Kate Sutton



As you know, I recently went to Camp Bestival and I should preface this post by saying that the festival itself is great (for the most part … although I question whether Dexter is now too old for it – at the grand old age of ten), but it soon became clear that I’m not a natural camper.


I wasn’t initially phased by the prospect of camping on my own … after all, I do everything on my own already, and I’ve been to the festival 4 times before, but I hadn’t quite anticipated just how lonely and exhausting it would be.


So, the festival itself aside, here’s why I’ve decided I hate camping:


1.     THE TENT


First of all, let’s get something straight – glamping isn’t real camping. If you’ve got electricity in your yurt or proper beds in your bell tent, then basically you’re staying in a hotel. The idea of erecting a 4-6 man tent with Dexter ‘helping’ was enough to send me to my local camping shop to pick up a 2-man pop up tent.


BIG mistake. HUGE!


Firstly, when they say ‘2-man’ they mean 2 very small men … midgets (can I say midgets?) if you will. Trust me, there is no way 2 grown men can get in that tent. Believe me, I tried. I think we could have got our 2 inflatable mattresses in (just about) but it would have been a real squeeze. Luckily, my friend had loaned me her 2-man pop-up tent at the very last minute after wetting herself laughing at my optimism about only needing the one tent. When she’d finished laughing, she said: “Take my tent and never bring it back. I will never, EVER camp again.”


Did I take heed? Nope. Annoyingly, she was right.


Because we had no shelter for our food, clothes and assorted camping shit, it all had to come in with me so I went to bed cuddling up to a holdall full of clothes and a crate of beer and woke up to a camping stove and 120 wet wipes.

As for trying to get dressed in this particular tent, it wasn’t happening.   Picture the scene: my head touches the ceiling as it is, I’m sat on an inflatable mattress so every time I so much as move an inch I wobble so much I fall over, so when it came to trying to take my strapless bra off I gave myself a hernia and concussion at the same time.


I decided to just wear the same outfit after that.


2.     THE FOOD


You might think cooking your own food in The Great Outdoors is fun. When it’s just you that’s doing the cooking trust me, it gets tiring, very quickly. I bought a one ring gas camping stove and again, I should have known better because by the time you boil your beans (#notaeuphemism), you’ve now got to fry your eggs … and then when you dish your eggs up, you’ve got to reheat your beans … but then your eggs are cold. See where I’m going with this?


I just about managed to make a hot chocolate every day, which wasn’t particularly taxing, except … we ran out of milk on the first day, there was no shop on site and we ended up begging the Smoothie stand to sell us a pint of UHT milk for £1.


We took frozen bacon with us so we at least had something fresh to cook when we arrived but of course, with no way of chilling food, we’re left eating tinned food. Tinned food and eggs.   Hot dogs, and eggs. Tinned curry …. and eggs. For four days. Nu-uh. No thanks.


And also, because we had no shelter, other than our tent for midgets, as soon as it started raining, I couldn’t cook anyway. Well, I could have but cooking in the rain is a line I just wasn’t prepared to cross.


Which brings me onto …




OK, so when you live in the UK you understand that the weather can be somewhat … changeable, and that’s fine … WHEN YOU’RE INDOORS AT HOME WATCHING TV BY THE FIRE. However, being outside in the rain is a different story.


I can just about manage it during the day – I’m prepared, I have my obligatory bright pink waterproof jacket that comes out once a year, but sleeping in The Devil’s Tent (see above) when it’s raining and your head is 1cm from the roof … is HELL.


There’s enough condensation as it is and you know that just one wrong move will have you soaked to the skin … and that’s just from inside your tent! Add a downpour and I’d rather having a smear at the Doctors than go camping again.


And don’t forget that when you go to bed you’ll be freezing, but when you can’t sleep and you wake in the middle of the night (see the next point) you’ll be hotter than molten lava.


4.     THE NOISE


Oh God, the noise! I don’t mean during the day, even I’m not that critical … although, typically, we just happened to pitch next to a group of kids that not only went mental for those bloody loom bands, they were selling them too … to absolutely every Tom, Dick or Harry that walked past. I don’t just mean kids, but adults, groups, teengers, old ladies … no-one was off limits. We were torn between admiring their tenacity and wanting to throttle them … with their teeny, tiny loom bands! ARGH!!!


(And yes, we did buy one … 50p I’ll never see again!)


No, I mean the noise at night. And the thing is, I came prepared this year … and brought 6 pairs of ear plugs, but it still wasn’t enough to drown out the incessant crying from small kids and babies at 4am. And you know how I know it was 4am? Because they bloody woke me up.


And before proud parents of little ones tell me I’m being unreasonable, save your breath. I know I am. I understand they’re little kids and that’s what they do sometimes – don’t forget, I’ve got two of my own, but when the parents sleep through the crying and don’t do anything to pacify their child, whether they’re upset or hungry, or whatever, then I’m going to get a little pissed off. I’m cold, I’m uncomfortable. I MISS MY BED!!! Of course I’m going to be grumpy being woken up by several screaming toddlers, especially if they’re not mine.




I think as festival goers we appreciate that the toilets are going to be far from perfect and nothing like what you’re used to at home. You know this going in, so you’re prepared. You always take your own toilet roll and a deep breath when approaching. However, I just don’t want to put up with crappy (literally) toilets anymore! I’m too old! Nearly throwing up just before you have a wee?   No thanks! It’s bad enough have to clear up the kids’ skid marks at home!


Just give me a nice, clean toilet bowl … I don’t think I’m asking too much.



I’ll be honest, I think the main reason I feel the way I do about camping is because I’m on my own. Camping can be lonely, it’s cold at night and you have no-one to keep your warm, it’s invariably wet and when you can’t share this sheer misery with another adult, you just grown exponentially fed-up. I could perhaps laugh it off a lot more if I could share the suffering with someone else, but instead I have to try and remain chipper for Dexter’s sake.


It’s exhausting.


Camping is not for me. Put me in a luxury lodge or a fancy yurt, I’ll consider it … but mention sleeping in a tent again and you’ll regret it. Funny thing is, I know a lot of people who absolutely adore it! I mean they don’t just like it, they LOVE it! Perhaps they love the ‘being one with nature thing’, or maybe it’s just a time to get away from technology with their loved ones … but I’m afraid I would much rather be with my loved ones somewhere warm, cosy (preferably abroad) and almost definitely with wifi.


So tell me …. are you a camping lover or hater?


kate sutton


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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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  1. I used to love it when I was a kid but now I really can’t think of anything I’d less like to do than spend a weekend using public toilets and showers, living in cramped spaces and sharing a bed with a 5-year old. Not for me. At all. Although I do quite fancy the idea of a yurt. Get the best of both worlds then, don’t you?!

  2. Haha. Loved this post. I’m exactly the same. Although I only have to imagine myself camping and I know in an instant if hate it. Camping involves being close to people. I hate people. On that point alone, I’m oooot.

  3. I LOVE this post so much! exactly why I hate camping. My husband says it’s just because I haven’t had a good experience of camping but I am not sure I want to even try to “have a good camping experience”

  4. Hate, hate, hate, fellow Kate! OH has taken the kids camping before now and I’ve stayed home. It’s just not for me. The noise is a biggie for me. They had access to a power hook up but still, I can think of nothing worse. I need a bed to sleep in, end of.

  5. Aw Kate you’re going to hate me because I love it! I agree with some of your points though esp the noise – we had someone pitch up next to us andi just KNEW they would be noisy…cue screaming toddler at 5a.m. and fully vocal mother whilst the dad just SNORED on through it all! Anyhows, Ive learnt a lot every trip I have undertaken and now love the time with the kiddies away from it all. Oddly it’s less stressful when the OH is left behind! 😉

  6. I spent my 20s jumping on a motorbike, laden with tent, sleeping bags etc. We tootled off to festivals at the drop of hat and if none were on just went to the New Forest with a group of mates every weekend we could. I had this camping lark off to a T and even patted myself on my back after arriving at Le Mans without setting a sleeping bag alight again due to a slippage in the packing dept and contact with the exhaust in Brockenhurst High St.
    After a couple of seasons off due to the arrival of #1 we decided we could just slip back easily into our camping weekends.
    Yep, this was a colossal miscalculation.
    Not only was I five months pregnant with #2 we also had a dog – not a problem I thought as we also had the requisite Volvo estate to compliment our slide into adulthood and parental responsibility.
    All went well and for the most part fun was had by all. For food one of our chums was sent to the Fish & Chip shop and we enjoyed a Fish supper round the fire washed down with beers. (Obviously I couldn’t have a beer)
    #1 had a Saveloy and the dog helped him finish it off.
    This was the 2nd huge mistake.
    Soon it was time for #1 to sleep, so we deployed the ‘zip the sleeping bags together’ technique, popped him in the middle and later squeezed in either side of him to keep him warm, the dog laid on our feet and we were cosy, all was well with the world.
    Until 3.30am.
    The saveloy had exploded and exited #1’s body with remarkable speed and skill. The nappy never had a chance to contain it. It was everywhere…..EVERYWHERE. All over the lower half of the three of us.
    I would love to have been walking past my tent at this time as the ensuing screams, retchings and cussings, combined with a flurry of weird evasive break dancing moves must have been quite amusing.
    I however wasn’t amused.
    But that’s not all, ‘What about the dog?’ I hear you cry.
    Not wanting to be left out of the Saveloy celebrations he too had an explosion of epic proportions inside the tent. This was now a perfect Saveloy Storm.
    I made the OH roll up the tent complete with all the smelly contents and stuff it in the boot of the Volvo; I never moaned about having to sell my bike and get a Volvo estate ever again.
    To add insult to injury, remember those beers that I couldn’t have? It soon became apparent that the OH had consumed my share and halfway home was violently sick out of the car window and pebble-dashed the whole side of the car.
    I hope this tale of my camping woe has cheered you a little.
    To answer your question…well, do I actually need to? Suffice to say I have never set foot in a tent again, I have no intention of setting foot in a tent again and if anyone suggests it to me I laugh and twitch a bit like a woman deranged.

  7. I’ve gone camping with my friends once and that was about 15 years ago. We camped in this huge field and there were about 20 of us. It was a great laugh, but I don’t think I’d do it again. The lack of toilets, electricity and WiFi just puts me off…

  8. I LOVE camping, but cannot phantom the traditional camping with young kids. This year we’ve invested in a tiny caravan and that has been an amazing way to still enjoy the great outdoors, but also have some home comforts.

  9. I love camping – but Im part of the bell tent brigade! We take our two (2 & 5) a couple of times a year, and other than being in the hurricane in Cornwall last year. No complaints.

    However. There is now way in the world I would share a 2 man tent with anyone.

    Probably should add we’re fake campers a little – we cook breakfast on the stove but then generally eat out. If the weather is a little grumpy, we head to the pub. And, yes, we get an electrical hook up when we can.

    All that being said, I would trade camping for a holiday in the sun without a second thought! But camping is a great way to see a bit of the UK cheaply. And the kids LOVE it.

    1. Aaah you see that’s the thing though … your kids are still young enough to just be happy going anywhere and doing anything 🙂 Mine, annoyingly, HAS AN OPINION! So if he’s not happy, boy do you know about it. To be fair, he liked the cooking on the stove bit, but we didn’t have electric and the size of the tent was a massive mistake. Plus you know, dirty festival toilets …. I dunno, I just think I prefer the life of luxury 🙂

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