In this blog post I will explore why a pop-up gazebo is a great investment for your family camping trips. You’ll wonder how you coped without it! You will also discover tips on how to clean and store your gazebo to ensure its longevity so you can make the most of your purchase.
Last summer we went camping in our Bongo to Camping Vliegenbos in Amsterdam and we were very lucky it was dry weather, especially as we went with the kids. Ben and I have camped in the van in England kid-free a few times and amazingly, it’s always been dry.
But I’m left wondering how we’d cope camping, particularly with the kids, when it rains. When we last went to Cornwall we had the worst storm for the entire week, but luckily we weren’t camping and stayed in a holiday home. It got me thinking about how we would have coped if we were camping that week! We’d not have survived in our Bongo alone.
The van we have, a Mazda Bongo, is small, so it’s basically just somewhere to sleep. It’s not something to sit in all evening or that can even be stood up in! We love to travel and explore so we are usually out all day when we go away in the Bongo, but with young children we come back to our van in the early evening or late afternoon so the kids can run wild and we can sit and relax, make dinner and whatnot.
We have been blessed so far with dry weather on every Bongo camping trip, but I know that one day our luck will end and we’ll be stuck in torrential rain. When this happens we’ll need more with us than just our Bongo to enjoy our camping holiday.
We definitely need to invest in either an awning for the van or a pop-up gazebo with sides so we are prepared for the elements when camping!
Having thought about which one is a better investment, as they are each a few hundred pounds for a high-quality version, I think a pop-up gazebo will be more practical.
A pop-up gazebo is more appealing as it has so many more uses for a family. We can also use it when camping in a tent or even at home in our garden for parties and summer events. It’s multi-use and isn’t restricted to only being used when we have the Bongo with us.
An awning, on the other hand, needs to be attached to the side of our Bongo which limits its use to camping in our Bongo only. There’s no guarantee we’ll have a Bongo in the future or that we’ll replace our current version once it’s had it. It’s around 25 years old so it’s definitely not going to last forever!
In trying to convince myself why a pop-up gazebo is a great investment and worthwhile purchase to benefit our future camping trips, I have come up with a list of advantages to buying one.
5 benefits of a pop up gazebo for camping
There are so many reasons why a pop-up gazebo is a great investment and a camping essential, especially when camping as a family. Here are five reasons why we’ll probably choose a pop-up gazebo to take camping with our Bongo and not an awning.
Many of these benefits do apply to an awning too, but you may only be able to use an awning with your camper, so bear this in mind when choosing.
1. Stay dry when it’s raining
Connecting with nature is one reason why people love to camp, but the weather in the UK in particular can be unpredictable. Being stuck outdoors when it rains for days on end with nowhere to stay dry can spoil a camping holiday. Of course it’s great to be outdoors when camping and that’s one of its main appeals, but there’s nothing so fun about getting soaked and damp when the heavens open! Rain really can ruin a camping holiday, especially if it’s heavy and everything soaks through.
A pop-up gazebo means you can stay dry somewhere other than your tent and still enjoy the great outdoors. It gives you space to hang and dry your wet clothes and more family entertaining space rather than all squishing in a tent when the rain comes down! A pop-up gazebo almost becomes your camping living room whilst the tent becomes your bedroom.
A pop-up gazebo means you can stay dry, but still appreciate being close to the outdoors and with nature when you are back at your tent or campervan.
2. Extra storage space
If you get a gazebo with sides then it is almost like having another tent! It can provide extra sleeping space, sitting space and most importantly storage space. Providing you put a waterproof floor down then you can store some non-valuable items in the gazebo.
Store your camping essentials in the gazebo to save precious space in your sleeping quarters. Food, drink, clothes and equipment can all be protected from the elements in the extra space a pop-up gazebo provides. It gives you extra space to organise all your belongings without having them out in the open.
A gazebo with sides can offer privacy when you don’t want to be seen by every surrounding camper. Easily set up a folding table and chairs in a gazebo to enjoy family meals in privacy, under shelter and keep the wasps and other flies away by closing the sides.
A pop-up gazebo has multiple uses too. For example, it can also be used as a changing room to get dressed in the mornings, or for changing in and out of wetsuits. As a family with children it gives that much needed extra space to get dressed in privacy each day.
When camping on very sunny days then you will appreciate some shade, especially in open camping fields with few trees. If you have young children then shaded areas are a must for them to stay out of the sun, relax and play.
A pop-up gazebo will always guarantee you a patch of shade next to your camping spot and somewhere for the children to play where you can keep an eye on them.
If you’re camping for a while then it’s nice to have a place to chill out that’s your own. You can add camping solar lights, cushions, throws and more to make a nice chilled our space under cover that you can relax in after a day of adventuring.
A pop-up gazebo can easily create some much needed extra living space whilst camping with your family. This gives the family some extra space to spread out and have enough space to not feel cramped and on top of each other all the time!
There are so many benefits for investing in a pop-up gazebo for your next family camping trip.
How to clean and store your pop-up gazebo
A good quality pop-up gazebo is an investment. They can cost several hundred pounds and need to be well cared for to ensure longevity, otherwise you’ll be throwing money down the drain needing to replace too soon!
You need to ensure you keep the gazebo clean and stored in the right environment. Otherwise it could get damaged or not perform as intended.
Here are a few of their suggestions:
• “Make sure the covers are completely dry and well aired before packing away
• Fold the covers neatly and store them back in their carry bags making sure the bags are clean and dry
• You will need to clean your gazebo periodically. Remove any mud and debris off the fabric. To clean your canopy and walls we recommend a mild solution of warm soapy water. Do not use pressure washers or steam cleaners as this will affect the material and waterproofing
• Check the gazebo framework regularly for damaged brackets, bent roof bars, loose or missing bolts and replace or tighten as necessary.
• We also recommend cleaning the gazebo framework. This is best done by lubricating all moving parts with WD-40 or something similar which will provide a smooth glide for when the gazebo is next used. Be sure to wipe off any excess oil from the framework to avoid staining the fabric
• Remove the canopy from the frame after every use to avoid catching or nicking the fabric in the framework
• Finally, don’t forget to store your pop up gazebo in a dry environment. This will prevent the fabric from getting damp and allowing mould to form. Damp and dark storage conditions can easily decay the gazebo covers.”
A pop-up gazebo definitely has so many uses for camping as a family. It’s a wonder we’ve managed so far without one. It’s definitely something we need to invest in before we take a long camping trip with the kids. Then we won’t have to worry about rain, storage space or privacy!
More family travel tips
This blog post is a collaboration.