Monday, 24 June 2013

Carry On (Or Start) Camping!

Camping holidays are great fun and very cost effective too (once you have bought the initial equipment).

I was brought up on camping holidays. In the summer we would load up the car and head down to Ladram Bay in Devon, to literally ‘set up camp’ for a couple of weeks. The combination of the outdoor living, fresh sea air and camaraderie made for great holidays.

Whilst there for my birthday one year, I woke early and proceeded to dance around the outside of our tent, singing. “Happy Birthday to me!” A very good-natured camper emerged from the  tent opposite and presented me with half a crown (that’s showing my age), despite not having previously met us, having arrived late the night before! My birthday was celebrated with an on-site party, the guest list for which consisted of a number of children that I had never met before, or since – but it was great fun!

In more recent years, I have been camping with my own family. My son still loves the experience, but as my daughters got older they found it a hardship more than a pleasure – lack of hair straighteners and TV soaps!

Not that I’m a camper that ‘roughs it’ exactly. I insist on a toilet and shower block as a minimum requirement on any campsite and more recently elected for electric hook up so that we could have a little fridge and recharge our lamps.

When choosing camping equipment, your list needn’t be huge. Do choose a tent big enough for your needs, but not too complicated to put up. We opted for tent that we could actually stand up in (our crawling days are numbered) with three bedroom compartments. I strongly recommend airbeds as opposed to bed mats, which can be a little thin for uneven ground. Apart from that a sleeping bag each, some form of compact portable cooking stove, a cool box (or small fridge if electricity available) and some rechargeable lamps form your basic kit. We take folding chairs and a folding table, so that we can eat in comfort, but once tried taking one of those all in one picnic table and bench arrangements. What a disaster! It collapsed completely on its second time of use, resulting in me wearing my pasta rather than eating it!

A sorry sight - a dead picnic table!
Weather permitting (did I mention I’m a fair weather camper?) camping holidays can be brilliant fun, good value for money and mean you can visit places that you may not ordinarily manage to go. We’ve enjoyed staying on a number of UK sites and have ventured to France, but have also found a tent in a friend or relatives garden makes for great fun too!

So come on, what are you waiting for? Get camping!

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