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Is camping for us?

(24 Posts)
Bumblywumbly Fri 24-May-13 12:53:34


Been considering recently how likely it is we would enjoy camping or not. I've never been, neither has DP. It's never featured in our thoughts for holidays, but have started to reconsider. The pros, I think, for us-

We have a DD, 4, who adores anything nature related.

Due to the nature of our work it suits us to go away for a couple of days here and there, long weekends etc rather than long periods.

The thought of sleeping in a tent does not worry me at all.

We like the simple life- eg would enjoy sitting round in an evening, cooking a simple meal on a stove.

We haven't got much money to spend on holidays.


The biggest worry for me (and I know this sounds trivial) is the washing/toileting factor. We normally shower twice a day which is what we are used to. If I dont, or cant, I really don't feel my best and would affect my enjoyment. With toilets (I have thought about this in way too much detail ) I normally need to go once at least in the night since having DD and sometimes more if i've had a drink (part of the fun!). I know most campsites have toilet/shower blocks but couldn't deal with grotty ones.

We have a dog- maybe thats also a pro? He doesn't have to come, but we might like to try taking him.

So- do you think camping might be an issue for us? Should we stick with premier inns/travel lodge for cheap and cheerful break? Or is the answer to find a super-duper campsite that has lovely showers and toilets? On that note, we would mostly be camping in Devon and Cornwall so any suggestions for wonderful campsites? One other factor is, DD is an only so I quite fancy a campsite with a nice atmosphere and maybe a couple of facilities where she could play with other children.

Don't want much do I? smile

Blu Fri 24-May-13 13:50:03

Rather than the super-duper all mod cons site, what about on of the wilder ones, which allow you to have a campfire and camp where you like? On these people tend to have a little glade or trees behind...and nip out behind a bush or the tent at night rather than trek to the toilet block. And you can get good portable loos to have in your tent.

Kids on sites like that tend to run about and form a pack treating all the woods and foelds of the site as the play facility. And crucially the campfire is the best way to spend an evening.

Most campsites do have nice shower and toilet blocks. It's not like a festival.

SalomeD Fri 24-May-13 14:47:48

Hi Bumblywumbly,

The great thing about camping is there are sites to suit all tastes, personally I like basic, have two boys who don't care to shower at the best of times and so are happy to turn feral!

However, we go camping at the start of the summer with a few other families from school who share many of your concerns (including one Mum who needs to use her hair straighteners).

So with that in mind can I recommend Warcombe Farm in Mortehoe to you?

The site is immaculate, the toilet/shower/family bathroom block would put many hotels to shame, it is constantly cleaned and there is underfloor heating.

The dog walking facilities are superb too - there is a huge field that has been planted with native trees (there's also an enormous aviary with two eagle owls).

Our children made friends with lots of others in the playground and it's easy to drop down to Woolacombe for the beach too.

The other thing is: please don't set yourself up for failure, don't spend a load of money on equipment, number one priority is keeping warm at night and don't go if the weather is crap!

hz Fri 24-May-13 14:57:41

Suggestion for a great campsite with campfire but also amazing facilities have a look at South Penquite Farm. I think camping sounds very much for you. Everyone worries about facilities but it's amazing how quickly you adjust to what is available. So much more benefit for you and your little ones experiencing the great outdoors up close and personal than some generic hotel room that could be anywhere. Give it a go. Try somewhere close to home, borrow some kit, don't go if it's raining!

Bumblywumbly Fri 24-May-13 15:13:55

thanks all, now I am starting to feel quite enthusiastic about it... Those links look fab! Will make a list of possible places so if anyone has any other similar suggestions it would be appreciated.

What size tent would you recommend for 2 adults (both fairly tall) an energetic 4yo and a large dog?

hillbilly Fri 24-May-13 15:38:49

I second what the others have said. It sounds like you are perfectly suited to camping. DH likes a decent toilet and I quite like a shower. The kids remain feral though. And we have had no difficulty finding sites to suit us. What part of the UK are you? My fave sites are and We also like They all allow campfires.

Agree you should start off not spending too much. I think there is a MN list of essential but you'll learn what's right for you and your family. Our tent is an Outwell Oakland XL and I hear that the Vango Icarus is very good too. Both would be the right kind of size for you I think.

I'm sure there will be others along soon with good tent recommendations too.

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 17:34:02

Just pee in a lidded bucket at night with some cat litter at the bottom grin

I love camping and we have a beautiful 5 m Bell tent (Soul Pad) which is plenty of room and we're a family of four. You might want to experiment with a cheaper tent first. But there's nothing like camping under canvas. Totally agree with going to a wilder camping site, you just need ones with super reviews on the toilet/showers. Have you tried looking at the Cool Camping website/book?

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 17:40:35

Oh, and make sure you sort out something comfortable to sleep on, if you don't sleep we'll on your first camping trip you won't want to go again!
You need a sleeping mat, something like this:

Or the Basecamp sleeping mat from Thermarest which is the one I have. Your DD would get away with a slimmer one because she is lighter.

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 17:41:03

Sorry about stray apostrophe on my post blush

LifeofPo Fri 24-May-13 17:42:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 17:44:32

...and this sleeping bag is super wide,warm and comfy. I hate to feel claustrophobic in a sleeping bag so I looked for the widest one I could find:
But I guess you could borrow sleeping bags before buying loads of expensive kit...?blush

LifeofPo Fri 24-May-13 17:51:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 17:54:38

Life for me it beats walking down to the toilet blocks in the pitch dark, that's too spooky for me. grin

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 17:58:32

Oh, and OP
TAKE A HOT WATER BOTTLE! That's my camping must!

LifeofPo Fri 24-May-13 18:02:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

borisjohnsonshair Fri 24-May-13 18:06:42

Take a look at ukcampsite which is a really good site and has lots of honest reviews from other campers, which helps you get a feel of the place.

I'm sure you'll love camping.

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 18:10:26

Up thread I linked to nice roomy sleeping bag by Vango, just found an older season one made from different colour fabric but still just as big for almost half the price I have just linked it on ate her thread. Definitely search around online if you do buy camping gear, there are bargains to be had!

MinimalistMommi Fri 24-May-13 18:10:59

'Ate' should have read 'another' blush

pmgkt Fri 24-May-13 18:31:46

It's not how many it sleeps more how many bedrooms. I would suggest one with 3 bedrooms, one for you two one for lo and one for dog.

AvonCallingBarksdale Fri 24-May-13 18:47:36

I loved the idea of camping. DH used to camp a lot as a child and really liked it. We bought a 6 person Gelert tent and I got v excited about it. Went to a local campsite for the first experience. The site itself was fab - loads of space for the DC to run around freely and safely, campfire, dinner in the local pub, wine by the fire, all good. Then, toiletted and snuggled into our arctic protection sleeping bags. I have never been so cold in my entire life! We went in May last year. The sheep in the nearby fields woke me and everyone else obviously up hideously early and then I needed the loo and had to traipse through the dewey grass. I have come to the conclusion that although the DC and DH love it, it's not for me. We will compromise on Feather Down farm or glamping, but that appears to be v expensive...

JollyOrangeGiant Fri 24-May-13 18:53:33

Most sites I've been to have had beautifully clean toilet blocks. If you can go a few times a year it might be worth paying to join the camping and caravanning club or something like that.

My folks have invested in camping mats which are lightly inflated and are so comfy. Much better than air beds imo. You can't have too much stuff between you and the ground though, so a camp may, a cheapie roll mat and a blanket or two would be ideal. Then sleeping bag on top of that.

Camping forums will be able to help with info on sites and what you'd be best to buy.

mirrorpants Sat 25-May-13 12:20:36

Check out the quechua base seconds 4.2 for an amazing tent. Cheap. Pops up in two mins. Has amazing reviews all over the web. Is huge with two double bedrooms. Honestly fantastic.

Bumblywumbly Sat 25-May-13 23:16:56

Thanks all, sorry been offline till now. Am going to work my way through these links and suggestions- some really great ideas by the look of it.

Very roughly, when is the earliest/latest times in the year you tend to camp?

Thanks again.

mirrorpants Sun 26-May-13 22:27:43


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