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Apart from being ill at the 2 guide camps I went to as a child, I’ve always been keen on camping. But my camping experiences have never been with family. It’s either been with the guides, with Woodcraft folk (where we got flooded out in Barmouth), or with friends after uni (including a very cold February in Snowdonia – never again). Oh I suppose camping out every summer in the back garden with my brother counts as family camping?
After talking to lots of work colleagues who do a lot of camping, and taking N on our first successful camping trip last year, I’m in agreement that family camping is the way forward to have some great outdoor adventures.
Now, I have to admit that when I say family camping, it’s semi family camping for us. Because the OH has not yet agreed to camp. Last year’s camping holiday was mum friends (school and farming ones) and all the children. This year’s holiday included most of the dads as well, but my OH was not for budging – not helped by harvest and farming requirements at this time of the year.
We did set up the tent the weekend before to check how easy it was. For once N was helpful (kind of). He was happy wielding the mallet to bash in the tent pegs, although he does get easily distracted. He was very good at telling me where I should be poles and guy ropes though. Of course, the OH turned up just as N was escaping inside with pillow and cardboard box (he was going through his box as a bed and toy phase). For someone who isn’t a camper, I was optimistic about small steps…he actually got inside the tent, lay down and then proclaimed it quite peaceful. You never know, little steps, but next year he may end up being more interested and potentially coming along for a weekend or night.
So at the moment N and I go camping with friends. It started off as the mums and all the children. Last year we had a blast, and were very proud of our cooking, stoicism and coping (in particular in the one day of bad rain). That time, some of the dads turned up for the last couple of nights. This year, most of the dads were joining the rest of the families. They’d heard what a great time we’d had last year, tents had been invested in and upgraded, and they were looking more comfy.
But really, I think they just felt like they missed out by not enjoying the whole holiday with the rest of the family and friends. Looking on as one who didn’t have their husband, it was interesting to see the dynamics and comparing it to what we were getting up to, and compared to last year.
As so often happens, it seemed like the mums were doing all the work. The cooking, the organising of getting everything together for the day. The men were certainly having a more relaxing camping trip. But everyone agreed on one thing about camping.
Camping is about memories. Creating memories from simple times.
Memories that all the children will continue to remember long into adulthood.
[bctt tweet=”Camping is about memories. Memories that children will continue to remember long into adulthood.” username=”etusty”]
The chance for children to explore the campsite. To make friends. To place football whenever they want (or any other game). To help out with everyday tasks that are more interesting when away from home (washing up). To have freedom.
Simple achievements are reached. Learning to do things they couldn’t before. Going to the shop to swap ice packs and pay. Going to the toilet blocks on their own. Getting used to zip wires. And spending time as a family away from home in a more relaxed environment. The great outdoors. Because that’s what camping is all about. Being outside with the elements.
For parents, they’ll also create those memories. But also have the chance to learn more about their children when away from home. What makes them buzz, how they cope when they need to relax without electronic gadgets. And the realisation that they don’t need much to be entertained. Just being with family (and friends) is enough. This is all why I want the OH to come on holiday with us, so he’ll really understand how independent N can be in a safe environment.
We might not have gone camping as a full family, but going camping with friends feels like being with your family, especially when we go quite a way back.
Of course one benefit of family camping is getting everyone outdoors. From morning to night, we were outdoors. And it feels good. Plus of course, being outside all day means you sleep well.
Our week camping was over really quickly, so roll on next Summer’s trip. And hopefully we’ll persuade the OH to try it as well.
My recipe for family camping:
Take 1 tent
Enough clothes for each day
A sleeping bag each
A cooking stove and gas
And a willingness for everyone to muck in
= family fun in the great outdoors.
Do you go camping as a family? What do you love about it?
Disclosure: This post is part of Millets #WeDoSummer campaign.
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