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new camper - can you help me choose a tent?

(10 Posts)
dontforgettoscream Tue 19-Aug-14 10:25:18

I'm a previously extreeeemely reluctant camper, but have decided I might be able to face it, as toddler dd would totally love it. I'm a complete novice as an adult, and have no kit, except folding chairs and picnic stuff.
What should I look for in a tent, for a single mum with one active toddler? Not a big budget. I think I would try to camp with friends / family who would be better equipped so it is mainly tent and beds I need to think about to start with. I nearly impulse bought a tent just now, but decided that would be unwise without checking first ... All tips very welcome.

pootlebug Tue 19-Aug-14 15:30:01

I would consider one of the Decathlon pop-up ones. Very quick and easy to get up (a bit of a knack to get them down….you need to study the YouTube videos a bit first) but once you've got the hang of it quick to dismantle too - important with an active toddler you have to keep your eye on!

This sort of thing for the most basic: or this for a bit more room

Or this kind of thing if you want a bit of separate living/storage space

And then either a double self inflating mat or two single ones.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 19-Aug-14 17:20:15

If you can get to a decathlon and look at the tents that would be a good start.

The second one that pootle recommended is a good tent, my dsis has one.

I prefer slightly bigger tents myself but then I have older children who can help me to pitch camp.

If you are going with friends could you borrow a tent and see if you like it or share a large tent between you.

Good luck and I hope you love it. Remember to take lots of layers so you dont get cold in the evening/night smile

AppleAndMelon Tue 19-Aug-14 18:47:26

Personally, I wouldn't want to be in a tent with a toddler unless I could stand up. I didn't really start to enjoy camping until we had a proper person height tent - though I had camped as a teenager in the low one or two person tents (and also did last year for one night and found it very claustrophobic).

It depends if you will only be camping when the weather is good and whether you can ask anyone else to help you pitch.

I'm not sure if you would be able to pitch on your own, but I would want something like a Coleman Weekend 6 for me and a toddler, but I like a lot of space.

dontforgettoscream Tue 19-Aug-14 20:02:20

Many thanks for getting me started. My instinct says big and tall is good, balanced with not too tricky to put up I suppose. I think I need to see some, don't I? I totally get the point about standing up - I think I would prefer that too. I think I would probably only camp in ok weather and with other people, as I can't figure out the logistics of night time loo trips and showers otherwise (dd scared of showers so couldn't take her with me hmm )
How useful is a separate sleeping compartment?
Do people do blow up beds these days? Do they work for toddlers? (my last time camping was probably in the 80s)

meala Tue 19-Aug-14 20:10:57

Go to gooutdoors. The voyager tents are fab. I have the 6 and it has a large stand in living area which is great if it is wet.

AppleAndMelon Tue 19-Aug-14 20:39:11

meala did you notice any 8 man tents at GoOutdoors that looked good?

traviata Tue 19-Aug-14 20:54:19

Pop-ups are great. They fold down into a large flat disc. You arrive, take off the cover, and with one flick of the wrist your tent is up. You can put your DD in it while you do the rest (so she doesn't disappear across the field), just remember to peg it to the ground so the wind doesn't catch it.

I second the suggestion to watch the YouTube videos about folding them back up, but once you've got it, it's easy and quick.

traviata Tue 19-Aug-14 20:57:01

Self inflating sleeping mats (SIMs) are more popular now than blow up beds. You open the valve and they suck air in themselves, then you just finish off with a puff or two and do up the valve cap. Easy peasy, good for you and toddler.

Cookie32 Thu 21-Aug-14 22:18:13

Hi, I camp on my own and have done this since my children were 9 and 6. Buy the best tent you can afford, I put up a vango Icarus 500 on my own. Get fibre glass poles as they are lighter and easier to use. Put the tent up before you go. Most of my camping stuff is second hand off eBay or other selling sites. Just look at what camping bundles that other people are selling, get ideas from them. I still add each year, I've been camping for 7 years now. If you buy a tent this way always check it before you pay for it, I got caught out. Plenty of clothes, layer up if it gets cold. Air beds , sleeping bags, duvets,blankets, nothing worse than been cold at night. Few toys, outdoor toys are good. If it rains, go to the local swimming pool, it's cheap ish, good entertainment and inside! I borrowed everything the first time I went camping, and not too far from home, say an hours drive, as if it's awful it's not too far to go. Good luck.

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