What's the best way to try camping?

(8 Posts)
Barbeasty Wed 29-Apr-15 08:37:46

DD(4) has decided that she would love camping. I used to do a fair bit growing up and have done lots of sailing which involved sleeping bags on the boat and gas stoves etc, so am happy to go again, but DH absolutely refuses.

What's the best/ cheapest way for me to give DD a go and see if she really does enjoy it or whether she just likes the idea?

If she did enjoy it then longer term it would be us and DS (2), but I don't fancy taking both of them on my own for now!

We have none of the kit. Except a head torch and wellies!

FrozenAteMyDaughter Wed 29-Apr-15 10:09:48

Do you have any camping friends you could borrow from? If you can borrow a tent and airbed the two of you could have a night pitched in the garden. Then if she doesn't take to it, you don't have too far to get into a comfy bed (plus you don't have to buy or borrow any other paraphernalia - you can sleep under a duvet). If you have a little bucket barbecue or something you could even have a "campfire" and toast marshmallows.

Even if you do decide to go further afield, book the closest campsite you can and maybe aim to stay just the Friday night say and if she takes to it, maybe you could extend to two nights.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Wed 29-Apr-15 10:27:41

Oh and if you have to buy, try Ebay for a second hand tent. You can get some real bargains on there sometimes when people have tried camping once and decided they don't like it.

Otherwise, if you have a Decathlon near you , this: www.decathlon.co.uk/arpenaz-41-family-tent-4-man-id_8294502.html is reasonably priced and would give you enough space for future trips with DS2 if you take to it. It also provides standing room and indoor space in case the weather isn't great which is useful with children.

The only other things you may need to buy for a first trip are:

- airbed or camping mats if you can't borrow;
- good quality sleeping bags if you can't borrow or don't want to take a duvet, sheet and pillows (which is what I would do);
- some sort of lamp for the tent if you don't want to just use headtorches, but they are probably fine on their own;
- water bottle or carrier (we use a 5 litre from the supermarket - saves filling it as soon as you get there);
- small suitcase style gas stove if you want to boil a kettle for tea, cook up some sausages or a one pot meal or something;
- picnic rug to sit on;
- a cool bag to keep milk, any food you decide to bring and wine(!) cold.

Tables and chairs and all that sort of thing can be bought later if you take to it. Take mugs/plates/cutlery/saucepan/kettle if you have a non-electric one from home. If you have a plastic picnic set, all the better. Bring a washing up bowl in case you decide to do some cooking but you could eat all meals out on your first trip. Or you could bring a portable BBQ (and marshmallows).

Remember to take warm clothes and maybe thermals for you and DD as nights are likely to be cold. Oh and if you only have one headtorch buy a second on for DD. Children love torches.

Barbeasty Wed 29-Apr-15 13:23:47

About the only thing we could borrow would be sleeping bags, which ironically are probably the things which would get reused even if she didn't like it.

Are there any makes to look for/ avoid on ebay? The nearest decathlon is about 70 miles away, although I've found their mail order ok in the past.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Wed 29-Apr-15 14:16:56

Yes, Decathlon delivery is good and free over £70. If you did want to invest in a few other things, LIDL have a camping day coming up tomorrow though I am not sure what is available.

On Ebay, I would stick to recognised brands such as Vango, Coleman, Kampa, Gelert maybe. Outwell obv (though a bit pricey usually). Others may be along with other brands to look for. That way you avoid the supermarket cheapies masquerading as bargains.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Wed 29-Apr-15 14:18:14

Sorry, LIDL's camping gear has been out since 27 April but there may still be things left and there are some things outdoorsy starting tomorrow too. Worth having a look.

hettie Thu 30-Apr-15 20:22:44

You could try a set up yurt/tent/tipi place there are loads in the uk now.

Barbeasty Sat 02-May-15 20:11:50

Hettie I looked thanks, and the only thing like that near to me are people who go to your chosen site and set things up. By the time I paid them for a 2 night stay somewhere I could buy about 2/3 of the kit.

In the end I've spent some time comparing prices across various sites and gone with the tent that Frozen linked to and got the basic kit while bank holiday sales and delivery offers are on.

Hopefully we'll try a night in the garden one weekend soon and fingers crossed it goes well and we can try a few nights of proper camping at the end of half term.

The DC packed their bags this morning (teddies and ghost stories) and played camping behind the curtains- let's hope the enthusiasm continues.

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