This week we’ve had three, yes three, back garden campouts.
The first two were in a small tent that we bought from the car boot sale for the bargain price of £2 and the second was in our new brand new family tent that we’re planning on using for a family camping weekend at the end of the month.
After three nights in a row of having kids camping in our back garden, I like to think I’m a bit of an expert on this whole camping thing (;-)) so I thought I’d share my top tips for having a successful back garden camp out…
You’ll need to make sure that whoever you invite has permission from their parents to sleep out as not all parents are comfortable with this if there’s not going to be an adult in the tent with the kids. I’d also think carefully before letting your children choose which friend they’ll invite for their back garden campout. We’ve had some lovely guests this week but a friend who did something similar last week ended up sending everyone home as early as it was possible to do in the morning as the boys had not slept at all and there’d been a few complaints from the neighbours.
The size of the tent clearly dictates how many children you can invite (as does your tolerance of general chaos) and as you can see from the picture of our first tent, it was really only big enough for two children and their assortment of essential blankets, quilts, cushions and pillows.
The second tent however could have quite comfortably slept more but we decided to limit last night’s sleepover to just our two because it was quite late when we decided to attempt to put it up and we had high expectations of failure seeing as we’ve never put a real tent up before in our lives and this one was much bigger than we were expecting. The tent was the Vango Beta 450XL which was sent to us by the lovely people at Millets who think that we could learn to love camping and assured us that we’d love this tent and not have any problems putting it up. I’ll be honest though, when we first unpacked it we had a little mini panic as it looked really complicated to build to our novice eyes and we definitely regretted not starting on it until 7pm! Unbelievably though, it was much easier to put up than we were expecting and involved much less head scratching and arguing that I thought it would. By 8pm the kids were starting to bring down everything they felt was essential for the night’s activities. I’ll do a full review of the tent when we’ve actually camped out with it but from what the kids have said this morning after their back garden campout experience, it’s amazing – ‘spacious but cosy’ was Miss Frugal’s assessment with her brother declaring it to be ‘just awesome’.
Each camp out we’ve had seems to involve more and more ‘stuff’! Last night’s back garden campout involved every cushion, pillow, blanket and quilt that Mr Frugal and I weren’t actually using ourselves! There was also some battery operated fairy lights and a couple of the lovely camping chairs that Millets sent us to go with the tent.
Aside from the chairs being more comfortable to sit on than the floor, they also have the added advantage of a drinks holder in the arm making a spillage much less likely. When the kids went upstairs to get yet more blankets, they came back to find a guest in one of their seats!
I know, it’s ridiculous to be talking about technology in a post about a back garden campout but it’s important to the kids that they can Youtube/Snapchat/Instagram/Netflix the night away so I recommend charging any and all power banks that you have in the house and trying to position the tent where the kids can get a wifi signal from the house.
Snacks and drinks
I only allow water in the tent so everyone gets a bottle of water before bed and snackwise, there’s a few treats on the dining room table along with a bowlful of fruit for the inevitable midnight snack craving.
We have a few head torches that we bought in the reduced section at Tesco this week for £3 each and one big torch which is positioned near the tent door. Everyone has access to a light of some sort just in case they wake up scared or needing a wee.
Speaking of needing a wee leave the back door open and have a downstairs toilet that I make sure everyone knows they can use at any time.
We have a back garden with a gate which we make sure is locked and Mr Frugal usually stacks a load of stuff in front of it on both sides to make it super secure – just to make himself feel better I think. We also have a guard dog who sits outside the tent from about half six when he goes out for his first wee until every child is up. Here’s back garden campout Buddy in action….
So there you have it, how to have a successful back garden campout and if looking at the blue skies this morning, I’d say that if you’re going to have one then this could be the weekend to do it!
The dog hates the kids camping out and literally paces the floor the whole night that they’re out there bless him but on the plus side, we’ve discovered that he loves tents! As soon as it’s up, he’s in there.
And because it is the weekend and the sun is shining, I asked some other lovely bloggers if they had any ideas for some family fun you can get up to this weekend and this is what they came up with….
- Have a go at cliff walking.
- Hunt for treasure and make a mosaic tray with it.
- Enjoy your own back garden.
- If you’re in the area, visit Willows activity farm.
- Make some banana muffins.
- Head to the Warner Brothers Studio for the Harry Potter experience.
- Make ice cream cone cupcakes.
- Go swimming and learn safety in the water.
- Go camping for real.
Whatever you do, have a great weekend!
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