Preparing to go camping #whatsthestory

The children went camping with their dad recently - they go every year to our church camp "Dads, Lads, Daughters and Dogs" -and so in the week before we did a check of our camping kit. (And I did a check of my supplies of Prosecco and minty Matchmakers for the girls trip to the coast we had planned!)

We used to go camping a lot. We had a huge 12 man tent before they were quite so popular as they are now and used to turn heads as we pitched up with our big family and big tent.

Then I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia which made sleeping on the floor less appealing, camping became trendy and sites put their prices up and we gave up camping for a while. Until the idea of a church camp was proposed and we got out our old kit much to the amusement of the other church campers! After the first year of having to put up the giant tent we decided to downsize - we only really have 5 children who want to camp now so the 12 man one was a bit OTT and didn't leave much room in the small field for anyone else's tent!

The big tent went on ebay, sold really quickly (damn I should've asked for more money!) and with the proceeds we bought a smaller tent, a tunnel style one so my 6ft DH can stand upright even in the bedroom pod. It had its first outing last year and was much quicker to pitch. Hurrah! More beer drinking time for DH and more time for the kids to invent potentially bone-breaking games. It's a bit "Lord of the Flies" that camp.....

A couple of days before this year's camp we thought we'd test the air beds. We had some of those Readybeds with built in sleeping bags with TV characters on. We've had them for years and when we got them down our daughter announced that she loved hers - apart from it went flat in the night. Ah! Not so good then. We blew them up and sure enough.....sssssssss.

We decided to ditch the leaky airbed bits and let them use the sleeping bags as, well, sleeping bags on top of new air beds.  They were delighted with this idea and as you can see in the top picture, spent hours in the house playing "camping" in the living room. And caterpillars, crawling round in the bags, and hide and seek, and some form of game which looked like it might land one or both of them in A&E so I put a halt to it.

The camp went well - no broken bones and only a moderate hangover for DH - and they all came back filled with enthusiasm for the outoor life. As it happens we have a big family party coming up 100 miles away so I cheekily asked my step-sister if we could camp in her garden to make a weekend of it. She (bravely) said yes!

Chatting to another friend who was also planning a camping trip I learned about the latest developments in camping furniture. Forget folding canvas chairs, she had bought a camping sofa!
Flocked and inflatable in a range of fun colours you can buy an entire 3 piece suite but we decided on just a sofa. As you can see it can fit a lot of children on and turns into a bed - as long as you are under 4 foot!

My friend teamed hers with a throw, cushions and solar fairy lights overhead - I am totally copying that idea! I'm tempted to buy another one as the children are so keen on this there's no chance I'm going to get to sit on it. But then we'd spend half of every holiday inflating beds and sofas!

Luckily this weekend we will have access to an actual house so no need to pack kitchen kit. But I must remember lights this time as last weekend I forgot and the only lights they had came from assorted phones and iPods. Oh and I really must forget the electric pump for all the inflatable stuff!

This post is linked to #whatsthestory at PODcast.

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