THE long school holidays are over and you have (just about) survived them. But it’s probably been exhausting – all the planning, the packing, the endless traffic jams on the M5 or the A303, the hours spent unpacking, battling with the tent … and then seven or 14 days later going through the whole process in reverse.
Add in the idiosyncracies of the English climate (particularly this year) and you have probably sworn never to repeat the experience.
But what if it could all be simpler, cheaper, less stressful … more enjoyable?
Bournemouth-based designer, mother of two and experienced mini-camper, Briony Hartley has published a book that may just solve your family holiday problems.
With the cheering message “Watch clouds not telly,” her entertaining paperback, Minimalist Family Camping will tell you “How to swap screen time for wild time.” Like all the best how-to guides, it is based on real experience, offering practical advice that will save you money and ensure that you and the children all have a great time.
The message is simple, and can be summed up as “less is more.” For those of us whom Briony calls “over-packers,” there is clear guidance on creating your own minimalist car camping kit: “It is possible to take your family camping without the kitchen sink.”
You’ve bought all the camping equipment you think you need – but it takes up so much room in the house, your car’s not big enough and in the end it is all so stressful just thinking about it. The “stuff” becomes a barrier to leaving the house at all.
“By buying less, packing light, choosing compact camping gear and following some minimalist hacks, your family really can swap screen time for wild time. So leave the lanterns, chuck out the chairs, kiss goodbye to the gadgets …”
In a book that is beautifully designed, as you would expect from a brilliant book designer, Briony offers advice, anecdotes and sensible lists on clothes, food, choosing the right camp-site, packing and more, to help you and your family have the perfect camping holiday.
If you are a “maxi glamper” – taking your state-of-the-art barbecue, your duvet and your fold-up yurt in a trailer behind your SUV –it’s probably not the book for you. But if you want to have healthy fun in the fresh air, away from the stress of work and the insistence of social media, buy this book (and put all the camping paraphernalia on eBay!)
Let Briony have the last word: “Most importantly, I have discovered that a wild weekend outdoors feels like a week, and that getting the whole family running free, away from staring at screens is fun, easy and unbelievably worth it.”
• You can order Minimalist Family Camping, by Briony Hartley, on Amazon – www.minimalistfamilycamping.com