Camping with Kids

So we’d chosen the hottest day of the summer, with temperatures bordering on 38°C, to go camping in one of the warmer parts of the country… go figure!

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Since we’re all strongly allergic to German campsites, stuffed with campervans, garden gnomes and trim hedges, we headed to one of a number of trekking campsites in the Pfälzerwald.

We started off testing our new equipment in the garden the day before the trip. The new tent weighs in at 2.5kilo with space for 2 people and packs in the apsis just outside the entrance.

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When you’re thinking of pitching your tent outside private property in Germany, you soon realise that sometimes, some stereotypes about this country actually ring true: everything that isn’t explicitly permitted, is “verboten”. Thus, camping outside designated campsites isn’t allowed and you’re mostly forced to fall back on overcrowded sites complete with all mod cons.

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However there are a small number of campsites in the middle of the forest in the Pfälzerwald. Most sites don’t have access to drinking water, but all are equipped with an outhouse. They need to be booked ahead because they only have space for 6 tents at any one time.

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The sites are mostly within a reasonable day’s march from each other, so you could spend 7 days on end walking from one campsite to the next. Not an option for us this time around, since we wanted to accomodate a family with young children. So we drove to the closest street, and walked the rest of the way to the GPS coordinates provided with the reservation.

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Some of us made it to a nearby vantage point for dawn around 5am – mostly unspectacular – before I got a few more hours of sleep.

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We even had a late breakfast at a lookout on top of a hill before heading back down and breaking down the tents

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This being just a dry run for the tent and their first time camping for the kids, we left around midday the next day as a light drizzle began to fall. Great experience, to be repeated ASAP. Maybe combined with a hike and a full daypack!