There are thousands of useful and not so useful lists and blogs all over the Internet about family camping, there are books and magazines.
There are even videos around telling you what to do and what not to do. It’s up to you if you want to read them or not, but good advice and some camping know-how can sometimes save your sanity and your holiday!
I have been camping with my children since they were so small that all they did was sleep all day and all night! I’m in no way an expert but I’ve tried almost everything, at least once.
I was once at a lovely, quiet festival on my own with my two sons. We had a nice big tent, rugs on the floor, a kitchen set up with a teapot and porridge for breakfast, we had real duvets and costumes to wear everyday. It was a triumph of packing!
The family next to us arrived in the night, stressed and tired. They put up two bell tents and crashed out. At 7am when their twin toddlers were ready to kill some one or thing, dad crawled out of his tent to find me sat on the grass making the day’s packed lunches while one son read me a Spike Milligan poem and the other was washing up. The look on his face was worth a million bucks, total amazement!
After I had made our neighbours all cups of tea we chatted about getting to the festival and the conversation went a little like this: “So you have a truck?”….”No…” I said. “Well then you must have a big car or a trailer or something?”….”No…” I said, “we have a Golf. No roof rack, no trailer, just good packing”.
So, even if you think my idea of each child having a plate bag, complete with colour matched cutlery, plate, bowl and cup (saves arguments) is mad and that you always go back to the tent for supper and comfy night clothes before heading out for headliners (saves sleeping dressed as a mariachi band) is time consuming, I can safely say, I have impressed one family, once, with my packing skills!!
Here is my list, it’s taken 13 years to perfect and I have each part of it washed, repacked and stored away by the end of September each year, just waiting to come out again in time for our first outing!
List of camping know-how packing
Camping in one big tent
- One large kit bag for all the bedding, if it doesn’t fit, you don’t need it.
- One back pack for each person, once the essentials have gone in the kids can fill the space up with whatever they want.
- One bag for towels, wet weather gear and bin liners.
- One chair/stool each
- One torch each
- One plate bag (cup, plate, bowl, cutlery, tea towel) each
- Costumes (including fancy umbrella’s, bubbles, crazy straws, glow sticks, maraca’s and at least one kazoo each!)
- Camp Kitchen (I use an old fishing tackle box that doubles as a table and holds everything)
Camping in small tents
- The same as above but each tent should have a ground sheet, rug and bedding set.
- Gazebo or big tent fly sheet as a shelter for the whole family.
Camping in a van
- Take whatever you can safely fit in it along with the main list of camping gear !!
See you all in a campsite somewhere, drinking tea and checking out other people’s tents!
Enjoy the trip!