Will there be decent coffee?

Posted on April 3, 2012

Fam Fibro is preparing for its first tentative steps into the wild. Our first camping trip. In a place where there are no amenities, no mobile phone reception, and, assumingly, no cafes serving skim lattes. With one sugar. Takeaway, thanks.

Dear God, what am I doing?

The last time I slept in a tent, it had something to do with a New Year’s Eve party at my sister’s house. Or Christmas maybe? The details are blurred. The Builder pitched our tent on the lawn and, for some reason, we placed our sleeping bags and pillows at the wrong end. We slept on a downhill slant all night, the blood racing merrily to our heads, our toes clinging to the ends of the sleeping bag in the vain hope that we would not slide down into a corner by morning. The hangover, when she came, was not pretty.

Dear God, what am I doing?

This time, we are going camping with two other families from school. The boys will love it. Love. It. That’s what I keep telling myself.

One of the families has enough gear to outfit the rest of us. They are very good hosts. They tell us that they’re very keen to have friends to go camping with. Apparently, this means you have to have enough gear to tempt non-campers into the wild. They have shower tents and toilet tents and kitchen tents – and they don’t mix any of those three up. They know what they’re doing. That’s what I keep telling myself.

We have lists of things to pack. Eggs and bacon and rolls. Cereal, snacks, fruit. Barbecue stuff. Wine (asterisked with *lots of next to it). Instant coffee. “Maybe we could take the plunger?” I venture to The Builder. Who scoffs. Apparently one doesn’t plunge when one is a camper. One drinks instant. And likes it. Fresh air makes everything taste better.

Dear God, what am I doing?

Wish us luck.

Is yours a family of campers? Any tips for newbies like us?

[image: If only I were just eating camping cookies such as these from The Treat Garden]


  1. Felicity

    I waiting for the postscript – did you survive without the plunger? I’m off to see if there’s a follow up with lines brimming with enthusiasm for your newfound holiday mode.

    Happy day my friend and thank you for including this in the April “Post Of The Month” club.

  2. Rhi @ Hummingbird's Song

    Oh good luck, you’re braver than me! I think the last time I went camping was when I was 14!

  3. MultipleMum

    I thought of you over the weekend (dry weather! A miracle!). We had an awesome camping trip. I hope your virginal experience was equally good? x

  4. tinsenpup.net

    Geez, I would have just taken the plunger. We’re not savages. I assume you’re not hiking into the depths of the Amazon or anything. You have a car to put things in, right? 🙂 I’m sure you’re having an awesome time. Really sure. Almost positive. Ahem.

  5. Crazy Garden Lady

    Two words – moka pot.
    It’s made out of metal, it won’t break!
    I can do camping quite joyously when Crazy Car Man makes me a coffee from the moka pot every morning.
    Uluru at dawn – moka pot.
    Rainbow beach when it’s raining – moka pot.
    No sleep at Lake Eyre because of mice (yes mice) – 2 moka pots.
    Girding my loins for the Birdsville Track – moka pot.
    Ahhh, moka pot. Take that, coffee and baby wipes and you’re all good!

  6. Cath

    We have the little Italian Espresso maker that we ONLY use for camping (have to descale it every time the night before!) There is something about good coffee in the open air that just makes life (and the lack of sleep on a mattress that is NEVER thick or comfortable enough) worth it. Other than that – wine, the slanket, a beanie, a good rain jacket (guessing you don’t have Gortex pants as well… that’s probably just a me thing), matches and you are set!

  7. Blonde One (Deb)

    Are you kidding, you need a decent coffee when camping more than any other time. So a stove top coffee maker, chamois towels, yoga mats or something light weight that is rolled up easily that goes under the blow up mattresses to keep the cold out a bit more. A brush and dust pan. A large pot you can come up with wonderful one pot wonders whilst camping or curry all made ready to go. A decent light (gas) and lots of Vanilla Mozi.

  8. lipgloss mumma

    The closest we get to camping is venturing to our caravan. But it’s not really close seeing we have running water, electricity, cooking, TV and a shower. Hardly close. I can camp for one night no problem, love the camp fire at night, toasting marshmallows under the stars. But next morning I’m outta there heading for the closest shower!

    But I’m sure you guys will have a great time and yes the boys will love it!

  9. Seana Smith

    Oh I would like to go camping… maybe not with all four kids though and absolutely and most certainly NOT with my husband. He’s done his bit for camping. Am going to buy a tent just AS SOON as the garage has been tidied out…

    Good luck, be brave!

  10. Holly

    Love camping! I have camped with people who don’t love it so much though and their tip for being able to sleep okay in a tent is to have a good mattress, lots of pillows and lots of warm blankets and/or doonas. That way you are nice and warm and hopefully comfy at night and getting an okay sleep when you’re camping makes everything else so much better. And I agree with everyone else: take the coffee plunger!!

  11. therhythmmethod

    Everything does tastes better in the fresh air, especially wine 😉
    And I think it’s actually illegal to have boy children and not take them camping. They will LOVE it. We took ours camping in summer, and it rained and hailed, but they just lapped it up.
    Have fun!

  12. Photographer Mum

    We are campers, but not out wild in the bush type. I always make sure there is an amenities block if possible! I agree with the others who have said to take chocolate, coffee, wine, chair and dustpan – we have a habit of forgetting ours.
    You’ll have a great time! Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  13. joeh

    Dear God, What are you doing?

    Stay at home and turn off the power.

    Cranky Old Man

  14. Tales of a Tai Tai

    Well done you for taking the plunge. Or not, as it may be. Last time I camped was in England, in the rain. It was awful. I’m not sure I can ever go back! Can’t wait to hear the tales 😉

  15. Kerry

    The plunger is as essential as the wine and chocolate. My husband and kids loved camping. We now live in a country village where they camped for years! I am not a camper but went once or twice with above essentials. It was actually quite pleasant but don’t tell them!

  16. Jo @Country life experiment

    Country Boy announced to me that we should go camping sometime. It sounds like hell to me. When you get back be sure to write some ‘how to’ posts for newbies like me!

  17. jumbledstuff

    Take the plunger. Camping doesn’t have to be about deprivation. I glamp (glamour camping). We glamped for 10 weeks. I’m with Diminishing Lucy – our two boys were much more independent after those 10 weeks. Hell, I don’t even have to make their breakfast any more 🙂

    There is something about camping. So many people don’t like it but it’s simple, relaxing and you can just be.

    You don’t need luck, you just need the plunger.

  18. Coal Valley View

    I love camping (although I do not love the packing and unpacking!). You WILL love it though but you have to embrace the grot factor. Everything and everyone will get grotty. Take wipes unless you want to be escorting the kids to the bathrooms all the time. That shower you have when you get home will be like heaven. Pack the vino. A good chair is essential. I find it easier to just have the kids wearing rashie type tops and board shorts as they’re easier to clean/rinse out instead of a whole heap of heavy clothing but that is especially for longer trip. Not sure how long you are going for. If you set up the tent without a major domestic occurring you are off to a great start 🙂 So much fun!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it. Mel xx

  19. allison tait

    You know that I am taking note of all your tips. My To Do List is now very long…

  20. Stella Orbit

    I wish I could send you photos from my last camping adventure. Proper glasses, lots of gin. And my friend Dave’s coffee machine. Yes. Really. It was almost fun. Except for the outdoors part.

  21. Diminishing Lucy

    My coffee solution is coffee bags. It’s not plunger quality, but nicer than instant.

    Wine, socks and any other peace loving substances you can find. And marshmallows.

    The boys will love it and so will you! Promise! (Your friends sound most organised, BTW.)

    We camp a fair bit. It’s a quick and easy holiday. In all seriousness, it makes the kids so much more independant in an amazingly short time. It enables a huge amount of talking and a totally different style of play and conversations and imaginations.

    I love the shift. The shift from organised routine driven careful Mummy to “ah fuck it, your teeth wont rot and no don’t worry about a change of socks and ooops I forgot to put a bra on but I dont care cos we’re camping….”

    And the best bit? When the kids fall exhausted in a heap and the grown ups sit round the fire with red wine. The smell of woodsmoke and burnt marshmallows and red plonk and laughing. I am envious!!

  22. Mum on the Run

    We love camping.
    Take a dustpan and brush – sand in the tent is annoying – until you’ve drunk enough wine, anyway.
    Be warned – you may wear a beanie at some point – voluntarily.
    We’re camping over Easter.
    I can’t wait – but am a little apprehensive about spending the whole trip sober.
    It might change my camping loving ways.
    🙂 x

  23. Alison

    We have taken all of our boys camping from the age of six months. I even did an overnight hike with my baby last year – pack on the back, baby on the front. We usually take our stove-top cafetiere camping, and we only have a lightweight set up. It is the small luxuries you appreciate all the more in the wild. Have fun!

  24. Marcy

    Sounds like a great trip! It’s fun to bring along some Jiffy Pop popcorn to pop over a fire or cook stove. Have fun.

  25. Kelly Exeter

    The boys WILL love it. And you will make the best of it and I admire you for that.

    For me, not being a camper was nearly a deal breaker for Mr X. Happily he got over it.

    I sleep with a fan on in the bedroom no matter what time of year it is. I am pretty sure you can’t have a fan on in the background if you go camping. Now THAT is what you call a deal breaker 🙂

  26. Maxabella

    We think we’d like to go, but not enough to actually go. All that dirt and bugs. Although, living at home is reasonably similar, so maybe I’m getting there… x

  27. allison tait

    I want you to know that I am exhausted just reading all your comments. I will pack the plunger, my slippers… and the slanket. A multipurpose garment. Who could argue, right?

  28. Giving Back Girl

    It’s our second attempt at putting up the Taj Mahal this weekend – I’m already worried about the weather (and the cold where we’re going). I went shopping and brought Must Haves that will keep out tent more orderly than the chaos of our first attempt. I included slippers in that list. New family slippers. I think my husband has put those in the same criteria as your husbands coffee plunger. He went off to bed in a huff tonight after my wanton spending spree. Lets see who’s thanking me on the wet grass on those cold mornings. Wishing you warm weather and happy tent putting up. I know the right word is ‘erection’ but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to say it.

  29. Deb @ Bright and Precious

    Sounds like you’re going with organised, civilised people. A great start! I like the thought of camping, but hate the reality of it. The best thing about it will be coming back home and appreciating your warm comfy bed. I hope it is nothing that I have just projected though.. I hope, for you, that it will be fabulous! 🙂

  30. A Farmer's Wife

    My only piece of advice is to take the plunger. Instant coffee tastes even worse after a poor nights sleep on a dodgy mattress in a flappy tent. Seriously – pack that plunger.

  31. Naomi

    Good luck!

    We went camping for the first time last long weekend. There was no wifi, there was no shower, there was no lovely cafe nearby and we were all going to love it come hell or high water!

    Ok, so we took every iDevice known to man, and double decker in car chargers, but hey, the blue eyed boy had homework!

    And you know what? We all survived. We all in the end loved it so much we’re doing it again.

    But, there will be real tea, and real coffee in a plunger, because I can go without a shower, but not my much needed caffeine.

  32. Meggsie

    If it is not too late run away. Camping is quite nice while you’re there as long as there is alcohol but there is so much faffing about getting there and then unpacking and washing when you get home, all with a crook neck from the air mattress, it is just not worth it. No matter how much the kids love it. Good luck.

  33. ClaireyHewitt

    I hate camping.

    I am of the visit for the day and go home after dinner variety of camper. But if you must go, the mattress is most important and the sleeping bag, get the best one you can. I have one for negative 10, just in case it gets cold. But of course I have never used it while camping!

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