Having successfully returned from another camping trip, I thought I would share my suggestions for family camping essentials. I’m not talking about the obvious things like tents and sleeping bags. I hope to give you some ideas for those more obscure items you may not have considered. These are things that I have found invaluable, and made my camping expeditions more enjoyable experiences.
With so much pretty picnic-ware available, it’s easy to forget that even plastic dishes still need to be washed. And let’s face it, a holiday should include as few chores as possible! I have found taking paper plates and bowls invaluable. Especially having young children that eat ten times a day.
Don’t be tempted to take your over-sized suitcase. Space in a tent will always be limited. Pack light but include something for all weathers. The temperature inside a tent can vary greatly over 24 hours. A good quality leather bag instead of nylon, will be robust and easily cleaned, whilst ensuring your clothes stay in tip top condition, ready for new adventures each day.
First Aid Kit:
Since having kids I always take my first aid kit on holiday. As well as the obvious paracetamol and plasters, I advise taking sterile wipes, scissors, tweezers, sting relief, dressings and dehydration salts.
I know you’ve already thought of sleeping bags and air beds, but did you know that when camping the temperature of the ground can make your bed cold to lie on. I always put a blanket under my sleeping bag. I find this really helps to keep me and the kids cosy, particularly if they wriggle out of their sleeping bags during the night. Extra blankets for on top, and hot water bottles are also useful.
Flying bugs are part and parcel of the great outdoors, but they are not so welcome in the confines of a tent. Even more-so if they are of the stinging variety. And believe you me, trying to catch a flying insect is no easy task. Unless; you have a fly swatter. Then it is pretty easy. Even if you don’t wish to splat them, a swatter can help you push them in the direction of the door.
If you have children there is a pretty good chance you are already aware of the many, many, many uses of baby wipes. At the campsite, these can pretty much replace the contents of the cupboard under your kitchen sink and your bathroom toiletries. Use these to clean hands, faces, armpits, shoes, cutlery, tables, dirt on the tent, marks on clothes, and so on and so forth. Don’t presume that if your child no longer wears nappies, that you no longer have a use for baby wipes! These wipes take up little room, and I promise you will use them!
A Carefree Attitude:
Possibly the most important thing to take camping is a good attitude. Tents are small confined spaces. The family have to learn how to adapt to a new smaller environment. You might get wet. Personal hygiene standards may not be a good as usual. Kids can get overexcited. Adults can get frustrated. My advice is, take it all in your stride. It will be what you make of it!
So there you have my family camping essentials. These are the things that helped make camping more of a holiday and less of the endurance test I feared it might become.
Have you any tips? I would love to hear them.
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