My son has been begging me to take him camping. I took the kids camping in Spain when they were a lot younger and he remembers it fondly.
I have put off camping again because despite the good memories, I also remember the packing, pitching tents, trying to get them back in the bag and the amount of cleaning when we got home!
However my son has been relentless as, once he gets an idea in his head he really doesn’t stop asking, and the guilt started to kick in, so I agreed we could camp this last weekend! I put out a plea for a tent on facebook and a local friend offered me theirs, so with that and a combination of borrowed airbeds and our duvets and pillows (lack of sleeping bags in our house) we packed the car to overflowing and set off on our adventure.
I must admit here that I cheated a little. I don’t have a camping stove so decided that we would venture out for our meals other than breakfast which was a pack of croissants and a bunch of bananas brought en-route!
It has been so sunny recently that the idea of a chilled out camping trip with space for the kids to run around in the sunshine had started to appeal to me a bit. We arrived at the campsite, the kids slightly on edge due to the unknown, and got the tent out the bag. It was at this point I realised the tent had no instructions. It was also at this point that I heard thunder and all of a sudden we were amidst a storm! The tent turned into a kite as I tried to work out where on earth the poles went. I’m not very good at jigsaws and this was like a giant jigsaw with the pieces all determined to fly away in the wind! Luckily I’m always quick to see the funny side!
Throwing waterproof coats and trousers at the kids, and feeling quite proud of myself for taking them incase, I started to slowly work out where everything went. By now both the tent and me were soaking so I gave up on the idea of a dry camping trip! I gave the kids instructions which were mostly misunderstood or ignored but, at best, at least they were holding on to the tent to stop it blowing away. Some lovely neighbouring campers saw my struggles and came over to help. It was much easier with more adults and the tent was soon up.
The lovely neighbouring campers also had an electric pump which made blowing the airbeds up much easier and we soon had a cosy (almost dry) camp!
At this point I decided going out for food was a great idea and, as we sat in the warm pub, eating a hot meal that I didn’t have to prepare, I knew I had made the right decision not taking a camping stove! Mcdonalds drive through provided my much needed cup of tea for bedtime too!
The next afternoon it wasn’t raining so badly when we took the tent down and packed the car. I ended up leaving a double duvet behind as somehow the amount of stuff we had the day before seemed to have doubled in size when I tried to get it back in the car. We set off home to try to dry and clean the tent in the living room. I’ll let you into a secret, it’s still there now and I’m on the way to Menorca but at least it will be dry when we return!
All in all we had a good camping trip, we managed to keep the inside of the tent relatively dry and with the exception of a couple of meltdowns we had a great, if a little wet, time! My son really enjoyed it and has fortunately stopped asking me to take him camping. Would I do it again? Maybe in another few years when I’ve forgotten how hard it was to pitch the tent and next time I will make sure I check the weather forecast first!
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