Tag Archives: awning

Two adults, one camper van and baby!

In preperation for Bugjam we though it would be a good idea to have a bit of a trial run camping with Stella. Before she was born we’ve been preparing a list of things we think she and we will need to take care of her, doing a trial run means we can test everything and make sure we haven’t forgotten anything either..

We booked one nights camp at Cobbs Hill farm in Bexhill, it was £20.00 for all three of us, electricity and enough room to put up an awning, Lolly mum and dad came too in their palace on wheels and the campsite ensured we were parked right next to each other.


The staff at the site were friendly, polite and helpful,  the facilities and site well maintained and the field we were camping on nice and level, all in all I would recommend this site.

Anyway, on to the business of camping with a baby. Prior to our arrival I had instructed Lolly not to help with any of the setting up, I need to be able to do it on my own while she takes care of Stella. First things first was to get the awning up. My long time friend and excellent glass fitter Rob had already installed and awning J rail for me so all I had to do was get the awning up and connected to the van, that process took about 20 minutes to get the awning up, connected, pegged down and groundsheet laid out. The awning I bought second hand, it’s a Kyham motordome tourer and once up you can easily disconnect it from the van and drive off somewhere. I’d also emptied the contents of the roof box before I put the awning up so I could then chuck it all in the awning and not need to access the roof box.

The awning is great for the simple reason that you can keep the bazillion things you need for a small child and two adults in it without cluttering up the van.


Next job, Stella’s bed. 

Before she was born I bought a cab bunk, this consists of 4 metal poles, 2 end poles and some grey canvas, once you put it all together it is wider at one end than it is at the other, the thing end goes by the steering wheel, you rest each end of the bunk on the sills of the front door cards and hey presto, the van now sleeps three. Stella is only 5 weeks so too young to sleep on the bunk alone. While I was on paternity leave a few people at work signed a card and gave some money to buy us a gift, I asked for a thing called a sleepy head deluxe. We put a blanket on top of the bunk canvas to insulate any cold air coming upwards and then the sleepy head on top of that.


At the moment Stella is finding breastfeeding a bit tricky as she is tongue tied, Lolly is expressing so we feed her from a bottle which means you need to sterilise stuff, we used the Milton cold water steriliser and sterilising tablets, worked like a charm and you can get loads in it plus all you need is cold water and a sterilising tablet. You could use any container however the proper Milton one has marks on the side to tell you the volume of water in and the top locks shut so you can drive about with it and not spill sterilising water everywhere.

To heat up bottles we just used the old fashioned hot water and bowl method which worked perfectly fine, we didn’t bring any special changing stuff either, just the changing bag with enough supplies for a night away.

Once all that was done we got the Cobb BBQ on, drank some beer and had a lovely evening with the in laws and a couple of their friends who came to visit. Before long it was time to turn in, we put Stella in her sleepy head and crashed for the night.

Normally, Stella wakes up for food at least a couple of times a night for food, we thought she might be a bit freaked out by the environment but she slept, well, like a baby only waking up the once, here she is still asleep at about 9 the following morning…


The sleepy head and cab bunk combo worked really well, Stella got a great nights sleep which meant Lolly did too (i sleep through everything), Stella was easy to access when need to and Lolly could sit at the end of the bed without her feet sat in a travel cot on the floor. If still remains a tiny baby then the sleepy head will be good for a couple of years at least and the bunk a good few more.

The morning was a very lazy affair, Lindi made us a lovely breakfast, Lolly didn’t look so zombie like and Stella was a happy baby, winner!

Before we checked out we got a few pictures of us with Stella and our mobile camping rig, one with Daddy.


And one with Mummy


We also put Stella’s festival hat on her…


For the rest of the day we headed to the beach which was blowing a gale, ate some lunch, visited friends and then headed home.

In conclusion, everything we brought worked, we didn’t miss anything out and the most valuable asset was grandparents!

Below is what I usually take when I go away for a night in the van..


This is what we took for one night away with Stella…


Roll on bugjam, we’re ready !!!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Le Conclusion

We’ve been home almost a week now, I went straight back to work, Lolly had the remainder of the week off before starting her new job. It’s the longest trip we’ve done in the van both in distance (just over 2000 miles) and time (21 days), I thought it would be a good idea to write down what we would do differently next time and things we (mainly me) would like to do to the van for our next adventure. 

I also need to cut my grass!

  
Moving About

We both agree that whilst it was nice to move about and see different places if we do it again, we’ll get as far as we want to go and then stay there for a while, maybe spend a couple of days getting somewhere, hold up for a week, then move on somewhere not too far away, stay there for more than a couple of nights, less moving the better. It’s a pain packing up the van every other day, taking all the thermal curtains down, putting the bed up, moving the surfboards from the back to the front and then back again when taking off, it would be much easier if we could arrive, set up camp and then leave it like that for a bit.

Stuff

I doubt we’d take much less, maybe less clothes (especially if we head back to Montalivet) and i’d deffo find a better way to store the body boards as they take up a lot of room in the van, there are a couple of things i’d take next time for sure. I will definitely have on board a reverse polarity adapter for the 240v hook up. We came across this twice, once in an aire and once at a campsite, from what I have read a lot of the Flot Bleu aire’s are wired up reverse which could wreak all sorts of havoc on your electrics, luckily our PMS 3 has a reverse polarity indicator.

I’d like to see if I could get another top box on the roof, in there i’d put all the bedding and one of those fold up table and chairs for when we eat or just wanted to sit outside the van.

Van upgrades.

Solar, I definitely want a solar solution for the leisure battery, whilst I enjoyed staying at the campsites with all their facilities I also really enjoyed staying at the aires, most of which had no electricity supply. I could keep the fridge going for a lot longer which would mean Lolly would have ice for her G&T’s (plus the ice won’t melt and flood the fridge), i’d have cold beers and our food would keep, the split charge kit has massively helped keep the charge up when on the move as has rewiring the fridge.

A pop top, i’ve never really seen the point of them until I saw Dickie and Julias van, I really liked the fact that they didn’t have to fold down their seats in the rear when it was time for bed, they just popped the roof, put their duvet and pillows up there and climbed up to crash, they also have a sunroof so I wouldn’t have to ditch ours which is a feature I really like. I would however have to revisit how the top box attaches to the roof, rails bolted to the pop top would do the job.

An awning, more for rain than sun, it does sometimes rain when cruising about the place in summer and to have a shelter to sit under while nature does it’s thing would be much nicer than having to sit in the van with all the stuff we just chucked in to prevent it getting wet !

Curtains, Van-x preferably, our just kamper thermal curtains are great but they are annoying to deploy, lots of licking and then occasionally falling down in the night, curtains for the rear and two side windows would be great.

Location

We really enjoyed France and both feel we have a lot more to explore and will definitely be going back, we’d both really like to do a similar trip in Spain and then maybe Morocco, dreams for now but you never know !

There is a part of me that looked enviously at the size and space the huge motorhomes had that we were frequently parked up next to, also having your own toilet and shower means you could do a whole trip without ever going to a campsite using just your own facilities, what puts me off is pretty much all of the owners had upwards of 20 years on us, we’re not ready to roll with the olds, we’re still reasonably young and happy being in the cool crowd with our lovely yellow T4  !

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: