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Two adults and a child - how much boot space for tent & accessories?

(36 Posts)
Machadaynu Wed 13-Mar-13 15:00:19

I hope this will be the year we finally get to go camping again. Before we had DD we just used to take a 3 man tent, a one ring stove, a pan, two forks and - the best camping discovery of all time - an airbed with our proper duvet and pillows. We used the boot of the car as the 'wardrobe' and spent a lot of time walking, in the pub, or in bed.

Anyway, forget it all that. It will be different with a three year old. I'm thinking a tent with two rooms and space to play inside on wet mornings, plus room to cook under a roof, if not inside walls. And such untold luxuries as a table, chairs, maybe a cool box, a two ring hob, some toys, some books, a scooter ...

You get the idea - my question is, how much car does all the equipment to have a nice time camping in the UK with a three year old take up? Do you have huge cars, or trailers, or roof boxes, or all or none of those things?

Obviously it depends on how much stuff we take, but I want it to be reasonably comfortable and not miserable for the kid if it rains, so if you could give me an idea of how much stuff you take in relation to a car boot, that'd be fab. I'm thinking that we might as well get a used trailer tent as we'd have to buy all the equipment and the car already has a tow bar, but if we can fit it all inside that would be easier as I have nowhere to keep a trailer tent smile Thanks in advance.

craftynclothy Wed 13-Mar-13 15:09:37

We manage in a Ford Fusion with a 5yo and 3yo. Our main tent is a Vango Maritsa 500, which comes in two bag (one for poles, one for the tent). The bedrooms can be arranged as 2 + 2 + 1 so the 1 in the middle is used as wardrobe space. We also have a folding chair each (3 adult ones and a small one for our 3yo).

Cooking-wise we have a trangia, a small thing that goes on top of gas and a one ring burner. Dh cooks in the rain if needed, while I entertain the kids inside. We manage without a table - usually use the coolbox as a table for one kid and a plastic tub that we take food in as a table for the other.

We take colouring pencils and paper. An inflatable ball is good - doesn't take space up and can't do much damage wink. Scooters only come if we have room once everything else is in.

We use sleeping bags rather than a duvet as they take up less room and we find them warmer.

That said, we've never gone for more than about 3 nights or so.

Machadaynu Wed 13-Mar-13 15:27:06

Thanks. I guess we'd not be going for more than a week at first so we don't need everything. I remember other kids having their bikes when we went camping and I always wanted to take mine, but I accept that it won't always be possible smile

I think I need to make a list of things we'd want to take don't I?

We have a Picasso and I guess we could remove two of the seats, so it should all fit even though I've been looking at canvas frame tents on ebay - and they're huge (but seem to be cheaper).

DeepRedBetty Wed 13-Mar-13 15:34:30

If we're going for just a weekend or so, I can get it all in the boot/footwells. (Renault Scenic, so very similar size to you) But the amount of 'stuff' you're describing, I'd hook the trailer out for. I luff the trailer. Bloody hate reversing with it though...

Knittingnovice Wed 13-Mar-13 15:34:54

We had a 2year old and a 4month old in an Astra with a roof box, we have an 8 man euro hike tent, cooker, tables, chairs and have festivalled with the Astra as well.

We now have a Volvo 850 estate as we have a gazebo as well, but we have to split the back seats to fit the gazebo in because it is too long to fit in the boot and the Volvo doesn't have roof bars.

DC3 is due shortly and we won't be able to split the back seats so are looking for either another Volvo with roof bars or something else.

Machadaynu Wed 13-Mar-13 16:26:05

Thanks all. We've not had the Picasso long so I'm going to have a look tonight and survey how much room there is. Camping in the previous car was a definite 'no' as we filled it to bursting going to a cottage for 4 days (although we did take most of our food with us to save time)

I think it's possible that even a large frame tent would fit on the floor in the back because it's totally flat, which would mean we had the whole boot for everything else. But then I'm not sure I want 30kg of metal poles loose in the car - but still, there should be lots of space. I think. This is someone who filled most of a five-seat saloon car with stuff for himself when camping as a single person, albeit I had such essentials as a fortnight's worth of beer with me.

Basically if we can't fit a tent and a week's worth of stuff in our car along with the three of us, we're taking too much, aren't we?

cheerup Wed 13-Mar-13 17:16:30

We managed 2 adults, a 3 year old, a 6 year old and a 9 year old in a Picasso plus roofbox last year but had to leave the canvas frame tent at home and take the Quechua instead. Took plenty of food and managed to bring 3 boxes of wine home too. We don't travel light either. Previously we had done a weekend with the frame tent and without the roofbox and it was OK space wise. Now we have a C4 Grand Picasso plus roof box and can fit both tents, two tables, a kitchen stand, 5 chairs, a tarpaulin and loads of other stuff in. Doesn't stop me wanting a trailer though!

Machadaynu Wed 13-Mar-13 17:58:22

Ooh Cheerup - could you give me two pen'eth on the pros and cons of frame tents too? I've only ever had the bendy-pole ones. The nearest I've come to using a frame tent is 'helping' my dad put the awning up on the caravan when I was a kid.

cheerup Wed 13-Mar-13 19:35:36

Pro's - our Cabanon Estoryl was cheap as chips on fleabay. It's sturdy, comfortable whatever the weather, well designed & well made. Cons - both canvas and poles are heavy. The whole thing is bulky and takes a long time and a fair amount of strength to put up and take down. We're so paranoid about it getting wet and not being able to dry it (no garage) that we're very reluctant to use it in this country. It is a great tent but something you would want to use for a quick weekend getaway. hope that helps.

Machadaynu Wed 13-Mar-13 20:45:17

Thanks. Hadn't thought about drying them, but we do have a garden that would be big enough for all but the most huge tent to dry in. I guess with a tent like that you don't want to be arriving at your pitch too late, which is something to bear in mind. I can see me putting it up in the wind and rain while the OH and the kid go to find a cafe ...

We could take a little tent for temporary cover ... this is how we end up taking too much smile

forevergreek Wed 13-Mar-13 20:55:31

Take a look at the Quechua 4 man pop up tent. Tent bag opened an stent is up in 1 min with a shake. Add a few pegs to keep it down. Means no faffing around with small children around

Machadaynu Wed 13-Mar-13 21:00:28

We have a Quechua 3 man tent and one of the sun shades, but the larger ones weren't tall enough for me to comfortably stand up in apart from in the very centre when I tried them - I think anyway - we looked at a lot of tents on the same day at the end of summer, I get confused!

I like the sturdiness of the frame tents now I've started looking at them, and they seem to have usable height over most of their area.

Wolfiefan Wed 13-Mar-13 21:06:16

Just give in and get a trailer!

UniS Wed 13-Mar-13 21:09:20

We still fit fine in a toyota Corolla. but our tent packs down tiny. Only a one room plus fly tent. but it suits us, big enough to sit in the fly porch if its drizzly evening. Otherwise DH and I stay outside .

Piffpaffpoff Wed 13-Mar-13 21:30:49

I have a Vango Icarus 600, take a massive coolbox and all other essentials (chairs, airbeds, sleeping bags, pillows etc etc) and I get all that, plus DH and two DCs into a cMax. Just!

Quenelle Wed 13-Mar-13 23:33:10

DH, 3yo DS and I fill a Scenic with two seats removed to the gills and a roof box. We have a six berth Royal Houston tunnel tent which when packed up is the size of a small sofa. It goes at the front of the boot because it's the first thing to come out.

We have down sized to a Vango Icarus 500 for this year because the Royal just takes too long to put up when one of you is wrangling a preschooler who's been cooped up in a car for hours and has just seen the playground.

If I left the Kampa Khazi behind it would be less of a squash but I'd leave DH behind before going without my loo-slash-coffee table.

NightmareSpoon Thu 14-Mar-13 00:35:53

There's 3 of us too - we have a ford fusion and fit everything in the boot, and all the soft stuff like sleeping bags and airbeds on the seat next to DD. And stuff like folded up chairs crammed into the back footwell.

Can't remember what tent we have (it's old) but it's a 4 man one.

We used to have a Clio and still managed to go camping several times. DH had a special technique for packing the car - it had to be done a certain way or it wouldn't fit. And he was very economical with space, even wellies had rolled up clothes stuffed inside so the space wasn't wasted grin

Blu Thu 14-Mar-13 13:52:24

I used to do it in a Fiat Punto, but it was stuffed to bursting. Things carefully stashed under the seats, the footwell under DS's feet crammed, stuff under the passenger's legs... Took tent, mats, sleeeping bags, real pillows, two ring burner and calor gas cannister, BBQ, coolbox, folding chairs, roll-top table.

A topbox would have made it all so much easier.

You'll be FINE in a Picasso!

I don't think you need an enormous tent, or one that takes up loads of space packed up. Look at the Decathlon family pop up tents. For cooking under cover (I never cook in the tent, not even under the porch) you could look at a Decathlon tarp, which folds down so small you could fit one on your handbag.

Quenelle Thu 14-Mar-13 14:11:10

It's easy to get carried away, thinking you might as well chuck X in and Y might come in handy. But we plan to minimise the stuff we take this year as much as possible for a more relaxing experience. Less to cram in the car, less to trip over in the tent, less to pack when you're ready to leave.

We have the Decathlon tarp and it is very handy and indeed folds up very small.

Machadaynu Thu 14-Mar-13 17:46:26

Thanks all. I think we'll be ok. We got enough stuff in terms of food, shoes, boots, waterproofs, clothes, books, toys and cameras in the old car - and this one is much bigger so we should easily have room for a tent, a stove, some pans and some sleeping stuff.

Just looking out for a tent now. I'm thinking a frame tent is sturdier? We live not far from the Peaks, so it's just occured to me today that we could put the tent up there for a week and just live in it; we could still go to work and take DD to pre-school on the days she goes but we'd spend the evening in the tent smile

Machadaynu Thu 14-Mar-13 17:47:27

and the tarp idea is definitely one I'm going to use. I have a l poundland one in the car in leiu of a picnic blanket already, it 's a much more sensible size, and takes up no room.

Machadaynu Sun 17-Mar-13 19:29:43

Bought a tent on eBay today - will collect it in the week and find out big it is packed up smile

hillbilly Mon 18-Mar-13 01:17:12

Dh, dd, ds (7 &5) and I fit into a golf plus with roof box. Outwell Oakland XL tent, pup tent, windbreak, big cool box, hamper, table and chairs, cooking grill plus all the usual bedding etc stuffed in the gaps. Kids' bikes go on a bike rack. We never seem to be as efficient at packing the car to return home even though we have less!

Machadaynu Mon 18-Mar-13 16:29:13

So you have stuff on the top and the back, hillbilly?

I've actually been looking at thee bak rak since I started this thread, as the car already has a tow-ball and I don't have anywhere to keep a trailer.

You can add bike carriers to it, or just strap bulky luggage to it. I get the tent tonight, so I shall see how much boot is left for bed, bedding, food, cooking equipment, footwear, clothes, chairs etc etc smile

hillbilly Mon 18-Mar-13 22:15:06

Yes but we only use the bike rack for the kids' bikes - ours won't fit.

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