All the camping gear

The airbed revelation – guest post by Ali


We love All The Camping Gear (Ed’s note: Aw shucks), and after an insightful Easter weekend camping in Wales, we thought we would share our story of ‘air-bed revelation’.

We are a ‘blended’ family of 6. Three teenagers, one tweenie (5) and of course two parents, who, it is fair to say, have differing opinions of what camping looks and feels like.

Jamie, the dad, would much prefer to have a camping experience which he would describe as ‘wild camping’. Head out into the hills and drop your tent by a river when you’re ready! However, myself, I prefer what Jamie describes as Princess camping. I like to feel the atmosphere of the great outdoors with a few home comforts.

In my humble view, the Princess camping approach works when you have such a mixture of ages in the family too. So before we set off to Riverside Camping near Caernarfon, North Wales we invested in new airbeds for all of us, including a deep double for myself and Jamie.

We already had “all the camping gear” from previous trips, however now the older kids are growing, a new bed would help a good nights sleep.


It was even warm enough to be barefoot on the beach

We’ve stayed at Riverside before, only a short drive from Caernarfon and Llanberis (Snowdon’s base) the landscape is mesmerising, and the site is nestled in a valley, by a river side (surprise surprise) surrounded by woods. Just lovely! The camp site has great facilities, including a gorgeous cafe/restaurant – that has a bar! (Which shuts around 20:00). And the compulsory play area, the heart of a family camping holiday.

We arrived Thursday, set up our tent – which is a monster 8 sleeper – in record time. The “kit” was put out, including the newly inflated air-beds, and finally the chairs were placed by a fire pit and the wine opened! Ah bliss.

After a busy day, and couple of glasses of red, we decided to turn in…the sun had been shining, but the night was clear. It was a quick change (for me as many layers as possible, including fingerless gloves) and jump into bed…however all too soon the air-bed revelation came to being.

Prior to camping, my vision = blissful sleep off the floor, keeping us comfy and cosy. Reality = the drop in temperature outside also meant there was a drop in temperature inside, and the air inside the airbeds was freeeeeezziiing. Our sleeping bags were keeping us warm on the parts that weren’t touching the bed, but the bits that were just wouldn’t warm up. Jamie, at one point in the night, went to his “wild camping” bag and fished out a tinfoil survival blanket (even he was freezing) in the vain hope it would warm us up…

…as the sun rose on the next morning, we all started to rise with it, bleary eyed and shared stories of freezing cold beds and lack of sleep. (All except the little one, who was toasty and slept like a log!) We were never so glad to see that sun shine! And I, well, I just kicked myself for not even thinking of the air that sits under you…keeping you warm…or, of course, cold!

So, we wanted to share our revelation and tip with you, from our sunny bank holiday…if you have a preference for airbeds, and decide to camp when the nights are still cold…cover your bed in a throw, or even a two sided beach blanket (type with a water proof side) that can also be used during the day, even warm it by the fire before you jump into bed (if thats how you roll). Then place it under the sleeping bag before you tootle off to sleep. Et voila, no need for foil survival blankets after all!


Sunglasses on the beach – not quite wet Wales!


5 thoughts on “The airbed revelation – guest post by Ali

  1. Faded Seaside Mama

    Oooooooohhh! Does this work? It’s the one thing that puts me off camping – the cold nights on an airbed (realistically the most practical solution when boot space is at a premium!). I always take one of these for eating in/out the tent anyway so if it’s the answer will be thrilled!! Thanks for sharing and glad you had sunshine to warm up your days!

    1. Louise Post author

      The space blanket thing does work. We use a cheap beach mat, the ones with the shiny backs for under the kids’ beds and a big foam jigsaw, like the kind of garden toy you might have had when they were small, under ours. Happy camping!

  2. Jen


    Great idea, but never never use your base layer blanket for anything else during the day (especially as a beach blanket) – you may wake up warm, but your mattress will be flat – the trick is to keep the bedroom compartments free of everything other than bedding, otherwise you will be one of the nocturnal mattress pumpers!

    1. Louise Post author

      Quite right. I’m not in the business of taking the bedrooms apart morning & night to re-use kit. And it’s enough to try to keep the grass out of the tent, let alone sand!

  3. Krizzia

    Can airbed be really used in camping? HA HA. Isn’t it too big or it might deflate along the night due to rocks etc. But this is a great idea huh, imma try it some other time.

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