Yet many airbeds do naturally lose some air over time and
therefore need to be pumped up slightly every so often to keep the desired inflation, so
you need to make sure that you have a pump and the means to do this. We utilised a
12 volt cigarette lighter socket from the car and also from an emergency power kit that we
had purchased, which was also great for charging our mobiles phones, but if we had been
stupid enough to drain our car battery (which we did do once before in the past) then the
emergency power kit would have been able to jump start our car as well!
Ok, so you can sleep, but next you have to think about eating. Yes, rather
important, as we wouldn't last long otherwise unless we opt for the expense of eating out
every day, but then we still need to think about making a cup of coffee! The first
thing needed is of course the cooker. Now you certainly will not be having an oven,
but you can have a hob and even a grill. Gas bottles power most of the camping
cookers, but you can also get one that is powered by petrol. We actually have both
types and the petrol fuelled Coleman cooker works just as well as the gas fuelled cooker,
although the Coleman does not have a grill. Both of the ones we have are two
burners, which we have found invaluable, as the basic one burner hob is more for one
person on an overnight stay, especially for those carp
fishing fanatics who just want a hot soup or quick brew during their carp fishing
Over the years there are many items that have been brought onto the market to make life
easier and one of these is a proper cooker stand. These come in a variety of styles
from the basic one that has room on the top for the cooker itself and a shelf below
through to a large cooking station like we have that has two work surfaces either side of
the cooking station and also has two larder cupboards that are completely enclosed and zip
up, so that no bugs can get to any of your food. We found that having the work
surfaces made cooking and preparation far easier and serving the food was also less hassle
and they do collapse down, so are easy to transport.
Obviously you need pots and pans to be able to cook your food in and you can get the
proper camping pots that have fold out handles and sit neatly inside each other so they
pack up really small, or another option are the army mess tins that again collapse
down. But if you are thinking about cooking for a family, then like us, you will
probably find that these are too small and we opted for some cheap saucepans that have a
non-stick coating and are quite thin so that they heat up the contents quickly. Also
having a non-stick coating means they wash up very quickly, especially from things like
baked beans! Also we always take a cheap frying pan as well, so that we can still
have things like fried eggs, omelettes, rosti, etc.
You will obviously need a kettle and again these come in various sizes, but one that has a
large base and is stumpy rather than being quite high, actually boils the water a lot
quicker, so you do not end up using as much gas over the time of your camping holiday.
When it comes to the kitchen utensils, you can get proper camping sets, but anything old
from home will do, just remember to make sure that you have a decent tin opener with
you! The cutlery sets that are designed for camping are OK, as again they pack up
really small and are convenient, but the knives are not very sharp and if you have opted
to get some nice meat from the local butchers, then you could end up struggling, so we
have a standard set of cheap cutlery to make life easier.
When it comes to plates the standard picnic plates are fine, but if you want something
more durable you can use time and time again that will not end up with cut marks on them,
then a melamine set is definitely the best option and they are also very easy to clean.
The next item you need is somewhere to sit and eat and you can get a collapsible table and
chairs that are separate and these are very lightweight and come in a range of
sizes. Or you have the folding picnic tables that look like a case when closed and
open up to a table and four seats, but if you have a larger family then the separates are
an obvious solution yet do take up more room when you are travelling.
We have never been to a campsite in France that does not have facilities for washing up
and even doing a quick bit of hand washing, but we always take a washing up bowl to put
all the dirty dishes in straight away after we have finished our meal. And although
we have never bothered, you can get proper stands that a bowl will sit in and has a space
as a drainer, which could be quite useful if you only have a limited amount of cups etc
and want to wash up something quickly to re-use it!
Before we finish this, we thought we had better mention one more thing that we found a
necessity and that was having a cool box. We say cool box, because the first time we
went camping, we used a cool bag as we thought it would be more convenient for travelling
or taking out for a picnic, but we were camping in a forest and ended up having holes in
the bottom where little animals had chewed their way through trying to get to the
So a cool box is definitely the right choice and you can get these in all manner of sizes,
but bear in mind the larger it is, the more ice packs needed to keep the contents
cool. But instead of using ice packs, in some of the places we have been camping in France, they have had the
facility of providing frozen water in bottles. This is a great way to keep your food
cold, especially with items like margarine, but because it is also proper bottled drinking
water, as it defrosts it is great for those refreshing cold drinks on a hot summers day
and the bottled water in France and Spain is a lot cheaper than it is within the UK.