Em­brace fam­ily camp­ing hol­i­days

Keep an open-mind about camp­ing un­der can­vas this sum­mer, writes

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

This sum­mer, my hus­band and I are tak­ing our son camp­ing for the first time. At first read, that might sound lovely. You might even have let a lit­tle ‘‘nawwww’’ es­cape from your lips. But I am­pet­ri­fied about the prospect. You see, our son will turn one while we’re away. What were we think­ing?!

We booked our camp­site way back in July. Bubba had been sleep­ing through the night reg­u­larly so we’d thought, ‘‘Yeah, we’ve got this.’’ Then teething hap­pened and our nights have never been the same. Mul­ti­ple wake-ups, in­con­solable scream­ing, hastily made warm bot­tles and lash­ings of Pamol, all in an at­tempt for all of us to en­joy even just three hours of un­in­ter­rupted sleep.

My hus­band and I freaked out a few weeks back. Tent walls are not very in­su­lated. ‘‘What if we be­come ‘that’ fam­ily that no one likes be­cause we keep ev­ery­one awake?’’ we won­dered. We even flirted with the idea of hir­ing a camper­van (un­til we saw the prices they’re charg­ing over sum­mer). Now we’re em­brac­ing the in­evitabil­ity of camp­ing un­der can­vas with a sub-one-year-old by be­ing as or­gan­ised as we can be­fore­hand.

We don’t have a massive tent so we’re bor­row­ing a friend’s. We need room to change nap­pies, pre­pare food and, oh yeah, sleep, so we’ve gone for one of those can­vas man­sions with three rooms and lots of space to swing a cat.

This might seem like cheat­ing, but we’ve booked a pow­ered camp­ing site. No, that doesn’t mean we’re tak­ing a mi­crowave with us, al­though if we had more room in the car I’d se­ri­ously con­sider it. I fig­ure hav­ing the abil­ity to charge our phones in case of emer­gen­cies is worth the few ex­tra bucks a night.

Our camp­site fea­tures a ba­sic but per­fectly func­tional kitchen and bath­room com­plex, and be­cause camp­ing din­ners re­volve around na­chos, spaghetti Bolog­nese, sausages and burg­ers, I’m plan­ning on pack­ing con­tain­ers of freez­able and fridge­able food to make cook­ing a lit­tle eas­ier.

We’ve mak­ing sure we have camp­ing-friendly ver­sions of things bub uses fre­quently too. We’re not tak­ing his high­chair, but we are tak­ing a mini camp­ing chair. The same goes with nappy changes; a camp­ing ta­ble can dou­ble as a change ta­ble if our backs can’t han­dle the ground. We’re swap­ping our gi­nor­mous stroller for Granny’s small pushchair, and we found a cheap por­ta­cot for sale on Neigh­bourly.

We don’t want to tempt fate but we’re prep­ping for rain. Rain­coats, gum­boots and brol­lies are non-ne­go­tiables, and if Mur­phy’s Law pulls through then the weather should be glo­ri­ous.

Fi­nally, we’re be­ing open­minded. Camp­ing with a small child might be awe­some, or it might be so aw­ful we never want to go on a fam­ily hol­i­day again. The op­por­tu­nity to go on fam­ily hol­i­days should be em­braced, so what­ever hap­pens we’re de­ter­mined to go with the flow and chill out. It’s a hol­i­day, af­ter all.


Go camp­ing with the fam­ily to chill out and en­joy a new ex­pe­ri­ence.

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