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TOP TIPS: Camping with Kids

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Top Tips: Camping with Kids

Have you been camping with the kids before? Camping could be a good solution to holidaying here in the UK this year. If you haven't been camping before and are thinking it could be an option, these tips could be really helpful.

In researching this article I have spoken to lots local parents who are experienced at camping with kids. Many of these tips come from them!

I love a list!  Many of these points are things you will need to consider but some are what I would call extras. Unless you are confident that camping is something you'll be doing regularly, don't go out and buy expensive kit straight away. A good idea would be to borrow a tent from friends or buy something second hand just to get you started. 

So, what do you need...

Essentials

  • Air mattresses - one mum told me that fitted sheets don't always stay on an air mattress so her tip was to put the whole thing inside a duvet cover before inflating it.
  • Sleeping bags or duvets - kids may sleep better with their duvets, in fact, everyone might sleep better with their duvets! Don't forget pillows
  • Foil emergency blankets - put under the air mattresses as they help stop the cold coming up through the bed. 
  • Flip flops for the shower rooms and using to go to the toilet
  • Wellies - useful for walks to the toilet in the night as the grass will be dewy even in summer
  • Toilet paper - lots of it!
  • Lights - torches for the night time trips to the toilets and nightlights if the kids don't like to be in complete darkness
  • Insect repellent 
  • Dust pan and brush - the opening of the tent can get muddy because it's a high traffic area and can be used for general 'tentkeeping'!
  • Bin bags - for collecting your rubbish, collecting laundry etc
  • Ear plugs for the adults - outside noises can be very strange and bird song is louder than you imagine when you are under canvas!
  • Wipes
  • Travel first aid kit
  • Towels - take lots, some to use while others dry. Consider buying quick dry towels. 

Food

  • Take the basics like cereals and buy meat etc as and when you need it
  • Cutlery/plates etc
  • Tea towels and washing up liquid
  • Bottled water - not all sites offer drinking water
  • Snacks and drinks - kids always need a lot of snacks!
  • Marshmallows and BBQ skewers to toast on the open fire.
  • Washing up bowl or bucket to collect the crockery if you have to carry it to a washing area 
  • Camping stove, multi cooker or small BBQ
  • Kitchen basics like a tin opener, bottle opener and decent knife are essential of you plan to cook on site
  • A box to store bread and biscuits etc so that small wildlife don't get at it
  • Cool box
  • Matches, lighter fuel, fire lighters etc

Entertainment

  • Indoor activities in case of rain such as colouring, cards, board games etc. Use zip lock bags to keep small items together
  • Outdoor games like rounders, football, swing ball, kites, bubbles, rocket launcher
  • If camping near the coast take buckets/spades and crabbing bits and pieces
  • Quiet 'early morning toys' so that they kids are entertained without waking everyone in the tent - and the rest of the campsite!
  • Glow sticks - always fun in the dark
  • Card games - great for including the whole family
  • Bug finding kits or nature books, bird spotting activities, scavenger hunts etc
  • Tablet or DVD player

Prepare for the weather

  • Warm clothes for the nights as gets much colder than you imagine it will
  • Warm PJs and thick socks - if it's colder weather, a fleece onesie over the top to sleep in
  • Hot water bottles
  • If you have an electric hook up then take a small heater 
  • Extra blankets - everyone I have spoken to says you will always need more blankets than you thought you would
  • Wooly hats for bed time - the most heat is lost through the head

Luxury Items

  • A projector if you have one - one parent suggested using the tent as a screen
  • Travel washing line to dry practically everything
  • Camping toilet - if you have room in your tent this will be a godsend at night or a bucket with a child's toilet seat on top for middle of the night!
  • Electric cable for a hook up - this means you can take some luxuries like an electric kettle, hairdryer and chargers for devices etc
  • A good camping fridge

Things to think about when camping with kids

  • Is the campsite near a busy road?
  • Is there a lake or stream to consider?
  • Are there nearby places to visit?
  • Are you going to need WiFi? This could be a great opportunity to ditch the tech for a few days
  • Do you need to choose a site near a pool or a beach?
  • If the camp site is family orientated there may be entertainment on site - which could be an extra cost

Tips from the experts!

  • Have a practice run - practice putting up the tent at home and spend a night in the garden. Remember you may be setting up camp in the wind and rain - be prepared!
  • Keep the tent zipped shut as much as possible to reduce flies getting in
  • Ensure the tent has a big enough living space so that you can put chairs etc inside and be comfy and cozy if the weather is bad
  • Get an electric hook up and make sure you take a long outdoor extension lead
  • Check site facilities - are there washing machines and dryers? This can help you reduce the amount of clothing you need to take
  • Pack a box with some useful tools - spare batteries for torches, cable ties, pen knife, screw driver, duct tape
  • Portable charger packs for devices - unless you plan your holiday to be device free!
  • Foil blankets to put under air beds and a fleece blanket on top, then the fitted sheet. You'll be super toasty!
  • If you plan to spend a lot of time around the tent area, take a windbreak and a gazebo for extra protection from the elements
  • Take waterproof clothing for everyone - you can never rely on the British weather!
  • Keep the fire well away from the tent
  • If you are taking a firepit, take one with a grill on top to use for cooking
  • Make sure you have some tent repair patches for emergencies
  • If you're on a hill/slope,  always sleep with your head facing up hill and feet pointing downhill. Otherwise you'll wake up with a headache! 
  • Never ever cook inside a tent! No matter what the weather. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can occur really easily. Always cook outside.
  • Take a few re useable ice blocks and most sites let you freeze them for free or a very small fee, then you can keep your cool box extra cold if you don't have a fridge. Take a few and then you rotate them. Check with the site that they can do this as they may say no due to Covid restrictions
  • Camping chairs are a bonus as the ground can be damp to sit on even when the weather is nice.
  • And finally - Wine. Virtually everyone I spoke to said take wine!

If you have other suggestions that you think we should add to this list please email us.

 

Huge thanks to some fantastic local parents who helped out by giving me suggestions for this article. Thanks to Joanne of Jolly Good Scents, Claire of Scentimental with Claire, Adrienn of Adrienn's Special Scents and all those who contributed via local Facebook groups. All contributions were made my experienced campers! 


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