8 TIPS FOR FAMILY CAMPING BLISS
Imagine waking up in the morning, free from your usual routines, letting the children run riot in their PJ’s or gently easing yourself into the day with the sound of nothing but nature. These things are not mission impossible, they are mission possible. With a few hints and tips, your unforgettable camping trip will be a breeze.
1. GETTING THE RIGHT TENT FOR YOU
You trawl the internet, look through catalogues and hear about your friend’s all singing all dancing tent, but which one do you choose? It’s easier than you think. You can eliminate so many tents by thinking of budget, person capacity, headroom and weight. Narrow your range to three tents and choose one that ticks all the boxes. Have a look at our handy tent guide to get started and once you have your lovely new home, practice pitching in the garden, this will ensure a smooth start to your adventure.
2. HMM, WHICH CAMPSITE?
Whether you’re taking the children away, looking for a nice quiet spot or somewhere that is dog friendly, there is the perfect site for you out there. You could get inspiration from a Cool Camping guide book, which cover campsites all across the UK or if you’re looking for something smaller then try Tiny Campsites of Britain. Once you have chosen the right site, give them a ring to book yourself in. Be aware that site prices can increase during peak season and may vary depending on tent size – look out for extra charges.
3. FIRST TIMERS, FAMILIES AND FURRY FRIENDS
If you’re apprehensive go in a group, with a family member or friend who’s been before. Children love adventures and camping is full of them. Campsites are great for meeting other people and you’ll find that children will get chatting with other children and make friends. Don’t forget your furry friend, they are part of your family so no need to put them in kennels, many campsites are dog friendly. They could share the tent with you or have their own doggy tent, but don’t forget to check the campsite policy on dogs before booking.
4. CREATURE COMFORTS
Camping doesn’t have to be about roughing it on a foam mattress in a tiny tent with no room to swing a lantern. It’s all about getting the balance right. With a few comforts you can relax and enjoy being under canvas without sacrificing your favourite things. Pack the airbed, duvet and plump pillows if you have room in the boot, if not, take a comfy self-inflating mat, sleeping bag and roll away pillow, you’ll be comfortable with both options. If you like a lay-in, don’t forget the earplugs as nature doesn’t lay-in.
5. PLAN YOUR TRIP
There are numerous activities to be done when camping. It’s worth making a list of all the things you’d like to do and see while you’re away – sightseeing, cycling, caving, snorkeling, building mud walls, geocaching and walking for example. Then make a contingency plan for rainy days – indoor climbing, swimming, bowling, cards, sitting in a nice country pub, there’s loads to do. The pure simplicity of games like rounders, flying a kite, or playing twister on a campsite site is incredibly relaxing.
You can’t beat sitting in your comfy chair, drinking whatever takes your fancy, chatting with friends and watching the day turn to night. If you have children, lay on a blanket and see what star constellations can be seen, put head torches on and play twister, or go for a nice walk along the beach when no one else is around. You can enjoy the peace of no TV, Xbox or washing machine. Listen to the different animals and take in the beauty of nature.
If you’ve camped before and you like to pack the kitchen sink with the car so full you daren’t open a door in case everything bursts out, then why not try minimalist? Dump the duvet and grab the sleeping bag, swap the wash kit and massive white towel for some dry wash and a travel towel. Embracing minimalist is exhilarating. If on the other hand you are the minimalist have a go at glamping, no need to load the car with everything, pick a campsite with a tipi and all the trimmings and spoil yourself. You only live once so take a leap and try something new.
8. ABOVE ALL “RELAX”
Camping is an adventure so breathe, relax and take it all in your stride. If it rains, embrace it, dance in the raindrops and jump in the puddles. Sit in your pyjamas with your hair sticking up whilst sipping your morning coffee. Let the children stay up late, climb trees, dig for worms and eat sarnies with mud on their hands. Take a book and spend the whole day reading it. You’re on holiday so do as you please, there are no alarms dictating your day, relax and enjoy quality time with loved ones and friends.
Feeling a little apprehensive about your camping trip? Have a read of our 9 camping fears and dispel your doubts! Or, for more family camping inspiration, take a look at our guide to camping with kids.
Dawne Randell - Carmarthen Store
Dawne is based in the Carmarthen Store has worked for Cotswold Outdoor for 5 years and enjoys motorcycling, walking, cycling and camping. She has a 6 year old daughter who also loves the great outdoors. Dawne enjoys exploring the UK and her latest camping trip with her daughter was in the New Forest.