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Subject Topic: Please advise a newbie on basic set up?! Post Reply Post New Topic
04/6/2014 at 4:17pm
 Location: Lake District
 Outfit: 5m Karma Canvas bell tent
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Hello everyone,

Me and the husband are about to buy our first tent for car camping, and are looking at all the other bits we need...but there is so much to choose from that we need some advice! Please help us make this work, we don't have enough spare cash to make mistakes setting up!

As a bit of background, we have a small car and the boot will be filled with dog, and not much storage at home so space is at a premium. We live in the lakes where we will mostly be camping (at fairly basic campsites - no ehu), and we hope to be able to camp from Spring to Autumn, so need decent gear to stay warm in the colder months. Mostly plan 2-4 day jaunts, but the odd week or three thrown in here and there. We don't mind roughing it a bit at all.

I figure the basic things to focus on are shelter, cooking and sleeping, so I have split things into these categories...

Shelter
We are getting a 5m Bell tent from Karma Canvas with a 2 room inner and ZIG as a joint birthday gift from family.
We want to get a porch/tarp for cooking and eating under. We have the option of a second hand large polycotton one (which would match the tent), but if a nylon/poly one would be easier (less bulk, easier to dry I'm guessing) then we would take that? Would they both stand up to bad weather equally?

Cooking/dining
We want a wood powered cooker, and will mostly be boiling water for instant ramen/soup/porridge and drinking tea, but the option of frying the odd egg or heating up some stuffed peppers would be an added bonus - we can't choose between the kelly kettle or solo stove? (or anything else you experienced guys recommend?!
We figure we can pick up a table and chairs from any camping store. We thought if we put a heat proof mat on the table we can also use it to cook on, or is this crazy? Do we need one of the separate kitchen stand things?
We will take all the cooking/eating stuff in a large wicker picnic basket that we already have, as it can double as a low card table and dry food storage area for inside the tent

Sleeping
We have an airbed, and a pvc backed fleece rug to go over it for added warms. We want a double sleeping bag...it has to be wide as I hate feeling trapped in my sleep, and it has to be as warm as possible as hubby cannot stand the cold at night and I fear it would put him off camping all together if I don't get this one right! We have looked at both the Vango Starlight and Aurora Double, are these any good? Any other recommendations? We have about a thousand extra blankets we can add too, I'm something of a blanket hoarder!

We have already got a wind up lamp, rugs for the floor, washing up bowl, and will get a collapsable water carrier.

I'm anticipating that things will be added as we go, but does this seem like we have the basics covered OK to have a reasonably comfortable first few trips? Have I missed anything? Is anything unnecessary? Any recommendations?

Sorry for this super long post, and thank you so much for any help with this, we are so excited about it all, but have no one IRL who knows about camping to ask!


04/6/2014 at 4:43pm
 Location: Lincolnshire
 Outfit: 5 m zig bell force 10 trigano ridge
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I have a 5m Karma bell tent and I can tell you now, if your boot is spoken for with the dog then the tent will take up most of the back seat!

Add to that all the other things you have mentioned you'd better be good at tetris!


04/6/2014 at 5:08pm
 Location: Lake District
 Outfit: 5m Karma Canvas bell tent
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Uh oh, this is one thing I am afraid of! Perhaps the dog might just have to squidge up a bit in the boot! That or have no backwards view when driving       Luckily we live right in the Lakes already so it's just a quick run up the A roads to get to some great spots. At a real stretch I could even do 2 trips in the morning (and by the time I got back hubby could have the tent up and a brew on). Not ideal, but needs must I suppose - I will get my camping! We would likely get a roof rack at christmas to make it easier, but can't afford it right now!

meanwhile I AM kinda good at tetris...I knew all those hours whiled away on the computer would be useful in the end!


04/6/2014 at 5:38pm
 Location: Devizes Wiltshire
 Outfit: MWB VW Crafter PVC
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With the trailer hitched up with or without a fully loaded car, I have no visibility via the rear view mirror, and have to rely heavily on the wing mirrors.

Luckily the wing mirrors on my MINI are massive, and the trailer is narrower than the car, hence I have very good rear view via the wing mirrors.

Good luck OP with your tent and gear spec'ing.

DK


-------------
* Apple The Campervan - A Van For Work, Rest And Play! *
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* Ex-tenter & solo female camper *
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04/6/2014 at 7:29pm
 Location: Northern Ireland
 Outfit: Bell Tent Vango Coleman and Quechua
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Sounds like you've put a lot of thought in to this, and you're definately on the right track. I'm not going to criticize, but I've been there done that and here's my two pennys.

Wind up light - that's the first thing you'll replace. They have a very disappointing performance generally. For non ehu lighting the best light I have found is a Varta Cree lantern about 21 from Amazon. I've been camping for years and only just got one (been on a wishlist for some time) and although it is really good I seemed to manage on a variety of battery operated lanterns and a headtorch each.

You'll find you're so knackered after all that fresh air you will be sleeping when it's dark anyway.

The basket sounds good (and pretty) but it is a unforgiving thing to pack. I use a Marks and Spencer bag for life, the big sturdy ones (about 80p) which will squish into odd spaces in the car. I usually have a couple, and right now I have two with a nice retro blue and cream design on the side.

The heatproof mat will do nicely and yes you can do without a kitchen stand alright. I use a red silicone mat designed to roll pastry out on, which is placemat sized and I got it in the baking section of a supermarket.

I use a single sized stove for everything which takes a gas cannister. Gas cannisters can be got in packs of 4 in B&M Bargains. Stoves don't perform all that well in the breeze, so I use the case it comes in (carefully) to block the wind. You shouldn't really cook inside but many do and are careful and use that thing called common sense. I personally don't mind boiling water in the entrance of a tent but draw the line at anything smelly which I cook outside instead.

All tarps and shelters need taken down in windy weather regardless of the fabric.

A rectangular washing bowl will act as a carrying vessel en route but a round one is harder to fit in the car.

The Airbed should be insulated under it as well as on top of it. If you have nothing else, use a big bit of cardboard, just ask for a big box at a local shop, and to be honest it's one of the best insulators around. Foam mats are good too.





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05/6/2014 at 1:01pm
 Location: Lake District
 Outfit: 5m Karma Canvas bell tent
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Thanks guys, that's super helpful!

I have looked into cree lanterns and that seems a good idea, or just a cheap one from a store at first, but will stay away from the windups (it's a shame as it's such a good idea in principal!)

Thanks for the tips with regards to the cardboard, and putting the tarp down and so on - I will be sure to take note, it may save me chasing a flapping tarp around the countryside!

I'm gonna try fitting what we have into the car, and then working out how much space we have left over for extras like table and chair and washing up bowl (I'm sure we could manage with just wiped off plates for a couple of days, especially as we are veggie so there is nothing to go *that* bad!)

Does anyone have any opinions about this sleeping bag...
http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/vango-starlight-double-sleeping-bag-p292631

Would it be warm enough to see us through early spring and autumn? I like the colour (which isn't that important, but a bonus!) and the width of it, and it's hard to find any more high performance doubles.

Thanks again for all the tips!


05/6/2014 at 7:53pm
 Location: Northern Ireland
 Outfit: Bell Tent Vango Coleman and Quechua
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You mention wiping off the plates, well try out a spork! I made a (half joking) comment about sporks last weekend at a camping trip with a few other people, that the great thing about sporks is that you can lick them and then stick it in your pocket. I got a 'yuck' all round but they were softie caravanners. You should have seen their faces when I mentioned 'bog in a bag'!


06/6/2014 at 12:00pm
 Location: North Surrey
 Outfit: Bailey Unicorn Valencia S3
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As you have a dog, just let him/her lick the plates, etc clean and then they are ready to put away for next use

-------------
Nick

2017
April - New Forest(9)
May - Dorset (9)
August - Camping Le Pin Parasol, Vendee (18)
October - East Mersea (8)
and five nights in the one man tent!



06/6/2014 at 3:27pm
 Location: Lake District
 Outfit: 5m Karma Canvas bell tent
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Chuckling at all the cleaning suggestions, glad I'm not the only one who thinks a little bit of dirt won't hurt you...although I think the dog thing is taking it too far even for me...but then again, who knows how I might feel once 'out in the field'

Just had an email to say the tent is on backorder till the 16th. Grrr. I am too excited to wait!



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