Ah, the joys of camping with children. Blissful, wild, crazy freedom for the little ones but possibly slightly more exhausting for the adults on tour! Just a few extra bits of preparation will make the experience an enjoyable one, not an endurance test. Even if you don’t expect to get much sleep! Here are a few top tips:
When you arrive, you will probably spend a long time trying to find the perfect pitch! Not too stony, too hilly, too windy, too close to the loos, too far from the loos, too close to noise, too close to people you don’t want to disturb… Be prepared for this and try to urge patience. It really is worth looking for the best spot.
Unless you are very familiar with your tent, your Little Explorer’s ‘help’ might not be very welcome. Remember they will probably think this is the most exciting part of the trip (even if you don’t) so give them some tasks. Counting out the pegs, or lining up the poles in size order will make them feel useful.
Comfort is king when camping. Unless you are hard core campers and you have trekked to your destination with everything on your backs, we would recommend taking as many pillows, duvets and blankets as you can! An uncomfortable child is generally as unfriendly a companion as you could fear to meet – especially at 2am.
A thermal mat is an absolute must if you’re camping in the UK, where even the warmest days can turn into chilly nights. Even bring woolly hats for everyone just in case.
Food & drink
Hot chocolate is the number one most important ingredient! If your campsite allows fires; bring the marshmallows. Send your Little Explorers off on a stick-finding adventure.
In our experience, unless it is warm don’t take red wine. Cold red wine from a mug does little to soothe. Gin and tonic is a far better option!
It is the little things that can pick you up after what can be a long night, so a good strong coffee certainly helps at breakfast! A stove top espresso maker is a little luxury which does the trick.
Don’t forget the icebox and ice blocks. You can usually freeze these at the campsite office so take a few and use in rotation.
Extra light can make your camping experience much more appealing.
Remember your head torches. Our adventure brand Lifesystems make a range of powerful and lightweight torches. These are perfect for hands-free illumination when you’re eating, reading or heading out to the loo.
TOP TIP: To make your torch into a lantern, simply poke it into an empty plastic milk carton – the larger the better. This will create a gentle, calm glow that fills the tent.
If you want to make sure you can spot your children after dark, tie a glowstick to their clothing. Set everyone up with headphones and music and you can create a silent disco too!
Don’t even think about trying to get the children to bed at their normal time. You will only be sorely disappointed. Accept the fact that they will go to sleep very late on the first night at least, but that their sleep will be deep and revitalising. Sleeping in the great outdoors for a couple of nights has recently been shown to reset your body clock. So, bring it on for those poor sleepers and suffering parents out there!
We have a Little Life Arc 2 Travel Cot (RRP £109.99) to give away.