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I have a list of new camper questions! Can you answer them?

(30 Posts)
ZolaBuddleia Sun 19-May-13 13:07:54

Off camping in a few weeks, have booked family friendly small quiet sites. We're likely to be doing day trips and therefore won't be spending a huge amount of time on site, we'll probably return after dinner.

Here are things I Don't Know About...

Do we need a lock for the tent?
What's the etiquette of tent pitching eg do you face the door away from other tents, or is that considered anti-social?
We have a tent, a sleeping bag for DD and a camping light, but that's it, what would you recommend for sleeping on? DD is 3.
Any other essential equipment? Can't face the hassle of cooking/washing up so we'll probably eat fruit/bread etc for breakfast.
Any tips for an easy life? Thinking crocs for walking to and from toilets to minimise wet trainers, any thoughts like that from experienced campers greatly appreciated!
All suggestions to up the comfort factor particularly welcome!

twooter Sun 19-May-13 13:12:09

No lock - otherwise you could just get your tent cut open to steal stuff instead.
Glow sticks are great for attaching to the zips so you can find them in the dark.
Thermorests are good to sleep on - vango? did some cheaper ones.
Take a spare duvet or blanket incase you get cold.
Cereal mini boxes - just pour in milk direct so you just have to wash up the spoons.

NeedsTherapy Sun 19-May-13 13:14:58

Air bed for a 3 yo is fine, but I would without a doubt get an extra blanket or 5 2 also fleecy pjs or jiggers and jumper to go over pjs. Camping is not fun when your cold and camping with a cold 3 yo is hell

I've never used a tent lock, but some do, I use a tent peg and take all valuables out. Tbh, if someone is wanting to break in they could just get a knife and or pair of scissors! But that's just my opinion!

Pitch whatever way is easiest for you. Generally there is a 'middle' everyone faces towards, if not do whatever you fancy.

Wellies not crocks for me as the grass can be long wet and water locked. Take more warm clothes than you think you will need and socks, don't forget extra socks for everyone.

Did I mention although I go camping, I don't necessarily enjoy it!

Happypiglet Sun 19-May-13 13:19:11

My only hint is Take more clothing than you would ever think you would ever be likely to need . It's always cold at night even if hot in the day. It's better to have too much than not enough. We use thermals to sleep in and, pjs, thin fleeces, proper sleeping bags, camp blankets and hats and socks.... And you need the 3 year old off the ground, thermarest or air bed.

xigris Sun 19-May-13 13:29:14

I'm with all the previous posters who have said don't underestimate just how cold it can get: we camp a lot and take thick blankets as well as airbeds and sleeping bags for the DCs. We also put a couple of thick rugs under their airbeds as the ground gets really cold. Our DCs go to bed in pjs with furry onesies over the top. We also take hats and gloves just in case. Often when the weather has been hot (please!) during the day, the temperature can drop massively at night as there's no cloud cover. Wellies are good to take regardless of the weather as the grass will be wet in the morning. Croc type things are good for the shower. Another thing we always take is a soft broom for sweeping the grass out of the tent everyday. Clothes pegs are useful for pegging your tea towels / towels on the tent to dry.

BUT THE MOST ESSENTIAL piece of camping equipment is the corkscrew. We take two grin

fossil971 Sun 19-May-13 16:23:51

You will need a bowl for washing up even just mugs and plates, a small trug is quite good as it's a bit bendy for stuffing into the car and has the carry handles. Asda normally have some.

IMO the only insulating sleeping mats are foam mats and self inflating mats AKA thermarests. If you find an airbed more comfortable I'd suggest putting a foam mat or thick folded blanket on top of it and then your sheet/sleeping bag or whatever. It's not only the ground that gets cold but also the air, so no point putting anything under the airbed because it will get cold anyway.

If you are going to buy sleeping bags get minimum 3 season for the UK summer. Mine is 3 season but getting old (both me and it) so I normally have a blanket on top now.

YY to wellies whatever the weather.

I find it helps to take a few large bags-for-life for washing, wet coats etc. also to take into the shower, it's easier to hang one bag on a little hook than a towel, sponge bag, top, trousers, underwear, socks...

Unless you want your 3yo to go to bed the same time as you, take some "entertainment" for the evenings - books, MP3, crosswords, pringles, wine, whatever... and a really warm jumper

Have fun grin

fossil971 Sun 19-May-13 16:34:34

ok and one more thing. Check where the nearest decent big camping shop and 24 hour Tesco are to your campsite. Then if you do decide you need something extra it needn't be the cause of a near-divorce experience whilst you drive around an unfamiliar part of a National Park where everything closes at 4pm!

LikeTheStuffYouHangUp Sun 19-May-13 16:48:50

Fossil there are times I wish mn had a like feature and I would really like one for that post! It's so very very true!

fossil971 Sun 19-May-13 16:56:46

grin thanks well you can imagine how I found that out!

ZolaBuddleia Sun 19-May-13 16:57:07

Thanks everyone, plenty of things I hadn't thought of.

Have DD's old foam mattress from her cot, which is physically big enough for her to lie on and about 10 cm thick, would that be ok with blankets on top?

The last time DP and I went camping (a couple of nights at festival) we used an airbed and it was very wobbly so will investigate the self inflating option.

Very good tips about the shop and the brush for sweeping out, I know I'm going to be militant about grass and footprints in the tent. Also a good one about taking the bag into the shower. Keep 'em coming!

DeepRedBetty Sun 19-May-13 17:10:18

dds foam mattress should be fine as described.

There is no such thing as too many blankets.

DeepRedBetty Sun 19-May-13 17:12:38

DP and I love each other very very much, but find it easier to have an airbed and sleeping bags/blankets each. Prevents quite so much disturbance when one of us has to go on a small hours loo trip (due to the wine).

ZolaBuddleia Sun 19-May-13 17:20:52

Have just bought a single self inflating mattress on ebay, will continue to look for a bargain second one, then at least we can both toss and turn without wobbling.

I get a bit panicky and weird in a sleeping bag, too narrow. Wonder about just taking our duvet.

soaccidentprone Sun 19-May-13 17:21:15

When ds2 was little he used to roll of his air bed onto the floor, the wake up. We bought a double fleece blanket which was folded a few times and put a couple of large folded fluffy towels underneath. He slept much better on this. They are so light they don't really need much padding.

Unlike adults. If you are using air beds pump them up as far as they will go. My friend has a pump which plugs into the car and makes inflating loads quicker and easier. Also put a blanket on top of the air bed before your sleeping bag. We use 2 singles rather than a double which means you are less likely to disturb the other person.

Head torches are also a good idea, and use the boot of your car for storage.

If you decide to use a camping stove for hot drinks etc, make sure you have the right type of gas canistergrin

Angelodelighto Sun 19-May-13 17:21:22

Do you have chairs & a table? you could use a blanket & take some cushions, you'll probably need to sit down at some points with a nice wine

soaccidentprone Sun 19-May-13 17:23:28

My sleeping bag had a kind of hood, which I tighten round my head. Rather than trying to turn inside the sleeping bag, I just turn the whole thing (so that I feel like a caterpillar!)

ZolaBuddleia Sun 19-May-13 17:26:34

That would freak me out totally!

higgle Sun 19-May-13 17:26:56

Start off simple to see if you like it, then develop extras that suit you. For us it is making up our own bed with proper sheets and duvet + covers so it is like our bed at home. There is nothing like a camping cooked breakfast, so plan for including cooking stuff soon. Camping and Caravan club sites are lovely and rural but have all the facilities you would need, including lovely clean showerrooms and good places to wash up.

ZolaBuddleia Sun 19-May-13 17:35:42

Yes, keen not to spend too much and then hate it, but I'm sure I'm more likely to like it if I'm comfortable!

Think table and chairs might be going too far in terms of room in our car, will have a look for a couple of fold small seats.

milktraylady Sun 19-May-13 18:18:57

Credit card in case of camping failure & need a hotel? shock

professorpoopsnagle Sun 19-May-13 18:26:13

We also get little brioches etc for brekkie as well as the cereal boxes (you can often get them individually wrapped). Even if you have a cooked breakfast as least the kids can munch on something whilst they are waiting.

xigris Sun 19-May-13 18:36:50

Definitely agree about lots of things like cereal bars / brioches, dried fruit etc. DH and I don't use sleeping bags, we takes sheets, an old duvet and a couple of blankets. Another thing to take is insect repellent as the midges come out in the evenings. We also hang fly paper at the door of our tent. Putting a picnic blanket directly outside the door to the tent is also a good move as does prevent the worst of the Great Outdoors being tramped in. We also take a potty for the DCs not that I've ever used it at 2am, oh no. A couple of torches are essential; we got our DCs the little ones on elastic to wear round their heads which cause endless fun grin

Kithulu Sun 19-May-13 18:59:45

vango have a new wider sleeping bag called the cocoon, its lush!

ZolaBuddleia Sun 19-May-13 19:21:36

I'd like a sleeping bag that's the opposite shape, I wouldn't mind tight round the shoulders, having my legs restricted freaks me out!

Yes, I thought breakfast bars etc would be good.

Good tip about the potty.

gerbilsarefun Sun 19-May-13 19:26:43

As others have said, we take a duvet and an extra layer to sleep in and are warm and snug. The first time we went (it was April though) we were freezing in just sleeping bags. I now use the sleeping bag as a sheet on the airbed to lie on, and find that insulates. I will echo what others have said, take all valuables with you when you go out in the day.

Have you found www.ukcampsite.co.uk , you can find camping forums (not sure what the plural should be), tent reviews and site reviews. Very useful when booking a site. Our breakfast treat is pancakes (usually ready made ones) sausages and syrup.

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