We're virgins - what do we need?!(32 Posts)
Bought a fuck off blow up tent 6 berth for us and 2 small DC - now hoping to fill it by spending some Xmas money but haven't got a clue what we will need!
Hoping to take it to Bestival but also 3/4 night UK breaks at first - possibly up to a week once we get more confident!
Stove - 2 burner? Grill necessary?? Table thingy to create a 'kitchen'?
Gas? Size / type?
Blow up beds 2 x doubles or get singles for kids (4 and 2 now but will obviously get bigger!)
Sheets / sleeping bags - just bog std or anything to think about?
Got a table and 4 stool and a couple of camping chairs
Pots / pans / cups / plastic glasses Any particular advice on these?
Lights - what type and how many??
God, I'm getting a bit overwhelmed thinking about it all
Has anyone got a tried and tested packing list they could copy paste that might give me a steer on what we might need?
Hope to 'see' a lot more of you all on this board this year!
I did my first time last summer.
I will not be using blow up beds ever again.
If you get the comfortable sleeping right then everything else is gravy.
Don't bother with a grill they never work. We've done beautiful days for 14 years now and love it. The list sounds good so far. will keep adding as I remember. Good luck oh and you lucky thing I covet an inflatable tent.
So if a blow up bed is out, I've seen the dream catcher sim gets rave reviews - do you just use that or on top of a camp bed / air bed?
And I like the look of the safari chef but would be worried about only 1 burner - maybe a safari chef plus 1 ring burner???
You can just put a SIM on the ground.
I think kids are OK on roll up foam mats: the thicker one that Decathlon does is good, and has a silver foil backing for extra heat retention.
You can easily manage without a kitchen stand.
At Bestival, do you have to carry / wheel everything to your pitch? I presume not if inflatable tents work off a car battery? Or do they have their own pump?
You need easily manageable stuff!
Lanterns: everyone needs a personal torch. Head torches are good. A couple of hanging LED lamps in the tent, and for reading I use a Tiny Light or Vango Eye Light (I love them!) for focussed up close light, rather than using loads of big heavy expensive batteries to light up the whole space with a big lantern.
Single camping beds, we purchased a tent in summer after borrowing from a friend & dh said every time I moved on double camping bed he felt it so we're getting singles
I would go for single camp beds with SIM on top. Sleeping bags with suitable temperature rating for the weather you'll camp in. Being cold at night ruins the whole experience.
I use a 3 burner gas stove that has a griddle plate that goes on top that's good for bbqing/pancakes etc. I also have a small table to put it on - have a bad back and don't want to bend down to ground. I have a 4L gas bottle thats been fine so far.
Crockery/cutlery/pans I just use old ones from home - didn't buy new specially. Keep them in a plastic tub with lid, ready to throw in car. Get a good quality cooler. Can't recommend specific brands because I'm not in the UK.
Best thing is to go for a couple of days somewhere not too far away and see what you use/don't use/wish you had brought.
But it all sounds like so much stuff to pack! The tent is pretty chunky, plus camp beds, sleeping bars, mattresses, stove, pans, plates - not to mention clothes - we've got a scenic but also 2 kids in car seats so not sure how we're going to fit all this in?? Any tricks I'm not seeing here?
Packing is a whole camping topic in itself!
You can get a surprising amount in, stuffed under the kids feet etc. I pack all clothes and soft stuff in Ikea bags, more flexible.
But this is why I don't bother with camp beds and we just put our mats on the ground.
It is all a space/ cost/ comfort equation: often something has to give!
Every time we camp, we get camping envy and want more stuff!
We have a mini BBQ and a stove but the gas cylinder for the stove can be quite heavy.
We take sleeping bags, plus duvet and blankets and lots of coats. Nothing worse than being cold!
Wine is usually needed plus cork screw!
Torches, and batteries, several.
I never think food keeps that cool unless you have an electric hook up! We usually plan a day at a time with food and take croissant etc as easy food for kids.
Our kids love it!
Dustpan and brush for cleaning at the end.
Also lots of bin bags as you tend to throw rubbish away at end of night rather than when bags full, so use a lot!
We have air beds but they never last more than a few trips. Kids have roll mats from Cubs and we may use them in future as air beds deflating not great!
Decent warm beds (4 season sleeping bag), extra blankets.
Something to sit on
At least one flat sturdy table or there will be tears and spilled cornflakes
Something critter proof to put food in
Torch for each person plus a lantern for the table is nice, wellies, wipes.
Gas burner as nobody wants to light a fire first thing in the morning for a cuppa.
After that it depends whether you are going for the minimalist picnic rug and tiny nesting pans approach or the "entire contents of Go Outdoors" approach with wardrobes for clothes and full sets of crockery. But yes your car will be jammed. Most families seem to end up with trailers or roof boxes.
For a festival I'd take the bare minimum, assume you won't be cooking much, think about a trolley if you can't park near the tent. Family camping, start with a weekend and work up. Like for example we have a 2 burner stove, for big holidays we take the kitchen stand, for small trips we just stand it on its little legs on the ground.
Cooking when camping is quite demanding compared to at home - are ur DCs sensible enough that you'd feel confident they wouldn't get too close and get burnt or knock over the stove? If not, for short trips you might want to mostly will out and take some sarnies + eat out (or at festival, buy food and scurry back with it).
Disposeable bbqs can be a good compromise too, if u like BBQ food.
The other big thing for me was making sure everyone is warm enough at night - it can get quite chilly quickly in a tent, and it's much better to stay warm than try to get warm again. Maybe put them in extra layers, and warm socks at bedtime.
This is why you need to do a short, nearby trip to start with - so you can work out where you sit on the comfort vs space issue! I'm not a natural camper particularly, so for me the beds are worth it to not sleep on the ground. We tend to go places eating out is not an option, so good cooler and cooking facilities vital. You might do it differently - the only way to know is get out there and give it a go!
We're in Australia, in UK you're probably less likely to be far away from food buying opportunities, so food storage/cooking might not be such a big thing for you.
A fellow Cub Leader had a great tip recently - he brings Ikea blue bags - 1 per person - for in the tent and everyone keeps their clothes and gear in those as easy to root through and pretty easy to throw all dirty stuff into another one for ease of packing/washing once home.
Definitely good sleep is the most important thing - insulate from the cold ground more than having loads of layers on top. So if you have a sleeping bag and a blanket with your ground mat/sim/blow up mattress/cot - put the blanket UNDER the sleeping bag. Wear a hat and socks in bed, and layers (I wear a thermal layer under PJs even in summer - and get into the pjs early so no cold air on your skin late at night when it's hard to heat up again - put them on under clothes if you prefer while sitting around the campfire). There is no shame in bringing a hot water bottle even in summer (although I don't tell the Cubs I have it or there'd be loads of requests for hot water and the leaders need gallons of tea to cope!).
Bring a big plastic bowl of some sort (a small round basin or a big mixing bowl work well) - to use for mixing things, gathering dirty dishes, washing up, etc. It can hold things in the car too so its not a huge waste of space.
I have a tub of stuff to make my camp kitchen - Ikea is very useful for cheap plastic implements, scissors, tin opener, corkscrew etc. And zip loc bags are really really useful for loads of things, even making pancake batter or similar! (and disposable once used). A roll of tin foil is very useful too.
I have a single ring gas stove and a mini BBQ in a bag - between those I can cook for DD and I fairly easily, we use a fire as well if there is one available. BBQ for skewers, ordinary BBQ meats, or meat/fish/veg in tin foil parcels, and also fruit and choc mixes in foil for desert (I've even done baked potatoes in foil among the coals). Our Cubs made cakes in tinfoil on a recent backwoods cooking activity (in the Den yard but using an open fire), and you can also make bread on foil/tin plate/pan or twisted around sticks ("damper"). One pot or 1 pan meals, or cook 1 thing and keep warm in foil (perhaps with a dry towel or jumper over that to insulate and keep heat in) while cooking other bits.
If you boil water and don't use it all, put the rest in a flask - for washing up later or already warm to boil food easier later, or to make couscous when needed without having to boil fresh water then and use up the ring when you might be cooking meat in a pan.
Roof box for the car. An essential piece of 'camping equipment' if you have a big blow up 6 man.
Definitely need a table for the stove if you've got a two year old. Make up a little kitchen.
Don't bother with camp beds- too bulky. Double SIM for you and DH in the floor, I'd get a ready bed for the 2 year old, and single SIM for 4 year old.
Thank you so much everyone - we've just earmarked a local site for a test run - just need the weather now!
Excellent advice I really, really appreciate everyone taking the time to reply. I definitely need to adjust my expectations on the food front - day by day, eating out etc rather than whipping up wholesome home cooked meals on the gas stove!
Disposable BBQ is inspired for the test runs.
Right, sleeping bag research next - do you get special small ones for the kids?
Space is often an issue!
We love our fire pit. £40 well spent, we cook on it and tbh we eat better camping than at home! Cous cous, pasta and rice all easy on one of those little camping stoves with single rings. We have two. Then we cook meat/fish on the fire.
Yy to camp beds! we have outwell posedas. We do have sims too but can do without.
Absolutely need fold up tables for cooking on and just keeping stuff off the floor. We might get one with shelves for additional storage else all the crockery ends up on the table!
just remember - light and foldable!
are you goung to have electric hook up? we haven't as yet but may do this year.
oh and oversized marshmallow to cook on the fire!
For me, the pleasure is keeping it simple. Travel light, and enjoy minimal living. Single burner, small tent, minimal stuff. That said, I don't compromise on a warm, comfy bed and a nice shower in the morning.
Go for 3 season sleeping bags. We went for vango cocoons as they are like mummy bags but not too restrictive. I didn't like square ones as they seemed to cling. We went for a two season sleeping pop for dd but may buy a thicker one this year as she needs extra blanket.
we take extra blankets and lay them underneath us. Fleeces are good to huddle in the evening.
Cant WAIT for camping season to start.
My mountain warehouse shopping cart currently has fleeces for kids in it!
Cooking on a fire pit sounds fun - don't suppose you have a link to the sort of thing / set up that we'd need?
Gaffa tape. Always, always take gaffa tape!
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