Trailer Tent - it's the way forward!
As it's almost summer holidays, I thought I'd kick off a series of blog posts about holidays and specifically camping.
With 4 kids, holidays are going to be expensive whether in the UK or abroad. And as we're now tied to holidaying in school holidays, even a cheap package deal is going to be £3000+, at least. Luckily we've always been keen campers and pre-kids were happy to pop off in our little tent for a couple of weeks at a time.
4 children later and we still love to camp. In saying that, we're fair weather campers, however as we live close to the ferry terminal, popping across to France is an easy option with generally much better weather than we get in the UK.
On having kids we upgraded our 3 man tent to an 8 man version, but we found that by the time you get everyone in, space was still very limited and camping is no fun if you're constantly tripping over stuff / children / wellies. In addition my lovely husband was getting fed up of sleeping on air beds which left him feeling achey and sore next day.
Campervan / Caravan / Trailer Tent
At one stage we were considering a campervan, but it's be the size of a bus to fit everyone in and then we'd have difficulty in parking it up for the majority of the year. Plus if you go somewhere and want to go out for the day, you all have to go out in the 'van which is a bit of a hassle. Or tow a car on the back of it - we saw a hulking great Winnebago type thing towing a Volvo a few years ago which was astonishing...
A caravan has similar storage issues and husband wasn't keen on having to tow one either. And I sort of think that toilets in caravans are gross. And the sinks are a bit pointless as most people seem to use the campsite sinks for washing up as there's more room?
After investigating alternatives, last year we invested in a trailer tent which has revolutionised our camping experience! A trailer tent for those of you who are uninitiated in all things camping, is pretty much exactly what it says. A tent, which folds out from a trailer and generally contains beds with proper mattresses which are raised off the ground, so just that bit more comfy.
Benefits of Trailer Tent over a normal tent
Ready to go - throw clothes into the car, attach the trailer and go!
For me, this is the best benefit of having a trailer tent. The worst thing for me about camping is getting everything in the car packed and ready to go, unpacking it all at the other end, then repacking for the return trip. Such a mission! Even if everything is kept neat and tidy in boxes in one place, it still seems to be a mahoosive pain in the bum.
With our trailer tent, the 'kitchen' bit contains the pots and pans, crockery and cutlery. The kids sleeping bags and mats also store away in the trailer, ready for use. And there's even space for all the sundry bits and bobs, like lights and the obviously obligatory solar fairy lights (completely unnecessary but they make me smile every time they light up, so well worth the money!) There's space in the kitchen bit for food and the gas canister fits in there too which is brilliant.
I think it's fair to say that trailer tents are generally pretty spacious too. Which means that even if the weather is rubbish outside, there's plenty of space inside for everyone to kick back. And that makes such a difference as anyone who has been trapped inside a tent with small children and rain pouring down outside will tell you.....
The trailer tent fits in our garage which is perfect for us, so no hassles there.
Sorry, couldn't miss the opportunity for that one. The other great thing about the trailer tent is that it's really easy to put up for the size, so it takes a leisurely 40 minutes (and no arguments either!) which is pretty amazing.
In summary, if you've found yourself overflowing from your tent, or that foreign package holidays are just getting too expensive, why not consider a trailer tent? They can be picked up from a few hundred pounds each and go up to a few thousand. But if you consider that our 3 week holiday in France last year cost us less than £1000 (for ferry and pitch fees) then it's money well spent....