v minimalist, non-car camping? Are you aiming to cut down on long tedious driving, petrol expenditure or just being tempted to take too much crap? grin TBH, camping in Forrin without a car, and training it, scares the bejezus out of me. Not sure why, I probably need a few sessions in therapy to bring it out, but it might have something to do with not having a 'safe' base (i.e. the car) - which is mad, because why take a tent if not to have a 'base'?

I mooted the idea of Forrin camping to DH this lunchtime, as a matter of fact. I said, so either we get a roof box or a trailer. He changed the subject. hmm

Lucycat Mon 07-Jan-13 16:21:32

Yes it was v exciting but camping in hot sunshine is more fun with dds!

Slubberdegullion Mon 07-Jan-13 11:04:06

France. That is as far as I have got, too much choice. We might fly if we decide to go to the South. 2 tents + 4 thermarests all go in two wheely bags and then everything else will have to be in backpacks. Am v excited, particularly about camping in hotness again. Bet Berlin was fab.

Lucycat Sun 06-Jan-13 17:45:24

ooh lovely tent - so lightweight camping then? Where are you plannning on heading to? Train would be easier no? I did it Interrailing in the Dark Ages but that was pre dds - we visited the Berlin Wall just after it came down smile

Slubberdegullion Sun 06-Jan-13 13:15:49

Hiya Lucy smile Happy New Year!

here she is to match with the 3 man Aspect that I bought last year.

2013 is the year we attempt our first minimalist camp to Forrin by train (or plane).

Lucycat Sun 06-Jan-13 13:06:01

Yorkpud my dd's still talk about Rainy Rouen - the overnight stop in 2 pop-ups when it rained from 4pm right through to 10am the next morning - it was utterly miserable trying to close 2 wet defiant pop-up tents which were covered in pine needles from the lovely municipal site that I'd lovingly located for our leisurely overnight stop.

We too now do hotels as overnighters - added bonus - more space in the car for wine with no pop ups grin

Lucycat Sun 06-Jan-13 13:02:10

slubber 'I bought a new tent today as it happens. Well I took back a tent I bought yesterday and got it replaced.'

Did you think you'd sneak that one in without me noticing? G'wan what sort of tent have you bought? tell smile

ebersneezer Sat 05-Jan-13 21:27:12

The trip sounds fun but I wouldn't want to take a tent and set up that took more than an hour to put up or take down. I mean the entire lot, not just the tent. Pop up tent with basic cooking gear would be better.

Maybe you could take a really cheap gazebo, tarp or light weight utility tent to put up on the longer stays? We've done that before. Once we took 2 small festival tents and a beach shelter, we sat in the shade of that to cook.

Seeing as Annecy is only an hour from Chamomix why not combine the two into one. If there's something you want to particularly see in Annecy then maybe stay at one of the cheap chain hotels for a night?

Ispywith Sat 05-Jan-13 21:10:09

Now seriously thinking of selling Hartford XL and get a large pop up ( decathlon 4.2 job). Decisions......decisions! Thanks for ideas x

Kahlua4me Sat 05-Jan-13 17:19:29

We have a Quechua pop up for overnights in France. Kids love it and makes our lives much easier as we have an Outwell Bearlake that takes ages to set up.

We did try staying in hotel once but found we missed the camping and worked out more. Plus kids get to run about after being in the car.

Yorkpud Sat 05-Jan-13 13:56:05

We go camping in France but stopover in a hotel once each way then usually have 11-12 nights at one campsite. I think it is easier that way as you can settle into your main site and the children can make friends. Also, we only have to put the tent up once (big advantage!). We did try stopping over with a smaller tent but we were soaked for the long journey the next day as we had to pack up in the rain!

Slubberdegullion Thu 03-Jan-13 17:53:50

May! Pfft. Half the year gone by May.

Quenelle Thu 03-Jan-13 17:16:26

We made plans on NYE, but for May <lightweights>.

Slubberdegullion Thu 03-Jan-13 16:14:38

Oh yes Quennelle. We had plans for NYE but they were thwarted by the pissy weather and a cough. February was the month last year to have gone camping in the UK last year.

I bought a new tent today as it happens. Well I took back a tent I bought yesterday and got it replaced.

Quenelle Thu 03-Jan-13 16:05:10

Ispy have a look at the different pop-up options on the Decathlon site. They've got a sale on at the moment.

Hi Slubber. Ready for another year of looking anxiously at the skies?

Slubberdegullion Thu 03-Jan-13 15:43:59

Oh good grief, don't do that in a Hartford, you'll have succumbed to Campers' Crackup before you've even got to Annecy. Get a Quechua, deffo.

We did 12 stops in 6 weeks and the love bank was nearly empty and that's with a tent that takes 20min to pitch. Go pop up.

Quenelle Thu 03-Jan-13 15:39:39

Ah, just re-read your OP and see that you don't have any long stays planned. In your situation I would only take a pop-up.

Quenelle Thu 03-Jan-13 15:38:29

Get this pop-up tent for the short stays. We took the smaller version with us for stopovers in France last year, but there was only me, DH and then 3yo DS so the bigger one would probably suit you. And it's a fantastic price at the moment.

Honestly, I would never camp in more than one place if I had to pitch our family tent every time. The pop up takes up almost no space in the car, weighs very little and is up and pegged out in less than 10 minutes. If you want more spacious, sheltered dining take a tarp.

professorpoopsnagle Thu 03-Jan-13 12:21:54

I think it's do-able- we have done 5 pitches over a 3 week holiday, with 3 kids aged under 7. How long does the tent take, and are there options like not having to put an extension up? When you strike knowing you are putting up later you can be a bit more lax with packing etc. The other trick is to limit 'inside tent' stuff, you don't want to be assembling wardrobes etc. Also, try to be as canny as possible about finding ways to store clothes/kitchen equipment etc which are good in the tent but also that you can just fling in the car- unpack as little as possible and keep things where they belong.

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