Top TipsFamily Camping
Camping trips are a great family bonding experience, taking you away from the hustle and bustle of the city and spending quality time with each other without distraction. But there is an awful lot to plan and consider when you’re heading off with young explorers, especially compared with a couples or solo camping trip. Check out our top tips below for getting the most out of your family camping trip for minimal arguments and maximum fun.
Finding the right tent
Be realistic - There are a variety of different sizes of family camping tents on the market, so think about how much space you really need. If you are planning to spend a lot of time outside, is a large indoor space really necessary? Do you need a room each or can you make do with sleeping next to each other? Generally, the less separate rooms a tent has, the easier it will be to erect.
Quality Counts - A good tent with long-lasting components and easy-to-follow instructions will probably cost more, but will last you a lot longer and save on stress when it comes to pitching.
Recommendations are key - Getting honest opinions from people who have actually used a product is key. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a tent to find that it’s impossible to pitch, or that it tears after one use. Nothing beats a personal recommendation, so ask some camping friends what their favourite tent is. Failing that, a quick google online will bring up reviews of your tent that will instantly show you whether the tent you are buying is worth it.
Inflatables - Some tents have blow-up poles, making it way easier to put up or down on your own. This is super useful if you are camping with babies that need constant supervision. They’re also really quick to put up so you can get on with the fun stuff - less than 10 minutes pitching and you’re ready to go! Check out the Berghaus Air 4 for a reliable inflatable at a great price point.
Weight matters - If you are camping from car to campsite, the weight of the tent will be less important than if you plan to walk to your camping spot. If you are planning to do a lot of walking, always make sure to check the total weight of the tent before you buy it! The Hilleberg Kaitum, for example, comes in at just 4.6kg for the entire 4-person tent.
Perfecting your pitch
Practice makes perfect - Before you head off, find the time and the space to put up the tent and make sure that a) you have all the parts you need, and, b) you know how to put everything together. You can then make notes of anything that’s particularly tricky or complex to help you put it up quicker on the day.
Assign roles - Tents are easier to put up if there are two of you, but it will make it a lot easier if you each have specific tent-pitching roles, rather than scrabbling to share tasks. One of you could deal with the poles, the other with the initial pegging out. Then there’s guy lines, further pegging out, room dividers, and laying out the bedding and interiors. You’ll be sure to get the job done quicker, and with a lot less bickering in the process!
Pack a footprint - A tent footprint is the ground sheet that fits under tents to prevent the wear and tear of the tent against the ground, helping you to prolong the life of your tent. It can also help you to decide and align the initial pitching of the tent.
Make space - If you have older kids, consider pitching smaller tents next to your tent. This means you can reduce the size and complexity of the main tent and enjoy a bit of space to yourselves. You could even pitch a main tent as solely a living area while everyone else has a one or two-man tent to themselves.
Keep the instructions - Not much explanation needed with this one - it will save a lot of time and stress if you always have the instructions to hand.
Remember to pack...
Sleeping mats - Being a parent, you get plenty of sleepless nights as it is, so treat yourself and get a decent sleeping mat. You may be used to wild camping pre-kids with the lightest weight sleeping mat, but a thicker sleeping mat when travelling by car makes a huge difference.
Plan your meals - Planning your meals in advance is always worthwhile to ensure that you have enough cool bags to keep everything fresh before you pack, and to make sure that you’re packing enough. Alternatively, there are some great camping meals on the market with really great nutritional content. You can never have too many snacks either, and don’t forget to pack plenty of water!
Lights - Get the kids their own head torches. Not only will it save yours from getting lost, or the batteries run down when you need them, it can also be great fun to explore in the dark as a family. Tent lanterns, glow sticks or fairy lights are also a great idea to provide some light in the tent that won’t be too bright for sleeping.
Rugs/Doormats - Bringing a couple of rugs or doormats for the inside and outside of your tent will stop your little ones dragging more dirt in than necessary, and gives you a place to leave your dirty shoes, too.
Wipes - On a similar note, wipes are an absolute camping essential, and not just with children. You’re camping and things are going to get dirty, it’s a no brainer - but you’ll probably be surprised by how often you use them. For a more eco-friendly choice, opt for a biodegradable wipe.
Family camping is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones - it’s no wonder it’s gaining more and more popularity. Although it takes more planning than a solo trip it can be even more rewarding - a little preparation goes a long way and will make sure that all of the family has a trip to remember. Happy camping!