Camping at Wenderholm was my very first ‘actual’ camping experience, so every assumption I had prior to camping, were actual assumptions. I knew that my sleep that night was not going to be comfortable; that the food was probably not going to be filling and that there will be no shade from the heat of the sun. And in the end, I will probably suffer some allergic reaction, knowing how sensitive my skin is. Everything that was expected, happened. I had not had the best night’s sleep, because I was ill-prepared, I only had a sleeping bag with no mattress to use as padding underneath. The food was not filling because I knew it would be tolerable for just two meals; dinner and breakfast. And though it was in everyone’s best interest for the sun to be out, it was truthfully not in mine. I was hoping for an overcast so that sitting out under the sky would be more enjoyable.
Pitching up the dome canvas tent was easy enough, even if I didn’t know by experience how to, at first. As every other member in our group have camping experience, I was able to follow through with every aspect of pitching the tent up. There were three main things that I found hard in this particular activity, one was pushing through the extendable metal poles through the pocket holes the run across the tent, as the fabric keeps getting caught in where the metal poles join up. Another was pushing the pegs through the ground using just my bare hands. The last, being the difficulty with slotting each ‘key bits’ into the metal poles; a lot of arm strength was needed.
Alas the (dome canvas) tent is pitched and after a few trips back to the car to get the other camping gear ie. bedding/ and kitchen facilities I tripped over the strings that were holding up the tent once or twice. The boys tried to build the stretcher but had to restart once or twice, because of lack of instruction manuals to refer to. Packing it up the next day was also hard. It was the girls turn, and we could not find the hole to pull the whole metal piece out. It was also a hassle and a struggle as again the metal kept getting stuck onto the fabric.
Packing up (dome canvas) tent was even more of a mountain to climb! It was easy enough taking it down, but folding it to the right size to fit into the bag took most of the time. It had to be done at least three times! In comparison to the dome canvas tent, the single tent that Matt had slept in was a different story; it was both easy to pitch and pack. No hassle at all. I guess it is valid to say that the difference might be in their size and that the difficulty lays within that.
Prior to travelling to the camping grounds, we stopped over at New World to pick up what we might want for dinner and breakfast. Our choices were limited to what we can cook in a pot and a frying pan. At that time I could not think of anything appropriate to buy, as we only had a very compact chilly bin in hand! We did not even think to buy oil to cook with. Our sausages were cooked with just a splash of water from our drinking bottles! By the time the soup was cooking, we realized we needed to stir it with something, and what was at disposal was just Shaun’s pocket knife. Fortunately we had enough cups to share between us, but we did not have any spoon to sip the soup with.
What I reckon is that we were just ill prepared. If the camping trip lasted for 2 to 3 days, the boot of Shaun’s car will not even be enough for the things I would probably insisted we carry.
I have nothing to say for seating, as we had no problems with it. What was lacking was just shelter from the sun when it got too hot.
Social aspect was a major part in that experience. After pitching up the tents, all everyone wanted to do was just sit down and have a drink. Soon after- we were playing cards. A little bit later, someone suggested we take a walk down to the nearby beach. When we got back, it was the same until a dinner break, and it was back to sitting around the table again, conversing.
Soon day turned into night, and all the camping lanterns were brought out. Due to the brightness of the light it was hard to see people you were conversing with from across the table. It was also too bright if you were sat directly in front of it. I noticed that other people had placed their torches upside down to balance on top of the lip of a bottle for a softer light source. When walking away, for a toilet visit, if there was no more than one lantern it would have been a problem as obviously the place you leave will be completely immersed in darkness. It would be no problem if it was only you alone, but what if what you will be leaving were a group of friends sat at a table?
Fun and conversations went well into the night, which made going to sleep a little bit hard. It would be a struggle to get some shut-eye amongst the noise that was being made and it would also be antisocial to just get up, leave and call it a night.
The following day- I found I can no longer sleep past 7 o’clock because of the sunlight shining through the tent. The day had begun and so was I forced to get up too.
Packing up our things was a task that I definitely kept putting off. I was tired and I missed the comfort of my bed. I wanted a shower and I yearned for more sleep. Caffeine would have been good too! So finding out that it will take us at least three times to fold and refold the dome canvas tent was more than frustrating.
To say that, that was my first ‘actual’ camping experience, was a downer. Though I had a fun night, I would gladly exchange it for a comfy sleep and coming home with no allergic reactions. However as a role-playing experience and as a tool to investigate and research for our new brief, it was definitely eye-opening and helpful.