The first time we went camping was to North Wales with friends and despite being pretty clueless and unprepared we had a great time. Mainly because our friends looked after us, shared their equipment with us, and taught us how to cope. In my head camping was all about the basics, which to be honest was why we never went sooner, the idea of the 4 of us sharing one room was enough to make me stay at home never mind no electric, hot water or other home comforts. But that weekend I realised that camping was nothing like what I imagined, it’s more of a home away from home surrounded by the country side, fresh air and freedom for the kids to play. The amount of equipment available now is incredible and you don’t need to go without anything unless you choose too, especially as you can get pitches with electric hook ups.
Over the past 4 years we have become some what seasoned campers and camp multiple times a year, even venturing to family friendly festivals for weekends at a a time. I wouldn’t necessarily say I am ready to give up my two weeks in the sun in exchange for camping just yet but we do love weekends away and a week at the end of summer too. This year the added bonus will be that we can take Buddy with us, which I know the boys will absolutely love.
We have visited a number of different campsites over the years, sometimes we travel over to North Wales and other times we stay closer to home because truth be told once you’re in the campsite you feel a million miles away from home and can relax in a way that is unique to camping, it’s the only place I ever feel the children are safe to run off, play and explore. We still camp with friends but we also camp as a family now and each year we try and treat ourselves to one new piece of camping paraphernalia to make our holidays easy, more comfortable, and more enjoyable and this year we have ordered the Vango Stanford side awning from Simply Hike ans we can not wait to test it out. The side awning will be a great addition for us as it means we will have an extra living area for during the day so that the children don’t need to go in and out of the main tent area all day long with. It also means we can keep the tent cleaner and have more space. The added bonus of this side awning is that we will be able to allow the children to play in their with the numerous friends they make if the weather is bad without them bringing everyone in to the tent. When we go with friends it will also make a great evening entertaining room between the tents so that we can relax and enjoy a glass of wine whilst the children sleep without us worrying about disturbing them.
We have wanted a side awning for a while now and chose the Vango one which is currently on sale for £112.99 instead of £140 because it has diamond clear windows which will allow us to be able to see in and out keeping an eye on the children at all times, it is water proof which is really important when camping in the UK and it has both the weather and fire retardant safety certificates so we know the quality will be good.
In my opinion the main necessity for camping is a decent tent with enough room for the whole family, followed by an electric hook up and a decent night light or torch but once you have those covered I would recommend expanding with a side awning as they simply attach on to you tent but provide much needed extra space for large groups or families. If this is your first time camping I would also advise you to stock up on these camping essentials you never knew you needed and I recommend a whole host of different essentials for festival camping if that’s what you are planning.
We are so excited to start booking our camping trips for the year and trying out our new awning for the first time. I think we want to head to Shell Island this year as it looks beautiful and we have heard nothing but great reviews about it or we might head back to Bala as the boys love being able to play in the lake, either way I will be sure to let you know how we get on with our new set up.
Where is your favourite place to camp?
If you are going to treat yourself to a new tent or awning then make sure you know how to store your camping gear to keep it safe and fresh between trips.