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Help! Camping wishlist to convince dw that camping is fun

(28 Posts)
Dad257 Thu 11-Jun-15 14:03:33

After 15 years marriage and 3 dcs (aged 5,3,2) I've convinced my dw that we should go on our first ever camping trip - it will be a 3 day trip. Money is as tight as money ever is ... the pitch is paid for - and I need to get kit.

I can borrow a skandia tunnel tent (not sure what model number) but I need to buy the rest - the site has central bathrooms and a central electricity point but I need the rest.

I've always rambled on about how much I love camping but I've never tried it with children and I really want this to be a success. What do I absolutely have to buy ? And any tips on making it fun for us all ? THANK YOU !

NameChangingAgainandAgain Thu 11-Jun-15 14:04:38

Gin. Lots of gin.

NameChangingAgainandAgain Thu 11-Jun-15 14:32:15

We took our three (then 6,4,1) last summer. I'm not sure what is essential but certainly being warm made it more bearable. We had EHU so bought a little fan heater (with auto shut off should it fall) which warmed the tent up first thing in the morning and before bedtime. Also lots of throws from primark and Ikea to wrap up in, or throw over beds. I hate being cold camping.

Children took toys, books, colouring stuff, games and we relented and bought a DVD pad for the older two for the car trip. This was a life saver as they could watch a DVD with earphones when they woke up (early) without us having to worry about them disturbing anyone. Mostly they played outside our tent with a friend they made. They had a brilliant time and enjoyed it more than our other holiday. A particular highlight was washing up -which has not since been replicated at home!

Things that drove me mad - trying to keep tent tidy ish, and trying to find clothes for five people quickly. The day after we came home we went to Ikea and bought some pop up bins for toys, blue bags for washing / shoe storage outside living area, and colour coded boxes for clothes (we have one each) an hoping it will make things easier. Also a travel kettle so that we don't have to wait ages for a cup of tea.

We tend to take LOTS camping so I'm not sure what would be classed as essential. I think on our first three day trip when Ds was 1, we took a tent, beds, sleeping bag, a lantern, 2 chairs, and small table and a gas stove. That was it!

But alcohol definitely makes it bearable. I'm not a camping type at all and was very worried that it would be a disaster and I would be in nearest hotel by day 2 but it was actually quite relaxing.

Dad257 Thu 11-Jun-15 14:41:13

Ok I will add gin to the list ... several times!

And the DVD player sounds like a winner, I wonder whether I could rig something similar up with an iPad and maybe download something on the iPlayer beforehand... I don't think I can get away with a kettle as we'll be 5 mins away from electricity, but I can charge up each day and maybe sneak an extra 45 mins sleep as a result. I'll need it with the gin. And throws - GREAT IDEA! I'm picturing a Moroccan Nirvana inside my tent... rather than the more likely 'overstuffed closet' vibe I'll end up with.

Thank you for your suggestions, I will start my list tonight.

FrozenAteMyDaughter Thu 11-Jun-15 15:59:22

If you want to get your wife onside, keep her warm. Cold is the single worst part of camping and is to be avoided in the novice reluctant camper at all costs.

If money is an issue I would take airbeds and duvets, sheets and pillows from home. Put a warm blanket between your sheet and the airbed to act as insulation from the ground. Take more blankets for over the top (just in case) and full thermals for everyone. Plus lots of layers - the evenings and nights get cold when you are outside even in the height of summer often. Also a hat for everyone - it will help to stop a lot of the heat escaping.

If you can stretch to camping chairs for everyone that will make things a bit more pleasant than just sitting on picnic blankets. If you can't then at least one each for you and DW. We took an inflatable sofa this time ( and it went down a treat with all the children (and visiting adults too). Took a long time to deflate admittedly.

You will need a gas cooker. A single burner suitcase one ( is fine if you aren't planning on doing much cooking or are going to mainly BBQ say. You can make a cup of tea in the morning at least - essential.

Maybe a picnic table if you have one - I wouldn't start investing in too much until you know your wife is on board. Ebay is filled with nearly new camping gear from people who thought they would like camping, and were wrong.

Some sort of tent lamp and headtorches are also a good idea - they are a bit uncool but leave your hands free to do other things which can be useful with small children particularly.

I would bring a bucket for night time wees, but you will know whether your DW is a pee in a bucket type person or not.

Definitely a potty for the children - you do not want to be traipsing across a field all night long.

A coolbox/bag to keep the wine milk cold.

Something easy to throw at the children in the morning when they say they are hungry and you still don't want to get up. We bring chocolate chip brioches for this purpose but chocolate croissants or similar work well too. Fill up water bottles for them the night before too.

Wellies for all and crocs if you have them - they are easy on and off shoes to stop you and them trailing mud in and out of the tent (we have a total no shoes rule in our tent).

Will you be able to have a campfire or a BBQ at least? If so, don't forget the marshmallows and kebab sticks for toasting.


FrozenAteMyDaughter Thu 11-Jun-15 16:03:56

Oh yes, bring some pretty stuff for decorating the tent. Children love battery (not real obv) tea lights and bright coloured bunting and fairy lights, and it makes the tent look a lot more inviting and fun.

Not everyone agrees on this, but as you mention "Moroccan Nirvana" I think you may be a budding glamper...grin

AmyElliotDunne Thu 11-Jun-15 16:22:58

I agree about storage, if your DW feels like she is spending the entire time tripping over abandoned shoes and toys it won't be much of a holiday!

I take those single serving coffee filters so I can have a nice coffee in the morning and agree about blankets too. Last time we took our normal bedding instead of a sleeping bag and it was proper luxury! (sleeping bags for the kids though, to save space, plus extra blankets)

Something to do when it rains is essential, so pack of cards, board games etc.

Bacon sarnies in the morning are the best bit about camping so make sure you take what you need (don't forget the ketchup!)

A practicality that will make it nicer for the tent owners is a doormat and a dustpan & brush for clearing up at the end. No shoes allowed in the tent, so put a box or bag in the porch and maybe a little rug as you step in.

Make sure you thoroughly air & dry the tent before packing up too.

Sorry, these aren't much fun, but just thinking about the things that stress me out when camping and DP would never think about this stuff but it keeps things clean and tidy, which makes me happy!

Dad257 Thu 11-Jun-15 16:34:58

Wow these are all good suggestions, thank you Frozen (excellent name btw, happened to me too) and Amy for contributing.
Wee bucket may not make the cutoff list but INFLATABLE SOFA ! WOW.
Crocs, brioche (which never seems to reach its best before date in my house), single filter coffee and a suitcase stove... I'm loving it.
I've already got a BBQ I can take, and some sleepiest / sleeping bags
You've turned my trepidation into excitement, which is where I want to be. Tonight Amazon and eBay will be my friend... THANK YOU ALL !

NameChangingAgainandAgain Thu 11-Jun-15 16:48:09

We have the vango sofa on our Amazon list for this summer. Quite where we're going to put all this stuff I don't know -- though DH is talking about a trailer--

We also take sleeping bags AND duvets. And throws for under and over. And onesies. And a hot water bottle. And fluffy socks. Can you tell I don't like the coldgrin

Also last year we took the hand held vacuum as I don't like grass / sand indoors, it still happened even with our 'Shoes off' policy. We bought a cheap door mat from home bargains or some such place.

Oh and we also have fairy lights and bunting, though I realize this is not always popular on MN!!!

NameChangingAgainandAgain Thu 11-Jun-15 16:53:30

Ooh how is that sofa Frozen? Does it need lots of pumping up all the time? Cheaper than vango and it comes in pink!

FrozenAteMyDaughter Thu 11-Jun-15 16:54:30

Glad to help Dad257 - one thing I would say is that Amazon doesn't always deliver the best price on camping stuff so do look around on Google. For example, Decathlon deliver now and have some very good stuff and Go Outdoors is good too (their discount card is only £5 for the year so it is often worth it). Other websites can be great too and supermarkets and other high street shops like Wilko, Halfords, Home Bargains, Primark and even Poundland and its ilk can have some useful stuff too.

Hope you and your family really enjoy it - are you going soon?

Sobek Thu 11-Jun-15 18:45:37

We got a camping sofa last year from TJ Hughes and it was brilliant. Takes up a lot less space in the car than camping chairs.

Blindfolds and ear plugs are a good idea.

I took a portable urinal which came in handy!

Duvet, electric heater, electric frying pan/multi cooker...we like our luxuries!

winewolfhowls Thu 11-Jun-15 19:47:47

Baselayer tops under pjs

Picnic mats for all sorts

Oatsosimple cup porridge where u just add hot water

Hamman (?) Towels

Lots of plastic bags

Go on a site with a laundry and shop

Balloons are small to pack and entertain kids for ages

winewolfhowls Thu 11-Jun-15 19:49:05

If you join the c and c club you get 10% off go outdoors

iwanttogotothechaletschool Thu 11-Jun-15 20:00:55

I'm following this with interest, I'm planning taking ds camping this year ( if Scotland manages to warm up first). I'm a newbie camper so need all the advice I can get.

Dad257 Thu 11-Jun-15 21:07:41

You're so right about prices - I thought that Amazon was the be all and end all of prices, evidently they're not.
I think there's something about making the tidying, sweeping, cleaning and eating as easy as possible which will lead to us being happy campers.
I've got a month to plan (and for the weather to improve) - it all feels achievable. Thank you.

holmessweetholmes Thu 11-Jun-15 21:21:07

I was very reluctant to try camping and was persuaded into it by my dh. I absolutely love it! For me, the key thing is being warm and comfortable. I feel the cold much much more than dh and cannot sleep when I'm cold. So, lots of layers, really good sleeping bag and an airbed.

kittyvet Thu 11-Jun-15 21:25:05

Self inflating mattress 10cm thick makes sleeping on my side bearable and really warm. If out of budget then duvet on the air bed to sleep on with another or sleeping bag on top essential

expatinscotland Thu 11-Jun-15 21:25:54

If money is really tight I'd be tempted to hire a lot of nice gear for her first trip rather than go without.

allinall Thu 11-Jun-15 21:38:30

For a newbie / potentially reluctant camper, I would say the quality of the loos and showers matters a lot. Look at reviews of the site you are planning to visit - people often mention showers and loos, either good ones or terrible ones!

Also, I second the comments about being warm. Take hot water bottles, instant hot chocolate, lots of throws and pillows, hats and socks, and the best sleeping bags you can afford. Personally I hate the mummy ones, I have a double bag to myself!

We also have a solar light to put outside the tent door. I know some people hate them, but it's really helpful to find your tent in the pitch dark, either after a visit to the pub or the toilets!

Hope you enjoy it and the weather is good.

Wolfiefan Thu 11-Jun-15 21:45:14

Defo look at reviews of where you plan on staying. (Our last site had underfloor heating and DH said the showers reminded him of the spa!)

Really, really important that you are warm and comfy at night. Tired family equals crappy time.

We always take frozen spag Bol or meatballs with us. Keeps stuff in coolbox cool and a simple dinner for when we get there.

Itscurtainsforyou Thu 11-Jun-15 21:56:59

I second self-inflating mattresses - we have some thick ones from alpkit. I always froze (and hated camping) when using airbeds, but sims and blankets worked a treat.

Tents can be a real hassle to put up so choose a simple one if you can (and think about who's going to look after the kids if it's you and your wife putting it up together).

Biggest draw to camping for me is the cost though.

Allgunsblazing Thu 11-Jun-15 22:03:35

I am an 'experienced' camper ( think
Think (buy and pack) in the order of setting up.
So, you open the boot, the first thing to come out is the tent. Then self inflating matresses ( I also put a blanket over the matresses, makes it warmer, you freeze if you're right on cold air). Then sleeping bags and pillows.
Pack a cardboard box for camping utensils and another one for shoes. Pun a bin liner in each, so you can just wrap the box/dump contents into said bag in case of rain (I am assuming you have a sheltered porch for this. Sometimes I use big reusable supermarket bags instead)
You need to make sure everything inside the tent is away from the 'walls', condensation makes it soggy.
Pack whole outfits in plastic bags: one for cold, one for warm, one for night time.
bread ready sliced
Dry salamy
Instant noodles, soup
Salt and sugar
Cups and bowls and plates
Wet wipes
Instant coffee/ tea bags
A box of cereal

A good trick is to get everybody in pyjamas at about 7, then put other clothes on top, you don't freeze changing at bed time later at night.

Hope you have fun.
I absolutely hate camping.

fieldfare Thu 11-Jun-15 22:04:55

Double height air mattress and some insulating blankets (you can buy these in the pound shop in their car care section - emergency foil blankets) to lay under the mattress in top of the groundsheet. Helps to stop the cold ground seeping up.
Hot chocolate, brioche and s'mores fixings.
Wine and a bottle opener.
Loads for the kids to do - little balsa wood aeroplanes were a huge hit last time out.
Blankets, hoodies, insect repellant, first aid kit, fire blanket, bbq, stove etc.
have fun!

Sobek Thu 11-Jun-15 22:05:10

Wolfie where is the campsite with the underfloor heating in the showers?! Sounds fab!

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