Posts Tagged ‘camp fires

Several of you will have already have followed our dithering about getting a tent and how to do camping to please both loved one and I.

Well, in spite of falling in love with Featherdown Farms (thanks for the tip, Lucy), we realised that for the cost of one holiday at Featherdown we could get all the equipment we need for the next ten years or so, camp in a great site in Norfolk for a week, and still have £200 or so left over.

Go Outdoors

At least four of these guys were involved in the hunt for the missing tent inner....

It was touch and go for a moment, though.  There was a deal on at our local Go Outdoors.  We had originally planned to buy a modest tent for £100 to £200. But a 10-person tent worth nearly £700 was on at £250, and we arrived on the last hour of the last day of the deal.  Loved one and I mooched round the display tent (the kids racing maniacally around all the others), looking at how with four double bedrooms the tent should still work when the kids were all teenagers. As we were pondering other people were also coming in and out and, although there had been three sets of tents, I hadn’t noticed anyone take any.  I fetched a trolley, thinking that it would be a good idea to grab some now before we made up our minds, so we didn’t lose the tent through procrastination, and returned to find the outer tents still available in plenty, but the bag with the inner tent and poles noticeably absent.

Had someone really walked off with three tent inners and nothing to hang it onto?  Had there been a stock problem?  Was someone going to arrive at a campsite one day soon, only realising their error when they arrived?

We asked about four different shop staff to see what they could do about this.  We lurked.  We investigated equipment possibilities.  We had a drink and admired the climing wall (I really want to try this out some day when I’m slightly thinner and fitter).  And then we decided to see if they could sell us the rest of the tent on the understanding that if they couldn’t get a hold of an inner for us we’d refund the lot.

They could.  They did get hold of an inner when we rang up the next day…you have to wonder whether it was there all the time and four members of staff failed to find it.  And we whisked it home.

Hi Gear Kalahari 10

image courtesy of Hi Gear

We chose a Kalahari 10.  It’s enormous when up, but fits into two tote bags, so it’s not too much of a drain on space.  It’s now happily stored underneath middle child’s bed, emanating new-tent smells, and I, instead of getting on with my presentation preparation, am spending a huge amount of time on the campfires-allowed section of UK Campsite looking at places we might like to go to.

We might try it out at half term… Can’t wait.


Loved one and I have come to an agreement.  We both like camping, under certain circumstances.  And we both hate camping, under certain circumstances.

foto76 /

So…we have been discussing how to have a camping experience that comes under the ‘like’ category. For both of us. And that’s the tricky bit.

I like camping when you can go for ages and not have to turn around and go home the minute you got there.  I like it when it’s warm and sunny weather.  I also like having mod cons to be able to relax a little and not feel like it’s all hard work.  I love camp fires, especially when someone else does the cooking.

Loved one likes not spending too long camping because it’s not quite as easy as, say, being at home, or spending time in a self-catering cottage. He’s particularly keen on camp fires, and an ‘authentic’ experience, having spent time in the Sealed Knot and knowing exactly how authentic you can be.

There is some overlap here, but there are also some fundamental differences. Especially regarding the length of time.  I would prefer to go south, ideally abroad, to improve chances of good weather, and I would like to go for long enough to make the drive worthwhile.  Loved one, very much aware that ‘real’ camping is not the most comfortable option out there, would like to keep the experience short and sweet, so driving abroad and spending two weeks doing so is not a viable option for him.

The discussion became a little heated last night, when I pointed out that no matter how long you go camping for, the packing is still substantial, since you need a whole load more equipment than you ever would if you were staying in a self-catering cottage, and that generally speaking, I do the packing for all our holidays.  He works hard at the office, I run the home and don’t like it when he mucks up my household routines, so me doing the packing is a given. I wasn’t so keen on monstrous packing for only two to three nights.

Simon Howden /

Loved one then managed to overcome the impasse by promising a non-camping two-week holiday in 2012.  (He would have offered it for this year, but for our attempts to move house scuppering any plans for this summer.)  By doing this, he gets to indulge in his camping fantasies the way he likes, I get to enjoy his campfire cooking, and can cope with not being very comfortable if it’s not for too long, and I still get a decent length holiday.

I’m still not keen on all the packing, though. Erk.