“Can we go camping?” were the words from the 10-year-old that sparked off our camping adventure.
For several years, we had been tossing around the idea of camping but never gotten around to it. This was now the perfect opportunity to do so.
As first-time campers, we deliberately chose to take it easy. Our first camping experience would be an overnight stay at a location close to home. This would allow us to gauge whether the kids were serious about camping or it was just another whimsical idea.
In the week leading up to the big day, we tempered the kids’ expectations about camping. (“It is going to be hot”, “You will have to sleep on the ground”).
All our “warnings” did little to dampen their excitement as they went about figuring out how to set up the tent and enthusiastically packed their bags for the outdoor adventure.
Setting Up Camp
The plan called for us to head down to the campsite in the evening when it was cooler.
We chose to camp at West Coast Park, one of three parks in Singapore where camping is permitted.
Other plusses about West Coast Park include the massive Adventure Playground and 24-hour McDonalds nearby (at least we wouldn’t go hungry in the middle of the night).
By the time we arrived at the campsite, daylight was starting to fade. However, with our previous tent-pitching practice at home, the tent was up in no time.
In case you are wondering, there are public toilets close to the campsite.
We were pleasantly surprised to find other families also setting up their tents nearby. Clearly, we were not the only ones with the idea of camping in the evening.
To add to the experience, the kids had to make their own dinner. This involved assembling sandwiches with cold cuts and cheese.
Around the Park at Night
This required the kids to recover the “Missing Goblet of Gablegon” (which they insisted on calling the Goblet of Fire) by solving clues that brought them around West Coast Park.
The darkness of the night added to the sense of mystery and the quest had them working as a team to navigate their way around the park, deciphering codes and eventually locating the missing Goblet.
By the end of the game, everyone was ready for a late-night snack where the chatter did not stop.
Sleeping Under Canvas
Sleeping in the tent was another experience altogether.
In Singapore’s humid weather, it was in a word – hot. Of course, if it rained, we imagine it would be the opposite.
Thankfully, the kids had been forewarned and they had no complaints. Instead, they took the humidity in their stride and seemed happy to wipe-down, powder down and settle down for the night.
We highly recommend furnishing the tent with a battery-operated fan, or two. Or three.
Waking Up in the Park
The next morning, a peek outside revealed an early-morning West Coast Park. A few joggers and early-rising families were already in the park. Breakfast was a couple of steps away, separated only by the distractions of West Coast Park’s Adventure Playground.
What is else is there to do at West Coast Park? Cycling, kite-flying and sand play of course. Unfortunately, before long, we had to head off. But before we did, we asked the kids if they enjoyed the camping experience and the answer was an emphatic “yes”.
Looks like we will be going camping again.
NParks – Information on camping in parks and camping permits.
Where to Buy Tents – Giant Online, Decathlon.
Mystery of the Missing Goblet Activity Pack -West Coast Park Treasure Hunt – Little Day Out Shop.