We have been family camping for years now. We started going to France with one the companies that provided fully equipped tents on site. Then we took the plunge and started our UK camping adventure. At first, we went to the Lake District with our Tesco Value tent. This was long before James and Alistair came to live with us. We always went to a National Trust campsite in the Great Langdale. National Trust campsites are always equipped with drying rooms because they often cater for walkers. Perfect for drying children's clothes and towels. There is a reason why there are so many lakes in the Lake District!
After a couple of years we invested in a more upmarket tent. It was a pod tent which had a central room, a 'hallway' and two sleeping pods on on the back. It was a fab tent that served us well but one year when camping with friends up North, the tent was destroyed during a freak storm. The weather was great but the winds were unbelievable. I think only two tents of a group of about 10 remained intact. We fixed our fibreglass poles with duct tape (as you do) and went on camping with the tattered thing for a wee while longer.
Then James and Alistair came along and we (I) decided to upgrade. We now have a mansion. Our tent even has a wardrobe! Because we always take our evening wear when we go camping, for those Highland Dances you know. Well, it is just a metal pole for hanging up coats really. Being a little obsessive, I studied the market for weeks, unable to decide on a suitable tent. I wanted one that would withstand high winds and heavy rains but I also wanted a large tent so we could huddle up inside and wait out the storm. Did you know that many tent brands give you a wind rating, as well as a waterproofing rating, and so on? Needless to say that I am a member of the Camping & Caravanning Club.... I am not only obsessive but also tend to catastrophise. Our current tent should withstand winds up to Beaufort 10. The tent poles are solid 22 mm stainless steel. We've not had to put it to the test but I have watched the video of the wind tunnel tests. Quite scary, winds like that. The tent has three bedrooms but we usually keep the 'walls' unzipped and create a cosy family bedroom. It sleeps seven but honestly, you could fit at least 12 in. Comfortably. There is also a big living area, big enough to host dinner parties (if you are prepared to sit on the floor with your plate balanced on your knees). We've had about 24 people crammed in once for a curry, when it was too wet for the most hardy to eat outside. Then there is the porch. It is absolutely fabulous. You can cook in it, store wet shoes and keep other assorted mess in one place. You can sit in it with the doors closed watching the rain roll down the plastic panoramic window. On hot days you can open it up completely without having to move the mess. Tent envy anyone? :-)
At the end of the day, our days of wild camping are over and we might as well enjoy the relative luxury of a mansion tent.
How strange, I had different things in mind when I started writing this post. Ach well. I must now return to the FB conversation with our camping pals. It is rather heated. Some of the blokes (!) have pre-camping anxieties regarding the weather forecast. It might rain (in Scotland, who would have thought). The forecast appears to different when using different apps.... I have ordered tropical temperatures with refreshing lunchtime showers but we shall see, the Highlands are quite unpredictable. Keep your fingers crossed! xx