I was packing up the camping gear for another year and when I got to our little blue tent, I stopped. We’ve had some great adventures in it and it was a little sad to think that this could well have been it’s last season as our “go to” shelter. As the summer was so good this year, we used the tarp a lot more and I have to face up to the fact that the kids are growing up.

There’s an obvious advantage to growing children, they can carry more

On our last trip around the island, Lil graduated onto a bigger pack, still less than 20 litres but it meant she could carry a little more. So between them, the kids all carried their own gear and while Isa is still on his little pack (I’ve promised him a bigger one when he’s 9) he still contributed by carrying a sleeping bag, mat and his waterproofs.

All this meant that Hazel got to carry a much smaller pack this time around and we managed to fit enough into her smaller 35l pack and my 60l to comfortably hike nearly 80 miles over 5 days. I’m looking forward to Isa getting his bigger pack so mine can get smaller too.

We’re at a cross roads now. We won’t fit in our little blue tent next year and we’ll probably get a bigger one, still only going from 3 to 4 man we’re not talking palatial,  but it would be nice to have a little more room. I’ve already found the one I want and it’s only about 900 grams heavier than the one we’ve got but it’s around £320 so it’ll have to last a while but….

Evan is 11 already. How long will it be until he doesn’t want to sleep in a small space with his sister, worse his parents. Another year, maybe 2? And then he’ll either carry his own tent or share with his brother, so the 4 man tent will be overkill. At the same time we don’t want to have a family backpacking trip and carry 4 tents or go into our separate cocoons every night and miss the hanging out. I know it’ll come but I don’t want it to happen so soon.

And if he’s too big to sleep with the rest of us, it’s only a matter of time before Lil and Isa follow that same route and not long after that until they’re away and finding their own trails and I don’t really want to think about it because time is just flying too bloody quickly.  Can we just STOP. Just for a bit because things are perfect at the minute and I don’t want them to change and …… 

I suppose these changes will just be part of the adventure. We’ll keep going on family backpacking trips and one day there’ll be an extra tent (This post was supposed to be about tents) until eventually the 5 of us will be 4, then 3 then it’s just me and Hazel and we’ll be so used to carrying stuff for the kids we’ll be able to hike with a 10lb baseweight and call ourselves ultralight hikers and we’ll have hiking adventures of our own. And we’ll go places we always wanted to take the kids and do mad stuff like hike the PCT in our 60’s and travel from place to place on a non-stop thru hike. 

It just won’t be as much fun as the adventures we have now, with the 3 kids, a little blue tent and a bloody heavy pack!