Camping is one of those things…. You either love it or hate it….
I believe there is more to love than to hate and it would be a shame not to at least try it.
It is relatively cheap to set yourself up with the necessary items and once you have bought these, you could have them for a lifetime.
I have written this post to help you navigate the camping section of my website. This will make it easy for you to jump straight into the subject you are interested in!
Tip: Why not see if you can borrow a tent for a try-out camping weekend.
There is no better way in our opinion to get yourself and your children outside, than with a camping trip.
There are many health benefits to spending time outside
Benefits of spending a lot of time outside have been well reported. Especially for children outside play is extremely important. So important even that I have dedicated this whole website to the subject!
It gives children a chance of unstructured play in an open and constantly changing environment. Children learn to solve problems, it stimulates creative thinking and it gives children the freedom to play what they want to play in their own way.
These are just a couple of benefits for children. You will find more on the benefits of outdoor play here.
Adults need more time outside as well. Where we spend more and more time indoors in stale air, we need a good dose of fresh air as often as we can. Our brain needs oxygen to function well.
And everyone knows that a cup of tea tastes so much better when you have actually earned it. So lets go outside and play!
Planning a camping trip – Where do you start?
So how do you go about planning a camping trip? What do you need? Where do you go?
I have taken the stress out of organising your trip by guiding you along the way with our camping tips and checklists.
I believe that camping is something you grow into. Everytime you go camping you might add something to your gear, upgrade something or decide that you really don’t need that gadget of the year which has stayed in the box since you got it.
My family are hot on reviews so have a look at our review section for the latest products. No need to waste money on greatly marketed products which are utterly useless!
Camping Provides Important Family Bonding Time
The great thing about camping is that no trip is ever the same. It is also a great bonding opportunity for any family.
With so much time spend apart, with ever increasing schedules and with the massive distraction of screens (television, internet, consoles, tablets and the lot), it is good to stand still sometimes.
To go back to basics .
Camping is a great and easy way to do this.
If you are new to camping start here…
Into Glamping? Start here…
Worried about rain while camping? Read here how to keep the kids entertained….
Wild Camping with kids… Really?
What do you need to bring camping?
How much ‘stuff’ you can bring on your trip will greatly depend on the mode of transport you choose to get to your camping spot.
Simple trips include just a tent, a sleeping bag and mat, some matches and a knife. One set of spare clothes and with a bit of luck a burner and mess set.
I call this Minimalist Camping.
Wild Camping would require minimalist camping and so would a backpacking trip or a cycling trip.
Once a car comes into play, anything goes! Windbreakers, gazebo’s, BBQ’s, Blow up lounge chairs, Kitchen cabinets, Wine glasses, Hammocks, Bunting, Fairly lights….. if it fits in the car, people bring it!
I have seen clothes racks, bed frames and even a couch!
The list is endless!
Whatever you want to bring on your camping trip, make sure you don’t forget the unmissable items on this list! Checklist.
There are also different kinds of camping trips.
Back to nature is a firm favourite but so is the party group camping weekend.
Both can be great for kids but for different reasons. Back to nature normally includes walks or cycling in nature. Lots of quiet time and exploring options.
This is a great talking and bonding opportunity. To rewind and re-connect. Camping in the Forest is a great place to start.
The latter option – the party group camping weekend is great when there are many children present who can play together. (see here for great group game ideas)
This is also a great chilling out option for the parents, knowing that the children are nearby playing and having an adventure of their own.
Camping toys – Do you need them?
There are many outdoor toys which are great on camping trips. Some are the old favourites, which only seem to come out when camping, like badminton and cricket.
Some are newer and maybe used in the garden at home. Non of them are essential, however all of them are fun. And you might find that the forgotten swingball set in the garden becomes a whole lot of fun while camping!
Camping must haves for kids
Bath time and Bed time
Camping with young children gives you a different trip experience than with older children, however both are great.
Check our camping with babies checklist before you set off with little ones.
You will find that young children love camping as everything is different than at home and so they will be easily entertained all day.
The biggest challenge might be bathtime and bedtime.
First of all not all campgrounds have baths for little ones – though more campgrounds now provide a babybath – check the campground in advance if this is important to you.
Secondly the walls of your temporary home are made from either canvas or nylon. This means ALL sounds will go straight through and any children playing outside will be heard inside your tent.
The same goes for light. I am not aware of any tent which black out all light. If you know of one, please let me know in the comments below!
The combination of light and noise might keep your children up past their normal bedtime. However, luckily they will have had lots of fresh air and outside play and might well be ready for bed before you know it!
Older children will have a lot to do while camping too. If you are unsure however on how to entertain them, read our camping activities for children blog post.
While it is possible to cook a 3 course meal on a camping stove (believe me I have tried!), most people will stick to simple camping recipes or BBQ’s.
Our favourites are green pittas and campmade pizzas. We have a great selection of camping recipes for kids, ready for you to try!
Ready? Steady? GO!!!!
If you are not convinced that it’s is quite for you, why not see if you can borrow a tent of someone to try it for a couple of nights before committing to purchasing your camping gear yourself.
When you are ready, read our camping gear reviews first, to find independent reviews and recommendations.
Alternatively, check out glamping with children options. This is basically a luxurious camping trip where no puzzling out how to set up the tent is required. If you are lucky, you might even be welcomed with a glass of bubbly!
Whatever way you choose to go camping and whatever the make up of your family, camping is a great way to spend time together as well as outdoors!
I would love to hear from you!
You are welcome to add your stories, suggestions and questions in the comments below!