Collapsed tents, soggy clothes and forgotten essentials can be enough to bring on a temper tantrum in any adult, let alone little ones. But heading into the great outdoors with the kids doesn’t need to be a headache. With the right preparation and a little advice from those who’ve gone before you, your outdoor adventures as a family are sure to create many happy memories that will last a lifetime.
As a camping addict, I really believe that there’s no better way to get away from it all and unwind than pitching up under the stars. It’s a great way to strengthen those bonds as a family, and with these simple tips you can help make sure that every camping trip is a treat for everyone.
Take a test run
Before you head out into the wilds, and before you invest in a whole camping kit, you might want to borrow a tent from a friend and take a family test run. You don’t need to venture far from home, in fact, you can have a lot of fun pitching up in your own back yard. It’s a good way to iron out any kinks before you holiday further afield, as well as giving the kids a taster of what camping is all about.
Stick to the essentials
Part of the joy camping is that you get to leave the stresses and strains of the modern world behind. Forget packing up laptops and endless toys. Keep things simple and you’ll find packing and travelling far less stressful. Check out a good camping checklist, like this useful guide at the Netmums website, to give you somewhere to start. Every family will have their own particular essentials (mine being handy wet wipes and a large flask for plenty of hot water), and you can adapt the list to suit you.
The right tent
Ideally you want a tent that’s easy to put together. Modern dome tents are a cinch to pitch compared to the heavy-poled tents I started out in. You also want to make sure you have a tent that offers plenty of space, so no one steps on each other’s toes. You can check out the selection of family tents on offer at Blacks for an idea of prices and sizes, and tent awnings and extensions are available too, if you feel the need to add more legroom.
There’s nothing worse than feeling cold on a camping trip – it’s a surefire way to be miserable. So make sure you pack proper sleeping bags, hot water bottles, extra blankets or a duvet, and extra clothing too. My number 1 tip is, whether you’re using an airbed or just sleeping bags, always lay down camping mats – these help to protect you from the cold and damp of the ground, and make your sleep far more comfortable.
Fingers crossed that the sun will be blazing for you on your trip. However, if the rain does decide to pour, you’ll feel a whole lot better being prepared for it. Always pack some waterproof layers and wellies, as well as games and books to keep little ones (and adults) entertained.
This post is brought to you by Blacks