5 tips for planning a smooth camping trip with children

If you love the great outdoors, and like the idea of a holiday that will teach your children about the natural world, then camping could be the perfect family vacation for you. Not only is it a brilliant bonding activity, but camping is also often much more affordable than pricey foreign holidays in a hotel.

If you’re looking to explore the wilderness with your kids, but you’re not sure where to get started, then we’ve compiled our top tips to help you organise a smooth and enjoyable camping trip with a tent. Just read on to learn more.

    • Get the right tent for your family

If you choose a tent to be your home away from home during a camping trip, it’s important that you get this right. Unless you plan on camping during harsh winter conditions, or on particularly cold nights, you should opt for a three-season tent. As a general rule, in terms of capacity, it’s best to buy a tent for every member of your party plus one. If you fill your tent to capacity, you might find that it becomes too warm, crowded and difficult to navigate, so a bit of extra space can be very useful. Depending on the age of your children, you might also want to buy a tent with separate compartments to give them a bit more space of their own. Try browsing the full range of tents at Millets to find one that will suit your family.

    • Find the ideal campsite

If this is your first camping trip, you won’t want to simply pack up your tent and head off into the wilderness. Instead, spend your first camping holiday at a campsite with some useful facilities. Remember that not all campsites are created equally, and you will have to take into account a number of different factors when choosing one to suit your family’s needs. For instance, only certain sites can cater for campers with disabilities, and not all sites will allow dogs, so do your research before deciding on a place to make camp. Additionally, you should make sure that there will be plenty for the whole family to do at your campsite of choice, so be sure to research the sort of facilities and activities they provide. You can find sites which offer specific facilities, like swimming pools or children’s play areas, using the search feature here on this website.

Useful facilities

    • Bring the right equipment for a good night’s sleep

How well you’ll sleep will depend on the equipment you bring with you. For your first camping trip, you should pack the following equipment for a restful night’s sleep:

      1. Plenty of warm clothing: You’ll probably want to sleep in warm, comfortable clothing, including a thick pair of socks, rather than your usual pyjamas.
      2. Ear plugs and eye masks: While being so close to nature is one of the pleasures of camping, it can be quite noisy when you’re trying to sleep, so pack a pair of ear plugs. Unless you want to wake up with the dawn, an eye mask is also a good idea.
      3. Consider separate sleeping bags and mattresses: Single sleeping bags will keep you much warmer than doubles, and separate air mattresses or pads will mean you aren’t disturbed by your co-sleeper’s movements during the night.
      4. Insulation for under your sleeping bag: When sleeping on the ground or an air mattress, you’ll lose more heat underneath than on top, so bring a few blankets to add some insulation.
      5. It’s also a good idea to do a practise run at home in your tent, either in your garden or living room. This way, you’ll have no unexpected difficulties pitching your tent when you arrive at your campsite, and you’ll be able to see what sleeping arrangements you find most comfortable. It will also give your children a chance to get used to being inside the tent, meaning they’re more likely to go to sleep without any issues during the real trip.
    • Make sure you can transport everything in the car

This one might sound obvious, but you’re likely to have lots of equipment, and you don’t want to discover on the day of your trip that you can’t fit it all in the car. If you have a smaller vehicle, or limited space in the boot, it might be worth considering investing in a camping trailer. This selection of sturdy box trailers from ERDE will hitch to your family car, and will help to comfortably fit everything you’ll need during your trip. A trailer will also allow for more space in the car, meaning everyone will stay comfortable during long journeys.

Everything in the car

    • Bring plenty of fun activities with you

As any parent knows, there’s nothing worse than hearing a cry of “I’m bored” during a family holiday. While there’s always plenty to do during a camping trip, it’s worth planning a few activities in advance. These suggestions should keep the kids entertained:

      1. Bring a map, and draw on a route for a long walk, including some landmarks and signs you’ll pass. Get the kids involved, and have them do the orienteering — you could even turn it into a treasure hunt, or scavenger hunt. Geocaching is always a good idea!
      2. Pack a couple of card or board games to play should a rainy day keep you inside the tent.
      3. Bring some marshmallows to roast over the campfire.
      4. Play classic games like I-Spy, charades and tag. If you need even more inspiration, try a game from this list of fun family camping activities from Care.

Are you ready for camping with children?

When camping with children, plenty of sensible planning is the key to a smooth, well-organised trip. Follow these tips, and you can look forward to a wonderful holiday spent making memories with your family in the great outdoors. Have fun!

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Anouk Hulsman
  • Author: Anouk Hulsman
  • Impressive countryside, beautiful towns and cities, nice beaches or villages rich in history, there is nowhere that Anouk wouldn't consider visiting in her motorhome. As an experienced camper, she is always happy to share her tips for an unforgettable holiday.

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