Camping is something that I enjoyed a lot as a child, usually in the South of France or Spain, rarely experiencing cold weather or even rain, and free from the worries of being a parent and having to remember the million and one things to make the whole experience run smoothly! Now, as a family of six, camping was never really on our radar until recently when we were kindly gifted the most amazing six man tent, and all of a sudden it seemed crazy not to give it a try.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post where I shared all of the amazing advice I had received from other more seasoned campers on how to survive a camping trip with children and, armed with this knowledge, we headed off to Wales to see if this camping lark was something we could commit to long term.
Now, safely back home, after a nice hot shower and a good nights sleep, I thought that I would share the lessons I learned on our first camping trip with children.
1. Fitting all of the camping equipment into the car requires some major packing skills. Thank god for Gaz’s expertise at Tetris.
2. Putting up the tent may well be the toughest challenge your marriage has ever faced. If you can get the tent up without taking a rubber mallet to your other halves head, you can survive just about anything
3. Your tent may well be pitched on a bed of granite where no amount of blood, sweat or tears will get those tent pegs in. Take rock pegs as back up!
4. Just because it’s called an air bed doesn’t mean that it has any air in it. Check for punctures before you leave.
5. There really is no need to sleep in seven layers. You’re not in the Arctic and you will wake up sweating.
6. When you position your tent next to a running
stream river, because you think that it will make you feel “at one with nature”, it won’t. It will annoy the hell out of you, every second of every waking moment and, more that that, have you bursting for a wee every two minutes.
7. Going for a wee at 3am whilst wearing seven layers of Christmas fleece pyjamas is never fun.
8. People on camp sites like to chat. Even at 3am in the toilet block….
9. Camping is a nightmare for children at bedtime (imagine a time when your children have been the most hyperactive and times that by about ten!) but amazing for a lie-in, 9.30am every morning! Result!
10. Camping is the most fun you could have when the sun is shining, not so much when it’s torrential rain and thundering and lightning.
11. When it rains in the night your chance of sleep is zero. Prepare to be tired.
12. You will spend the first 24 hours fighting the mud and from there on in, embracing it.
13. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t shower for three days running. Dry shampoo is a must.
14. The first hour or so without wifi will be a struggle but all thoughts of TV, iPads and technology will soon be forgotten – for the better.
15. There is nothing better than seeing your children enjoying the great outdoors, plus all of that fresh air knocks them right out!!
16. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt that can fit under your fingernails.
17. Putting up the tent may seem like a challenge but taking it down and fitting it back in the bag it came in may well prove impossible.
18. Your bed will never feel as comfy as it does on the first night home from camping.
19. Nor will a hot shower ever feel quite as luxurious.
20. Camping will never compare to five star luxury, a fast deflating air bed to a pocket sprung king sized bed, or burnt sausages to your finest cuisine. But nor will five star luxury compare to the looks on the children’s faces when they caught their first crab, skimmed stones by the sea, ate ice cream by the bucket load or told late night stories by torch light. You may return home a little grubbier, a little achier, a lot more tired, but you will make the most amazing memories together and really, that is all that matters.
And if you’re in any doubt as to whether we enjoyed our camping trip…….we’ve booked to go back in October when I’m pretty sure, all seven layers will be needed!!!