We’re camping experts here, having gone from a Eurocamp pre set up tent to having our own family camping adventures. Pre-children (PC) we went on our own adventures in a little tent by ourselves. When the weather’s nice there’s nothing better than scaling everything back and staying outdoors. I love seeing the children run around freely and enjoying themselves. It’s such an adventure. I’m writing this post not to be smug but to help you benefit from my experience and the mistakes we made. The first time we went as a family we ended up having to buy bits when we were out there and even when we went last time there were tweaks to be made. I’m sure this year will be no exception.
This year we’re having two camping adventures, the first one is one we’re repeating from last year, myself and a couple of my mummy friends are going with the children to a local campsite for 2 nights. We let the children play while we sit around and drink wine and chat. It’s important to have a tent that is simple to put up so even us feeble girls can do it. Once you’ve put one tent up the principles are the same.
The second adventure we’re having is courtesy of a competition I won last year from the camping and caravanning club, we won a holiday to a campsite of our choice plus a tent and loads of camping accessories. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to use it all! We have booked to go to the Isle of Wight, it’s very exciting, going on the ferry will feel like we’re going abroad, the kids are so excited.
Each time we’ve gone camping we set up camp with our big tent which has 3 separate bedrooms. Each child has their own area that they can personalise. Whether you’re going to be at a large festival, campsite or holiday camp, all the tents end up looking pretty similar. It’s useful to have some way of personalising your space so that you recognise your tent and can find it easily. I found these paper lampshades a couple of years ago that are battery powered, they give off a soft light and make the place look festive. When we go out I leave a lantern outside the tent so it guides us home. We also use cheap colourful garden windmills and flags in the front garden part of the tent (think pound shop).
Windbreaks can act not just to keep out the wind but as a privacy screen. I’ve invested in a double gas burner this year with a grill, which I got from Aldi for £24.99, can’t wait to be able to cook bacon, eggs and boil the kettle all at the same time on it! I find the inside of the tent gets really grubby, I take an old waterproof backed picnic blanket and put it down as a carpet in the main atrium, then we can shake it out periodically. It’s also nicer on the feet inside and makes it feel cosy. Last year I got this little compact dustpan and brush which got used every day, there’s always bits of grass, dirt and sand being traipsed inside. Finally, this fold up container is good for keeping sandy wet shoes in and folds flat for storage. I think it was supposed to be a fold up washing up bowl but I’ve always taken the plastic bowls. Top tip, take 2 washing up bowls, you’ll need them.
Whenever possible we go for electric hook up, so we have a long extension cable specifically for camping that we can lead into the tent (the tent has a special hole for this purpose) and use for charging phones, laptop DVD watching, and for the electric coolbox. That’s one of the best and most important things to take, so you can at least keep milk and bacon in it for more than a day!
Millets were kind enough to send us a camping care package, with all sorts of goodies in it including sun cream, insect repellent, a compass, a water bottle, toothbrush covers, a torch and lots more. They also kindly replaced our sleeping bags, we had a rather smelly old double sleeping bag which had had it’s day, so now we have separate sleeping bags tailored to our individual sizes that will keep us warm no matter how cold it is and we won’t be fighting over space anymore. We chose Berghaus from their new range, I have a red one and my husbands is blue and extra long. Millets have a sale on for their camping equipment, with up to 50% off so it’s definitely worth checking out if you need some bits. We’ll still share a double airbed though; FYI you need an airbed or some sort of mattress, especially if you’re going for more than one night, otherwise you’ll be sore from sleeping on the ground.
Our camping essentials list:
From what I’ve talked about above and more, here’s the definitive packing list for family camping which you are welcome to steal. It’s the essentials you need in terms of equipment, the rest is up to you.
A folding table and chairs
Table with storage unit
Water bottles for each of us with clips
Torches – 1 for hanging to the ceiling, one each to hold and a head torch
Folding plastic water container
Salt and pepper
Gas canisters – plenty
Camping electric cable
Multi socket cable
Dustpan and brush
Plastic cutlery and crockery
Extra tent pegs
Cleansing wipes/ baby wipes
Hand soap and hand towel
What are your camping essentials? Do you have your own way of making your camp #HomefromHome? Use the hashtag on social media and tag me @midwifeandlife and @millets_online or reply via the comments below. I’ll let you know how we got on after the holiday. Happy camping!
Disclosure: we were gifted the camping care package and sleeping bags from Millets for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.