Tent Shopping

So, the hubster chubster and I have a wedding to go to next year! My niece Clara is getting married, and I couldn’t be happier for her!

She’s always been a bit different from the flock, too, so she’s going for a really novel wedding idea instead of the usual three-course-meal-and-a-disco fare – she’s having an outdoor ceremony in a forest in Sussex, followed by a reception in a huge marquee and all the guests will be camping on-site!

I think it’s a fantastic idea (and I kind of wish I’d thought of it when Mark and I were getting together, after I put the screws on him. It would have been a great way to celebrate our six-week anniversary to get married under the stars instead of in a little church in Shropshire, but I digress. While it would have been lovely, my wedding was mine and I wouldn’t change it for the world).

Apparently there’ll be a hog roast, and instead of bringing a gift she wants everyone to bring a few bottles of something to drink so there can be an open bar and everyone can share and have a great night at little cost to either them or their guests (another smashing move) so I’m looking forward to a fabulous night’s drinking and dancing under the stars with family, both old family and new family!

However, there is only one problem with this… I don’t have a tent. I’ll need one if we’re going to camp out after the wedding and get the fabulous night we’re after, so it’s about time I went shopping!

We already have a double air mattress and a vacuum-packable duvet and pillow set, so bedding is sorted, no problemo. The kids have got little foam roller pads and sleeping bags, although they’re a little young for a camping wedding – I think I’ll let them stay with my friend Janice over the wedding itself so we can unwind a little without worrying about whether their little backs will be hurt by the rough ground or whether the noise will keep them awake all night or whether they’ll sneak off and get blitzed on a bottle of Kahlua when we’re not looking.

So with that in mind, all we need is a tent big enough for Mark and I, although we’ll be getting a bigger one for a few reasons.

First, obviously, we won’t just be using it this once. I’m a thrifty frugal mama and I wouldn’t be caught dead buying something that I couldn’t use over and over. The clever money-managing-mama in me would nbever allow it. Therefore, this tent has got to be BIG – big enough for me, the hubster bo bubster, the two kids, and the dog – and that’s big!

Considering that, it’s got to have great ventilation too. With four people and a poocheroony in there, it’s gonna get hot (and stinky!) so I need to keep my eyes open for tents with air vents, unzippable sections and mesh windows that can let some of the heat out.

Secondly, even without the kids or the dog, it would be amazing to have the room. When you’re a seasoned outdoorswoman like me, you know that tents never actually have enough wiggle-room for the number of people they advertise. A two-person tent has enough room for two people to lie down, sure – but only just, only if they lie straight, and only if they don’t attempt to sit up, stretch, or move at all.

So something like a six-person tent will mean the kids and I have room to wriggle and get comfortable, as well as giving hubbly bubbly and I lots of room to stretch, wrestle around and generally have a great time after the wedding.

Those two points aside, the tent has also got to be:

  1. Reasonably lightweight

I’m not saying I couldn’t lug a heavy tent and poles through the wilderness, or up a snow-blasted mountain face. I’m just saying I’d rather do that with a lightweight tent.

2. Easy to set up, easy to collapse

It’s got to be quick to set up so I can do it fast when the rain starts to pour, or in the dark, or in any of the adverse, hellish conditions that could descend on us at any time during a lovely family camping holiday. It’s also got to be easy to collapse again so I can take it down the next day when I’m bleary-eyed and hungover – that is crucially important.

3. Some kind of colour

To be honest, I’m kind of torn here. I want a nice bright bubbly colour so everyone knows that’s my tent and it matches my personality. However, I also want a camouflage tent so I can disappear without a trace and never be found, preferably until I’ve enjoyed some bloody peace and quiet. Like, camouflaged well enough that even government drones couldn’t fine my tent. Camouflaged well enough that when I’ve had a few drinks at this wedding, even I couldn’t find it.

I think I’ll probably get a pink one, though, since that’s my favourite colour and it’s my tent.

4. £20 or under

I may be chancing my arm here, but I want all that for under £20. I’m smart with money, and a very experienced camper, so there’s no point in me splurging money on stuff I know I don’t need. I know what I can get, and how much it’ll cost.

My well-ventilated, tall, easy-set-up, easy-takedown, pop-up pink/very well camouflaged tent should cost £20 or under, and I’m sure a seasoned bargain-hunter like me can find it for that.

Happy camping!

J

xx

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