Our first camping adventure!
So we had became the proud owner of a camper van, but there was just one small problem, I’d never actually camped before and didn’t really know where to start!
The kids were champing at the bit to get out into the great outdoors, Bertie was fuelled up and ready to go, but what next? A trip to ‘Go Outdoors’ secured a boot full of sleeping bags and some basic camping equipment. A quick scout around on google for some top camping tips meant we could do this, right?
We decided not to venture too far and chose a campsite literally ten minutes up the road for our ‘trial run’. Thankfully they could accommodate us at short notice so we rolled up, somewhat noisily compared to the newer camper vans and tents already on site I might add! But all the same, it was rather nice to see the looks of admiration as our green god parked up proudly in the field.
After a light supper and being inundated with kids who wanted to join in with our bubble blowing session and football game, we rolled into bed for our first night in Bertie. Did I sleep well? Was it the exciting night under the stars I’d imagined….. Mmmmm maybe not quite! The rock n roll bed didn’t feel all that rock n roll in my opinion, the lack of blinds in the pop top wasn’t conducive to sleeping in the July early sunrise, my sleeping bag was shiny and therefore slippy and uncomfortable, we hadn’t bought enough torches for the very, very dark darkness (where are those lights out in the countryside? ;-p), needing the loo constantly in the night was uncomfortable to say the least (when the toilet block was five minutes walk away in the pitch dark)… need I go on?
So was the magic of camping all that I had imagined, or was it all muddy fields and sleepless nights? Did we have fun despite having huge bags under my eyes the next morning? Yes! Yes! Yes! We had an awesome time! We giggled, we played, we drank, we ate under the stars and more importantly spent quality family time together. Yes we had a lot to learn about this camping game, but hey Rome was not built in a day!
Bertie had arrived and this was just the start of something special! I just know it!
My top ten tips for camper van beginners
- Sleeping bags are not comfortable, I repeat not! They slide around on the top of the rock n roll bed and you feel like you’re on the sea all night! Take your duvet and pillows vacuum packed and get a really good memory foam mattress topper for your bed! Believe me it makes a huge difference!
- Don’t rely on your leisure battery to run a fridge and the lights at the same time! It just can’t do it and you’re soon left with neither! Buy a long lasting cool box instead or use torches.
- Pop tops don’t come with blinds for the roof lights! Make some or get some made and stick on with hook and eye. Early morning light is very bright in the summer even if you have curtains all the way round your van.
- Take lots of torches! The countryside is dark! ;-p
- Gas stoves do not make decent toast and you will burn your fingers trying!
- Take double the amount of snacks and ball games because you inevitably get inundated with other people’s kids who want to play with yours.
- Invest in a portable toilet! We bought a popaloo and it is brilliant! Packs away really flat and means you don’t have to brave a long dark walk in the middle of the night to the loos.
- Pack warm clothes. We went on a hot day and kind of forgot that the evening would still be chilly.
- Take wet wipes, they are so useful for just about everything, from having a quick wash, to cleaning grubby hands, to mopping up spills.
- Have fun! Leave your worries behind and live for the moment!