Maybe not as romatic as we hoped but still an adventure…
Reflecting on our first camping trip as a family of 4. We had a fab time, even though the weather was against us.At the time of this trip our kids are 0 and 2.
There are a few things we wished we’d known before we went.
Here’s 10 things we think will make your camping trip easier and more enjoyable:
Plan to do everything earlier
Food over gas, coals or fire takes longer. Even washing up, using facilities all takes longer. Allow extra time in your day. You might think you usually get the kids down by 7.30, plenty of time to go enjoy a beverage with some adult company watching the sunset or under the stars.
By the time you’ve got the kids to sleep, maneuvered off the air bed and unzipped the tent. Everyone else is probably ready to turn in. probably too exhausted by your kids or fed up up of you shushing them for being to noisy.
We gave up on the second night and wrapped them (the kids not our friends) up in blankets on our laps. Everyone enjoyed their company a lot more once they had their eyes and mouths closed.
Buy Twice the amount of gas
We learnt this the hard way and ran out on day 2. It seems with extra mouth to feed and extra warm drinks to make we were unprepared. The campsite didn’t stock refills. Luckily we had our friends with us, which brings me to tip 3.
Bring friends that don’t have kids
This gave us extra hands and more time to relax. Also you can throw a kid in their tent in the morning like a snotty grenade whilst you go and get 2O minutes that’s going to last you the rest of the day or take child number 2 to the shower block to rinse off the poonami that just happened on your sleeping bag.
Set low expectations
We’ve done a couple of camping trips with just 1 kid. At the time he was small enough to stuff into a sling and we could walk off to explore the local area. 2 seemed to completely disrupt that dynamic. I’m sure you know that so in conclusion…
Be realistic and avoid disappointment, but also learn to enjoy the small things and little moments.
Don’t be afraid to admit defeat
Despite being avid fast food haters we found ourselves awake at 4 am with two screaming children and a monsoon pushing at the sides of our tent. In order to not wake the whole campsite we got in the car looking for anywhere to get hot coffee and dry off. We begrudgingly went into a Mcdonalds. As it happens we got really well looked after by a lovely young lady, who we almost cried on when she managed to calm our kids down.
It’s actually quite a nice memory now. We also returned hero’s to the campsite when rather than tossing in a dribbly child we threw in some breakfast baps and lattes.
Take a big tent
Four of us in a 4 man tent didn’t allow room for travel cots and even without cots it would’ve been a squeeze. You do not want to be changing a nappy while the rest of your family are asleep on an air mattress. One false move and your catapulting excrement over all your worldly possessions for a week. Not to mention a favourite Past time of kids is to open and throw cloths around.
Bring a shelter
Great to have a social space, so everyone doesn’t have to dash in a tent every time it spittles. Having somewhere to leave chairs and tables, whatever the weather.
Just check in advance that your campsite allows shelters.
Pre plan a few activities
We figured we’d just go with the flow and do what everyone felt like doing. However, re: tip1, by the time we’d got everyone out of the tent fed and in there 3rd change of clothes (and that was just our friends let alone kids) We needed to think about lunch. There was no way we were going to get 2 under 2 along a coast path before the pubs closed.
One thing that’s always a good plan with kids and friends alike is national trust properties. Not so much the houses as the kids want to touch everything but the gardens are always accessible for pushchairs. You can walk around without having to dodge cars and cross roads and there’s plenty of seating and open spaces for eating and letting the children of the lead for a while.
Make the most of your time and budget, but remember to save time for campsite chill and games.
Take plenty of snacks and food
I’m sure you all know how many snacks the family get through, but I’m sure camping heightens the already high demand for snacks. Plus, if you are anything like me you always eat more on holiday.
We all love the idea of waking up to bacon sandwiches and hot coffee over looking the sea on a sunny campsite. However the reality of trying to fend off a toddler with one foot whilst you desperately wait for some bacon to at least reach room temperature over a wind battered stove means you might be glad you’ve got a couple of bars stuffed in the tent pockets when your all starving in a drenched tent.
Towel robes –
Are complete genius. Saves roaming children in shower cubicles. You can just chuck them on and make your way to your tent to get ready. Saves wet clothes and changing in mini cubicles. or having to expose yourself to the campsite as you try to carry one child, an armful of wet and dry clothes and chase a toddler who want to explore the neighbours caravan.
Happy camping and I hope these tips allow you to have the best camping trip. If you found these useful check out our other activity tips and ideas.