We’ve always taken the kids camping, Evan woke up on his 1st birthday under “canvas”, and to be honest it was often out of financial necessity (Although it’s not always cheaper nowadays). Camping was the only way we could afford to get away and we loved it, even trying to pitch a tent in a gale blowing hail into your face while Mrs Jones entertains the kids in the car was kind of fun. However, on a trip to Cornwall we had a dilemma to address.
On Monday we headed for Tintagel, it took over an hour to get there in holiday traffic, had a wonderfully long if cloudy day and drove back another hour to the tent. We stopped at the chippy on the way and went straight to bed. That night, the airbed deflated.
Tuesday morning was wet, so we got up quick, piled into the car and drove to a cafe for breakfast. The weather cheered up so we walked some of the coast path, lunching on cheese rolls and crisps and finished the day at the beach where we finished off the lunchtimes leftovers for tea. We returned to the tent, pumped up the airbed and slept. Until the airbed deflated.
Wednesday was nice so we left the tent early and had a breakfast of milk and biscuits on the beach. I drove to the supermarket at lunchtime and replenished the lunchtime supplies and had both lunch and dinner on the beach. The kids fell asleep in the car so we put them on our deflated airbed and climbed onto their one. Which went down over night.
I sure you can see the pattern. All the stuff we had diligently packed and repacked and set up at camp was either useless (airbeds) or not being used (Camping stove/windbreaks /multiple sets of plastic crockery etc). And we were spending far too much time travelling back to the tent from wherever we were. Then we had a lightbulb moment.
What if we had a smaller tent that was quick and easy to put up and take down?
What if we only had a little stove to boil water?
What if we just slept where we happened to be at the end of each day?
What if the tent was small enough to be carried so we didn’t have to rely on the car?
After that holiday we got a smaller tent. We now use the storm kettle to boil water for coffee or noodles. We carry the tent on long hikes just in case and we try and use public transport when we head to the mainland for our bigger adventures.
I think we used to try and distill home into a tent. Of course we wanted a comfy bed. Of course we wanted the camp cooker and the range of culinary delights that 2 burners can offer and of course we wanted a folding chair and our wellies just incase and that extra blanket and a bat and ball and a kite and a bloody inflatable dinghy.
We now have a basic kit of tent, sleeping bags, storm kettle and a few little bits that we can just grab and know we have everything we NEED for a camping trip and that makes things just so much easier and more fun.