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camping virgin needs help

(38 Posts)
puddle Tue 10-May-05 10:44:51

I've read the camping tips thread which is full of useful info. But I need some more basic help. We are planning to take the kids for some camping weekends over the summer. We're thinking about investing in a tent and either buying/ borrowing some equipment. I've been camping once, and dp went a lot as a child. question is, what are the essentials?

We have two kids 5 and 2, so we need a tent to sleep us all - can anyone recommend one? Am assuming we'll need mattresses too. Have no idea about other camping stuff, stoves, etc - what do you really need for weekend trips?

Thanks in advance!

Blu Tue 10-May-05 10:49:50

W have this tent V good value, and fine for w/e camping. You might want something bigger if you are going for a fortnight. It has a porch big enough to sit/eat/cook in if wet, and you can stand up in it throughout.
Also WildDay is THE site! I love it!

swiperfox Tue 10-May-05 10:50:16

definately get a blow up matress. You can get a good double one for about £10/15. You can also get little blow up beds for the kids.

We've been camping a few times and the first time we didn't have matresses and it just made us miserable!!

We just use a basic dome tent and sleep close together as it can get quite cold throiugh the night - make sure you've got warm jamas!!

We don't usually cook on site so don't know about stoves etc but have seen a lot of people just use simple bbq's.

I'm sure you'll have a brill time!!!

Blu Tue 10-May-05 10:52:49

Air mattresses, sleeping bags, pump, stove, a couple of pots/pans, chairs are good but not essential, torch/lantern/ cooler box is useful, wih frozen blocks...that's it!

koalabear Tue 10-May-05 10:53:35

could write a book on this, but for the basics:

1. cold - make sure the sleeping bags are warm and you have either blow up mattresses or the self inflating ones to stop the coldness of the ground seeping through at 3 am - also to this, THERMAL UNDERWEAR makes great pyjamas

2. wet - nomatter what the weather looks like, take wellies, raincoats, overpants - being wet is worse than being cold, but only slight better than being wet AND cold

3. food - if you have a warm cup of chocolate / tea / coffee / milk and some biscuits, any occasion looks better - also, take things that are VERY easy to prepare, such as stuff which you just add hot water/milk too (check out the supermarket packet food section)

4. pack of cards - never camp without them (UNO is good for both adults and kids)

5. visit an outdoor store - they are very good with stoves / billy cans / lightweight stuff

could keep going for ages, but well, good luck

puddle Tue 10-May-05 10:53:36

oooh thanks blu. That site looks great and a bit addictive - full of useful gadgets...... That tent looks like the sort of thing we are after - is it hard to put up (no idea about these things). DP's camping expertise limited to wire framed tents.

koalabear Tue 10-May-05 10:55:27

ps. take a ground sheet or rubber backed picnic blanket so you've got something to sit on outside of the tent

koalabear Tue 10-May-05 10:56:16

pps. good to put the tent up in the back yard a couple of times so you are clear with how to do it (especially if you get to the campsite late in dwindling light )

WideWebWitch Tue 10-May-05 10:56:55

Puddle I think Argos have cheap and easy blow up beds. I'm a camping virgin (well, as an adult) too so will watch this thread with interest.

puddle Tue 10-May-05 10:57:53

Thanks all - keep em coming!

Sleeping bags ....essential or will duvets do?

Blu Tue 10-May-05 10:59:22

Well, we managed to put it comes all neatly packed and is quite straightforward. Admittedly we had the help of a more practical friend the first time, but campsites are teeming with people willing to help!

koalabear Tue 10-May-05 10:59:25

sleeping bags take up less room and keep you more cosy - duvets i haven't tried, but i think would not be as warm

koalabear Tue 10-May-05 11:01:34

does the campsite have a bbq? often, very easy way to have dinner is to make a salad whilst DH scorches the meat/fish/sausages/vegie burgers

Blu Tue 10-May-05 11:04:02

I've used a duvet in warm weather. We take a windbreak to put alongside the tent - good for privacy and if cooking in a breeze.
Shoes which slip on and off easily - like flip-flops - so you can take them off when in and out without spreading mud. Also flip flops for showers. And a toiletries bag which hangs up - tesco carrier bag will do - but showers often don't have shelves etc.

puddle Tue 10-May-05 11:06:02

Haven't thought about where we are going yet - suppose we need to as guess they get booked up. We are thining new forest and west wittering (we are in Brighton and don't want to travel too far).

Wind break! Now we do have one of those already....

amynnixmum Tue 10-May-05 11:06:31

Hi Puddle

We've got a Gelert Lokon Vario 6. They sell them on the WildDay site too. Prices are usually between £220 and £260.

Its big inside and easy to put up. We like it because my dh is so tall and he can still stand up straight inside. Also the big living area means that if the weather is crap there plenty of room inside for all of us without feeling on top of each other.

I'll second the blow up mattresses - the ground is really cold to sleep on even in the middle of summer. We've got Ready Beds for the children as they are so quick to blow up.

I love my cup of tea in the morning so we always take a stove. It also keeps the cost of the break down as we don't always have to eat out.

Fold up chairs are useful as are fold up tables. We've got one of those fold up picnic benches and that works well for us.

Don't forget to have a light for nighttime and a torch for going to the toilet after dark.

TBH we take pretty much the same stuff with us for a weekend as we do for a fortnight - its just the amount of clothes that is different.

Have fun.

puddle Tue 10-May-05 12:27:11


tarantula Tue 10-May-05 12:44:16

My camping tips are
1. Keep dry. bring water proofs, wellies etc or lots of changes of clothes.
2. Keep warm Buy the best sleeping bags you can afford or use lots (and lots and lots) of layers and see rule 1 cos you cant be wet and warm (at leat not in this country).
3. Light and batteries. Bring one static light and a torch (one for each person is a good idea)
4. Plastic bags have a million and one uses from keeping your feet dry to using as a washing up bowl. Bring lots.
5. Even if you arent planning to cook much a cup of tea/coffee is good in the mornings so a small stove and kettle is a goos idea.
6. Wine WINE WINE (or beer even) in very large quantities is ESSENTIAL

puddle Wed 11-May-05 11:56:49

These tips are great thanks v much!Another question - does anyone take a 'night light' type thing for their kids? Both mine are scared of the dark so we need something that will stay on (v low) all night - has anyone got one they recommend?

amynnixmum Wed 11-May-05 13:20:29

Argos do a light for about £5 that you can either have on bright or on dim. We used one on dim for our children too. Bring spare batteries though!

happymerryberries Wed 11-May-05 13:22:59

You can also get some very reasonable glow light. You know the sort of thing, bend them and they start to glow. You can get a box for a pound in pound shops. My two lover them

justmummy Wed 11-May-05 13:27:56

Hi, I'm just thinkin about getting a tent and this has been a great help to me also.
Another question - do you find you can get everthing you need to take in your car. Sounds like a lot of equipment is needed.

amynnixmum Wed 11-May-05 13:30:05

We can but its a struggle and we have quite a big boot on our car. We've just decided to get a roof box so that packing will be easier.

anchovies Wed 11-May-05 13:32:19

Can I just check that everyone agrees that sleeping bags are essential? Also would a toddler be ok in a travel cot?

amynnixmum Wed 11-May-05 13:33:24

Yes to both IMO

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