The Camping Trip
Camping gives you the freedom to get up and go! It’s simple, opens up a world of wonder, and it’s a cheaper way to see the world. If you're new to it, it won’t take you long to adapt to a get-up-and-go mentality, and once you have got the hang of it, travelling to Europe and camping will be a magical experience.
Camping Check List
Outside of a good tent, there are 4 key areas that you need to consider.
You need to ensure you get a good night's sleep! So make sure you have the right equipment for you and for them. Airbeds are great but they can deflate, however there are some better quality ones out there. Just remember you will need to pump them up so get a good pump, either battery or mains powered. There are some good options for kids like all in one air beds where the sleeping bag is attached to it already. If you are a slightly bigger family there is the option of camping bunk beds which will save you some space in the tent. Airbeds will lose a little pressure throughout the day as the temperature rises and falls. So give them a quick top up before bed!
Keep the portable potty to hand at night. Otherwise you will be trekking to the toilet in the pitch black at 3am in the morning!
There is nothing better than a meal cooked outside on the stove or BBQ. There are loads of cookbooks out there that have simple meals in, so you are not looking at burgers and sausages every night. It’s sometimes easier on the first night you arrive to have a meal already to go. Setting tents and beds up can be hard work, especially with kids. We opt for spaghetti bolognese that can be put straight on the gas to warm up whilst you relax.
With food in general, it’s worth freezing the meat for the second night of camping, if kept in a cool box or bag these will defrost naturally and will be perfect when it comes round to that evening meal. Most campsites have a camping shop which will provide milk for tea and breakfast, and cereal. Don’t worry about taking 4pts of milk, simply pick up what you need when you are there to avoid it going off. Most places have a block freezer as well so take a few extras so you can just keep switching them over.
Once you have cooked your meal it’s time to sit down and enjoy it as a family; it’s worth thinking about what you are going to eat off as watching a toddler attempt to sit on a rug and eat can be painful. There are lots of portable tables out there which are worth investing in. There is a full list of equipment in our handy check sheet.
When it comes to eating off something, don’t bring your best china or glassware but opt for a reusable set. You can even pick up a plastic wine glass for effect. Look for the 360 cups for kids as they will prevent spills inside the tent.
Even if it’s a hot day, the temperature will start to drop at night. So layers of clothes for the kids is perfect. Onesies and slipper socks will keep them warm at night when they kick the sleeping bag off! A couple of extra blankets thrown in won’t do any harm. We recommend you keep all clothing in the car overnight to avoid it getting damp. Use your car as an extension of your tent.
DO NOT PUT A BBQ INSIDE YOUR TENT. The carbon monoxide will kill you in your sleep. Sorry to sound so harsh but it’s dangerous and life threatening. Use blankets and sleeping bags and extra layers as you can strip off when it gets too warm.
Whilst you're away camping it’s important to keep your tent and equipment as dry and clean as possible, including taking your rubbish away or recycling it on the site where possible. You are, after all, in the great outdoors and rubbish and food waste only attracts nature’s guests. Make sure you take the bins out every night as you will be woken up by Mr Fox looking for leftovers!
Unless you are wild camping there will be washing up facilities available. However you can always do this at your tent if you bring the right equipment with you. Getting the kids into good habits early will make it easier as you venture out with your tent more and more. Strangely they actually like to do the washing up when you sit outside!
Keeping you and the kids clean is also high on the list, just because you are camping doesn’t mean you have to look like a hillbilly! If in the current climate you don’t fancy using a shower block you can use a portable shower which heats up and hooks on to the side of the tent.