Last time we took Amelie camping in France. I was about 5 months pregnant with Harriet. Our campsite was beautiful but we were about as far from the toilet block as was possible and my complaints to Michael about the lack of toilet seats fell on deaf ears as I lay there in the middle of the night with a wild thunderstorm thrashing the tent I could see the seams coming apart above my head and I vowed then that if we went camping again we would need a new tent.
This year we have promised the girls we will take them camping but there are a few conditions 1: that we buy a new decent tent and 2: camp on a site that has toilet seats and hot showers. I know it doesn't sound like I'm selling it but I just know how much fun the girls will have and actually I don't mind camping but I do need to be organised about the whole thing. I can not stand it when you have to start rummaging through boxes and bags in the damp to find stuff. So I thought I would put together a little camping wish list.
A decent tent.
There are lots of groovy looking tents out there like this amazing sandwich tent which I would love, however from a family practicality point of view we need something a little bigger and more substantial.
We have been looking at the Vango Lumen V400 air beam tent or the Decathalon Quechua 6 man Air Tent £399. Rather than rigid poles which you assemble the air beam tents work on using air to inflate a rigid structure.
12 years ago we camped our way around Australia. Part of our staple diet was toasted cheese sandwiches made using a cast iron Jaffel Iron. They were so amazing.
No camping trip is complete without pop corn and bbq's.
There is nothing worse than being mid cooking when the gas runs out. You have to stop take everything off and try and change the gas bottle whilst wearing oven gloves. This little stove would stop all of that fussing about.
Part of the problem with taking BBQ's with you is the space they take up in the car. The great thing about this BBQ is that it collapses down into almost nothing and takes up such a small amount of space.
Everyone loves sitting around the camp fire in their comfy chairs but I have learnt from experience that they are no good when trying to eat, especially if you have little people with you. I think that these fold out tables and chairs are perfect for camping. They take up minimal amount of space when packing the car but are so practical.
When Michael first brought me a head lamp I laughed and said I would never use it however when camping it has proved invaluable when cooking or trying to sort the kids out in the night.
There is nothing more annoying than when your gadgets or lights run out whilst you are camping. You can't always park your car on your pitch which means re-charging things can become a bit of a nuisance unless you have one of these solar power packs by Field Candy £29.50.
These are just a few of the things on my camping wish list. From previous camping trips I have learnt a few tips.
- Whilst duvets may seem a good idea sleeping bags are much more practical. You don't end up with sand in your bed quite as much!
- If you are heading to a campsite near a beach then some kind of matting or carpet is particularly useful and remember the dustpan and brush.
Oh and you always need a supply of good campsites. There are plenty of places you can check these out but a good place to start is the Coolcamping website.
We are off to check tents out this weekend and when we spot a break in the weather we will be planning our first camping trip of 2015.