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Camping in April with a 3 and 5 year old

(30 Posts)
cx5221 Tue 03-Jan-17 20:23:53

Is this a really stupid idea?
I was looking at a campsite earlier and got swept away looking at the happy summer pictures and they had an offer on for Easter Week so I decided that it would be lovely weather in Cornwall in April confused and booked a week.

Are we going to be freezing our arses off if we go? And if we do go are we better with the extra high air beds or camp beds with sleeping bags on top? Is it safe to take a heater in the tent with us?
I've been camping before with them both but it was in the summer and I said I'd never do it again because they literally never ever slept for 5 days until I gave up and left early
I really hate being cold.

BikeRunSki Tue 03-Jan-17 20:26:44

Take a lot of clothes
Don't take a heater in the tent

Lolly86 Tue 03-Jan-17 20:28:20

Lots of layers and hope for sunshine. I love camping and took my then 2 year old in June time last year. We still needed layers then and it rained very heavy a few mornings.

Artandco Tue 03-Jan-17 20:29:39

Take duvets from home

TheABC Tue 03-Jan-17 20:52:56

Cornwall can either be really amazing or bloody miserable, depending upon your wet weather prep. As it is April, assume it will be freezing at night and rain all the time, so if the sun shows it's face, you will be pleasantly surprised.

You can be warm with campbeds or airbeds as long as you have enough layers. I usually have a roll mat, memory foam rolled mattress (but air bed works too), fleece throw instead of sheet, duvet and an extra blanket on top. It's also worth ensuring everyone has fleece pajamas/or dressing gown for mooching around in.

As you have young kids, I also recommend a portapotty or similar for the night - saves having to escort them to the loo at night, especially as you will be both be totally awake after the trip instead of half asleep.

Other wet weather tips: keep a builders bucket next to the zip door for shoes/wellies. It prevents mud being tramped around and you know exactly where the shoes are! I also rig a tarp with a windbreak next to the tent for a cooking area, so I don't have to worry about the weather when lighting a bunsen burner. To save on prep (especially with ravenous kids), I tend to buy stuff that can just be wacked in the pan - frozen stir fry veg with noodles, pancakes (make mix in milk carton and pour), chili con carne etc.

If you get an electric hook up, you can take a small kettle for the first cup of tea for the day. We have also used a small electric fan heater (no exposed elements), but we ended up too hot!

Wolfiefan Tue 03-Jan-17 20:58:36

Layers are your friends. Get PJs on before temp drops. Hoodies and coats and joggers on over the top. Couple of pairs of socks and take warm hats.
Cold makes sleeping mats deflate. Put them on a bed roll and blanket. Blanket under and over sleeping bag. Or campbeds with blankets under and over.

Blu Tue 03-Jan-17 22:12:33

Well.
All credit to your bravery, given last time grin

I would put the kids on the foil backed foam mats from Decathlon for sleeping, as the foam insulates and the foil reflects. Air beds are cold, the ground makes the air in them cold, and takes away your body heat. Kids weigh less and foam mats cushion them fine, I find, and are so much quicker than all that inflating and deflating.

Fleece hats to sleep in.

Don't get cold before bed.

hillbilly Wed 04-Jan-17 20:27:02

Be prepared for very cold nights. We camp at Easter and all sleep in thermals with hot water bottles, good sleeping bags and blankets. Make sure you are organised before it goes dark. Having said that, the daytime sun is wonderful and I've often been in shorts and t shirt. Good luck! 😀

MrsHathaway Wed 04-Jan-17 20:41:54

Air beds are freezing. I recommend the framed ones definitely. Currently good offers in Go Outdoors and similar shops.

Ikea fleece blankets are £3 each. You need one (folded) underneath and one on top of each person. They pack small so spares are a good idea. Range of cheerful colours.

Yy to thermal underwear and fleece onesies. Also layers of socks. Change as soon as it's dark, and not a minute later. Everyone in the shower block past 8 pm will be similarly attired so you won't feel daft.

Yy to a potty. We take a standard pound shop one as it's more stable.

Solar powered fairy lights make your tent easier to find in the dark. We mark out our guy ropes so nobody can trip.

profpoopsnagle Wed 04-Jan-17 21:10:21

We've done a few Easter camps- are camping this year as it's quite late (clutches at straws). I love love love crunching across the frozen grass.

Lots of good advice above, whatever you sleep on you need a layer underneath as well on top. Hats are also great for helping to keep warm at night. I also like wrapping myself in a fleece blanket and then getting in a sleeping bag if it's cold, like a inner. As you warm up, you can wriggle out of it. And yes, get dressed in PJ's early, even if it means putting your clothes back on top as least then you are warming up your jim jams.

We sometimes use a heater, we have used a fan heater which is useful to have to get dressed/undressed to, and also an oil heater. Both are reasonably safe with precautions, personally I would not leave the fan on at night but we did the oil.

Have some breakfasts which are easily ready for the kids- little cereals/pain au chocolat in packets, milkshakes/juice cartons. Everyone feels much better with a little food in their tummy no matter what kind of night you've had.

And think of the positives- it's easy to keep your wine/beer cold...... maybe there's only 1 positive!

cx5221 Wed 04-Jan-17 22:32:00

Thank you for all the advice everyone I'm going to look up framed beds now and luckily I live near ikea so I can stock up on fleece blankets. The fairy lights is definitely a good idea. Last the only time I went I didn't book electricity which I have this time so as soon as it got dark the kids were so bored (thank goodness for iPhones and peppa pig on YouTube) and dd was only 11 months old so it was hard work. I don't know what I was thinking when I booked grin after 5 days I booked us in at a premiere inn and it felt like the The Lowry!

This time I'm taking all the comforts I can and luckily both dd's are a bit older now and luckily really good girls definitely not like me when I was a kid

I was in Dorset last time and I spent most of my time driving to the port and back for hours at a time trying to get the kids to sleep I bet I looked like I was scoping it grin

So I'm hoping a do better this time, I've invited my sister and her dh and children along now too and they've agreed so I'll point her in the direction of this thread too so she knows what to buy she's never camped before.

worst case I can book into the local travelodge grin

SortAllTheThings Wed 04-Jan-17 22:37:32

I assume you'll have hook up? Definitely take a fan heater. Carpet or picnic blanket under bedroom area and in living area. Keep all clothes away in bags so they don't get damp with condensation. Hmm, what else. Bucket or potty for night time loo visits. It's bloody freezing traipsing to the loo block in the middle of the night at Easter.

I hope it stays dry for you smile

aliceinwanderland Wed 04-Jan-17 22:44:57

I wouldnt in April. We did 4 days in may in a glamping wooden tent with canvas with a baby and a 4 year old in Dorset. It was bloody freezing. Kids spent nearly all night in bed with us to keep warm and they had plenty of layers. 4 year old had a great time but the rest of us were miserable. And I love camping!

Personally I think you'd be better rebooking for later in the year.

SallyGinnamon Wed 04-Jan-17 23:03:13

I put this on a similar thread. My top tip is to buy top quality 4 season sleeping bags and self inflating mats. Even in the Lake District at Easter we didn't need extra blankets. Everything else can be cheaper but if you don't sleep you'll be miserable.

Blu Wed 04-Jan-17 23:07:48

If you have electric hook up , you need a hook up kit: plug, cable, adaptor... I can't advise as I never have hook up, but I know you need one grin

SortAllTheThings Wed 04-Jan-17 23:49:07

Hehe smile

You don't need an adapter, something like this is fine
m.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-premium-3-way-mobile-mains-kit-p347366

You do need a proper one though, similar cheaper options aren't safe. Also, 16amp is the better option if you're running things like fan heaters, as you're less likely to trip it. Some site only have a 10 amp supply though.

Blu Thu 05-Jan-17 00:11:22

What do they mean by 'do not use in wet or damp conditions '? It's for camping!

An alternative is a site that allows fires. We sit round a fire, which is lovely and warm. Less successful in the pouring rain, of course... which brings me back to that hook up cable....

StiginaGrump Thu 05-Jan-17 00:17:33

We went last Easter - took theheater and the ordinary extension cable. Should have asked here first huh! Worked with the hook up kit and it the fake radiator was only warm in the sun- didn't touch nighttime chill. One fan heater later and it was lovely and cosy - the joys of being on holiday and driving miles to the camping shop each day - you will have a better time than me!
We are already booked for this Easter and heading oooop north to avoid disappointment when the sun doesn't shine;)

SortAllTheThings Thu 05-Jan-17 00:22:12

Ha, that made me laugh. Um.. Maybe don't operate it in a bucket? Who knows.

I do clip my hookup to a table leg though, so it's off the floor. It should cut out if it gets wet, but can't imagine sitting in a puddle would do if much good.

cx5221 Thu 05-Jan-17 12:57:11

Thanks for the link I'm going to have a trip to go outdoors later to price everything I need up.
Might keep bumping this thread so I don't lose it as I've had some brilliant tips
I'm actually a bit excited now grin

SortAllTheThings Thu 05-Jan-17 13:49:03

try some SIMs and try airbeds. It's a personal taste. Airbeds can be cold, so make sure you put something underneath.

Have a look at Decathlon for kit too, lots of really well priced stuff in there

TheABC Thu 05-Jan-17 23:31:25

Get extra torches. I always have a few magnetic ones attached to the tent to be safe. I swear the buggers grow legs and escape.
Since you are going to IKEA, take a look at the cloth shoe rack. Its brilliant for hanging off a wall and keeping keys, wallets, calpol and lip balm safe.

Depending on the amount of stuff you have, get some plastic crates with lids. You can pack, stack and see exactly what you have and nothing gets dirty or wet. Its also possible to arrange an online shop to the campsite - one less thing to lug about.

Good luck!

cyclecamper Wed 11-Jan-17 22:17:35

I always camp at Easter and would be camping next weekend if we didn't have to pack up for moving house. We don't have electric hook up.

Take your smallest tent, they are warmer.
Put a roll mat (decathlon's are cheap) under the airbeds
have 2 sleeping bags each
Hats, gloves, long johns, long sleeved vests, pjs, socks and fleeces/onesies to sleep in
Fill any spare space in the car with blankets
full waterproofs for everyone

NotCitrus Wed 11-Jan-17 22:51:09

Hot water bottles, hats or hoodies to sleep in, and consider a site with fires allowed.
I took kids camping for the first time age 3 and 6, site said they'd put us in a clearing near the toilets with a lit path, which was good. Sat round the fire with hot drinks, poking it, toasting marshmallows etc until really late, and I used a torch to read to them. Ds's favourite memory was weeing on the grass at 2am under the most stunning star-spangled sky I'd seen in years!
We just had mats and sleeping bags, plus a blanket each, but insisting on hoodies would have been good. Always need more torches - ones you can hang from a tent ceiling are good.

The plastic crates idea is good as we did have to rummage through lots of plastic bags to get extra clothes and things, which looked identical in dim light. I've never been camping with electricity but a battery pump for my air mattress was fab.

JellyWitch Wed 11-Jan-17 22:58:06

Not stupid at all. Our first trip will be the weekend before Easter. Youngest will be coming up 3 and we have camped with her since birth (and in April since she was 9 months).

Cosleeping helps if it's cold, lots of wool blankets and duvets, warm socks and hats and have hot water bottles if, like me, you get cold feet. Kids will warm their cold feet on me!

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