Camping Capers – What’s essential?

One of my more questionable ideas this year was to take the children camping.  Camping reminds me of my own childhood – a wet and windy week in Wales, yet  somehow I still look back on it with great nostalgia, so much so that I am determined my children should experience camping for themselves and it goes without saying, there needs to be at least one torrential rain shower so they get to know that pitter-patter sound of raindrops on canvas.

Mr M and I have been camping many times over the years, so we’ve got a fair bit of camping paraphernalia but we’ve not yet tried it with our children and I fear this is a whole different ballgame. I can’t say Mr M was over-enthused at the prospect of forking out on a family-sized tent when I first broached the idea of camping, but when the very kind people at Vango sent me a tent to review for them, he couldn’t refuse and is now positively excited about our forthcoming trip.

The new tent is a beauty and I’m giddy about having such a lovely spacious tent for our holiday (there will be a full review and post-holiday breakdown – in more ways than one no doubt – after we’ve been on our trip in a few months time). The children are as excited as excited can be about camping. Sure, take them to Disneyworld and they can muster a smile, but camping? The thought of camping has them jumping up and down on the spot. We’ve promised torches, new raincoats, backpacks, BBQ’s and copious amounts of Top Trumps tournaments.

After literally weeks of scouting for a campsite that put a big tick in all our boxes I finally found what I was looking for and booked a lovely looking site in North Devon so we’re all sorted with tent and location. I dragged Mr M to two large camping stores at the weekend (have to say, he didn’t take much dragging) where we longingly stroked camp kitchens and fridges, lanterns and tables with adjustable legs, and I had a realisation. MR M! WE’RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BOAT ROOFBOX!

Oh dear. I think I’ve actually gone camping crazy. I need to list (of course I do) and  prioritise what we need to buy. It definitely involves the matching windbreak to go with our tent (I’m such a sucker!) and will involve some sort of kitchen/washstand type contraption but I need your help…

Seasoned campers! What essentials do you need for camping with children? 

5 Comments on “Camping Capers – What’s essential?”

  1. Hi Mrs M!
    I’m a mum of seven and have spent lots of happy holidays tenting with them over the years.
    My best advice is that you probably need far less ‘stuff’ than you think you do.. half of anything you take will come back unused.
    Our tibe sleep in daytime clothing – it’s warmer. An extra pair of socks for night wear is pretty important too, as is an extra sweater – it gets seriously cold at 3-4am!
    Glow sticks to tape to the guy ropes of the tent will help prevent trips and falls during night-time trips to the loo, and are in my opinion, a godsend. Small transistor radios are great for giving to little ones to blot out the noises of the great outdoors – it’s probably a bit strange for them at first, but they also keep them amused for hours, tuning into stations and trying to identify the language being used is a popular game with us. Keep food simple – bacon and scrambled eggs always a fav for brekky with my guys, and bbq anything that moves for dinner!
    A cricket bat and a football will go a long way, DONT take electronic gizmos like DS and so on- the batteries die and then thre is frustration – try to go back to the things you enjoyed as a child, free of all the electronics. Puzzle books and a scrap paper pad or notebooks are good staples for entertainment – think Hangman, 0’n’Xs and so on.
    Most important thing to take is your own enthusiasm – if you can keep smiling when its tipping down with rain, someones pee’d in their sleeping bag and the gas has just run out so you cant make a cuppa – you will be on the winning team 🙂

  2. We bought those posh matching wind breaks and after one trip away went back to the old fashioned stripy ones as the first ones kept falling down!

    We have an EHU so we can take an electric cool box for milk, bacon etc and to charge our phones.

    Definitely take some lanterns, and spare batteries, as well as a torch for any night time toilet trips.

    C is a younger than your 2 but she is kept busy with crayons, books and lego. We also have a ball and a kite that come away with us (we have a trailer just for camping and a lot of stuff lives in there permanently).

    Some playing cards or Top Trumps always come in handy, even if it’s for you and Mr M once the kids are asleep.

    If you’ve got air beds, one of those pumps that either run on batteries or can be plugged into the car cigarette lighter definitely make life easier.

    We have a little cupboard for clothes, and for food it’s either stored in the cool box or just a plastic box from wilkos.

    And don’t forget the tea bags!

  3. One of my favourite camping items is our portable heater! Bigger tents don’t retain the heat so well and even in the summer it can get really cold at night. If you can’t get electric hookup make sure you take extra blankets as being cold is no fun.

  4. All this talk of heaters and electrics! Pah, thats not camping 😉 check my blog where I have a page of basic essentials. Remember to check site rules about ball games etc we have a HUGE lightweight frisbee which is great fun. A book on bugs or other nature stuff is good, eye-spy books are great.

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