My husband thinks he is Bear Grylls – our camping holidays are turning into survival missions

'The trips my husband gets so excited about are not my idea of relaxation'
'The trips my husband gets so excited about are not my idea of relaxation' - Mister Ned

My husband thinks he is Bear Grylls. That must be the only explanation. What should be a holiday – a break, some downtime, a rest – always turns into an expedition.

I know that wanting to go camping is nothing wild, it’s a fairly easy and wholesome way to holiday with lots of fresh air. It is a brilliant option for families, kids get to play outside, and it is exciting to sleep under canvas and listen to birds and sheep while snuggled up on an airbed. My issue is that instead of making it easy for ourselves, my husband has some kind of misplaced spirit of adventure and can never opt for a simple camping trip.

Other families have camping and caravanning club memberships and head to civilised sites with electric hook-ups, flat pitches, a fish and chip van or even – gasp – a bar on site! But my husband dismisses such sites as being “full of” creature comforts. Instead, he reasons, we should be embracing nature. And – as usually happens – nettles and arguments over torch batteries.

I’m not adverse to roughing it a bit but with two kids in tow, trying to get back to nature is at best challenging and at worst a nightmare. Tripping over tree roots, accidentally wandering into farmers’ fields and getting stung by the aforementioned nettles repeatedly are just a few of the inevitable highlights of any camping break we go on.

The trips my husband gets so excited about as he loads gas canisters and sleeping bags into the car are not my idea of relaxation. I end up tending to insect bites, scrambling around a freezing tent at night with zero lighting, and even when the stove has been erected, I’m waiting for an aeon to have a cup of tea. None of this appeals to me. I know it’s important to embrace each other’s interests in a marriage and show our kids that we can both compromise, but these camping trips feel more like a survival holiday or an extreme test of my patience.

Yet my husband carries on camping regardless: he gazes out over fields in a state of bliss while I manage sniping children and refuses any shortcuts (or help) when it comes to cooking so every meal takes forever to prepare. It’s as though he believes he’s a superior camper or father or husband because he’s going right back to basics. He used to like a hotel as much as the next person – I don’t know what happened.

Yes, as my friends tell me, this is a cheaper holiday. But does it count as a holiday when you are slapping mosquitoes off arms and legs, sleeping badly on a slope and doing a Duke of Edinburgh hike just to fill up a kettle? I’d rather be a few more pounds out of pocket but assured of comfort, minimal flies and hot cups of coffee.

After a few summers of my husband’s preferred version of a tented holiday I have put my foot down and limited camping trips in this style to two nights. He seems to think the children will develop a love for this kind of holiday, but they are as keen as me to get back to plentiful Wi-Fi and civilisation. As they get older and more vocal, I’m secretly hoping their complaints will ensure that a camping trip en masse is outvoted in favour of something more relaxing, perhaps with a pool, air conditioning and electricity, and we can swap the family tent for a one-man version.