Camp Out: 10 tips for camping with kids
I’ve never been a fan of the idea of camping, in fact, even “glamping” was enough to make me feel slightly icky and question whether or not it was a wise decision. All that changed a few weeks ago when we took the kids out camping for the first time. They loved it so very much, and through their sheer joy at the experience (and the fact that we went camping at a first time friendly camp site) I found my own joy. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I fully intend to do this when the summer holiday hits, no question, on the warmer nights I will let the kids camp in the garden for sure.
If you’re like me and totally nervous about camping with children or camping with a baby then I have a few tips.
1. Whatever you think you need… you probably do. Our car was OVERFLOWING and I still needed more. Forget about loads of clothes, but think about what you use in the day to day – eating utensils, cups, saucepans etc on top of the usual camping stuff.
2. You are bound to forget something – I would suggest finding out where your local shops are, be it a small co-op style place or a big supermarket. They are likely to sell something that you have missed and it will take the stress away. I forgot utensils and bowls (like a wally!) so when we found our local shop, I grabbed some plastic ones in there.
3. Don't put too much pressure on getting to bed early – kids are usually all up playing and adults are chattering away, enjoying a drink around the camp fire. It’s an exciting time so embrace it. I’d also be prepared for an early wake up as those bird songs are noisy!
4. The nights are cold, be prepared – so it’s 34C outside and the tent is basically an oven… during the day, sure, but at night time it is so different. The temperature drops and even if it’s still a reasonable temperature, it feels cold. I took pjs, dressing gowns, sleeping bags and an extra blanket… I still think one more blanket would have been good!
5. Don’t bother with mats, spend the extra and get an air bed. We got a double one for us, a double for the boys and a ready bed for Edith. It was so much better and meant we were all at least somewhat comfy all night.
6. You can cook some really awesome recipes on a camping trip, but it does mean having the ingredients and frying pans, BBQs etc. If you’re not into all that, junk food like crisps, sausages and burgers really are fine. It’s not the end of the world!
7. Take extra games and things with you. We just took a football and I think we could have done more. I’d recommend badminton sets, cricket bats, water guns (warm weather), a paddling pool, giant snakes and ladders… pretty much whatever you would have in the garden!
8. If you’re taking alcohol, screw top wine is essential as are…
9. Cool boxes! If you’re planning to take meat instead of buying it at a local shop on the day then you need one of these. Most campsites with small shops have them so ask if you would like to hire one, or you can grab one at the local supermarket.
10. For your first time, stay on a site or in your garden, don’t try and go “wild” and just pitch up in a field or the woods. You are better off having a shower and the toilet!
If you aren't sure about camping then I really urge you to give it a go, it was an experience that the children won’t forget in a hurry and something that I think will become a repeat occurence!