Camping with kids

Little camper

One of reasons I bought my van was for going away with my two girls for weekends. The reduced costs of not paying for hotel accommodation and having a comfortable place to sleep.

My girls were 5 and 7 when I bought the van and they were able to sleep on the floor.The girls treat going away in the van like a big adventure. I have now inherited a small awning which has two individual bedrooms which connects to the Campervan as the girls have got bigger.

Initially I thought that I would not require to bring so much stuff as having removed the camping equipment element. The reality is that like camping you have to be organised and have the equipment for still staying away.

After trial and error I have now settled with the following approach. I have plastic boxes which hold the dry food goods all my utensils and herbs and spices my version of a mobile kitchen. This then allows me to  let it sit outside in the tent awning without  any issues of dampness or insects getting into the sealed units. The boxes slide underneath the benches and sit in my garage ready to go. When I want to cook outside all I do is grab the box and it can sit on the grass or my folding table without getting damp.

I also got an idea from the person I bought the camper from instead of having a knife and fork draw he had bought a picnic bag which had all the utensils, plates and I could put all my bits in the main storage area. By doing the above I don’t spend time going in and out of the Campervan to collect items.

The clothing for the girls and myself I used to use a big duffle bag which works well but when you are trying to find clothing it all can get a bit into a mix. I have also purchased these cotton zip bags that allow you to separate the different items so each of my girls have a bag with their clothes for the weekend and not mixing used clothes. I am now purchasing a box for the clothes and for their toys when I am using the Campervan.

In terms of the girls and myself needing the toilet at night. The last thing I wanted to do is having to walk up to the facilities and getting damp and having to walk up their with them. I purchased what they call a Kazi which is essentially a toilet with a bucket which is only allowed to be used for wee’s. This is not a chemical toilet which for what I was needing it for allowed me to put it down regular toilets and not required a campsite that had chemical dumping facilities.

The most important thing to remember is that the kids all they want to do is run around the campsite and play. So been organised all you need to do is focus on getting the tent or awning up and the kids can then play especially when you don’t have another adult.

I am now researching blow up tents that don’t have poles. The benefits of this is for a standard 4 to 6 person tent this can now take ten minutes to put up. When you are the only adult the kids can help using the pump and you can start camping more quickly. I will write about these air tents in more detail as currently looking at the different models available and what to consider.

 

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Thinking of purchasing your first Campervan

Thinking of buying of your first Campervan these  are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

  • How many miles do you think you will do?
  • How many nights will I realistically have time to stay away?
  • Will the Campervan add value to my life?
  • Why do I need a Campervan?
  • Who will be coming away on the trips?
  • Do I want to just see what it is like living with a van before spending more.

The approach that I took was to purchase a VW 06 plate transporter with 132000 miles on the clock. It was a former works vehicle van so had a full service history.

I did consider spending more on the van to have a nicer spec and increased reliability. VW’s apart from the usual maintenance it worked out cheaper than buying a newer one with less miles. I will go into the reasons for purchasing and costs of owning mine in a later blogs.

Since I purchased my VW as a second vehicle.  I have averaged 5000 miles a year. With around of 15 nights each year which has steadily grown.

The key question to ask is if this is not your first vehicle and you will only be using the van on weekends then need to consider how much you should be spending on your van.