If you follow and adhere to the Scouts’ motto, “Be Prepared”, then you’ll find that camping with kids can be brilliant!
Most of you are probably seasoned pros when it comes to living in the great outdoors but for any camping virgins, here’s some useful info (put together by the wonderful folk at Netmums) to help you on your way:
Obviously, you’ll need a tent. Make sure you allow adequate space for everyone the tent will need to accommodate. From a comfort point of view there’s nothing worse than not having enough room to sleep well so don’t try and squeeze into a smaller berth tent to save money. Many of the modern tents now have a sewn-in groundsheet which is a godsend but if not you’ll need to buy a groundsheet separately. It sounds obvious but make sure your car will be able to accommodate the tent!
Also, you can choose between separate sleeping and living compartments – ideally you’ll want a separate area to sleep in, though it’s not essential. Also be sure that you’ve left enough room for all the paraphernalia you’ll need to take with you. Is there room for bags, sports equipment, however many pairs of muddy wellies? And do you want to be able to stand up in the tent, or have room for fold-up chairs if you need to sit inside if it rains? Some tents also come with little porch-ways for a bit of additional room.
Take into consideration the complexity of the tent – are you confident about erecting something quite fancy or would it be safer to stick to a simple model?
There are lots and lots of sleeping bags available and thanks to the current vogue for camping many high street stores do all kinds of funky camping supplies, including sleeping bags, in a myriad of colourful designs.
If you want something really durable and practical a trip to the major camping suppliers is in order. It’s vitally important to remember just how much the temperature can drop at night, particularly in the northern extremities of the country! You need to consider warmth, material used, design, shape and weight when choosing your sleeping bags.
Most sleeping bags have warmth ratings – a one-season bag is designed for use in summer only; a two-season covers late spring to early autumn; a three-season bag is for colder spring and autumn temperatures or mild winter temperatures; and a four-season bag should keep you toasty in the depths of winter! Mummy-style bags offer insulation around your head and can be zipped together to make a double sleeping bag.
Also vital for ensuring a comfortable and warm night under canvas…sleeping mats provide insulation underneath you. You can choose between an air mattress or an insulating mat.
There’s nothing quite like starting your day in the great outdoors with a warming mug of tea and a sausage or bacon butty. As such you’ll need a small camping stove to cook up a warming brekkie for the family and thankfully there are some good lightweight options available. The most widely, easy-to-use stoves run on a butane/propane gas mix. Some small models are very basic and won’t accommodate large pans but others are ideal for family cooking, and come complete with legs, lids and windbreaks as well as grills.
For recipe ideas, take a look at camping recipes.
As well as the major pieces of equipment and bedding it’s worth remembering all the other bits and bobs successful outdoor living requires…
- Fire wok/brazier
- Wellington boots!!
- Fold-up chairs
- Buckets and spades
- Plenty of warm, waterproof clothing
- Gas for the stove
- Pans/can opener/corkscrew
- Cutlery and crockery – including a sharp knife
- Washing-up liquid, sponge & bowl
- Matches & batteries
- Plenty of toilet roll
- Antiseptic wet wipes
- Insect repellent
- Sun lotion & sun hats
- First Aid kit
- In-tent entertainment
- Mobile phone charger (labelled) – there will be a charging point on site