“So Summer was upon us. Gloriously – though perhaps oddly for our Northern hemisphere friends – Christmas and Summer collide in New Zealand, so my wife and I had concocted a plan to spend the long Christmas break introducing our 3 and 1 year old boys to the joys of camping.
Turns out planning – and the reality of – camping with toddlers, isn’t like planning camping without them….imagine our surprise! For starters there’s the sleeping arrangements, then the eating arrangements, then the transport and activity arrangements…
For sleeping Mr 3 year old wasn’t a problem – he’s been in a bed since 20 months. But Mr 1 year old could have presented a problem. How in hell did the average ‘portacot’ ever get tagged ‘porta’? As a colleague recently pointed out, the standard ‘portacot’ has more in common, weight and size wise, with your common-or-garden shoulder mounted rocket launcher, than a ‘portable cot’.
Thank the Lord, then, for our phil&teds traveller. Tiny enough when packed down to slot into a rare unused corner of the car trunk; so light that I could sling it over my back for an overnight in a hut deep in the mountains; full size, yet a perfect fit in the tent; and only 1 minute to erect (critical for a harried parent at day’s end!)
Feeding, again, could have been hell. But our trusty lobster usefully appended to a picnic table we discovered near our tent site, as it did to the table in the bush hut. The daily wanders into the bush clad valleys were made achievable with our 2 phil&teds escape carriers. So much so that I proposed a 4 hour ‘tramp’ (as we call hill walking & camping in NZ) into a remote hut, with friends who have kids the same age… Oh boy.
My wife gently pointed out the load we’d need to take, as if to an innocent child: travel cot, lobster, food, sleeping bags for all, nappies (diapers), clothing, safety kit…the pile looked ominous. So imagine my joy when I realised that we could fit all of that in or on the escapes, plus kids. Yup – I admit we looked like a walking phil&teds promotional troop, but my word we felt puffed up. Hitting the trails as we did in our pomp…but WITH kids! Yeee haaaaaa!
The kids, as they do, just joined in as if this was absolutely the norm, resplendent in the ‘superhero’ capes that they insisted were essential wear. It worked so well – sun, wind, rain and mosquitoes included, that we’re going again. Next weekend actually.
To be frank we had some headwinds in all of this: the worst NZ Summer weather in living memory with more rain before lunch than a Vietnamese Monsoon. But actually, aside from a little cabin fever, even that didn’t detract from our rampant joy at being able to get out there and do all of this, with our magic wee boys.
It’s set us on an even more expanded course of ‘doing our own stuff’ with the kids in tow. This morning it was early breakfast on the beach with the kids while mum and dad took turns kite surfing. They loved it. Man oh man, so did we! Tomorrow? Bungy jump anyone?
Richard – phil&teds”
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