Camping holds a special place in my heart. For as long as I can remember I have been camping. One of my earliest memories is of my dad stuffing the tent in the back of the car after a washout weekend camping trip!! I now go on at least one camping trip a year, sometimes with the kids, sometimes alone with my friends as a social.
It is now easier than ever to get started with camping. You don’t have to spend thousands of pounds on all the gear. What I would say is that it is worth spending money on a decent tent. On more than one occasion I have seen people leave a campsite in the middle of the night because of a leaking tent! The rest of the gear can be borrowed or used from home until you want to spend more money. My favourite tents to use when I am away with the kids have been Vango and have a sewn-in groundsheet and have a separate bedroom and living space. This gives you somewhere to sit if the weather is awful as well as space to sort the kids in the morning and for bedtime.
Absolute Camping Essentials
- Sleeping bags or pillows and duvets
For your first trip, you could find a campsite that has a place to eat on-site or close by. This would mean you wouldn’t have to take as much food, cooking stuff or washing up bits. I use Cool Camping to find my campsites. If you are going away for the first time, I would advise staying quite close to home.
You could always ease yourself in gently by trying out a camping pod before you take the plunge and buy a tent. These pods are a bit easier than camping as the “tent” is already there when you arrive on the site. You will still need to take all your own sleeping and cooking things though.
As you go away for longer you will need a bbq or cooking stoves to cook on but taking plenty of snacks and breakfast options with you is always a good idea.
If you have time before you go away, cook a meal and freeze it, chilli works well for this. By the time you get away and get the tent up your evening meal will be defrosted and ready to heat up.
Even if you go away in the summer it can still get chilly on a night, so pack plenty of layers, snuggly blankets, hats and buffs.
How to Survive
Don’t expect to stick to the same bedtime routine as you do when you are at home, the kids will probably stay up a lot later than usual. However, all that running around in the fresh air should hopefully mean bedtime goes fairly smoothly!
Get the kids involved in deciding the activities, ask them what they want to do and get them to come up with a bucket list of things they want to do outside while you are away. However one of the massive benefits of camping is that if you want to you can just hang out by the tent and let everyone have some time to themselves, especially if you have older kids who want some time to do their own thing.
Get the kids their own little camping bag with their own head torch, writing pad and toys to keep them entertained. Camping is a massive adventure for you but especially for the little ones.
Going camping is a great time to explore more of the local area. I use the Kamoot App to plan and find adventures in new areas. If you feel that you have cracked camping with the kids and want to have a go at solo camping, check out my blog post.
Happy Camping x