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First ever camping trip- 3 weeks in france- what do we need?

(59 Posts)
krisskross Sat 05-Apr-14 21:18:52

We are newbies to camping...some of you have replied to my previous posts asking for advice.

Now we have taken the plunge and bought a mahoosive tent (saw it up in the shop today after buying online, its bloody enormous!!).

What do we need now? I know we need sleeping mats and bags, cooking utensils etc, but i'd love it if a clever mumsnetter could give me a checklist of what we need.

Neither of us have a clue of how to cook when camping, use the electricity on site etc etc. Advice about a stove and whats best would be great.


badger21 Sun 06-Apr-14 15:50:08

We've camped a lot - all over Europe including some long 3-4 week trips, and I was about to say that I'd never seen any rodents ... then remembered that there was a tiny mouse that appeared under the hedge near our tent a couple of times at meal times last summer in Carnac. It never really bothered me though as food and crockery etc all kept in clipped plastic boxes. Kids thought it was cute and probably scared it half to death chasing it away.

I definitely support head torches - for all, chairs, waterproof picnic blankets - for inside and outside tent, 2x small cooking stoves and moka coffee pot, wine, wine, wine ... and agree with no shoes, food, drinks in tent.

You'll have a great time if you accept that you WILL change your usual daily routine - slow down, let kids do as they will and stay up until they're tired, talk to lots of people, eat local food and drink local wine. If you try to stick to everything you do at home, you'll find it much less fun.

krisskross Sun 06-Apr-14 19:53:36

Thanks for the reassuring posts everyone.....I once had a night on a tiny rat infested boat in Vietnam. I lived to tell the tale but if anything it made me even worse,about rodents!!

Can anyone now explain 1) camping stoves.....2) camping fridges / hiring fridges at site/ cool boxes that can be powered by the car cigarette lighter (?)

Thanks all.

badger21 Sun 06-Apr-14 21:02:43

Stoves ...

we used to have one like THIS. It was ok, lots of people rate them, took up quite a lot of space.

Then we got an awesome Cabanon Biscaya 370 tent, which takes up most of the boot when packed, so now we have two of THESE which fit inside the nesting pans we take.

Never had a fridge, or a plug in coolbox. They seem like a bit of a recipe for flattening battery unless you're moving around a lot.

I'm really lucky that I got one of THESE for my birthday. It's a regular coolbox, but with a lot more insulation. Set out with a couple of bottles of frozen mineral water and it stays cold for about a week (some bags of white wine from inside a wine box will also tolerate being almost frozen - but look for one without sulphites because these sometimes separate out - very distressing). Most campsites will either sell ice, or will freeze cool blocks for you, sometimes for a small fee. Take two or three large blocks and exchange regularly. Keep box closed as much as possible. Also check any supermarket for blocks of ice. I've also heard that it can help to leave a wet tea towel draped over box during the day if it's really hot.

Mostly just shop regularly and eat fresh. Simple life - and awesome once you settle into the camping routine. I find it much easier to enjoy a long trip that a weekend away because I never sleep for the first couple of nights.

Where are you heading to?

krisskross Sun 06-Apr-14 21:24:22

Thanks badger....were going to the vendee area of France camping for about two weeks caravan for a,week also. It's all a bit new hence the questions!

Ledkr Sun 06-Apr-14 22:23:00

I usually hire a fridge in france, book in advance its not expensive, I also have a cig lighter cool box but I plug it into the electric hook up via an adapter you can buy on e bay.
So uses electric rather than flatten your battery.
I like the fridge though so I can stock up but also have a work station on top with my toaster and kettle.

krisskross Sun 06-Apr-14 22:29:14

Thanks,ledkr......what kind of price do you pay for a fridge per week/ day?

Ledkr Sun 06-Apr-14 22:35:35

It will say on your camp web site, it does vary but we are on a budget and never think its a lot.
You will love it, the sites are lovely.
Ours last year had the pool open till 9 at night which was great, I love taking my toddler to the baby bath room where there are lots of big sinks for them to have their baths.
We are going to the Vendee this year, do you know where you are staying yet?

krisskross Sun 06-Apr-14 22:44:01

We haven't booked yet but have narrowed it down to a few eurocamp style....sol y gogo....camping les dunes and a few others. Would you recommend anywhere?

RaisingSteam Mon 07-Apr-14 00:08:00

In France, Shade - an awning or tarp of some sort so that you have an area shaded from the sun to sit. It is really hot and sunny if you go further south than Brittany smile. Plus a couple of spare poles and guylines to attach it to trees etc. Or choose your pitch to get shade from trees in the hottest part of the day. This is NEVER a problem in the UK!

Small barbecue as the French supermarkets sell barbecue packs and ready to use kebabs and stuff, which are lovely. Bags-for-life (No free carriers).

We have a 12v/24V outwell cool box current version of it that plugs into the van for the journey then into the campsite hookup. We are not big on gadgets generally but it does so help to keep food cool. We have the campingaz 2 ring burner with the big blue gas bottle (but have resorted to going camping in a van rather than a car so don't have a space problem any more!).

Before you go find out where the nearest branch of Decathlon is. That will sort you out with any camping related thing you've forgotten!

Some things for kids to do - a lot of badminton, cards, boules went on at the place we were at last year.

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