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Can someone help me shop for our very first camping trip please?

(30 Posts)
mumat39 Thu 08-Aug-13 00:37:58

Haven't booked anywhere yet, but hoping to go soon.

I've looked on pitch up and am already confused about whether we need a pitch with electric or not. Most of what's available is non electric.

There are 4 of us. Me, DP, dd (5) and DS (3).
DP is 6'2" so would need something he'll fit into.

We have 3 sleeping bags and two electric air beds, one of which has a slow leak.

I am worried about
Dc safety ESP at night
Being bitten alive
Using toilet blocks at all, but ESP in the night
I would have to 'cook' as dc have allergies and ready meals aren't an option for them.

So, can someone help point me in the direction of what I should be looking at in terms of tent etc. there seem to be so many versions and brands that I'm confused.

Also, were SW London, so if anyone can think of any sites not too far that we could try for our first trip that would also be helpful.

Thanks so much.

mumat39 Tue 20-Aug-13 16:29:31

Hi everyone.

Just wanted to update to say thanks to you all for all your advice. With your help we managed a short trip, 3nights and I really enjoyed it. My dc had a great time, although they wanted to eat in the tent as he were loads of wasps around. They loved playing outside, just not sitting still.

We were supposed to be away for 4 nights but the weather forecast for the next day was looking very wet, so we decided late on the afternoon that we would pack whilst it was dry. We also would have never packed up before 11am, especially font was wet, so I'm glad we wimped out left a day early.

All the advice on here was brilliant! I felt like I got it all right, so we were all comfortable, and warm and it was very chilled ESP as DP did all the loo trips with the dc.

the only downside was that there were some children who hogged the Play area and seemed to want to cause trouble, and I am intimidated by that so we avoided the playground a few times. A one point I thought there was going to be a fight, especially when mums started to get involved. The kids who were causing the problems were only between 9 and 12 but they pushed in, bullied some of the other kids and were obstructive on the climbing frames. That did put a bit of a dampener on things, but we would definitely go again.

Thanks again.

meala Mon 12-Aug-13 21:00:56

Ooh! How exciting. Hope you all have a fantastic time

mumat39 Mon 12-Aug-13 09:41:46

Thanks again. You're all brilliant! thanks

DP thinks I'm being unnecessary about wanting to take extra blankets etc, so I'm tempted to let him freeze get cold. grin but I won't of course.

The bg water bottle is a great idea! Well get one of those when we get there.

Thanks again, so so so so so so much! DP thinks I'm mad because I say I've asked for advice on here. He hasn't even checked the YouTube videos on assembling the tent so thanks to you all and your advice, I will be the 'expert'. grin


MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 12-Aug-13 09:15:04

If you don't have a water carrier just buy one of those 5litre bottles of water they sell in large supermarkets. You can then use up that water and keep the container for refilling.

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 12-Aug-13 09:11:48

Yes definitely an extra blanket if you have space. Also, take a look at clothes. I find ir hard to remember how cold it can get at night when packing on a hot day and leave things behind. Do make sure everyone has at least one warm jumper, long trousers and socks just in case, even if they refuse to believe they will need them.

Have a wonderful time.

SalomeD Mon 12-Aug-13 07:31:59

Definitely pack an extra blanket for your hubby if you have space as there is nothing more guaranteed to put a 'newbie' off camping than being cold at night

mumat39 Mon 12-Aug-13 00:13:58

Thanks duffle. The water question was a bit silly blush. Thanks for the reassurance tho.

Phew re the tent check. It did seem a bit mad that she suggested that we ought to do that.

I really am looking forward to it. It's a bit of a weird feeling actually as I usually dread the getting stuff together for a holiday thing.

Thanks again for your help. Need to find something to carry the water in now. Oh and wee bucket and washing up bowl.


dufflefluffle Mon 12-Aug-13 00:00:33

Of course there will be water points at campsite.
I have never checked a tent either beofre camping or in between camping trips. If there's a leak you'll learn the hard way. (I work in a shop that sells tents and we often get people looking for bits and pieces that indicate I am no alone in not doing a full MOT on the tent beforehand).
It'll be a squash and a squeez to get it all in but hopefully you'll haev such a great holiday that none of this will matter!
We paid for electris the last time we went and never needed to use it - overkill.
There's a great camarderie amongst campers - imo you'll be perfectly safe. Bring a beach bucket for wees at night and you'll be be fine.
You have to try one trip to know what you need so this is yours: consider it a re-con! ENJOY!

mumat39 Sun 11-Aug-13 23:51:25

Right then.

Just wanted o say a HUGE THANKYOU, to ou all for your replies.

We booked green hill and are off tomorrow. Eeek!

We have some simple air beds, and some picnic blankets to put underneath. Hoping they'll be fine and not too cold.

DP keeps saying it'll be really hot at night, but I'm not convinced so am taking sleeping bags and a duvet for me and dc. DP reckons his season 1 sleeping bag will be fine. Do you think I should pack an extra blanket in for him too?

I haven't thought about water? I think there are water points at the campsite, so assuming that it is drinking water. Is that right? Or do we need to treat the water confused

We've got most of the things suggested. Not sure how it's all going to fit in the car, but we'll get it in somehow.

We don't have an electric pitch so hoping that we'll be fine with our wind up lantern that is just charging now.

I'm hoping it doesn't rain, and if it does that the tent doesn't leak.

I was just reading another thread, and someone mentioned keeping a weapon strapped to you at night! I mean, really? Is that something we need to think of? shock

Anyway, thanks again , so much. I'll report back in a few days. Maybe sooner if it turns out o be the worst idea we've ever had.


mumat39 Sat 10-Aug-13 23:50:24

Blu, grin at pop up tent.

It's a a polyester one. The lady said they need activating, but there must be so many people who buy tents who don't have gardens to do this with that it doesn't seem a practical suggestion.

She said that we could wait for it o rain, but that it may then leak confused. Something about getting it soaking and then letting it dry completely.

So we didn't buy it today as we it very confused.

Thanks again.

Blu Sat 10-Aug-13 22:39:19

Is it a canvas / cotton tent?

I have never checked a tent before using it, or 'activated' the waterproofing stuff! But I only have usual polywhatever shiny tents. If it needs activating won't it activate in the first rain storm? confused

Well, I did foolishly attempt to try out our new pop-up in our loft bedroom and would not advise anyoe to do that!

mumat39 Sat 10-Aug-13 22:19:34

Thankyou both.
Really good lists.

Can I ask, if we get a tent tomorrow, can we just open it when we get to the campsite on Monday? We spoke to someone at a shop today who said we should open it up, check it over and soak it to activate the waterproof stuff on it.

We don't have space in the garden to open it to set it up and check?

Thanks again. I'm going to print this thread out and take it with me tomorrow.


Blu Fri 09-Aug-13 10:53:48

Ah - have read previous posters experience of the one-ring stoves shock Eeek - I use ours rather than the 2-ring stove with gas bottle when it is just the 2 of us on a short trip. Eek!

Blu Fri 09-Aug-13 10:52:05

Once you are camping you will aquire the most important thing: camping chill out. Stop worrying about security - lock anything valuable in the car if you go for a walk or take the car with you, but otherwise, just don't worry. No-one nicks tables and chairs or other people's air beds and knickers. No point in locking a tent, a pair of nail scissors is all that is needed to gain access if the zip was locked.

If you wanted to make sure that your 3 year old could not wander off in the early morning it is a camping trick to make sure that the zipper of the childfren's sleeping compartment is at the top of the door so that they can't reach it. But the reality is you can hear them breathing, and zippers can be heard from 50m away!

I would:
Not bother with EHU, ceratinly for your first trip
Go to one of the relaxed campfire sites, but make sure it is one with good shower and washing up facilities.
In those wooded, rural sites where tents are a long way apart SOME people, wee in the bushes at night...
Do get a cheap table and chairs
Take a couple of frozen dinners home made by you, preferably one-pot, in a good cool box, and use on the first two nights
Have a BBQ
Manage on simple basic meals - and remember you can shop daily if you are out and about.
Take with one or 2 of those one-ring burner stoves that run of the aerosol type cannisters
Use as much of your own kitchen stuff as possible, you don't need specific camping pans, plates and utensils - doubtless with young kids you have plenty of plastic ware
Make sure everyone has crocs or flip flops - easy to slip on and off as you go in and out of the tent
Take a washing up bowl or bucket for taking stuff to the washing up place
Take plenty of bin liners and plastic bags - they come in handy all the time
Relax and make it up as you go along!

allmycats Fri 09-Aug-13 10:20:56

Hope you enjoy yourselves
Can recommend a trip to GO OUTDOORS - very good value copies of
more expensive tents under their own brand name.
We camp a lot and I would say - bare minimum for comfort
good quality air beds and sleeping bags and bring your own pillows from home (also duvets for colder weather, especially if you have cheaper slleping bags.
Camping cooker - try to go for something with 2 rings - the really cheap
suitcase style 1 ringers with a push on gas bottle are bloody shoddy and IMO dangerous (have had 2 set on fire even with the gas cyclinder correctly connected).
Table and chairs - not connected together
A camp larder - this is a folding ,metal with a fabric outer and inside shelves for food etc, and they have a hard solid top that slots on so you
can raise your cooking equip. of the ground.
Toilet Bucket ( or you can buy a portable toilet that works like a caravan toilet, with a connected cassette which pulls out for waste removal and has a built in flush system - very good)
Folding storage boxes to keep bits and pieces in, also useful for taking the washing up to the sinks in.
Wind Break - to put around the front of the tent to make a cooking area
Basic small saucepan and a deep frying pan and cooking untensils
Cup/Plate/Bowl cutleryper person and a few extr bowls/plates for putting things on.
Wind Up Lantern
Head lights for the kids - v.good and much fun
Strong Torch
Mallet for pegs and extra pegs to those that come with tent
KETTLE - gas
If you have hook up, which I recommend, you could also have an electric light, blow heater, kettle, phone charger, hairdryer.

Most people bring their bits and pieces with their windbreak/outer tent area and MOST people are v. honest and your things are safe.


mumat39 Fri 09-Aug-13 10:03:16

Issy, thanks, you're right! Unfortunately, my DP wanted to have a look At it online before we bought it so by the time he got home, it had disappeared from my basket on the millets website as I think it sold out. I'll have a look and see if we can find it elsewhere.

Meala, I'll also check out the voyager 6, thanks for the tip :-)

Gritzio, hmm thanks. We wold also be looking at places with good amenities. Can I ask, how much roughly do you spend on the pitch per night when you go camping? I think we're opinion to be ale to get away for weekend trips a few times a year and assumed it would be cheaper than finding a decent b&b, which we can't really use as I need access to cooking facilities.

It sounds mad, but i am actually quite excited.

I have a couple of questions, again.

When you get a new tent, are you supposed to open t up, set it up and check it before you go away? Or is it okay just o get one and open it on the trip?

Also, when you go to sleep, do you have to bring all your bits and pieces in for the night? I'm just wondering about the 'security' aspect of things? Likewise, if we went for a walk, how do you 'lock up' the tent o keep things safe?

Thanks so so much! This is going to be a life changing thing for us. Sce my DD's allergies were diagnosed, we have hardly been away. We used to do b&b's a few times a year, but eating out is really difficult, so I can see this has the potential to be just brilliant!

meala Fri 09-Aug-13 09:39:01

If you have a go oudoors shop nearby, try the voyager 6. It has a huge living area and 2 bedroom pods but you can easily sleep 4 in the large pod. Its been great for my family's first few camping trips.

Get pinic blankets to put under airbeds, really helps keep out cold from the ground.

A tent footprint is useful. This is just a sheet the shapeof the base of the tent that goes on the ground first. It helps position your tent and keeps the tent itself off the ground so keeps it clean.

For cooking, I've made easy rissoto. I choped and froze all veg before I left then cooked easily in one pot. Similar, chilli with nachos was an easy camping meal.

Hope you have fun

IpsyUpsyDaisyDo Fri 09-Aug-13 09:25:10

mumat39, don't write off a tent on one bad review - you'll never find one if you do! That was a good price for a more than decent tent (we have the Icarus 600 and it's fab), and I challenge you to find a tent that bugs won't find their way into grin

Grittzio Thu 08-Aug-13 22:00:28

Mumat39 - 'It should be a much cheaper way of getting out and about', that's what I thought, unless its the sites we choose, but we do like good amenities, and also some of the better sites have a minimum amount of nights you can book for, the one we are going to this weekend has a minimum of 4 nights, we only wanted 2 but as the weather is looking ok will probably stay 4. The kids love it, and for that reason I do it.

invicta Thu 08-Aug-13 21:41:49

Don't cook in the covered living area. Cooking should always be done outside, due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

mumat39 Thu 08-Aug-13 20:19:48

Thanks so much. You're all brilliant!!!

Just reading the reviews on the vango Icarus 600 on that website, Lucky, and it doesn't have a zipper on the outer door or summat like that. The reviewer mentioned bugs getting. So I think that's a no! I hate bugs but trying o be brave and go among with the dc, besides which, once we've had this initial outlay, it should be a much cheaper way of getting out and about for weekends away.

Anyway, thanks for all the tips. I'll look at argos for tables.

Thanks again. So so much! thanks

coribells Thu 08-Aug-13 19:04:17

We are relatively new campers as well. I picked up a 4 man tent + double sleeping bag , double air mattress and from gum tree for £45.00 .all in very good condition and had only been used once.
We didn't get a camp/ picnic table, we used our camp chairs and also put a picnic blanket on the ground which was easier for the kids to eat at ( rather than food on laps) we managed quite well with a single ring gas burner and disposable BBQs. A small camp table to cook on is essential, you can get them quite cheaply from Argos/ halfords . It did rain once while we were away ,my DS held a big golf umbrella over me whilst I cooked. Such fun .
We have also been to the New forest and would highly recommend, went to Salisbury last week because the boys wanted to see stonehenge .

Lucky13 Thu 08-Aug-13 18:44:14

Lots of info about that tent here including loads of photos so you can actually imagine what it would be like if you owned it.

QualityScout Thu 08-Aug-13 17:59:41

Relative camping newcomer here but I'd say get camping chairs and a table - but not a picnic table with chairs attached, they feel awkward and aren't that comfortable after a while.

I googled that tent and it says the ground sheet is sewn in.

I wouldn't bring gas inside a tent (possibly OTT but I'd rather get wet).

mumat39 Thu 08-Aug-13 16:49:13

Oh, and how do I know if the vango Icarus 600 has a sewn in groundsheet?

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