Our first PROPER camping experience

I have just fulfilled a long standing promise to my children. After more than a year of asking, we spent a night in a tent at a nearby campsite.

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Here I am, sitting in the porch of our tent, shortly after Helen and I put it up.

In truth, this wasn’t our first camping experience. Last year we hired a motorhome and spent a weekend away with friends. This was my way of introducing Mrs Adams to camping as, believe it or not, she had never experienced the pleasures.

The weekend away in the motorhome put ideas in my kids’ heads. They wanted to camp again, but this time under canvas. In the final days of the summer holidays, we took delivery of a Quecha Arpenaz Family 5.2 tent.

The aim had been to put the tent up in the garden and leave it there for a few days. The kids could play in it during the day and sleep in it at night if they wanted.

I confess, it might seem slightly odd to do this at the end of summer but we had been so busy it was the first realistic opportunity for us to make this a reality. Besides, I was very keen to fulfill the promise I’d made to the kids so it was now or never.

My plans, however, were stymied. This wass a five-person tent with two separate rooms for sleeping. I underestimated how large the tent would be. Although we are lucky to have a big garden, it features a large garden trampoline, swings, a vegetable patch and a reclaimed pond. When unpacked, it was clear the tent was not going to fit.

I hurriedly had to make alternative plans. I found a nearby campsite that could accommodate us and off we went. As we were nearing the end of the summer holidays we could only stay the one night but much fun was had in doing so. You can watch a video of our camping experience by clicking play below.

Helen, my seven-year-old, helped me put the tent up. In total it took us an hour and 20 minutes. That said, I am sure we will do it in a fraction of the time when we next go camping as we now know what we are doing.

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Our tent in all its glory.

Before bed time, the kids had a great time playing on the campsite. They climbed trees, collected blackberries, made pretend camp fires and so on.

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Izzy guarding one of the pretend camp fires she and her sister made.

Both kids were so excited I was worried they wouldn’t get to sleep but they dropped off very quickly. Izzy, my three-year-old, woke up at one point during the night complaining of being cold but this was self-inflicted as she had kicked herself out of her sleeping bag.

In the morning we had breakfast and, sadly, the tent had to come done. It was short but fun. As it was a mid-week stay, Mrs Adams didn’t stay with us as she had to be at the office very early the next morning. Even so, she listened to the excited tales form our kids and saw the photos and is keen to do an overnight stay when it can next be arranged.

As for the tent, I felt it was easy to put up. It only took so long because I wasn’t familiar with it. The two rooms are a good size. I could stand up inside the tent with ease. If you watch the video you will see Helen doing cartwheels in the tent, proving its generous dimensions.

It has a good-sized living area and porch and the groundsheet has a lip that attached to the main body of the tent using Velcro. I thought this was a genius idea as it stopped grass and crumbs from getting into the tent and made it easier to clean.

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The ground sheet fixes in place with Velcro and has a lip, making it easy to keep clean and catches any muck and mess, helping to keep the sleeping areas clean.

There are plenty of options to let in air using the available fly screens. In addition, there  are also two windows and various pockets throughout.

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Izzy, in her sleeping quarters having not long woken up.

In terms of measurements, one bedroom is 210m X 210m and the other 140m X 210m. The living area and porch is 5m². It comes in a storage bag measuring 30cm X 58cm and weights 16 kilograms.

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Helen and Izzy with the tent, all packed away in its bag.

The Quecha Aprepnaz Family 5.2 tent can be purchased from Decathlon. Expect to pay around £160.

We were delighted with the tent. I am confident it is going to serve us very well. It is certainly big enough and was reasonably straightforward to put up and take down. Roll on next summer when we can go for a longer camping expedition.

Disclosure: Tent provided for review purposes. Thoughts and opinions entirely my own.

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12 Comments

  1. September 7, 2016 / 11:12 am

    Glad you managed to get out and camp properly. It looks a good sized tent, but packs away really small. Impressive. Although you definitely need more practice. I put my 5 man tent up to dry it out on my own, let it dry and took in down within 30 minutes after our holiday! But I do quite like pitching tents. It helps when it’s a sewn in groundsheet and I can put it up with the inner still attached.

    I’d never have thought of Decathlon for camping equipment. Roll on next summer for more camping trips!

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 9, 2016 / 11:04 am

      I’m pretty sure we’ll get the tent built in sub 30 mins next time. it was simply the fact I’d never put up anything so large. And yes, roll on the next camping trip.

  2. September 7, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    Oh wow! What a monster tent! That didn’t look like proper camping – far too comfortable

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 9, 2016 / 11:03 am

      As I was flying solo with the kids, it certainly felt like proper camping! I agree ‘though, we need to get a bit more experience.

  3. September 8, 2016 / 10:10 pm

    Looks like you had fun! Those little campfires are so cute.
    We went to Cornwall camping earlier in the summer and we actually enjoyed it more than I thought we would! We’ll definitely be doing it again.

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 9, 2016 / 11:01 am

      We had a great time. Desperate to go as soon as we possibly can before winter sets in. Glad you guys also enjoyed your trip to Cornwall.

  4. September 9, 2016 / 6:40 pm

    I can’t believe your wife has never camped before! Glad you got to experience the great outdoors. We have a little campervan to travel around in and our boys love camping and always sleep better after being outside so much…fresh air is a wonderful sleeping aid #brillblogposts

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 11, 2016 / 5:49 am

      NO question of it, kids sleep much better when they’re been outside for several hours or slept outside even. And yes, I will get Mrs Adams to camp at some point.

  5. October 23, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    You did very well being solo with the kids to get a tent of that size up and those photos are great memories for the kids.

    • John Adams
      Author
      October 24, 2016 / 5:00 am

      Thanks for saying so. I’m quite used to flying solo with the kids, but this was a whole new experience.

  6. December 23, 2016 / 10:48 am

    Looks like you had lots of fun. You’re braver than me, we’ve not been any further than the back garden with our tent. Although, it’s nothing as impressive as this, the kids love sleeping outside. For now, I think we’ll stick to camping in static caravans, I enjoy my little comforts too much.

  7. June 1, 2018 / 10:21 am

    i think u enjoyed alot in camping with u r kids on vacation using belltents