Complete camping virgin needs a master class on the basics.(134 Posts)
I have a tent. That is it. Want enough stuff to go camping with DH and DCs (6,4,2) for a couple of nights, locally, to start with whilst we find our camping feet.
What do I need? (On a budget ie as cheap as poss)
I assume something to sleep on and in and something to cook on and eat off?
Inflatable mattresses except for DC3 who can use a travel cot (also useful for safety!)
Sleeping bags unless you have high tog duvets instead (it's cold outside even in summer)...bags are warmer
Waterproofs (trousers too) and wellies
We sit on floor (large tarpaulin with blanket over) to eat but you might want a table and chairs (beware the all in one versions, children often can't reach the table from the benches)
A gas camping stove (I use one like this but also cook over camp fire so you might consider 2 rings.
A frying pan, a kettle and a saucepan. Possibly a bar.B.que. wooden spoon, tongs, spatula.
A washing up bowl and cutlery/plates/bowls/tumblers/mugs
A water carrier
Good torch/head torch per person (maybe not the toddler!!)
Lantern for the tent
we camp very basic and use a fire to cook over all the time...you can take all sorts of things but (other than food, toiletries and clothes) this is the minimum that I get away with for me and 4 DC)
All of the above, plus thermals, pjs, extra jumper, hat and socks for sleeping.
Oh and small games for the children, + balls/bats/books
A corkscrew and wine for you.
All the above plus...
I always take a hot water bottle (or 2) to make sure I'm toasty warm in my bed. I either heat a kettle of water to fill it or I fill from the hot taps in the toilet blocks if is hot enough.
I stick one in ds's sleeping bag to warm it before he gets in.
Really useful even in good weather.
These are great tips thanks all. I won't forget the wine don't worry.
Re sleeping bags - any recommendations? Am tempted to get m DFather to dig out the ones we used as children - they must've been made in the 60s or early 70s and are truely retro
Airbeds or those roll up mattresses?
Airbeds are warmer (though my DC always end up on the floor unless we put them on doubles in a double compartment!)
DC have these sleeping bags Gelert 250 because they were on special offer.
I suspect the ancient ones would be cold and need exra layers...I use my old 1970s versions to put under the beds for extra insulation on colder camping trips
PS...if you think you'll keep camping it is better value to buy adult sleeping bags for DC and tie up the ends to make them snug...then you can get 3 season bags which will make everyone warmener
Sleeping stuff is the MOST important thing - never underestimate how cold it can be when you're camping so old sleeping bags are a no no, fabulous for an extra layer underneath but you need to invest in good sleeping bags. We used to take quilts but we are wimps and had a roof box to put them in!
Picnic blankets under airbeds gives an extra layer too.
1 Season Sleeping Bags Best for Summer - Usually Around +4/5 Degrees. In my opinion only for use outside the UK or for sleepovers indoors!!
2 Season Sleeping Bags- Later spring to early Autumn when its not sweltering, but when you are unlikely to be on the receiving end of cold snaps or snow. Around 0 degrees
3 Season Sleeping Bags- More technical than a 2 season bag, these are best for mild to cold nights, without frost, but with a very low temperature 0 to -5 degrees
4 Season Sleeping Bags- The most technical bag! These are made for very cold Winter nights in the outdoors. These are typically more bulky and weigh more, but they do keep you exceptionally warm. To -10 degrees.
Everything is covered above, don't take too much else as its just loads to pack, transport and clutter up the tent and you don't get that 'simple life' feeling! Duvets and airbeds are a real luxury so def squeeze them in if you can :-)
Love camping! BBQ bacon baps for breakfast too
Get yourself down to Go Outdoors over the bank holiday where there is a 20% off promotion. Their own Hi-Gear stuff is cheap but of decent quality.
The cheapest way to sleep is on an airbed or foam mat. Kids will sleep on a foam mat on the ground. Adults normally need a bit more padding so you are looking at an airbed or a selfinflating mat/SIM at least 5cm thick. SIMS are a bit pricey but a lot more comfortable than you'd think for the thickness. If you get an airbed try putting a foam mat on top because the air inside gets very cold at night.
I'd get a 3 season sleeping bag minimum for the UK - it's forecast 2 degrees at night over the bank holiday - so you want a bag with "comfort temperature" down to 0 degrees IMO. You could probably supplement a thinner one with blankets/duvets - but these all take up space in the car.
possible? Vango a bit roomier
Mallet - that's our camping nemesis, we lose or forget it nearly every trip!
Take fleece blankets too, as many as you can possibly manage because there is nothing worse than being cold in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep. We have plenty of cheap ones that we've acquired over the years and they can be folded or rolled up and shoved into gaps in the car.
We use the silver survival blankets under airbeds to provide an insulating layer and reduce the cold coming through the bed.
You lot are great thank you! Now, anyone got any tips on persuading my DH it's a good idea? I'm just going to buy and squirrel away the stuff and present it 'ta da! We're off camping!'
Re sleeping bags - those mummy ones look a bit restricting - anything wrong with the more traditional shape?
Also, I have a stupid question - is there electricity at campsites?
if you see "hook up available" and a higher price for a pitch then you can buy and take an electrical hook up.
Some shops/offices will freeze ice blocks for your cool box and/or charge your phone for you
I have a square end shape sleeping bag. I think it is a Vango and I know it was about £50 many years ago.
Hook up is how you get electricity but you need a proper hook up lead which isn't cheap. I wouldn't advise buying one until you know you like camping. Ice blocks can usually be frozen on site and your phone can be charged in the car whilst you are driving.
It took me years to convince DH to go camping. Now, however, he loves it although is not prepared to camp in the rain. So long as he has his axe and the means to build a fire, he's a happy man! Actually what swayed him was watching a BBC documentary a few years ago about camping where they interviewed grandparents, who have camped with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and I think it warmed the cockles of his heart
Tescos have cheap (£6 I think) fleece inners for sleeping that will help keep you warmer and the slleping bag cleaner - can recommend them.
Bucket for washing up is easier to carry
onesies to sleep in!
Easy food!! (Pot noodles are good for a quick instand snack if desperate, cook a couple of meals before that can be warmed up, if you freeze them they'll stay fresh longer and keep the cool box colder.
Irony like to be restricted in my sleeping bag so I have a square end one. Dh and ds have mummy shaped ones. They are good vango ones that weren't cheap but worth every penny for the warmth.
Oh, I keep a "kitchen" box (plastic box with lid) in the attic for when we go camping. It has cutlery, plates, plastic glasses, salt, pepper, cork screw, mugs, dishes, sharp knife, kettle in. I just make sure it gets packed in the car each time and I know I haven't forgotten stuff.
I also pack into stackable plastic boxes with lids rather than suitcases/rucksacks because thu stack better in the car. They can then just be taken into the tent and stacked in there for easy access.
Oh - take slippers and big socks for inside the tent. Helps keep the muck and dust out. I stick one of the empty boxes in the porch bit to bung "outside" shoes and boots in (so everyone knows where they are even for late night toilet visits.
I assume someone has mentioned a washing up bowl. it can be a long walk to the sinks on some sites so you'll need something to carry the pots to and fro.
Fleece blankets are also great to wrap up in of an evening whilst sitting outside before bed.
If you do end up getting a connector for electricity, take a cheap electric kettle - boils twice as fast as one on the camping stove!
There are square end sleeping bags obviously but they are traditionally aimed at caravans and you have to hunt around to find properly warm ones with a temp. rating (e.g Vango). The mummy ones are warmer like for like, as less air inside them to keep warm. But not everyone gets on with them. (DH made me camp with only a mummy bag and a foam mat for about 10 years so I've got used to it!)
A couple of decent plastic boxes like these are good for storing/packing cooking stuff and you can also sit on them or put things on them. We have a full set of camping pans etc but if you are taking your everyday stuff tape a list to the lid!
There are often electric sockets in the shower block for hairdryers/straighteners. (Yes people do use them!)
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