Y’all know I’m into cycling, right? …But what about camping? …Well, my experiences of camping as a teenager were never great ones and I have school trips to thank for that. My only experience of camping as an adult was at Bestival back in 2015 so it was about time me and the great outdoors got acquainted again properly… and what better time to do it than on a weekend away to a Sportive (or two!).
Why Consider Camping For Your Next Event
To be honest, I didn’t even know this was a thing. I’d seen plenty of friends camping at events like Spitfire Scramble (a 24 hour endurance running event) which completely makes sense as you and your team need to stay onsite and close to the start line as possible. The interest in camping for me only got ignited when I got to hang out with members of the Decathlon Bloggers Community and of course through following some of my favourite bloggers like Sian (The Girl Outdoors) and Beki (Miss Wheezy). So when the opportunity came up to camp at the Tour of Wessex (not riding though) and then at the Tour of Cambridgeshire (read about that here), I jumped at the chance! …It’s pretty cheap, it’s close to the event (think, 5 minute walk to the start line) and… well, it’s like a mini holiday, right?!
Choosing The Right Tent For Your Trip
Let’s be real here… I’m not the typical outdoorsy type so my main goal was to be comfortable and have an experience that I would want to repeat. And surely this starts with the tent? …the tent I had when we went to Bestival defo did the job but the one thing I remember thinking after that weekend was “next time I go camping, I have to be able to stand up in my tent…”. So I got another one bedroom flat also known as the Quechua Air Seconds 4.1 XL Family Camping Tent.
The Air Seconds 4.1 (as it will now be known) has the internal space divided into two areas – a bedroom and a living area. The bedroom is zipped up and is entirely not outdoors, if that makes sense. Like, no bugs could get in unless you leave the zip undone! It has two compartments in the bedroom perfect for storing a few personal belongings and with a double mattress set up there was enough space for bags etc (two people). If you’re going to have 4 people in the bedroom area, two mattresses, then it would be more of a “camping” experience for sure. It could work.
The living area was sizeable… we were so busy we only ever used half of the space, where we set up the table under the window. It has a window on each side, one is mesh (so needs to be closed when it’s raining) and the other one is clear plastic so can be open all the time. I found plenty of places to hang bits and bobs like the camping light and my coat and the tent also had some pockets in the living area where we stored some more bits like the car key and other things we were using regularly.
The only thing I thought the tent was missing were some poles to hold the front door flap up to make it into a little patio so the table and chairs could be set up outside whilst keeping us protected from the rain or (if you’re lucky!) the sun.
Setting Up and Packing Down The Air Seconds 4.1 Tent
I think the very first time we set up the Air Seconds 4.1 it took us 45 minutes in total which you can see condensed in a 7 second time-lapse video below! The second time we set it up – a week later – I think it only took us around 15/20 minutes as there was minimal need to read instructions (and less arguing?!).
Packing the tent down was simple too; a quick release of the air on the main sections (the three blue tubes running across the tent) and a little bit of basic origami and the tent is back in it’s bag. It think it too about 15 minutes maximum. Did you catch me clean and pressing the tent on Instagram?? It weighs in at 12kg which isn’t bad in my opinion. Also, does anyone know if there is a way to clean a tent when you pack it down? Or is that part of the fun… opening it next time and finding all the dead bugs?! lol. Please leave me tips, or ways to cope in the comments, yeah.
Some More Camping Essentials To Consider
No matter how perfect the tent was, it was never going to be enough for me so off we went to Decathlon (Chingford is my nearest) to pick up a few more essentials.
- blow up mattress
- two chairs
- pump for the tent
- extra pegs
I also raided my cupboards and drawers for the following:
- yoga mats to go between the ground and the mattress
- solar powered lights
- family sized cool bag
- camping light (which I actually bought to light photos lol)
- quick drying yoga towel
- spare toilet paper
- bin bags
- water bottles
- portable phone charger
- sleeping bags
- picnic rugs
- head torch
- Osprey packing cubes
These are some things I wish I took along on our first trip:
- large bottles of water
- insect spray
- hand sanitiser
- washing up bucket / cloth / liquid
- kitchen paper
- gas stove
- ziploc bag (to put toiletries in when going to the shower)
- flip flops (esp for the shower)
And because this was soooo much fun, I’m gonna be doing it all over again at Revolve24 in September. I’m taking part in the 6 hour track cycling challenge in a team of 2 at Brands Hatch. The aim of the game will be to ride as may 3.9km laps of the course as humanly possible in the time. So I guess it’s time to get training and work out our nutrition and game strategy! There are a ton of different challenge formats over the weekend so check it out… would be fab to see some familiar faces down there…
Any other event camping tips for me?!