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Subject Topic: Starting out in family camping
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Message posted by geordiepaul2001 on 31/5/2017 at 10:24am
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Hi all,

I'm looking to start regular camping trips with the family (two adults and children aged 4, 10 and 12).
We have no kit whatsoever and I'm hoping to get what I need at reasonable prices in case the children/wife don't take to camping as much as I hope.

I've been looking on gumtree at 8 and 10 man tents - will this be around the right size for my family?

And secondly, is there a list of what other items I will need -such as stove, pans, etc.

All advice will be greatly appreciated.

Paul

Message posted by George-Mildred on 31/5/2017 at 11:06am
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Hi, if you look under features/tips you will find a camping checklist to give an idea of what you may need. Don't forget it all has to fit in the car/roofbox/trailer or whatever you have. It is amazing how much stuff you think you need then have no where to put it. Start with the essentials - beds & bedding, something to cook with and eat off, sothething to sit on. Make lists of 'likes/needs' for next time. You'll love it, I'm sure, was sceptical we would like it, but can't wait to get away now.

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Message posted by Francais on 31/5/2017 at 11:15am
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Hi Paul and welcome to the forum.

First issue is that there are 5 of you, so that's a whole load of packing space gone already.

I would say that you are almost definatley going to need a Trailer.

Think about canvas types, I am old Skool so it has to be Cotton.

As for tent size, get down to a decent display, Winfields and GO have them, to name but 2.

We have a list of kit, but it currently runs to 10 pages of A4, that's what happens when you have been camping since 1962!

Anyway good luck and enjoy, camping is a constant learning curve with no end or bounds.

Of course do let us know how you get on.

Message posted by HighSlayer on 31/5/2017 at 11:45am
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An 8-10 person tent sounds about right, but bear in mind it will also cut down your choice of campsites so always check first that a site can handle your tent. I have the Kalahari Elite 8 and often struggle to find sites which can accommodate, especially in some parts of the country.

Drawing the balance between not spending too much initially and ensuring you have a good time is a difficult one to make. In my opinion, the main reason people don't enjoy their first camping experiences is because they bought the wrong/inadequate equipment and so just didnt enjoy it. The second reason is because the weather was miserable and the third reason tends to be problems with the site/noisy neighbouring campers etc.

Equipment first - I'd strongly suggest that you only consider tents with a fully sewn in groundsheet. Hatred of creepy crawlies and flying beasties is a big negative in most peoples' experience and a SIG will hopefully sort that.

Electricity - get an electric hookup. Try to create the practical side of camping to reflect as closely as you can to your home routine and facilities. That way it isnt too much of a shock. Problem you have is space, with 5 in the car the tent/footprint/carpet is going to fill the boot. As said, you'll likely need a roofbox or trailer.

Something to cook on - doesnt need to be fancy to start with. A twin burner camping stove will get you right, or buy a 20 multi-cooker which then saves you having to cart a gas bottle (though you'll need an electric camping kettle in this case).

Sleeping - uncomfortable nights causes tempers and nerves to fray. Good quality airbeds or camping beds for the adults, doesnt have to be so heavy duty for the kids. Decent sleeping bags come fairly compact but if you want to take your own duvets instead then buy some compression sacks and learn how to use them. I can get a 10.5 Tog king size duvet into a compression sack easily and a 12 tog just about.

You need some chairs to sit on, a table and something to put your camping stove/multicooker/etc on. You can get quite compact kitchen tables and often this kind of thing comes up on gumtree/ebay etc pretty cheap. I just sold a load of stuff on gumtree - everything went within 3 hours so be quick if you see what you like. Don't forget plates/cups/saucepans/utensils etc. You can start off taking a lot of this from home and then buying for camping. For plates, look at melamine - often cheap items can be found at B&M, Home Bargains etc

On the day! Ok, the idea is to have fun. If possible, before your first trip try to set your tent up at home or in a local park/field etc so that you know what you are doing. Either that or book a couple of nights at a very local campsite so you can 'have a play'.

Dont look on the setting up as a chore - thats when tempers get frayed. Think of it as part of the holiday. Putting the tent up, take your time, don't rush or force anything, don't get upset. Let the kids help in ways they will find interesting. The 4 year old can count out tent pegs into little piles of say 10. The 12 year old perhaps help you with the tent, your Mrs and the 10 year old in charge of getting everything out of the car and sorting the inside of the tent whilst you peg the rest out. Even if it takes an hour+, it's all part of the experience.

Have a look on Youtube for the Cross Camping method of putting up a pole tunnel tent. Although others have been using this method for decades, Gary has kind of adopted it as his own and the video does show some great tips. Dont forget, erect the tent with the doors all open, then zip them all shut before pegging the tent out. Doors open means you arent lifting bubbles and trapped air, doors closed for pegging means everything fits neatly. When packing down, leave the doors fully open - again to help air expel and so you can pack it all down to fit back into the bag.

If you buy a new tent you'll need to also clip the bedroom pods into place. For most tents though, once this is done you can just leave them in.

Whichever tent you end up with, have a look online for videos of it being put up/down. That will give you a good idea before you start.

Packing away I find more stressful than setting up, especially if you have to be off site for 10.30 in the morning. And even more so if it's been raining or is damp overnight. Again, at first it should be fine - it's once you start adding the million other luxury items that have to be packed away that it gets really stressful.

Dont worry about buying too much gear - get what you really need for the first time and then over time you can decide what you want to add. Bear in mind everything you buy has to fit in whatever transport you have available and be stored when not in use.

Browse the forums here for general tips and advice. Anything you need to know that hasnt already been covered, just ask! Always better to ask a simple question than to wait for something to go wrong. Loads of really friendly, helpful people on here. Same on site - if you get to your pitch and find a problem - just ask someone. Campers are really friendly and there is always someone perfectly happy to help out. We all started out new once!

And most importantly - have fun, try to disconnect a little from the online/electronic world. Go for walks, explore the area, eat outdoors, let the kids play. It's a brilliant experience!

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

Message posted by BRYANMITCH on 31/5/2017 at 5:22pm
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Paul..have a look at ALDI..camping deals on NOW..be quick! LIDL start their camping deals on 1st june. Some decent buys for beds,self inflating mattresses,tables,chairs etc.
What about ready-bed for the little one--our kids loved them.Join the local buy and sell sites-theres always camping gear on them."Camping gear for sale tyne and wear" is on facebook--I,m assuming you are a homebase geordie


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Message posted by DeborahTurner on 31/5/2017 at 5:45pm
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How exciting!

To begin with:
Tent. I camp perfectly well without a tent carpet, and have only recently acquired a footprint. A footprint is handy, if the ground underneath is wet. Carpets are more expensive than footprints, bulkier to pack, but do add a bit of insulation from the ground.

Sleeping: Sleeping bags (3 season) or start with duvets. Personally I hate air beds and camp beds (which are heavy and bulky to pack, anyway) and am very happy on a 5Cm SIM (currently 14 ibn Aldi / Lidl). Kids are OK on the 10 foil backed roll out mats from Decathlon, for example. Extra fleece blankets all round, in case it is chilly.

Something to cook on. It all depends how ambitious you want to be. A one ring stove and a portable BBQ? Cereal and packets of Brioche rolls for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, BBQ for dinner? Use all your existing oldest pans, cutlery etc from home, paper plates, maybe, or cheap plastic, take a washing up bowl, T Towels, lots of wipes. A 5l water container - just use the mineral water ones from the supermarket and re-fill. If you don't go electric a camping kettle is handy, for the stove.

Something to sit on: folding camping chairs.

Table.

Torches and lanterns.

Then, just pack as you would for going away. But include shoes that are easy to kick on and off, to keep mud etc out of the tent. Wellies for the little one: wet dew in the morning.

See what style of camping you enjoy and what suits you before investing loads of money. What sort of bed will you like best? Do you prefer EHU (electric) gas stove, or cooking over a fire? Do you prefer Mummy sleeping bags or square?, etc etc.

I know loads of families who manage 3 kids in a people-carrier type vehicle and a roof box.

Inflatable sofas, full kitchen stands, flat pack wardrobes etc etc can all come in time if you actually need or want them!


Message posted by BRYANMITCH on 31/5/2017 at 6:25pm
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Paul..ebay item 263003163591...local...worth a look?

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Message posted by geordiepaul2001 on 01/6/2017 at 9:31am
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Quote: Originally posted by BRYANMITCH on 31/5/2017
Paul..ebay item 263003163591...local...worth a look?



I've just had a look at this and sent them a message to see if they have photographs of the actual item.
From your experience is this a decent first family tent?

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Message posted by geordiepaul2001 on 01/6/2017 at 9:33am
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Thanks for all of the advice guys, unfortunately I was called into work last night so didn't get round to reading your replies until this morning.
I'm just about to get sorted and head to Lidl for some inflatable mattresses and then double back to Aldi in the hope that they have camping chairs left.

I've noticed that my car won't allow a tow bar to be fitted due to the battery (hybrid) and I'll have to try and find a roofbox that will accommodate the gear.

Message posted by Francais on 01/6/2017 at 9:59am
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I guess you must have a Toyota Prius then, the mad thing with a Prius is that it has the fixing point's for a towbar, but the car is just simply not type approved for towing.

Of course the Yanks don't care about such things, and many have fitted a towbar to there Prius, as have a number of folk in the Netherlands.

Although I would imagine there must be insurance implications.

Sorry if I guessed wrong, it was just a stab in the dark.


Message posted by geordiepaul2001 on 01/6/2017 at 10:01am
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You're not far off the mark, its a Lexus CT200 which is based on the Prius, Toyota Auris.
Or the wife has a Nissan Note.....maybe that would have the option of a tow bar.


Message posted by Bramston on 01/6/2017 at 10:46am
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If you have car space issues think lightweight or go to a site where all the tentage is already set up for you.
Lightweight means using 2, 3 man tents for your family.
Every one gets a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, a torch and a set of eating irons. You will cook on hiking stoves rather than refillable gas stoves and even if you buy tables and chairs they only go in if there is space in the car.
Everyone only gets one bag for clothes so if the sun shine keep everyone in shorts.

-------------
Enjoy the liveliness of the syntax.

Message posted by TraceyD on 01/6/2017 at 8:29pm
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As mentioned above, have you thought about trying a ready erected or eurotent before you buy your own. That's what we did about 13 years ago. Lots of sites have them now and it's a good way of camping without the initial investment. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I was wrong, I loved it and came home and then bought our own tent.

Good luck!

-------------
May - Spring Valley
June - Fforest Fields
August - Leekworth



Message posted by geordiepaul2001 on 02/6/2017 at 5:01pm
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Thanks for all the feedback so far folks, I used the ebay link above and managed to win the auction for a Sunncamp Haven 800 tent for 102, I'm waiting for the better weather before seeing how difficult it is to put up.
Any thoughts on this tent?, it looks like it was discontinued a fair while ago.

I've also got a couple of double beds from Lidl at 13 each and a cooking stove from Aldi at 7.
Hopefully we'll be good to go soon.

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Looks like a bog standard tunnel so should be easy enough to pitch. For the sake of all concerned do a test pitch before you go away. This lets you make sure that all the bits are there and that you know what you're doing when you get to a campsite. If your garden's not big enough ask a friend or talk to a local park-keeper or something. I reckon more people give up camping because of a disastrous first pitch than for any other reason.

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Sean

Message posted by BRYANMITCH on 03/6/2017 at 2:25pm
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Well done GeordiePaul...Thats a good buy if the tent is ok.Some of our camping pals had the same tent and it stood up to some bad weather in the lakes without problems .UBC at sandy lane is a sunncamp stockist should you have any need for poles etc.
Plenty of room in there for the family and should they all love camping ..you will be able to sell it on to help fund your next tent purchase Thats what happens!
As mentioned earlier-a footprint is always a good idea..it doesnt have to be anything flash..a builders tarp cut to size will do and doesnt take a lot of space when folded up.This helps keep the tent and also the inside of your car clean.
There are loads of ways to save space ..e.g travel with the sleeping bags open and on the back seat.
Use the rear footwells for clothes,shoes etc.
Use small but powerful led lights instead of huge lanterns.You can seperate the inner tents from the main tent and spread them around if need be.Buy fold flat chairs and table to fit in the bottom of your carboot.
Only plan short journeys..because the Mrs.will be moaning about sitting with two crates of Stella on her lap for any length of time Enjoy your camping-I,m sure the kids will love it.Plenty of help and advice on here---just ask.

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Bryan- TENT CAMPER...by choice!


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