Last Thursday after dropping all the children off at school/preschool I popped into Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough for a couple of fun appointments I had organised as #QBlogger. I shall be telling you more about my first appointment soon but for now I want to share with you my visit to Trespass.
I met with Sarah, the Store Manager, who was really passionate about her store and super-attentive to the customers (isn’t that how things should be??). She told me that Trespass is a family-owned business which started out life in Glasgow, Scotland way back in 1938 known as Jacobs & Turner Ltd. Their history is very interesting and well worth a read so I do recommend you pop over and check it out. Today, Trepass has more than 150 stores in the UK and is one of the most successful outdoor clothing retailers.
Sarah admitted that she doesn’t really like camping herself, she does love the outdoors and is a keen windsurfer but she does go camping and tests out all of the equipment so that she can advise her customers with an honest opinion. I have been camping since I was a child and I love it. I’m pleased to say that my children love camping too but where do you start out when you’re not sure whether you are going to like it? I asked Sarah for her rundown of the basic camping equipment to get started with camping.
Unless you fancy camping out under the stars for your first foray into outdoor sleeping then you will need a tent! There are thousands of tents to choose from now and they come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Whilst I was in-store with Sarah, she showed me the QikTent which really impressed me if you’re looking for a quick-up 2 man tent. With just a quick pull of the cords at the top, the tent pops up and is ready to be pegged. Perfect if you are arriving on-site (or in a field, depending on your choice of camping style) this one is perfect for getting set up super-fast.
Looking for something a little bigger for a small family then the Caterthun 4 Man is your best choice. The Caterthun is a double layer tent with sewn-in groundsheet so it’s warmer and there is less likelihood of 8-legged friends joining you at night! It has openings for electric hook-up, sleeps up to 4 people and weighs 8.8kg. There are separate sleeping and living areas so you can tidy away your sleeping bags during the day.
Finally, I have shown you one of the 2 Man Pop Up tents which are perfect for hiking or festivals. It does exactly what it says on the tin, once removed from the bag you just throw the tent and it pops up ready to be pegged. The pop-up tents come in a range of colourful fabrics so you will find it easier to spot your tent in a field of happy campers.
Pop the kettle on!
Once you have got your tent set up and the car unloaded I guarantee you’ll be ready for a brew. Now where did we put the Kettle?? Some campsites don’t allow gas cookers anymore and you also can’t place BBQ’s directly onto the ground so Trespass Barby is ideal. It comes in it’s own little bag which doubles up as a cool bag (when you put freezer blocks in). You can buy Solid Fuel Tablets in Trespass which once set alight will burn powerfully for you to boil a kettle or heat up a pan of beans over. Whatever takes your fancy (though there’s nothing to say you can’t eat out or grab a takeaway – you are on holiday afterall).
Did someone say dinner?
Unless you’re lucky enough to pitch your tent right next to a natural spring or the nearest drinking water tap then you’ll need a Squashable Water Carrier to fill up. Use the water for drinks, cooking, washing or whatever else takes your fancy.
When it comes to crockery it’s a good idea to start out with a picnic set in a rucksack, that way if you decide to go out for the day and have a picnic you’ve already got everything ready to go. This Elfresco set from Trespass is a 4 person set.
Eating off your knee is entirely acceptable when camping but it’s not ideal, nobody wants hot food sliding into their lap so it’s a good idea to invest in a fold-up table and this Xylo Roll Top camping table will serve you well. It folds up small so it takes little space in the car but it’s strong and sturdy for eating, drinking and playing games.
Take a load off!
Some people don’t bother with chairs when they go camping but I still like to sit up rather than lounging on the floor. These Camping Chairs fold up small for easy storage but provide a comfortable seat off the ground. The Beans love their camping chairs and we seem to have accumulated quiet a collection of them as they have grown but they are inexpensive to buy so it doesn’t matter.
When the sun goes down . . .
All the fresh air of camping is so tiring and outdoor life can be very tiring so you might find you want to go to bed when the kids do BUT if you do get them to sleep without nodding off yourself then you’ll need a light. The Parabola X LED Lantern is a compact light with 8 LEDs which gives off good light. It has a fold away hook which is great if you want to hang it from the roof of the tent and has a handy little compass on the top in case you get lost in the dark.
Last year I finally caved in and bought us a couple of LED Headtorches for the trips to the toilet block in the night. I refused initially because I didn’t want to look daft but after tripping over too many guy ropes in the dark whilst trying to carry a sleepy toddler and a torch I decided it was the lesser of two evils.
Of course, the other thing you will need one the sun goes down is a stack of Citronella Candles unless you want to get eaten alive by the mosquitoes. It goes without saying that you need to be extra careful with a naked flame in your new fabric-walled home but we only use ours when sitting outside in the evening whilst the Beans are sleeping.
Don’t get blown away!
You’ll find it pretty tough trying to pitch your tent without decent Tent Pegs and a good mallet. Our years of camping have taught us that a Rubber Mallet is the best and don’t get caught out buying the cheapest tent pegs you can find or you’ll regret it when it bends the second you hit a stone in the ground. We always have a bag of standard tent pegs and a bag of Rock Pegs for tough ground.
Lights out . . .
When your weary eyes can stay open no more, it’s time to snuggle up into a cosy sleeping bag. We all have Mummy Sleeping Bags which are really cosy. I loved the fun, bright designs in the kids sleeping bags, I will definitely be heading back to get some of those for the Beans. Now personally I prefer a good airbed but I do know a lot of people sleep on roll mats, I’m not sure I could go quite that ‘wild’ but each to their own. Trespass also have a great range of fleece blankets and I thoroughly recommend their Microfibre Towels. They don’t look like they will dry your arm but they are super absorbent, take no time to dry and they roll up really small for packing too.
Whether you’re planning on spending your days at the campsite, the local park or the beach it pays to have some fun outdoors toys to hand. We generally play ball games when we wake up in the morning whilst still wearing our PJs, that’s what camping is all about. A relaxed, happy, outdoor life. Give it a try, you might just love it too!