The Joy of Camping?
Why do people camp? Why is it fun? What can I look forward to / expect on our first family outing?
I have avoided camping for 40+ years (beyond Eurocamp or glamping) but we now have a camper (of sorts) and a large tent attachment thingy. What are your top tips and your essentials? How to you keep your kids happy / entertained?Posted 3 years ago
How to keep your kids happy entertained?
Are you trolling?Posted 3 years ago
Outside the tent is a playground, a huge, massive, bloody brilliant playground. Shove your kids outside then sit back and relax with a nice glass or two of wine.Posted 3 years ago
Camping is great, particular highlights for me are
Kept awake by other people’s talking / musicPosted 3 years ago
800 yards walk to the toilet in the night and then get annoyed and do it in an empty bottle
Woke up by the light or screaming baby at 3:45
Half the kids in the campsite inside your tent
Outside the tent is a playground, a huge, massive, bloody brilliant playground. Shove your kids outside then sit back and relax with a nice glass or two of wine.
And this is why camping has become not so fun in my post-children years 😆Posted 3 years ago
However I would rather be more selective and find the right place for my preferences, than stop kids being outside having fun, obvs.
Posted 3 years ago
Dont forget Ear plugs and rum.Posted 3 years ago
Camping is knackering. You’ll be exhausted when you get back home.
Don’t forget an eye mask. The tent walls rarely block enough light to keep you asleep.
The joy of camping for me is being virtually outdoors. That smell of countryside when you unzip in the morning. The sunshine (hopefully) on your face as you boil the kettle and make a brew in the slightly cold perhaps damp grass as you cast your view over the mountain range, viewable from your tent. (get up the lakes and camp at Castlerigg farm)
Some campsites allow a real fire, that you can nurture while you sup several cans of beer, cider or a bottle of wine, getting nicely rat arsed whilst your kids sleep, playing Scrabble with your wife in the dying light or under a camping lantern.
Cuddling up with your wife under canvas for a bit of the other and then waking in the morning with the sun streaming in.
Am I selling it to you yet?
Don’t forget your guitar!Posted 3 years ago
Long boring hours hiding from midges…the soft sound of a slowly-deflating airbed…serenaded by snoring from the tent next door… waking up at 2am half-cut and desperate for a piss…the joy of some filthy farm shower…the squish of the slug in your shoes…Posted 3 years ago
It can be great fun when it’s good weather.
If it rains you;ll never get dry, you’ll never get warm. that big playground becomes a muddy field for the kids bring into your ‘living room’, you’ll fall out over the stupidist of things as your always a few feet from one another, the noise from from the other campers will piss you off and you’ll wonder why you didn’t just pay a bit more for a hotel.
Still if it’s sunny you don’t get the mud, wet and cold bit it’s replaced by a dry unbearable heat and stale farts.Posted 3 years ago
Camping is great for a short time, a couple of nights or so, but then the novelty soon wears off. We were going down the camping route and did a tester holiday for 5 days. A great campsite in a lovely location of Cornwall, so all great there. We lucked out with stunning weather for the whole time. But it’s a huge faff, packing up the tent at the end of the trip if wet, and your car being full to the gunnels even if you’re just going for a quick trip.
I love the freedom of camping, the kids love it and it is a great way to get around and see the country without being fleeced renting holiday cottages and B&B’s, but its the tent aspect was the problem for us, so we’ve gone down the camper van route. So far it’s been great.
We use the camper on its own for short weekend trips and have a large drive-away awning for the longer trips, so some of the downsides of tenting there, but we’re not sleeping the awning and just use it for storing the gear so its not cluttering up the van. We don’t tend to spend much time on campsites anyway, we’re out and about all day.
My only tip is to travel light and efficient. pack everything into plastic boxes for ease of packing and keeping things tidy once set up. Be choosy about your fold-up furniture. The cheap stuff is cheap for a good reason, we bought cheap initially and regretted it, now replaced with more expensive decent gear which really is in a different league – much more robust, sturdy when set up and packs away better.
We’ve got a portable-potty for the van. Getting up and having a wee in the middle of the night isn’t an issue for me, happy to walk to the toilet block or even use a bush, but with all girls in the family who seem to have multiple wee’s a night, and as soon as one goes, they all have to go, the porta-potty is a godsend. Strictly for number 1’s though, number two’s are banned.
Entertainment – You won’t struggle. Off grid is best. Board games, bikes, swingball, playgrounds (if your campsite has one – best to choose a campsite that has one) and iPads only come out as a last resort, but our kids don’t tend to want to play with them when we’re camping. You will get re-aqainted with your kids really quickly – that’s the best bit of it.
I have thought about getting a small TV so they can play films off a hard drive or iPad, but we’ve not missed movies and TV since we’ve been camping so i’m not about to push it.
Not for everyone, but great fun.Posted 3 years ago
If it’s not immediately obvious, you’re probably not going to enjoy it.
The first rule of camping is, or should be, don’t try to like it if you don’t like it.Posted 3 years ago
Entertainment – You won’t struggle. Off grid is best
Posted 3 years ago
jekkyl – Member
That smell of countryside when you unzip in the morning.Posted 3 years ago
Don’t take tablets or TV for the kids, they’ll end up sulky little sods.
Buy fun outdoor toys, lots of supermarkets now have good ranges. Kites, balls, frisbies, archery sets, that kind of thing. Toy swords and shields always fun in our house.
Also helps if you can get small farm campsites. Lots of fun watching farms work.Posted 3 years ago
If it’s not immediately obvious, you’re probably not going to enjoy it.
The first rule of camping is, or should be, don’t try to like it if you don’t like it.
Slightly off-topic, and not in reference to OP so no offence – but used to help run a camp-site and I’ve lost count of the times we lost money/a weeks booking because a family has packed up at the first sight of rain.
Then they leave all their plastic waste in a pile by the bins. Along with still-packaged food.
‘Do you know where I can charge my phone, I want to take the kids out for the day but need SatNav. “Is there anything to do here”?
“Oh, only coastal-walks, inland-walks, picnics, exploring, surfing, treasure-hunts, swimming, rock-pooling,snorkelling, fishing, insect-safari, face-painting,ice-cream hunting, painting, drawing, outdoor cooking, fire-making, wood-collecting, French Cricket, Frisbee, giant chess, kite-flying, charades, board-games, holiday-book reading, wild-food foraging, Geocaching, field-games with the other kids, food-party/BBQ, paddleboarding, kayaking, bike-hire, dinghies, sandcastle sculpting, shrimping, crabbing, softball …”
“Meh, Do you have wifi?”Posted 3 years ago
‘ice cream hunting’ ?? 😀
Kids are great, they make friends so easily. My daughter will actually go over and say ‘do you want to be my friend?’ and then they’re best mates playing together with some pine cones under a tree for half an hour.Posted 3 years ago
‘ice cream hunting’ ??
Yeah! It’s like old-fashioned ‘Googling for ice cream and pursuing it in an SUV/4×4’, except you do it on foot in an unfamiliar area and with no 4G. I bagged a Hockings one day after two river crossings and three wrong turns.
* Edit – badllama made a good point about types of campsites/clientele. It’s a make or break for me so +1 for the smaller sites/farm-sites.
OP here’s. (what I consider) a good resource when choosing a site (have selected for kids option):
No club houses, pools, amusement arcades or bars though!Posted 3 years ago
My mate and me have 1 camping/biking weekend a year and we love it.
Beer in the stream all day out for ride back showered (in the cleanest shower block you have ever encountered) to the tent sit and drink said beer, casual walk to the pub mingle with the other campers, walkers bikers drink more beer nice meal drink more beer then bed and ride the next day and repeat.
Last year we got back were sat outside the tents and there was a young teenage couple struggling to get a throw away BBQ going for something to eat give them a couple of beers got chatting and they were saying how they could not afford B&B’s, hotels and just wanted some time with each other away from family homes.
Felt sorry for them, me and my mate give them some cash and told them to get something decent to eat at the local pub. 🙂
You meet all sorts and most people are really friendly. the camp site we go to has a backpackers field (we say on) and the other section is full of the big family tents loads of kids ruining round and is pretty busy.
I’ve hear horror stories of a couple of big sites in the lakes I would not go near with a barge pole though noise full of pissed up groups teenagers causing bother.Posted 3 years ago
Make sure you pick a child friendly site and once you do Kids love camping and you, as parents, do not need to do much to keep them entertained. As soon as we arrive at a site, they are off exploring the field or other people’s tents checking out what toys the other kids have.
Last weekend whilst camping down the Gower I was sat outside with a book and a beer and the kids where inside the tent playing lego (always take a box of lego). I went to get another beer and the kids in the tent were not my own! That’s the best part of camping: all very relaxed and everyone on the whole gets on with everyone.Posted 3 years ago
Camping is great for a short time, a couple of nights or so, but then the novelty soon wears off
Mileages vary massively. Weather does make a big difference here, but as a kid I never wanted to go home. As an adult, I still struggle tbh!Posted 3 years ago
I only wild camp these days as a way of extending an assoicated activity such as biking, hiking or fishing. Used to love going to campsites, still have a couple quiet favourite ones but generally speaking most are overpriced hell holes full of ignorant families who think their weekend/week is more important than every other user there.Posted 3 years ago
Is Halfords kit (seating, cooking, sleeping etc) generally OK or should we stock up at a “proper” camping shop? I guess with a basic camper van we can be fairly minimal to begin with and then build up stuff as we discover we need it.Posted 3 years ago
“Meh, Do you have wifi?”
We stayed on Mull a couple of weeks ago – the campsite had WiFi 😀Posted 3 years ago
with a basic camper van we can be fairly minimal to begin with and then build up stuff as we discover we need it.
That’s a fair plan/assessment IMO. One of the best things about camping is making do and being inventive. As the holiday progresses you’ll see/chat to other campers about what they use/find indispensable. Have seen too many families turn up with a massive job-lot of China’s cheapest camping and outdoor kit in order to make a bacon sarnie to only then **** off home because the tent ripped/airbed deflated/the cooker broke.
I would say bare-minimum unless using open fire-pit/fire-bowl would be: cooker, gas and kettle. Don’t forget blankets. You probably have knives and forks at home then take them. If a small family just take a regular plate, mug and bowl each. Pack well. No need to buy crappy plastic plates etc.Posted 3 years ago
Is Halfords kit (seating, cooking, sleeping etc) generally OK
I don’t buy much of their stuff being a caravan owner, but it always looks good and seems good vfm.
Lots of shops doing good ranges of cheap reliable kit these days. Easier than ever to get kitted out. Go Outdoors also excellent.Posted 3 years ago
Go Outdoors. Decathlon. Mountain Warehouse.
No need to spend lots of money and you’ll slowly work out what’s needed, what’s “nice to have” and what’s luxury.
My main holidays have been camping for the past 55 years. I’m going a bit soft now by having my van converted into a camper but we’ll still take a tent for some trips and I’m still doing lightweight stuff on foot and with the bike. Just being outdoors for long periods is its own reward and it’s a wrench when the holidays are over and we’re back in the house 🙂Posted 3 years ago
Most important thing is proper bedding, sheet duvet etc. Do not go down the nylon sleeping bag route.
You’ll work everything else out in time. 8)Posted 3 years ago
Halfords stuff is fine. Our 4 man tent is a proper survivor. Storms bring everything else down, but the Halfords job stays standing. Must be 10 years old. Been borrowed so many times I don’t even know who’s got it now.Posted 3 years ago
Recently returned from 3 weeks around the Islands and North Scotland in our 1976 VW camper – noticeable that those in the biggest camper vans / with most stuff were the most miserable! Worst were the 30 footers – WTF drive to the very north in glorious countryside and sit inside watching telly? I’d also generally avoid sites with static caravans – you just needed the duelling banjo music as you drive in to complete the atmosphere.Posted 3 years ago
I had an irate mother shouting down the phone at me last year, from my rental villa, theres no sound on the (english tv) and my son is bored as he cant live without tv. Oh dear, maybe if he didnt turn the sound base off…no idea how old he was but doesnt bode well for his future.
Sadly now any arriving family…first question, whats the wifi code.Posted 3 years ago
Sadly now any arriving family…first question, whats the wifi code.
You’ll be able to check on their live Facebook updates to see if they are having a nice time with youPosted 3 years ago
Currently into the 2nd week of a camping holiday in France. It’s ace. Previous trips have been to Ireland, Scotland and Belgium and while they didn’t put us off, good weather (and good wine!) Makes it so much more pleasant and as a bonus the car doesn’t stink so much of wet kit when we move from place to place.
Problem tonight is a concert across the road. Hoping it doesn’t go on til too late as we rode up alpe d’huez today and need to collapse shortly!Posted 3 years ago
Ditch the kids and ditch the campsite and you’ll be fine.Posted 3 years ago
you get to meet, make friends and talk with people you never new.
last year we ended up in a sing-a-long around a campfire with some lovely people, we didn’t really know and likely will never ever see again.
that’s what i like about it most.Posted 3 years ago
We love it but seem to constantly buy new stuff lol even after many yes we have everything conversations
BTW anyone use a 3 way fridge, I’m thinking of getting one. Dometic 1200 or 1700 perhapsPosted 3 years ago
The joy of camping? I think that’s the part where you pack your tent up, get in the car and drive home.
I mean I know people like to play tricks with their minds, convincing themselves that they’re “getting away from it all” “going back to basics” etc. But where’s the joy in sleeping outdoors?
It’s the 21st century FFS; we invented roofs years ago.
What shall we do today? Oh it’s pissing it down, how about we just lye on the settee watching TV for fourteen hours? Yeh, sounds good, good job we’ve got a roof over our heads.
Now imagine fourteen hours in a tent. Or worse, fourteen hours in the “communal” area of a campsite.
Would you toilet in your bedroom at home? Because that’s precisely what you do when you go camping. I mean there’s a toilet block, but what’re the chances of making it there when it’s a quarter mile walk in the freezing cold at 4am.
How much do you enjoy showers? Do you ever talk to your colleagues at work about your shower in the morning? No? Thought so.
But that’s what you’ll do when you go camping, you’ll bang on about it for ages…..”**** hell, well good showers here”
“lets stay here another night cos the shower block is clean and warm” etc.
The showers dictate your trip. You’ll never enjoy a shower as much as you will do when camping.
At least they’re something to savour. You will often find campsites with sub-standard facilities, which means you’ve got absolutely nothing to look forward to.
It really is hardwork. Plus, it’s bad for the local economy. Honestly, don’t be a tight arse, just stop in a B&B or a hotel, you can enjoy yourself then.Posted 3 years ago
Tents up now…. Bunk ups later…. Great timing, as ever, STW.
First night under canvas this evening…. If only in the back garden.
Looking forward to all of the above… But maybe not the slugs in your shoes.Posted 3 years ago
There is no joy in camping. For the first year in 10 years, this year’s trip to Wales won’t involve building my own quarters, yet somehow sharing my personal space with every other bugger on the site, as I listen to how Tarquin down the road did in his GCSEs whilst I’m trying to sleep.Posted 3 years ago
davidtaylforth 😆Posted 3 years ago
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