Top Tips for Family Camping!

I’ve been a guest poster over at Babyroutes recently.  Babyroutes is all about walking with little ones.

Being  a mum doesn’t stop Kate in her quest to explore the beautiful countryside of Britain on foot, you’ll find great in depth guides to walks that can be undertaken with a little one in tow plus useful reviews and info about walking with kids. Have a look and get inspired!

They have just bought their first family tent so I supplied some of my hard won top tips for family camping.  Pop over and have a read! Continue reading

All I want for Christmas…(the gadgets)

The summer camping season seems a long time away but I am already idly daydreaming about next year’s perfect camping spot.  In this utopian vision I have a few little added camping gadgets.  Perhaps you could add these to your christmas wish list or buy them  for the camper in your life!

The kelly kettle is a wild camping classic.  It will boil water in approx 5 mins with a little fuel such as twigs or pine cones. Incredibly efficient and no need to carry liquid or gas fuel.  Perfect for a ‘wild’ cup of tea.

Click to buy on Amazon

Small ‘Trekker’ Kelly Kettle® Alu. (0.57 Ltr / 1 pint) £36.95 on Amazon

A really good penknife is invaluable! The Leatherman Wave is perhaps the best multi tool on the market.  Well appointed, incredibly strong but compact, a truly satisfying thing to own. Its features include a saw tool, as well as a couple of blades and the pliers are unbelievably useful in so many situations.

Click to buy on Amazon

Leatherman Wave Multi Tool with Leather Sheath £84.99 on Amazon

If this seems a little much have a look at the Victorinox Nomad.  A funky design, a bit more simplistic in terms of the tools provided but a very handy tool for camping.

Click to buy on Amazon

Victorinox Nomad £20.32 on Amazon

I know most people will have matches or a lighter to light their fire but admit it a Firesteel is much cooler! A pretty inexpensive piece of kit and apparently this is the one that Ray Mears recommends!

Click to buy on Amazon

Swedish Army Firesteel £13.99 on Amazon

Maglite have always made excellent quality torches.  The LED version is no exception but the added benefit of fantastically bright LEDs which will last for sooo much longer than the traditional bulb and won’t run the batteries down.

Click to buy on Amazon

Maglite  2DCell LED Torch  £22.43 on Amazon

And finally… How about some real camping luxury. Proper coffee.  The Handpresso is the ultimate portable coffee maker, this version can be used with pods or ground coffee. Brilliant.

Click to buy on Amazon

Handpresso Wild Hybrid Espresso Maker for Ground Coffee and Pods £89.64 on Amazon

Some great ‘Nature’ books!

If you and your family enjoy spending time in the great outdoors it is worth investing in a few books to encourage your children to engage with what they are seeing  and to help you answer those tricky ‘What’s that purple flower?’ questions.

‘Usbourne Spotters Guide to Nature”

Click to buy on Amazon

  • A  guide to most common flowers, trees, birds and insects with an easy to use layout.
  • Acts both as a reference guide and as a ‘bingo’ where things can be ticked off when they have been spotted.
  • Ideal for children aged 6 -10.
  • Fairly bulky, not too big but not pocket size either.
  • Lovely clear illustrations and extra information about things like bird migration, identifying trees etc.
  • Rolls some of the other Usbourne guides into one, so good value from £7.67 on Amazon.

‘I SPY Nature’

Click to Buy on Amazon

Click to buy on Amazon

The ‘I SPY’ books are a great classic some of us will remember from our childhoods.  They are small and portable with the added ‘Bingo’ element.  We have ‘I Spy Nature’ but I have just noticed the box set which at only £6.20 for 4 books and a notebook in a sturdy box seems an absolute bargain.  Could be a perfect stocking filler!

  • A simple mostly pictorial layout.
  • Great for 4-8 year olds.
  • It will help your child engage with nature but don’t expect an in depth guide.
  • An absolute bargain at £2.50 for the single book.
  • Perfectly portable size, even for little hands.

‘Food for Free’

Click to buy on Amazon

Ever fancied a little foraging whilst on a walk or camping?  You’d be amazed at how much edible stuff you pass by.

  • This great, classic guide is now available in the ever handy Collins Gem size.
  • It advises what to look for, where and what to do with it once you have found it.  I always take it with me.  One day we will make an entire Ray Mears style meal.  In the meantime it’s just fascinating to know what is out there!
  • Did you know you can eat goose grass (you know the sticky stuff you can hilariously stick to the back of your friend’s jumper), ground elder and cow parsley!
  • Only £3.74 for a Gem edition or £16.24 for a luscious, hard back edition to keep at home.

Click to buy on Amazon

Cloud Farm – the re-visit, nearly.

We rarely camp on bank holiday weekends and as we approached Cloud farm I remembered why.  The campsite was very busy, it seemed to be packed with tents from the first corner onwards.  Any hopes of finding a pitch by the river were instantly dashed.  One of the owners stood by the gate urging us on ‘There’s loads of room!’ he said.  No there isn’t, we thought, there might be the odd unclaimed patch of  grass but by no means could you claim there was loads of room.

Now, clearly this was a very popular weekend, I would not expect any campsite where you can just turn up to be empty, however, what concerned me where the owners fervent exhortations to lever ourselves in somewhere.  Perhaps a more responsible owner, interested in his customers experience and his own reputation might have started pointing campers in the direction of some of the nearby sites as an alternative.

Fortunately, as I spend half my life researching campsites, I knew of another campsite further along Doone Valley where booking was not required.  Off we trundled, with mystified kids, to Leeford Farm.

Cloud Farm is in a beautiful location, and we have enjoyed some gorgeous camping days there.  However, I would be very reluctant to try it on a busy weekend again.  If you can wangle some mid- week days off or venture out early or late in the season, it is a still well worth a visit.

Campfires? Yes please.

There are a few parameters that a campsite must fulfill for me to want to camp there. The most important to me is the ability to have a campfire. The fire is the focus of the camp. It provides warmth, light and a place to cook (even though the campervan has a hob we prefer to cook over the fire as often possible). Part of this blog will be our ongoing efforts to optimize over the fire cooking, recipes, equipment etc. CampingDad is especially keen on this stuff!

Love getting a small cooking fire going in the morning.

The other really cool thing about campsites that allow campfires is that they often fulfill some of my other parameters for finding a good campsite. I say no to to club houses, restaurants and bars, tents and caravans in regimented lines (urgh). Yes to large pitches and especially those who let you choose where you pitch. Yes to views, lovely tumbling rivers and streams, ropeswings, woods, good walks from the campsite. Ahh, makes me smile just thinking about it.

CampingDad thinks I am a bit too militant in always demanding a campfire so I try to keep my mind open to sites that look lovely but just don’t allow campfires (but why??). I do try, really.

‘It was called ‘Yellow”

Who knew coming up with a name for this blog was going to be so hard! Trawling for inspiration from friends  brought up some funny, some daft and some clever names.  But none were quite right.  Then a false start.  I chose a name and started blogging only to find that there was already a blog with that name.  darn.  Rooky error.

Finally, setting out  on the first camping trip of the year, driving through the rural countryside of south gloucestershire, one glorious landscape image became very prominent.  Yellow fields of rape, blue skies, armadas of fluffy clouds.  YellowFields Camping was born…

I am a mum. I have two daughters age 4 and 6. And one husband. We love to camp.

The joy of camping!

We’ve always been campers, even Before Kids. I have to admit that we were once advocates of basic camping: a tent, sleeping bags and roll mats; but, our gear has grown considerably since having the kids. To the point where we bid farewell to out family tent, kitchen tent and yes even fold out table and chairs and bought ourselves a campervan!

The campervan is exciting in so many ways but the best thing about it is how quickly we go from making the decision to camp to setting off. Most stuff is already in place, just add clothes and food and we are off! Last year we managed 10 camping trips!

So this blog is going to be all about our adventures as a family that camps.