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Subject Topic: What can I do to make it easier?
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Message posted by pookienoodle on 09/9/2017 at 2:20pm
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Hello all

Long time lurker, 2nd-time poster here.

After glamping in various pods around the UK for a while, we decided to buy a tent and try a first time under canvas.

we had our first trip last month at Dewslake camping in West Wales just for a couple of nights.

we have a Vango iris 600 and lots of various bits and pieces including stuff for EHU.

It is just myself a 40 something female and my 11 year old son who has ADHD so tries to be helpful but is not always!
It was stressful putting the tent up solo, but mostly because I hadn't had a trial run (I know, I know but it only arrived the day before) and setting up and breaking camp also seemed to take ages.

we already have ideas to make things a little easier such as ditching the airbeds for SIMs, and changing our storage boxes to flat-topped ones so they can double as tables in the bedroom.

My question to all you lovely people is

How do we speed up making camp?
any tips you have picked up over the years.

All ideas appreciated.

Message posted by purplebean on 09/9/2017 at 3:28pm
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Look very very carefully at every single thing you take and decide if you really need it. We cut right back last year for every trip except our two week summer holiday and it made a big difference

-------------
2017
Hertford Easter 5 nights
Scarborough April 2 nights
Drayton Manor May 4 nights
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Annstead Farm August 7 nights
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Message posted by Pulster on 09/9/2017 at 4:17pm
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As purplebean said, think about what you need and where possible have multi function items - a decent pen knife could be a can opener, food prep knife, corkscrew and more. Like you have already said flat topped storage boxes are useful for small tables.

Have a look at the cross camping method for pitching, it may make it easier for you single handed. YouTube Link

And don't be afraid to ask fellow campers/wardens for help if needed.

Message posted by pookienoodle on 09/9/2017 at 5:28pm
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Thank you both.

I discovered the vid for the cross camping method AFTER we had been camping, will definitely go with this method next time.
I have a huge estate car and I think the temptation was to pack everything we
might need.

Message posted by Frazzle- on 09/9/2017 at 6:23pm
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To speed up making camp (pitching and making homely stuff)...
1. Go for a weekend and take less stuff. Criossants fro breaky, ready made to heat dinner or a take away dinner.
2. Go for longer and slow down, you are camping not running. Once the tent is up you can do things while the food is cooking or heating. The tent does not have to be perfect straight away (or at all).

Message posted by pookienoodle on 09/9/2017 at 7:25pm
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Quote: Originally posted by Frazzle- on 09/9/2017
To speed up making camp (pitching and making homely stuff)...
1. Go for a weekend and take less stuff. Criossants fro breaky, ready made to heat dinner or a take away dinner.
2. Go for longer and slow down, you are camping not running. Once the tent is up you can do things while the food is cooking or heating. The tent does not have to be perfect straight away (or at all).



Thanks for the reply

I am looking to make things speedier and less hassle for shorter trips, camp cooking is the least stressful thing for me as I was a chef for years so can knock up a batch of pancakes and bacon for breakfast without even breaking a sweat.

I understand what you mean about the tent not being perfect, I may be guilty of 'keeping up with the Joneses'
I need to be more chilled !


Message posted by Tracys on 09/9/2017 at 8:39pm
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We are just about to return to camping after a few years away.
I would say take only what you need. We stopped using folding cupboards etc in favour of boxes. I would also allocate jobs, we always got the tent up and then I'd do inside whilst hubby was pegging out. Maybe you could give your son a special job too.

NEARLY-NEW-TENTS

Message posted by fin676 on 09/9/2017 at 8:49pm
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Experience will get things a wee bit quicker both setting up and packing up
Air beam tents are very quick to erect and take down and can significantly speed up the camping experience
You will eventually get to know what is right for you and what works

Brian

Message posted by pookienoodle on 10/9/2017 at 6:56pm
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Quote: Originally posted by fin676 on 09/9/2017
Experience will get things a wee bit quicker both setting up and packing up
Air beam tents are very quick to erect and take down and can significantly speed up the camping experience
You will eventually get to know what is right for you and what works

Brian



I would love an airbeam tent but out of my budget, unfortunately, will have to practice with my poles ;)

Message posted by Bob61 on 10/9/2017 at 7:49pm
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I am a solo camper and a bit obsessed with making sure the tent is erected properly and looking right with all the guys and pegs in place so it takes me a good two hours to erect it. I try to convince myself that is all part of the enjoyable camping experience!

There is not a lot you can do to make it easier. I don't know if your tent came with the inner already fitted but if you had to fit it separately then you won't need to do it again as it can stay in place when you take the tent down.

The Cross Camping video is a good one. I would erect my tent very slightly differently by putting all the poles through first as they lay on the ground and then raising the tent using that front guy rope like a pram hood, but you will find a way based on that video that suits you. Fibreglass poles and long sleeves are always going to be a fiddle...like threading a curtain it keeps getting caught up (one reason why I changed to a metal poled tent).

As for cutting down on gear...I have tried and having done so it gradually builds up again! One thing I find I can't do without is a list of everything I need to take...even down to a comb (yes I still have hair) and all the small bits and pieces. On the list is the tent and the poles and the pegs and the hammer...you might think you wouldn't forget those but many people have. I keep the list on my computer and print it off before every trip then tick everything off as it goes in the car. I would forget lots of things without it.

Having to pump up an airbed having just struggled for two hours with the tent is a nuisance but it doesn't have to be done straight away. In fact in the cool of the evening is better. I went from airbeds to SIM's then camp beds and have just returned to airbeds but one with an internal pump. It takes no more than 3 minutes to pump it up. It can be left plugged in on an extension lead so adjusting the air if necessary is simple.

I also have a flat top plastic storage box for all my bits and pieces which I keep specifically for camping so when I go I just need to grab the box with everything already in it. When camping I keep the box under the main table in the living area and put the EHU unit on top of it. That keeps the EHU off the floor and protects it from possible drips from the roof. It is also in a handy position there for plugging things into it which are on the table top, like toaster, kettle, etc.

As I said...it never gets easier but hopefully a little quicker as you get used to doing things in a specific way.



-------------
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Message posted by JacquiR on 11/9/2017 at 10:21am
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I would say try not to have to move things about more than necessary. So store your camping gear in the same boxes that you transport them in and the same ones you'll keep them in in the tent (flat topped ones to double as tables sound good but do you then need to clear everything off the top to get into the box?). Take clothes in holdalls and then just keep them in the holdalls while you're away and don't try to unpack into anything. We take all of our food in coolbags (one chilled, one not) and pack that at home and just keep it all in that while we're camping rather than unpacking into any cupboards that you have to erect. Other than that it's just keep your bedding simple, which it sounds like you're doing. Also try to keep your cooking and lighting simple for speed. Good luck!

Message posted by paul+kate s-o-t on 11/9/2017 at 1:21pm
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Please don't get sucked in by the claims of airbeams being a lot quicker to pitch
Compared to a similar poled version you might save 5 mins overall pitching time
The amount of pegs and guylines will be the same and in my experience a couple more on inflatable tents as they rely on the guys a lot more to keep in shape
The main advantage with inflatables is the ease of pitching
You can pitch a large inflatable tent single handed quite easy
The main downside to inflatable tents is the pack size
If I'm right your tent has 4 fibre poles
If you follow the cross camping method and with a couple of camps you'll get the time down to about 10 15 mins
Try giving your son a job to do which he does Everytime you go
My suggestion would be to drop 2 pegs at each pegging point one to peg the groundsheet and one for the guy line
Make it his responsibility for this job before you know it you'll both be pitching tents in no time

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May Peak District Duke of York
May Holland Delfse Hout
June Cotton Arms Nantwich
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Message posted by pookienoodle on 12/9/2017 at 3:52pm
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Thanks all

I do try and give my son a special job, but due to his ADHD he gets very excited and distracted in new places.
I have to make sure the task I give him is suitable so
1. It doesn't matter if he doesn't actually finish it
2. he doesn't make a mess doing it(the filling the water canister job in now on the dlist for that reason)!
3. I am not going to worry he is going to do something impulsive with tent pegs

I have gone through my camping list and am seeing what we don't need, will try and do a local camp with the bare minimum and see what we really miss.

I also saw on another thread about someone taking a photo of how everything fits in the car, excellent idea as it was much harder to get everything in on the way back!

I really want us to make a go of tent camping and don't want to end up one of those people who give up and sell everything on gumtree!

Having a forum like this is great.
Thanks again to all who responded

Message posted by Bob61 on 12/9/2017 at 7:01pm
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Quote: Originally posted by pookienoodle on 12/9/2017
Thanks all
I really want us to make a go of tent camping and don't want to end up one of those people who give up and sell everything on gumtree!




I love those people...that's how I get much of my gear

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Message posted by HighSlayer on 13/9/2017 at 12:15pm
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I have my camping gear sorted according to need. Sometimes I camp solo or as a couple or with my daughter, other times there are more of us. I have 2 tents and am also looking for a grab and go tent.

I dont like roughing it. For me it is about getting out in the fresh air and having some peace and quiet - not having to go without comfort lol. I'm 54 years old, 6ft tall and have a bad back and type 2 diabetes.

So - in terms of equipment I have 1 large 64 litre Really Useful box which contains all the electrical essentials. EHU kit, extension leads, lights, batteries, fairy lights, kettle, heater etc along with spare guys, clingons, gorilla tape, repair kit, DAB radio etc. This box goes with me regardless

Then I have a second box - but I have 2 of these and only the relevant one goes with me.

The first for longer camps/group camps is another 64litre RUB which contains pots, pans, cutlery, utensils, washing up bowl, glasses, mugs - everything we need to cook and eat apart from the cooker itself. I have a large electric multi cooker but that travels separately.

The second is a smaller 42 litre RUB which has exactly the same stuff in but on a smaller scale, for just 2 people. It also has an electric multi-cooker in, the small size. For cutlery etc I bought a vinyl pencil case at B&M for 2.99 and it nicely holds a full cutlery set plus tin opener, waiters friend, scissors, gas ignition thing and 2 smallish cooking knives.

So the 2 boxes are all my basics.

Cooking - for short/small trips I have a small 2 burner+grill cooker which, along with the multi cooker is perfectly adequate. For long/big camps I take a Kampa Roastmaster, which is excellent but huge/bulky.

Sleeping - I can't do ground level sleeping due to my back so take full height intex airbeds with built in pumps. They pack into small bags but are large and comfortable when inflated. I have several singles (actually they are large singles at 100cm wide) and also a king size, take whichever is most suitable. I also take either duvets (in compression sacks) or sleeping bags depending on need, and proper pillows. On the floor in the bedroom I use EVA foam squares for both comfort and insulation, and mattress covers on the tops.

Living - Here's where it is easy to go overboard. Again I adjust depending on length of stay and how many of us. I have several of the camping cupboards which are excellent if you need or have room for them.

Table - either a triple table for loads of us or a folding top table for just me, or recently I bought a folding picnic table in Halfords sale which has 2 benches that fit inside the table. The benches are very useful as side tables

Chairs - minimum 2 but depends how many people.

Kitchen area - I have a larger kitchen stand which I generally use for the roastmaster and bigger camps along with a eurohike basecamp table and storage which holds pretty much everything. For smaller/shorter camps I use a compact kitchen unit and either a small camping cupboard or work straight out of the boxes.

Cooling - I have a big Dometic RC1700 fridge which is great but is huge, heavy and cumbersome so tends to be for the longer/bigger camps. For shorter/smaller camps I have a Mobicool U32 coolbox which is the perfect size and can be switched to eco on a night to make it quiet. It keeps things very cool under normal temperatures though not sure how it would cope in full on summer

So really you have a huge amount of choice when camping - just like some people have minimalist homes and others like to stack to the roof!

In terms of transportation the smaller stuff all fits into my Ford Focus Estate as long as I don't have rear passengers. I also have a roofbox and a trailer so take whichever is most useful

-------------
A slightly younger Victor Meldrew

Message posted by pookienoodle on 13/9/2017 at 8:39pm
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thank you
It's great to hear how other people organise themselves.


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