Much better equipped for camping now.
The campers are evolving
If you read my earlier hub on camping then hopefully you won't make the same mistakes that we did. We had to learn from experience and boy, do you learn fast. This time we had a new tent from a reputable supplier.
We chose a tunnel tent this time. A Sun valley 8 made by Outwell. It was much larger than the telly tubby we had before, with a large porch on the front. We used this space for the kitchen and it's also great to take off wet footwear and clothing. This keeps the main body of the tent clean. It had a sewn in groundsheet, which prevents water and draughts from getting in. It also had a side entrance, very handy when the wind is blowing from another direction. It contained three large pods; the largest could easily hold our new double bed.
An Intex which is like two air beds zipped together, in fact you can unzip it and use it has two beds. We haven't felt the need to do that yet but it would come in handy if one of the children's beds's got a puncture. Speaking of punctures, we have in fact had one in the Intex on a later trip than this. It was easily repaired so just make sure you also take a repair kit with you.
We loved the look of this tent the first time we saw it. It’s very easy to erect. Very light and airy, the windows have vents to let air in when the weather is hot, fine mesh to keep bugs out and a full window cover for privacy. Outwell has a good reputation for standing up to strong winds and rain without leaking, which proved to be correct. We did get a little condensation on the inside but nothing to worry about.
We went to a lovely campsite called Park Foot about one mile from Pooley Bridge in the Lake District. The site beside Lake Ullswater has all modern facilities including showers, toilets and laundry. It has a bar and entertainment also a restaurant and fast food takeaway. It has a large shop and bicycle hire.
It is much larger than the campsite at Windermere. We were pitched in a little field called the paddock just off the main field. There were six families in our group and we all lined our tents up against a hedge. We went on a Friday so had the rest of the field in front of us. Once the tents were up, the table and chairs came out (yes we actually brought some this time) and settled down to a nice cool beer.
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Equipment for cooking
Cooking is an important aspect to camping. Some people just love cooking outside that's probably why barbecues are so popular. In fact some people only take a barbecue set for their cooking. I am glad to say that I am not one of them.
For this trip we had bought a kitchen set. This comprised of two work surfaces, set at different heights. A hang down set of shelves inside a canvas zipped up cupboard for food and two metal shelves for storing pans and plates. It also has plenty of pockets for cutlery. This folds away into just one neat little bag.
When travelling, we store all the utensils in plastic storage containers. This makes it very convenient for unpacking the car when we get home. Just store them in the shed and they are ready to go on the next camping trip.
Washing up liquid, tea towels, scourers are all placed in the washing up bowl, till needed.
If you try to keep all the equipment needed to do a job together, then camping life becomes so much easier.
The camping stove is probably the most important kitchen kit you will need (unless you like raw food). Buy one with at least two-burners and preferably a grill. It should have side panels to act as windbreaks. This will prevent the flames from blowing out completely. Propane gas is used to fuel these and is usually available from the site shop.
IF you are lucky enough to have electric hook-up, then consider using an electric kettle, toaster and even a George Foreman grill.
Camping food doesn't have to be just hamburgers and sausages. With a little imagination, I am sure you will be able to conjure all kinds of great meals.
Parkfoot Holiday park
We bought two LED rechargeable battery powered lanterns for this trip. Each one had a remote control so that you could turn on the light from a distance. It's very handy late at night when approaching the tent, Click the button and you can see all the zips on the doors.
The first night, we got nice and cosy in our sleeping bags and I pressed the remote to turn the light out. A few minutes later, it came back on.
"Will you stop messing with that remote?” my fiancée said.
"I didn't do it" I replied and switched it off again. Then it happened again. The lights came on.
"Stop messing about, give that remote to Me." she said.
"It's not me" I replied and gave the remote to her. A few minutes later the lights were back on.
"Told you" I said, and then we heard laughing from another tent. Turns out they have the same lanterns which worked on the same frequency. In fact there was a few tents with the same lanterns so lights were going on and off all over the place.
We awoke very early in the morning to the sound of crows walking on our roof.
"Get away" I shouted but they kept coming back. One of our friends had thrown bread upon our tent the night before.
Again if you have electric hook-up, just take a lamp. We use an inspection light (the ones mechanic's use) and hang it from the ceiling.
Gas lanterns are very good also. These are supplied with little gas cartridges fitted inside them and they are very economical.
There is a lot of expense when you first set out on camping. The equipment needed isn't cheap, not if you want it to last. The equipment needed to carry all your camping gear isn't cheap either. We bought a roof box for the car, which was great. Packed correctly, you can get loads in, for our next tent, I had to buy a bigger car
Once you have got your equipment, it will last for many trips. Just replace items when you need to. Over the years it will turn out to be a very economical way of holidaying.
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