It’s become a bit of a tradition. Winter tent camping for me and my two sons, Tom, aged 13, and ten-year-old Elliot.
We try to go just before Christmas but we just didn’t find the time in the run up to the 2012 festive season. That said, we didn’t want to let our little tradition fizzle out this winter either.
I typically camp all year round in one way or another, but for my sons, our winter camping trip is a bit of an adventure. We have to outwit the cold temperature and have a half decent night’s sleep.
The weather caused us to change our plans in terms of the destination, but we weren’t disappointed in any way. We pitched up at Hertford Club Site, on the edge of the Hertfordshire county town, and were given the usual warm Friendly Club welcome from our Holiday Site team.
It took me a few minutes to figure out how to pitch Vango’s Force Ten Vortex 300 three-berth tent for the first time, more specifically trying to correspond the instructions with the actual tent in front of me.
Then it was a case of thermal mats in, self-inflating roll mats, er self-inflated, and sleeping bags out of their stuff-sacks. Once pitched up we headed into a nearby village where we enjoyed a good pub meal before heading back to the Club Site. The temperature was beginning to plummet but the three of us managed to pack on enough layers to keep the cold at bay while we watched an old edition of Top Gear in the tent (the one where they drove to the North Pole – it makes us feel warmer).
We then settled down for a good night’s sleep. And that’s just what we had. Yes, we awoke early, and it was certainly very cold, but using the right kit and layering up, we’d each had a pretty good night’s sleep.
I was (naturally) the first to emerge from the tent where I discovered frost all around us and even ice on the bottom of the tent.
Breakfast was soon on the go. Bacon butties for Tom and I while Elliot enjoyed a packet of expedition porridge. All washed down by steaming mugs of tea. Bliss.
We quickly struck camp, loaded up the car and headed home to see mum, who had decided the cold weather was something she’d leave us boys to enjoy. And that’s exactly what we did.
Editor, Camping & Caravanning
I've been a journalist for more than 20 years and a magazine editor for at least a dozen of them. I have a love of the great outdoors, not to mention camping in all its forms, which is a great way to get out there. But I don't just like admiring the countryside, I love getting active by sailing, trekking and walking, canoeing (when I get the chance) and mountain-biking.