With less than a month until our big family camping adventure, the race was well and truly on to find ourselves a tent fit for all three of us. LPD and I have a little three man pup-tent that was alright for us when we used to go on our own for the odd weekend here and there, but as I’ve mentioned before – going for a week with a toddler requires a whole new set up! Thankfully, Millets helped us out a little bit by inviting us to join in their #HomefromHome campaign, sending us a really useful multi-functional camping storage table and a care package filled with camping goodies. Millets recognise that every family has a different idea of what their home from home needs to be: whether it’s the luxury of fully kitted out caravan complete with a television, a more rugged, back-to-basics natural set up sleeping under the stars, or anywhere in-between.
So what’s our idea of #HomefromHome? And what were we looking for? And more importantly, have we found it?
Earlier this year, we headed to the Caravan and Camping Show at the Birmingham NEC to try and find ourselves a tent. We wanted to see lots of tents in one go and be able to quickly compare size, shape and price so the show made perfect sense to us. The only thing was… we’re camping on a budget. We haven’t got a massive amount of money to spend on a tent (I haven’t gone back to work after maternity leave, remember!), and lots of the tents being showcased were top of the range with air beam technology and way out of our price range. We did spot a tent we absolutely loved from Royal – a Brisbane 8 berth tent with a little extension that felt big enough for us to last a good few years, even if our family continues to expand and felt affordable too.
We didn’t buy it there and then as we still wanted to explore other options and needed to save up a bit of money first!
As time went on, we kept coming back to the tent discussion but something was obviously holding us back from purchasing. I guess it’s a lot of money to be shelling out in one go and we really wanted to make sure it was right for us – but how can you be sure until you’re actually putting it to the test?! It’s one thing to walk in and have a nose around at a show room but it’s another to be living in it for a week.
I was laughing about how our camping trip was getting ever closer and we still hadn’t bought a tent at a BBQ with friends a month or so ago, and they mentioned that they’d kind of inherited a tent that we were welcome to try out if we wanted. They had no idea if it had all the parts, how old it was, how big it was or if it even worked… but it had been found in the back of a loft somewhere and wasn’t being used.
So this weekend, we arranged to meet up with our friends for a picnic and had a go putting the tent up in their garden.
We couldn’t believe it when the label said the tent was made in 1998! It’s almost twenty years old and hardly looks used. It was obvious pretty quickly that it had all the pieces there, including the instructions manual and it wasn’t long before LPD and his friend had it more or less fully erected (*immature snigger*). We didn’t bother pegging it out fully, just pegged out what we needed to get an idea of size and shape.
The hardest thing was keeping Pickle occupied! I’m glad I could concentrate on just keeping him entertained whilst the lads put the tent up but it’s definitely a two man job. It’s a good job we’re going camping at the same time as my parents – they may have to enjoy some cuddles with the Pickle monster whilst we do the tent. God knows what we’ll do if we go on our own! Maybe it’d be best to put up a travel cot first to act as a playpen.
The tent is a Pro Action Nevada 5 Frame tent, and it’s plenty big enough for the three of us. It has one big sleeping compartment which will perfectly house a blow up bed for us and a travel cot for Pickle. The front tent panel can be zipped off and moved from the very front of the tent to the next set of poles meaning than you can decide whether to have a larger indoor space or have a little front porch canopy, and there’s a little porch flap that can be lifted to the side too.
Obviously, when we put it up properly, it won’t look as disheveled as this but you can see that it’s a fairly decent size and we’re really excited about using it! Now just to rustle up all the bits and pieces we need to make it feel like a real #HomefromHome. I really need to make a check list of things that we already have and what we need to buy. For a whole week of camping, I’d like to know that we’ve got everything we need to make it as smooth as possible.
One thing I can already tick off our list is this Eurohike camping storage table from Millets. If there’s anything I know about camping, it’s that storage is super important and I love how this table can be functional for cooking on, preparing food on and holding stuff as well as a great place to store things that I’d like to have easy access to (I’m thinking: teabags!). It folds right down too, like a little briefcase, so perfect for packing into the car.
I really like that we can velcro up the mesh door to the compartments or zip them shut – Pickle hasn’t mastered zips yet so this will ensure everything inside will be kept safely away from him, which will definitely be needed if we put food in there. There’s also pockets on the side of the table for bits we want to have easy access to – I’m hoping it’ll ensure I can keep the tent nice and tidy (unlike our normal home!). It’ll be our dream #HomefromHome if it stays organised!
We’re proper kitted out with all these bits and bobs in our Millets care package – and I’m looking forward to being prepared for any eventuality. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about the things that came in handy once we’re back, and I’m hoping we’ll have a few funny stories to tell too. In the mean time, I’ll keep added to our camping equipment stash to help furnish our #HomefromHome and continue to ask my own parents for any words of advice, tips and tricks they can pass on to us, and if you’ve got any yourself – please leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: we were sent the camping table and care package from Millets so that we could particpate in their #HomefromHome campaign. All thoughts and opinions remain my own, and as always, 100% honest.