Our Top Family Camping Tips
Camping with your whole family is a great way to spend quality time together in some beautiful locations, while getting the kids outside for some fresh air and exercise too. Here are our top tips to make family camping the stress-free holiday it should be.
It’s a good idea to have your first family camping holiday close to home, so that your drive is short and (hopefully) stress-free, you know the local area and, if all else fails, you can make the decision to head home. You might discover a local beauty spot you didn’t know existed - or see a familiar place in a whole new light.
Checking the forecast before you head off on holiday is something probably every British person does anyway – but when you’re camping, it’s more about being prepared for the weather than trying to predict it. Make sure everyone has a full set of waterproofs, well-fitting walking footwear and plenty of layers to keep them warm, like insulated jackets, hats and gloves and plenty of spare socks. The weather won’t matter if you’ve got the right kit to enjoy it!
Choose The Right Tent
Your tent will be your family’s home-from-home, so it has to have everything you need. Consider how much space you need (being realistic about how much kit you’re bringing), as well as whether you would benefit from extras like a porch or some carpet. You don’t need to have everything for your first trip – a lot of working out what you need comes from experience – but just make sure you’ve got enough space and kit to be comfortable.
Check out our tent buying guide here.
Get It Pitch-Perfect
Once you’ve chosen your perfect tent, it goes without saying that now you need to know how to put it up. We recommend doing one or two practice pitches in the garden or a local park before you set off on your adventure so you feel confident about how to do it – this is also a good opportunity to check all the bits are there, rather than being caught short at the campsite.
Leave plenty of time to get to the campsite and get your pitch set up just the way you like it. That way, you’re not arriving as it’s time to go to bed and feeling stressed before your adventure has even begun – or having to get up at 3am to adjust guylines that you forgot to check!
Go In A Group
If you’re apprehensive, it always helps to go in a group with people who have done it before. You can follow their lead and learn as you go along, as well as enjoying all the fun of a big camping trip – think campsite games, massive cookouts and lots of shared memories.
Make A Plan
The thought of camping can be intimidating for parents, when keeping the kids entertained is enough of a struggle at home. Before you go, have a look at what’s around in the local area and have a few ideas of things you and your family would like to do, and have backup plans to give everyone a choice of what you do each day – it’ll help the kids feel like it’s their holiday too, and prevent the dreaded “I’m bored”! Try to plan a selection of indoor as well as outdoor activities, in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Bringing some home comforts is important, especially for your first camping trip – but it’s also important to pack smart. For example, bringing your own pillows from home is a great way to get comfortable and make sure everyone gets a good night’s sleep, but it may not be practical to bring your duvet! It might be hard to make the distinction between necessary and unnecessary the first time around, but just consider what’s going to be practical when you’re trying to cram everything into your tent.
Remember You’re On Holiday!
The most important tip is to remember that your family camping trip is a holiday, and holidays are supposed to be a relaxing break from the real world to spend time together. Ditch the home routines, embrace when things don’t go to plan (or even better, try not to plan at all), and most of all, enjoy all the benefits of getting back to basics and reconnecting with the outdoors.
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