Packing for a camping trip is harder than Rubik’s cube

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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Is camping ever worth it? When you factor in the preparation time and the time getting sorted afterwards, you need to add at least half a day of work for each 24 hours you’re away.

It begins with burrowing in the attic looking for miscellaneous bits of kit which are so essential.

Then there is shopping for additional pieces of equipment you’ve seen other friends using and thought to yourself, yes, I really need that. Like yet another blow-up bed which is sure to mitigate the weight disparities of you and your partner far more effectively that the three previous versions.

You know what I mean – when one of you is so elevated their nose touches the tent roof while the other person is creating a sink hole in the grass under the groundsheet.

After the kit’s sorted, it’s packing the car, then unpacking, and then repacking several times with children in position, out of position, and rearranged again to get the optimal space to stuff the pliable assorted squishable items around their legs.

Taking the dog on his first camping trip adds another time/space conundrum/dimension. I bundled mine into the smallest boot space possible without attracting the attention of animal welfare. His basket was on top of everything else therefore his dribble height was raised, cascading slobber down onto the children who were hemmed in by items that didn’t include raincoats.

The whole boot had to be unpacked to find the waterproofs. Then the back seat had to be unpacked for the children to get into their coats, before it was all repacked. Aaargh.

It’s the same when you get home. The endless unpacking, cleaning and drying-out of the baggage, tents, poles, and pegs. The scraping of the cooker, the pots and pans. Then washing the clothes several times to get rid of the smell of the camp fire. And the scraping of the dirt from under all the ruined finger and toe nails. And then back into the attic to stow it all away, including all the new gadgets which never came out of their boxes.

Yep. Camping is the economic holiday that keeps on giving. Luckily it involves friends, in the five minutes of relaxing each day, who make it all worthwhile.