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Subject Topic: Camping comfortably in summer Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by PaulineBrandon on 28/4/2017 at 6:53am
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Hi,

We are taking or own tent to the South of France in August. We have chosen 3 campsites in Gorges du Verdon, Mandelieu, and the Cevennes. We would value any tips from folk with experience, especially sleeping comfortably, and keeping food chilled..

Pauline

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Message posted by Val A on 28/4/2017 at 7:29am
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Depending on the relative height above sea level, you may find that nights are cooler than you expect and it's wise to take suitable bedding to deal with a range of temperatures. In the Cevennes we have had nights in August when the temperature dropped below freezing!

If the weather is hot, then erect your tent in the shadiest area of the pitch, perhaps even erect a shade sail or similar over it, and leave all 'windows' open during the day and at night. Our tent has large areas where the windows have a 'net' under the clear perspex and we find leaving the perspex open cools things down considerably.

As far as chilling food, there are lots of ways from the simplest cool box with ice packs to a fridge/freezer on your pitch. Most French campsites offer a facility for freezing ice packs, and we used to find that large plastic bottles of water, some emptied out and then frozen, were just as good as the freezer packs you have to buy. Or if you have a hook up you can add a fan to keep cool, and a plug in fridge. You can buy three way fridges which work from a gas bottle, electric or on journeys from your cigarette lighter in the car. Again you will need to make sure it is kept out of full sun whilst on site.

Many campsites will hire a fridge or even a fridge/freezer which they bring to your pitch. Check out your site for details.

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Message posted by morepints on 28/4/2017 at 9:51am
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Great advice from Val, as ever. Our first foray in a tent, having scaled down from a folding camper, was during a heatwave in the Rhône valley. We had to find shade in a nearby clump of trees, particularly during the 12.00-4.00 period. Mad dogs and Englishmen! Camping below the 45th Parallel means the sun is much more powerful than the North of England. Don't sunbathe; you'll still get a tan in the shade, and sunburn is lousy in a tent. Use the pool to cool.

Over the years we learned to adjust our food - there's a reason for the mediterranean diet! Try to avoid food that needs refrigeration; so using olive oil rather than milk and butter, and buying smaller quantities helps. Small boxes of UHT milk can be opened when needed. Black coffee, rather than tea (you're on holiday!) Fresh fruit and veg are better kept in a shady patch. Dried meat and sausage just needs cool, not chilling. And tins and packets provide useful staples. Eat out when you can - a salad and a glass of wine is usually cheap. Beer keeps OK in a fire bucket - and a bucket of water with a damp towel over it, in the shade, is as good as a cool box particularly of there's a breeze.

For sleeping, the problem I've found is airbeds - condensed perspiration gets cold; so a good woolen blanket under the sleeping bag is more absorbent than fleece, and dries out well in the day. Don't forget the spray-on mossy repellent, as you may find you're casting off the bedclothes. Spray on from about 7pm, as the beggars feed at night.

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Message posted by Kelper on 28/4/2017 at 11:21am
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As well as the excellent advice, above ...

We took a table top fridge with us: this one, using it as storage space whilst traveling, and it allows for full size bottles, which many of the smaller one don't. Found it an absolute boon for cold drinks and food.

We bought a cheap gazebo to rig immediately in front of the tent to act as a large shaded porch ... made a terrific difference ... this sort of thing ... Argos or Amazon etc do various types from mid £30's to ridiculous!

As mentioned, above, air circulation is key to keeping interior of tent as cool as possible, as well as trying to keep out of direct sunlight ... but, ensure that sleeping areas are sealed by mesh windows/vents, and, zipped up entrances ... this will keep mozzies etc out of the sleeping area.

Depending on the area you are in, you may need anything from a duvet, to a sheet, to nothing at all, to sleep 'under' ... as Val says, temperatures can drop considerably at higher altitudes.

We also found that a food storage space, sealed from insects (especially ants!) was very useful ... we used both the hanging variety and the chunkier floor standing versions (the former pack down to almost nothing: like this.)

You might, also, find some sort of clothes dryer useful: like this

You will find that you'll rapidly adjust to a 'modus operandi' that suits yourselves: everyone has their own particular likes/dislikes ... but, you'll have a ball ... we went through quite a range of tents before switching to an FC then a caravan ... still, often, miss the 'true' camping with a tent.

Post last edited on 28/04/2017 11:30:12

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Message posted by lizzie on 28/4/2017 at 8:25pm
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We bought a polycotton tent for this reason and ended up have ehu so that we could use fans. As Val says, the bottles of ice and coolbox can keep food cool enoguh. When we had a tent we tended only to buy food a day ahead max. Although they heat up lots in the day, tents quickly cool down if you can leave open doors etc and used the insect net zipped up. We slept on self inflating mats with a mattress topper on top and used a duvet cover as our only cover. Also bought a cotton tarp from a Dutch website - much better than a gazebo or our kyham outdoor shelter. ( we had seen lots of Dutch campers use these in the Tarn region and found them on a website when we got back. A real good buy. ) We also check where the sun comes up/down and try to get shade from trees for the morning so that we can have a lie in. Tree shade is the most effective for remaining cool.

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lizzie

Message posted by Mucker1884 on 28/4/2017 at 9:53pm
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Talking of sunrise/sunset... if you know where you're going, you can always plan your pitching position...



Suncalc...

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2018: 30 nights thus far...
2017: 34 nights/8 camps
2016: 32 nights/8 camps
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2014: 34 nights/10 camps
2013: 36 nights
2012: 23 nights

Message posted by suechick43 on 28/4/2017 at 11:05pm
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Hi,
We have found the following things make camping easy and enjoyable.
Always ask for a shady or part shady pitch.
Get up fairly early, if you lie in you end up waking up when it's starting to get hot and then you are into lunch time and then it gets 'really' hot.
Take a fridge, yes an under counter fridge or a table top fridge they make a difference.
If you line the inside of your awning roof with some sort of insulator (we have used a cut open duvet cover before but now have an insulation sheet)it will cut down the heat in the day and it will reverse this in the night.
Buy some of the citrus coils and keep one lit under the table or near by where you are sitting, it will prevent the bugs getting near you.
Get in the pool or the sea when it gets really hot.
Take electric fans for really hot night.
This is my OH contribution 'don't take poncy small stemmed wine glasses, take large plastic glasses that won't tip over.
Set your BBQ up where you can cook, drink wine and chat with friends without moving. (OMG visions of sea lions at BBQS is filling my vision now).
Always take gaffa tape, wd40 and an emergency shovel in your emergency kit.(We have managed to get flooded twice before whilst camping).
Don't ponce about with a rubber or wooden tent mallet, just take a hammer.
If you are camping under pine trees, put up a sail or gazebo or something to protect you from falling cones. The fall like rocks in the heat.
Make sure you take decent camping chairs.


-------------
sueze

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Message posted by Francais on 29/4/2017 at 9:47am
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Yep having a decent fridge, takes camping to the next level, we have a Waeco CF25 for in car use, very handy for picnic stops along the 1000 mille route to Frejus.

And for the fortnight or more at the campsite we have a Mobicool C40, which works just like a regular domestic fridge, and does the job perfectly when those temps are pushing +45Deg C!

Message posted by JoannaLesley on 29/4/2017 at 11:13am
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Quote: Originally posted by suechick43 on 28/4/2017
If you are camping under pine trees, put up a sail or gazebo or something to protect you from falling cones. The fall like rocks in the heat.




They also drop sticky messes which are near impossible to remove!

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Freedom is a light caravan and an open road.

Message posted by Opensauce on 29/4/2017 at 1:45pm
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Avoiding alcohol in hot weather keeps you comfortable. It's the bit of advice most folk don't take.

Message posted by franbee on 29/4/2017 at 9:39pm
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However if you must drink wine, red doesn't need the same chilling as white.

We take a duvet for sleeping under, but also a single sheet each, so that you get plenty of choice for covering.

Absolutely make sure that the bedrooms are always zipped up with mesh, there's nothing worse than lying in the dark with insects buzzing round....

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by PaulineBrandon on 27/5/2017 at 7:37pm
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Hi,

Thank you all so much for your help-we have hired a fridge, and taking a small one of our own, and we'll take duvets or blankets for nights in Castellane. We'll make sure bedrooms are zipped so we're not buzzed and bitten!

Pauline

Message posted by SGThomas on 27/5/2017 at 8:02pm
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If taking duvets then get some that button together,
We use a 4.5 tog and a 1 tog duvet. It gives you options on warmth.

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Stuart
April-July 2018   Somewhere in France and/or Spain
August-October 2018 Somewhere else in France.

2019 ditto


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