Being raised my two teacher parents, I used to spend long summer holidays under canvas in France. It was one of the rare times of year I wouldn’t hear my mum and dad moaning about OFSTED or marking and (apart from the odd occasion) I would get along with my little sister really rather well.
One of my favourite things about camping is that you are totally free to look utterly horrendous in public without so much as a raised eyebrow or judgemental frown. Let’s face it, when you’re trudging through a field to brush your teeth and have an emergency wee, matching your shoes with your jumper is not a top priority.
More than that though, I love the freedom that camping brings. There’s nothing like the pleasure of watching your kid run around in a field, making friends with other children, while still wearing her pyjamas. You can do what you want, eat when you want, go to bed when you want and live according to the rhythms of nature.
Despite my love of canvas, I’m no Ray Mears. I’m very much a “mild” camper over the “wild” sort (in fact, I discussed this very subject recently on Woman’s Hour *cheeky plug*). I like to be comfortable, with cushions and duvets and a tent that I can stand up in.
Enter, the Coleman Galileo 4.
We set off on a mini camping break earlier this week, to test out the Coleman Galileo 4. I was looking for comfort, ease of use and – very importantly – a tent that fit back into the bag it came from once it was time to put away. I’m pleased to say, the Galileo 4 was all of those things and more.
It’s a big tent, sleeping four people in two compartments, with a separate living area at the front. When we arrived it was a hot day, so I zipped open the front “door” along with the side “door”, and opened the back “window”. It was airy, without any hint of sweaty canvas.
If you want to keep the flies out you also have the option of zipping up the door but unzipping one layer to reveal a fly-proof mesh that also features on the inner bedroom compartments.
There are only three poles to the tent, so it’s easy to put up. In fact, the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine and I managed it without an argument, which is a first. The inner compartment simply hooks to the clips on the inside of the main tent and was up in about two minutes. All in all, the whole tent was erected (*snort*) within half an hour. It took us twenty minutes to take it all down and packed away. Easy peasy.
In terms of comfort, it’s roomy enough for the three of us and all our luggage (we don’t travel light). Even my lanky husband could stand up, which is no mean feat when you’re 6ft 5” tall.
Our camp breakfasts were cooked on this little number, a one burner stove from Camping Gaz. It’s the perfect size for a short camping break and cooked our sausages quickly. Delicious.
With a tent up and breakfast consumed, it left us plenty of time to enjoy the surrounding beaches and countryside. We picked a campsite just half an hour from my parents’ place on the other side of Devon, on the Cornish side of the border near Bude.
Cornish Coasts campsite near Widemouth Bay was the perfect size for a couple of nights, with exceptionally clean toilets and shower facilities (complete with pretty bunting and funky toilet seats), a play area and a lovely intimate setting spread over a couple of fields.
We had a brilliant time and have already vowed to return before long. I love camping, and I’m pleased to say my formerly camping-phobic husband is starting to love it too. That’s what I call a result.
I received a Coleman Galileo 4 and Camping Gaz stove for the purpose of this review.