Liz, Dave and their young son, Harry, are proud owners of the TentBox Classic. With 2020’s first Covid lock-down, together with the gorgeous summer weather, the tent was used for many days of fun camping, both at home near Windsor and near family in Devon. In particular, little Harry spent many hours in the TentBox, even taking his cat out with him – it seems that as well as being a fantastic tent, it’s also the best secret base a boy could want! We caught up with Liz to hear more about their family adventures…
What TentBox do you have?
We’ve always been an ‘outdoorsy’ family, enjoying spending time in our garden and in the field at the back of our house. Ever since seeing the TentBox online, Dave has wanted one, as it really appealed to his ‘throw it all in the car and head off somewhere’ nature. We treated ourselves to the TentBox Classic during the summer and have had so much enjoyment out of it already!
Why did you choose TentBox?
We already had a large 8-man tent, plus a couple of smaller, more ‘cosy’ pop-up tents, but it always seemed such a pain to have to get them out of the loft and put them up. What we loved about the TentBox was its sheer speed – once it’s on the car, it’s literally up in seconds, making the decision to spend the night camping a very quick one. For a 7-year-old, this was often the game changer between being allowed to camp out or not; once we’d decided to do it, it meant we could get everything up and ready in minutes, and we didn’t eat too much into bedtime.
What adventures have you been on with TentBox?
Our TentBox adventures this year were mainly home-based, for lockdown reasons, but it meant we were able to spend as much time outdoors as we could. For a 2-man tent, the TentBox Classic is surprisingly roomy, and often had all three of us in it in the daytime to watch a film or for a lazy snooze! It was a great base when Harry’s cousins visited us from Wales, and the kids spent hours playing in their new base.
The TentBox can sleep two people very comfortably, and Dave and Harry probably slept out in the field in the TentBox at least once every three nights or so. I had to keep the house and cats warm, of course, so couldn’t join them, although I reckon all three of us would be able to sleep in it… just about! Some nights, I slept in the TentBox with Harry on the comfy mattress, while Dave flattened the seats in the Freelander and slept in the car below us – worked a treat but wasn’t so comfy for Dave! We’re very lucky to live in such a gorgeous part of Berkshire, with beautiful lakes just a minute’s walk away, so why not camp at home? The TentBox lived on the car all summer and was up and down like a yoyo the whole time.
What are your future plans with your TentBox?
If Covid restrictions allow, we would love to head back down to Devon again, as it’s perfect for a last-minute break. We’ve got packing down to a fine art too, so have everything we need ready to go. With three of us, it’s a little trickier, but Dave and Harry are loving their boys’ camping trips away, and also have plans to go camping with a group of Cub Scouts next year. The height of the TentBox makes it feel really safe for the kids, plus also seems to help keep things warm.
We didn’t even use the extra TentBox down blanket on some of the nights as the weather was so lovely! I’m wondering how it would feel with the winter insulation kit and whether that would open up some Christmas/New Year camping opportunities – the boys are certainly braver than I am and would love to give that a go, I’m sure!
Any tips and tricks you’d be able to share with the TentBox community?
- If kids are going to be in and out of the TentBox all day, put a fitted sheet over the soft mattress, so that you can whip away all traces of food crumbs and dirt as soon as possible. The ‘no eating in the TentBox’ rule was often ignored, so this saved a few sneaky chocolate bar disasters.
- To make a proper secret base, pull the ladder up into the TentBox at night and store it in its bag. I also used the elastic string and clips supplied inside the TentBox Classic to clip the two zips together at each of the ‘windows’ for the perfect impenetrable-by-baddies base. Think this was more for me than Harry, if I’m honest though.
- Bring a small IKEA plastic footstool if you have the TentBox fitted on a tall car like ours – just makes it easier to get it up and down with one person, otherwise it’s hard to reach when you’re balancing on a back wheel.
- Finally, don’t let your other half spook you in the night by tapping gently on the outside of the TentBox while you’re in there with your son, then pretending in the morning that it was just the straps flapping in the wind!