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Panicking...camping with 6 dc and 2 dogs on basic-ish site - give me your tips!!

(21 Posts)
bobblypop Thu 01-Aug-13 16:57:57

HELP! I have just booked us 6 nights camping holiday on a small site on the noth Devon Coast. Am very excited BUT haven't been camping for 6 years and hated it last time (but then I was 7 months pg and chasing after a toddler and other dc !!) SOOO I need ot get organised to make sure we have enough to make it enjoyable rather than endurable!
We are a large family- me and DH, 6 dc (15,13,11,9, 7 and 5) and 2 dogs!!
We have an 8 man tent - TBH could do with a slightly bigger one but cant afford it this yr so will manage!
I am thinking of getting a gazebo or day tent to give us more living space - and maybe to put table and chairs under for dining - any recomendations. Have checked with site and both are OK on pitch.
Also we will have electric hook up for first time ever - so will have kettle, then maybe electric coolbox/small fridge - reccomend me one please - cheap as possible!
Also planning on getting a decathalon tarp and a wind break to set up cooking area.
Disposable BBQs..
Have 2 ring camping stove but am panicing a bit about cooking for 8 on that!! any tips??
Was considering portable toilet for night I need a toilet tent to put it in...worth it or not???
Campsite is basic, but has flushing toilets and showers. Quiet with lots of space around tents for kids to play etc...
Tips please on lights...electric ones or battery or what? Am thinking head torches too....

and the dogs....ground sheet is not sewn in and the dogs like escaping under the sides (we discovered on practice run on Sat!!) was planning they would sleep in middle bit, but need a way to ensure they stay put...not enough room in the pods really...not sure they would be happy to be tethered all night...any ideas?!

so, as you can see I am panicing just a bit! BUT I am hopeful it will be great and kids will enjoy laid back atmosphere and sace and freedom...please come and tell me it will beOK!

Rooners Thu 01-Aug-13 17:03:53

I wouldn't worry about the kids (I just took my 3 on my own, one is a baby) but the dogs escaping would concern me.

I think you need to establish what you're going to do with them first, then you can relax a bit about everything else.

Green18 Thu 01-Aug-13 17:20:16

It will be ok!! Camping is so laid back. You need to be too. Ive always found other campers and site managers to be of great help if you need it. The kids will amuse themselves, just get the tent up and stick the kettle on/open the wine and the rest will fall into place....not literally i hope.

Green18 Thu 01-Aug-13 17:21:50

ooh just a thought. Def get the portable loo if you need a wee in the night most nights. Can't be doing with ripping over guy ropes in the dark!

momb Thu 01-Aug-13 17:30:04

We regularly camp with 5DC, so can advise on that but not the dogs I'm afraid. I'd be tempted to tether them so they don't get out in the night and disturb others, but I say this as a non-owner.

As to the camping: take some stuff which won't go off for easy meals and then buy perishables as you go along, rather than packing food for the full week which you will struggle to store. Cereal bars, pepperamis, juice boxes, crisps etc can all be left in a box rather than having to chill.

On a basic site washing up becomes a chore so do as little as possible. Make the camping food part of the experience: invest in these:

so everyone squishes their own eggs in the bag for breakfast, which are then cooked in one pan of water. You still have a pan of clean water for tea/washing up. Ours like to add ham or veg and have little omelettes, eaten with a fork straight out of the bag. Barbecue
as much as possible. Even hot dogs taste better cooked quickly over coals. Eat fruit and salad to top up the vitamins but cook with as little fuss as possible. Buy presliced rolls for bacon/ham/sliced cheese: a piece of kitchen paper is as good as a plate if you are eating a bap!
We use bags for most food prep/mixing to save on cleaning; chocolate cake mix only needs and egg and some water, and can be squished in the bag before pouring into orange skins to cook on the BBQ (seems loads of faff but is in fact easy and the kids love being involved).

Make s'mores over the barbecues as they are getting too cool for cooking meat.

Make every child responsible for straightening their own sleeping bag and putting their PJs away. Ours have specific assigned jobs for tent set up and striking camp too, otherwise it gets too much.

Tire them out so they sleep well and you get some time to yourselves, and try and be the first one up so you get that all important first cuppa in peace!

AnnaFiveTowns Thu 01-Aug-13 18:38:37

Could the dogs sleep in the car? Or inside one of the sleeping pods with you or the kids if they have built in ground sheets?

bobblypop Thu 01-Aug-13 20:11:05

thanks all.
will get the loo then I think....where should it go confused do i need one of those loo tents?
those bags look a great idea -thanks momb will get some of them, great tips on food too. Maybe I'll have more luck getting them to straighten their sleeping bags than I have getting them to make their beds LOL
The owner has been V helpful in emails and sounds lovely which is reassuring!
Dogs could maybe sleep in the car but may not settle well....tbh once they're on their beds they would probably just stay there but I couldnt leave them while Im asleep just in case....don't think they'd fit in the pods as they are already V full LOL
May invest in folding travel crates for them.....or did think about a V small pop up tent to put inside middle area of our tent....will ponder some more.
Thanks all... relaxing slightly now....

bobblypop Thu 01-Aug-13 20:16:03

any tips on day tent V gazebo.....

dufflefluffle Thu 01-Aug-13 20:17:18

Put the dogs in kennels!!
And enjoy your holiday

bobblypop Thu 01-Aug-13 20:35:03

nooooooo! The dogs will NOT be going into Kennels!!!
The main reason we chose this site is how doggy friendly it was. They do have on site day kennels we may use for a day if we want a day out with kids where dogs cant go, but other than that they'll be with us. Wouldnt go on holiday if my doglets couldn't come! (would consider putting the dc in kennels though LOL wink)

momb Thu 01-Aug-13 20:43:21

On day tent vs gazebo: depends entirely on the size of the living area of your tent.
We have an 8-man with decent living area so we don't have additional living space, but we do have a 2x2m cooking/utility tent which houses the hob and all the food boxes and a prep table. We even set up disposable barbecues on a cooking stand in there (away from the walls). If you have hook up you could run it to a utility and avoid the risk of fire completely in your living/sleeping tent.
We have a tarp for hanging out outside but tend to only use it if we're at an outdoorsy site and are cooking over a wood fire.
On the portaloo: some people have a bucket with seat but I couldn't sleep with that only 2m from my head. If you go for a portapotty with blue liquid it has a very distinctive smell which will taint your tent, clothes and bedding if you have it in the tent with you. Some people embrace this but I'm a great believer in going to the flush toilets before you sleep or going to a designated toilet tent. They only cost £25 and you can put it outside the back door away from neighbours.

DalekInAFestiveJumper Thu 01-Aug-13 21:06:47

We use pop up crates for our pooches. They're like little mini tents. But ours are used to sleeping in crates at home.

bobblypop Thu 01-Aug-13 21:09:27

thanks momb toilet tent ordered wink
dalek where did you get the pop up crates? they sound ideal. Flynn is used to a crate and Bella would be ok in one....

DalekInAFestiveJumper Thu 01-Aug-13 21:14:20

At Target in the US, which is probably not very helpful. But they're a lot like these from Petplanet

bobblypop Thu 01-Aug-13 21:40:55

dalek thanks. Traget is a bit of a long way to go LOL but the pet planet ones look good! Thanks

bobblypop Thu 01-Aug-13 21:41:21

Target - not Traget - obviously!!

millimat Fri 02-Aug-13 10:16:41

what about a small, basic tent like this or this for your 2 oldest dcs? Then you'd have more space in the main tent?

neddle Sat 03-Aug-13 19:20:11

I think Lidl have electric coolboxes atm, no idea how good they are though.

bobblypop Tue 06-Aug-13 14:16:36

thanks all
will have to check out lidle as that is the one thing I still need.
Have gone for a small pop up shelter that has zippable door for the dogs - we will put it in the middle bit of the tent for night time. (although aslo like the idea of banishing one or two kids into that instead if they are being too annoying!)
Also now have toilet tent and portable toilet, tarp and windbreak for cooking and small day tent for extra day space.
Keeping fingers firmly crossed that roof bars arrive on time or we wont fit it all in the car LOL
DS1 has just returned from a trip to Russia that included camping with the Russian explorer scouts and he is a seasoned camper. he has thrown himself into this project with great enthusiasm and has come up with a menu for the week for us!
Now just have to keep fingers crossed for at least not complete total torrential rain all week and all sould be good! wink

hillyhilly Wed 07-Aug-13 18:44:54

I bought the electric coolbox from Aldi a few weeks ago and have been really impressed with it, £35 well spent

Furball Wed 07-Aug-13 18:57:34

Really good thread here

Mind you if you took everything suggested you'd need an artic! grin

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