My other ramblings

12 Things That Will (Probably) Happen When You Go Camping

We’ve just returned from five nights of camping in the Peak District. It was our family holiday; it was eventful, busy, fun and hard going all at the same time. But, whilst there, I realised there are things that happen pretty much every time you go camping, no matter how long you’re away for.

1) You’ll pack everything (including the kitchen sink!)

Ok, maybe not the sink, but you’ll take the washing up bowl. Pre children, all of this ‘stuff’ was not so much of an issue as we had the back seat free for packing things like sleeping bags and my 12 pairs of shoes into and I used to be more worried about things like how to straighten my hair when we didn’t have sockets (neither did the campsite toilets but I bought some that plugged into the car cigarette lighter!) than what the weather might be like or who might be poorly. Now I try to pack for every eventuality, which his why we took the trailer with us. Truth be told, we didn’t need half of it, but you can bet that if I’d left the Calpol behind someone would have needed it. I only take about three pairs of shoes nowadays, but the in car hair straighteners are still going strong!

2) Something will go wrong

This is guaranteed. For us this holiday, it was tipping with rain on set up day so Mr C and I put the tent up very quickly, only to discover the mallet was broken and we couldn’t put the wind breaks up or secure the guy ropes. Luckily we were in the Peak District so I found him a rock to use! Then the air bed pump blew the fuse in the car cigarette lighter, and we didn’t have a manual pump. However, the new air bed we’d bought had a mains powered pump. We didn’t have a pitch with electric hook up so I went and used the sockets in the (deserted) toilet block to blow them up. Carrying fully inflated double air beds up a hill in wind and rain is a challenge to say the least, but I overcame it by carrying them on my head so the fabric covered side didn’t get wet! I may have looked a sight but it was better than sleeping on the ground. Then, mid way through the holiday, the soles of my walking boots split and they were beyond repair. Fortunately I’d packed my old walking boots, which I’d relegated to allotment shoes but which were still in one piece. We survived, and the rain cleared off once we’d got set up!

3) You’ll wait half an hour for a cuppa (or other hot drink)

At first, boiling the kettle on a camping stove has a certain novelty value. However, by the morning of day 3, when you’ve had no sleep and you’re desperate for some caffeine, frustration sets in and you’re watching out for even the faintest wisp of steam coming from the spout. Then you dive in too early, pour it and end up with lukewarm tea.

4) You’ll be cold at night 

It doesn’t seem to matter how many layers you wear, it just gets chilly. You end up in your sleeping bag wearing a jumper over your pjs with two pairs of socks but it never feels like enough. (Until about the 4th night, when you become semi hardened to the cold.) You might also look obviously at your fellow campers who brought hats with them!

5) You’ll drink hot chocolate

Even if you’d never even consider it at home, in a desperate attempt to keep warm you’ll drink it at bedtime. You’ll even wait for the kettle to boil properly to make sure it’s hot! You’ll most probably buy marshmallows too, just to make it extra fancy. You might also play cards whilst drinking it (for us it’s gin rummy, which I am better at when drinking hot chocolate rather than wine-Mr C still pokes fun at me for the time I ended up with 13 cards after drinking mugs of the stuff to keep warm).

6) You won’t sleep properly

Whether it’s because you’re too cold, there’s a funny noise, the air bed’s gone flat or just because it’s not home, you’re guaranteed to wake up several times each night. Then of course there’s the dreaded moment where you wake up needing the loo (probably caused by drinking the pre bedtime hot chocolate) and have a whole debate in your head about whether or not it’s worth getting up. You’ll get cold, but then you’ll wake up even more desperate in the morning, but if you get up you’ll be properly awake and it’s scary outside in the dark etc. This is why the morning cuppa is so essential to make you feel human again!

7) You’ll witness nightly scenes akin to a zombie apocalypse 

No violence involved, but at around 9:30pm it begins on campsites across the land. Clad in the ‘essential’ uniform of onesies and wellies, and clutching a torch in one hand and brandishing a toothbrush or washbag in the other, everyone heads for the same spot-the toilet block. This normally lasts until about 10:30, and is a scary sight for the uninitiated. However, going for ‘one last wee’ at night is an important part of the camping experience! (The morning version is similar, but spread over a longer time and not as spooky without the torches.)

8) You’ll play football, cricket or scatch  

Or maybe tennis, or badminton, or you’ll fly a kite. The lack of tv or other electrical devices will make you play outdoors and enjoy the open space. Of course, it will bring out your competitive side too (the fiercely contested badminton tournament of 2007 is still legendary amongst our friends!) 

When you get home, the kids will then demand to play scatch in your very small garden and discover it’s not as fun. Good excuse to go to the park though and put off doing the holiday washing.

9) You’ll probably have spent your whole holiday budget by half way through your week

Sad but true. Even with the best laid plans, things will happen (like needing to buy a new sleeping bag whilst away!) and you’ll spend more than you expected. Thank goodness for National Trust membership providing lots of chances for days out without spending anything!

10) You’ll prepare for showers with military precision

Campsite showers are like nothing else. You have to have everything with you, packed in the order that you’ll need it, ready to hang on the little hooks on the back of the door. Once the 20p is in the shower there’s no stopping it, one misplaced shoe in the line of fire and you’ll have soggy feet for a couple of days. They’re even more challenging when you’re also showering the children, particularly if they drop their dry clothes on the wet shower floor!

11) You’ll threaten to pack up and come home

This will happen at least once, usually after a few sleepless nights. It’s most likely to occur if you’re camping with children, but even the most even tempered of grown ups can become irritating after a few nights under canvas (or polyester!) It can be triggered by such events as everyone refusing to put shoes on, running out of tea bags or just a particularly chilly night. Sometimes the threat even gets as far as putting the children’s toys into a carrier bag. It’s mostly resolved by feeding the threatener as they are probably just hangry (a useful word to describe anger brought on by hunger).

12) You’ll miss it when you come home

The walk to the loo in the morning, cooking al fresco, the lukewarm cups of tea, all seem a million miles away as soon as you step through your own front door. I ate my breakfast in the garden for a week after the first time we went camping as I enjoyed it so much!

Sunset over the track to the toilets!

As much as you’ll miss the great outdoors, though, the first night sleeping in your own bed feels a lot like being in a hotel. When we got home, the children seemed to look at their toys in a new light and played with them so nicely, as if they’d not had them for ages!

Is there anything else you think belongs on this list? Let me know!

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39 thoughts on “12 Things That Will (Probably) Happen When You Go Camping

  1. Oh. My. Word. I love this and it is all so true! I know that there is always something I will forget to pack that is fairly essential. One time my husband and I went camping for just a night. I had kitchen stuff on the table at home that my husband was in charge of packing. When we got to making supper at night at the campground we discovered the bag had stayed at home. We found out that you can open cans with a tire iron, eat off of the potato chip bag, and flip pancakes with an ice scraper….amazingly the angle is perfect for flipping!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My parents never threatened to take me and my sister home- I have a feeling that if they had threatened it, they would’ve had to follow through! It always rained the week we were away, which was really annoying (my dad called it character building, I told him we had enough character already!)

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  3. Things I miss about camping now the Mr says he’s too old to have to cross a field to the washrooms/ washing up place. 1, the smell of of bacon wafting across the site at breakfast time, 2 , that first cup of tea in the morning,with the chill in the air and a penguin chocolate biscuit, 3, I always took a homemade fruit cake for dessert, and it tastes better outside, in fact most food tastes better outside, 4, the bird song and the sound of birds running across the tent roof,5 chatting to other campers,often for the first time as you pack up to come home, 6, being closer to the children, 7, when you do pluck up the oomph to have a shower, how good feeling clean is, 8 feeling virtuous that you embraced your wilder side, 9 ,the first bath when you get home, 10 your own bed! Super post, thanks you brought back some lovely memories for me. In the end we had a caravan!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ so true! brilliant post! the only thing is add is going to bed wrapped up in hats gloves extra pj’s etc like you said…. and then waking up at 6am sweltering hot because the slightest amount of sun has heated the tent up to “only slightly cooler than the surface of the sun” temperatures and you’re dressed for the arctic winter that was happening last night!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We went camping when I was a little girl. I must have been around 6-8 years old. We slept one night in that fabulous blue tent, with the bit on the outside for where the ‘kitchen’ was. After breakfast on our first proper day my mother announced that she “hadn’t come on holiday to live like a homeless person, and sleeping in a tent isn’t my [her] idea of a holiday. We will be staying in an hotel, or bed & breakfast, for the rest of the week!”
    It was a shame … because I had enjoyed the little time I’d been in the tent. lol.
    FABULOUS blog post. I was there with you, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Even the night visit to the loo wasn’t too bad … so long as I had a torch and another person to go with.
    Sending after the holiday squidges ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t envy you one little bit. … she says as she goes past the empty washing basket, over to the dresser and gets out a clean pair of folded jammies, which smell all sweet and not a bit like mud or sludge or cow pats.
        lol. ~ C xxx πŸ˜€

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  6. So true! Our one and only camping trip as a family involved #1 child getting chicken pox and me avoiding her as I was pregnant with #4 (no doctor and wasn’t sure what the implications would be). And most of what you mentioned happened! Both hubby and I spent loads of time camping when we were kids just can’t do it as adults! we should though for the kiddos.

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  7. Haha.. Oh so loved this Mrs C… you just about mentioned everything I remember about camping out when I was a child.. You forgot the squeals of seeing an earwig in the tent.. lol. I remember doing that, Now I see them all the time and shake my Dahlias just to make sure I do not carry any unwanted travellers home with me. LOL..
    Sound like you all managed to have a good time, despite the weather turning on its head.. The Wind really did get up and I doubt a day has gone by without a heavy rain shower.. But the views of your campsite looked stunning, as Only the Peak District knows how to deliver..
    And it is a place very dear to my heart..
    Lots of Love sent your way πŸ™‚
    Sue πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, it was spiders that caused most excitement, and a thing best described as a grub. I feel we missed out on earwigs now! The peak district has so many different views, it was truly wonderful. X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am bias lol, about the views having grown up among those hills.. Spiders I would have once upon a time have a fear of them, Now I can capture them if indoors and put outside.. And when we are in the garden of course they are everywhere..
        Wishing you a bright happy weekend all of you πŸ™‚ ( Between showers ) πŸ’™β˜Ί

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember my friend’s first time of going for a camp with me. She almost brought their house. One thing I would never do. Sometimes I go camping with only water extra cloth and a roadeavour knife. and thats it.

    Liked by 1 person

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