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Convince me! Can we camp?

(24 Posts)
Artandco Thu 20-Mar-14 13:52:01

So I have thought about camping the last few years but then chicken out and we end up in hotels! Anyway I think I would like to start going.

It would mainly be for short breaks ie Easter weekend/ regular weekends in the summer and main holidays still abroad. So I think just uk camping for now

I've always been put off about getting cold ( I get cold easily), and lack of toilet/ shower!

What nifty things should we look into/ buy to make it an easier experience?
Also we don't have a car as London based so although we can hire one it would be nice if the things we brought were the lightest/ smallest etc to make a train/ taxi combo possible sometimes.

There's myself and dh, ds age 4, and ds age 2

I like the idea of camping in the new forest so we can all get some time with nature/ space etc, but any other recommendations of areas would be great!

allmycats Thu 20-Mar-14 13:54:32

TBH I don't think I would attempt camping with 2 small children without my own transport. Why not hire a fixed pod/caravan etc on a camping site to see how it goes ?

Artandco Thu 20-Mar-14 14:19:20

All - we can always hire a car so not a main issue. Our flat also has little storage so either way I suppose we need the least/ smallest things to store.

Does anyone use the thermarest products?

moogalicious Thu 20-Mar-14 14:26:41


Tent with sown in groundsheet otherwise you're in trouble when it rains
sleeping bag
self inflating mattress (unless you want to feel you've aged 100 years by morning)
socks and warm pjs to sleep in
spare socks and warm pjs cos the dcs will get their ones wet/muddy
cool box (although some campsites will have a fridge)
crockery and cutlery
washing up bowl etc
towels etc
(although you could cook on an open fire if the campsite allows it)
toys for the dcs

Stuff to make it easier:
foldable table and chairs
picnic rug for inside (acts like a carpet, all nice and warm)
micro towels or whatever they're called as they take up a fraction of the space
picnic blankets to put under the mattress (ditto above)

Good luck with going by train grin

We take three dc and manage to fill up a 7 seater and trailer <sigh>

moogalicious Thu 20-Mar-14 14:26:53


Artandco Thu 20-Mar-14 14:59:10

Has anyone used the biolite cooking stove? And kettle pot? It looks really nifty as all stores together, and no fuel required as works from twigs/ sticks etc.. And it charges your phone!

MaddAddam Thu 20-Mar-14 15:02:09

If you're not keen on the cold I wouldn't camp at Easter. We are lifelong tough campers and we don't usually camp before the middle/end of May. It can be perishing on an April evening.

We use thermarests, and cheapo versions. The more expensive ones have a better surface, you slide around on the cheap ones a bit. Which matters more on a slope.

expatinscotland Thu 20-Mar-14 15:05:57


Yikes! We fill a people carrier with a roof box for 4 of us.

Artandco Thu 20-Mar-14 15:12:52

Expat- Do we really need that much stuff to camp??? It's only to be a few days at a time like mentioned.

X4 sleeping bags and mats. Do we need kids ones? Or regular
Stove and pot

Happy to eat in restaurants to save taking to much. So presume only need small heating thing to make warm hot choc/ toast marshmallows/ boil an egg. And can eat cold food like bread/ cheese blah blah.

Suppose some kind of cool bag...

See this is what I do every year, then it sees too much and I give up!

We are used to packing light though ie we did Vietnam for 2 months, with then 20 month old and 4 month old and just x2 rucksacks and x2 slings

expatinscotland Thu 20-Mar-14 15:37:17

If you don't want to be cold.

MaddAddam Thu 20-Mar-14 15:45:30

It is much easier to travel (and camp) light with small children in a warm dry climate. We have also backpacked with a baby and a sling. But to camp in the UK unless there's a really hot spell you need quite a few layers, and changes of clothing, and lots of waterproof gear.

It's certainly possible by train but you need a strategy for washing/drying clothes if you are travelling light with small children. And if you're not careful you'll spend half your time in the campsite laundrette.

We used to take washable nappies camping! (cue mad searches for suitable laundrettes) WHY? And my seriously eco sister used to go camping by train with washable nappies which they handwashed under a cold tap. But after that I noticed they stopped camping for a few years.

olbasoil Thu 20-Mar-14 15:53:57
Try this and save yourselves the hassle !

Slubberdegullion Thu 20-Mar-14 15:54:18

We camped in the south of France last year and went by train.

Dh and I each had a rucksack (for clothes) and pulled a wheely bag ( for the tents, sims, sleeping bags, camping pillows).

The dds each had a rucksack with books, games, soft toy in.

It's doable if you are happy to carry/drag stuff for a bit.

We took a small camping gaz stove, some sporks, a sharp knife and a thin plastic chopping board. We all had a little bowl thing, with lid.

Slubberdegullion Thu 20-Mar-14 15:55:33

Yy re camping in syphilitic British weather. Choose a campsite with a drying room or laundrette. And an on site shop.

allmycats Thu 20-Mar-14 16:29:33

You will also need an 'en-suite bucket' !!

craftynclothy Thu 20-Mar-14 16:34:58

Personally I'd go for hiring a car.

We have a big tent for the 4 of us but also a smaller one for shorter breaks. We tend to book those last minute when the weather is really nice. Might be worth considering as you can get away with less stuff & a smaller tent when it's really hot & sunny.

We use a trangia for cooking - all packs inside itself.

MaddAddam Thu 20-Mar-14 22:00:52

We do go lightweight camping in the UK, with rucksacks and lightweight tents and stove, with 3 dc but we only go overnight when the weather is good, and we live near an area where you can camp wild (not in the South East). But for that you need all the lightweight equipment, which is not the best for longer UK camping holidays (we have 3 sets of tents etc, for different occasions/camping trips. Backpacking. Weekending/moving around lots. Family holiday with all the clutter). The lightweight stuff costs more, and if you're just starting to camp and not sure you'll like it it would make more sense to buy cheaper tents etc and rent a car for the weekend.

devilinside Thu 20-Mar-14 22:45:51

Car definitely and go the last weekend in July, that's when I have always had the most reliable weather. I'm a experienced camper and would never go in April, but I'm not that keen on the cold, I know plenty do!

Artandco Fri 21-Mar-14 09:38:31

We are rarely here in July/ August so camping weekends would have to be may/ June/ sept in suppose.

I don't mind spending the money if needed to get a good basic equipment and to make it a more pleasant experience. If it was just dh and I we would prob continue with our weekend trips to spa hotels!.. But I feel we should camp with kids as part of their childhood and get guilty moments if they don't get all opportunities of an outdoor lifestyle, especially as we are usually living in London.

Dh says we need a camping wine cooler!

hillbilly Fri 21-Mar-14 12:15:35

Ironically we had less gear for our 10 day trip to france than for a weekend in the UK as we hired a fridge onsite so no need for coolbox, which is essential for camping in this country. I would def hire a car especially if you are thinking of going in April when it's bloody freezing at night generally. You will need the space for blankets and thermals!

Changebagsandgladrags Fri 21-Mar-14 13:34:26

I used to put my wine under my tent to keep it cool...

MaddAddam Sat 22-Mar-14 11:16:15

We don't bother with coolboxes for camping in the UK or in French or Spanish summers (we don't take loads of camping equipment as we have lots of watersports gear etc to fill up the car). You can cool wine in a stream if you camp by one!

Also if you're taking food, take frozen food (sausages, frozen peas etc) in a squishy coolbag and it will keep your other food cool for a day or two.

It's not often hot enough in the UK to really need a coolbox to keep food cool anyway, if you have access to a shop you can just buy it fresh.

mybabywakesupsinging Wed 26-Mar-14 23:28:08

We use a couple of trangias to cook on (for 5); one goes inside a big saucepan for the enormous quantities of pasta/rice etc consumed by children who have been outside since 7am (hastens to add, they are very quiet at that hour, it takes a while for their noise-making powers to wake up). Trangias are quite could take one for your tea/coffee/eggs...pick a site with washing up facilities, then less to bring again. I second micro-fibre towels, they are amazing and we use them all the time for swimming now (but they do need pre-washing to work better).
But we take loads of clothes - the kids (3, 6,9) wear cotton and fleece pyjamas at once, we have waterproofs, wellies...
the boot is rammed and it is a big boot.

mybabywakesupsinging Wed 26-Mar-14 23:29:56

we pop into the supermarket on the way back to the tent each day and get that night's dinner, next day's breakfast/lunch. It's colder overnight so no trouble to keep stuff fresh.
wine self-cools by the time the kids are asleep!

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