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Home Journal A Weekend of Firsts: First Camp as Father & Son
A Weekend of Firsts: First Camp as Father & Son

A Weekend of Firsts: First Camp as Father & Son

written by Susannah Stewart - published on May 19, 2024

Last weekend, the Snow Peak team enjoyed hosting the First Camp in the sunshine alongside Outsiders Store. It was an amazing event and thank you very much to camper Richard Frazier for this blog and his beautiful pictures from the weekend.

 Despite this being the third iteration of Outsiders and Snow Peak’s First Camp, 2024’s three day love letter to camping and the outdoors really lived up to its name for me this year. 

 Celebrating the first proper camp of summer, this long weekend on the coast of North Wales also marked my four-year-old son, Grayson’s, first ever camping experience. It’s something he’s wanted to do for months, and thoughts of tents and sleeping outside have rarely been far from his mind when talk turns to weekend plans. Thankfully for both of us, Snow Peak and Outsiders created the perfect opportunity for the two of us to wade into this new world together in the most welcoming and unforgettable way. 

 The precedent was set before we even arrived at camp, as near strangers acted like old friends and agreed to ferry the two of us from Manchester and over to the Llŷn Peninsular. On arrival Lyam, Felix and the Snow Peak team guided us in setting up what would be our home for the weekend: a spacious Amenity Dome tent replete with inflatable mattresses and reassuringly weighty Ofuton sleeping bags. 

With the essentials covered, camp site exploration beckoned. The owners of Bert’s Kitchen Garden, Ali and her husband Ian, have not only created a beautiful and considered campsite, but as parents of three children themselves have also considered compact campers in Bert’s layout. Despite the weekend being packed with activities and workshops, the entertainment began immediately, as Grayson sampled every rope swing and tested every tyre tunnel on-site. All were up to scratch. 

The workshops themselves provided hands-on fun and physical memories to take home — we came away with bracelets, anodised sporks and cyanotype fabrics (a natural dying process that harnesses the power of UV light), all created with the diligent, unwavering, tongue-out-concentration only a 4-year-old is capable of. They also created a place to meet other campers, including their children, all of whom became fast friends as they bonded over their own creations and were able to run through the fields of the campsite and over the pebbles of the beach with a freedom none of us are as familiar with as we probably should be. Those friendships were tested as they all lined up on the start line at one of the weekend’s headline events: the egg and spork race. Even amidst a roster of wholesome activities, there is still a chance for a life lesson in humility and Grayson found his as he charged across the grass whilst watching first place slip away. His disappointment in defeat was short-lived as he peeled the back from his daruma sticker and carefully applied it to his forearm, where it somehow stayed for the next two days. 

 Despite a long list of activities, I was struck by the ease and fluidity with which they happened. We were truly off the clock and running to our own schedule, and First Camp seemed to bend and flex to our every whim. It was a joy to be far from home and the more rigid structure that comes with the working week — alarm clocks, nursery runs, bed times. Here, in this perpetually sunny alternative universe, if we caught sight of the beach from our tent, we had to be on it; a glimpse of the sea meant we had to be in it (although the feedback was that it was very, very cold); a nearby hill commanded to be climbed; ice lollies from the camp site restaurant needed to be consumed; and sunsets needed to be enjoyed. 

With so much on offer, and our days so full, a good night’s sleep wasn’t an issue. Grayson’s eyes would shut the moment his head hit the pillow, and, having spent the day trying to keep pace, I wouldn’t be far behind. In an unprecedented turn of events, it was me that woke him up the following morning.

Such was his satisfied slumber, not even the sound of excited adults gathering round our tent at midnight could rouse him. As the voices got louder and more animated, and the crowd started to sound larger, I unzipped my tent and stepped outside. Following the craned necks of everyone else, I looked up and was presented with an unbelievable display of the aurora borealis.

"The sky above the mountains shimmered green and blue and red as we marvelled." 

This is, perhaps, the one downside of my son’s first camping trip. Collectively, Snow Peak, Outsiders, Bert’s and Mother Nature herself have set the bar unbelievably high for any future camping expeditions. Grayson will no doubt be chasing the highs of his first experience for years to come — but that, as we know, is half the fun. 

We’ll certainly be back to try again next year. 

All images credited RichardFrazier/@richardafrazier 

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