*This post was written in collaboration with SimplyHike.co.uk.
Last year was our first proper camping season as a family of four. It was a fun time, but also one that taught us a hell of a lot about camping and how we like to do it. Having been camping a few years ago as a couple, I don’t think we were quite prepared for how different camping with kids is. We have taken all of the good and bad points on board, now we’re planning for the new camping season ahead – with a little more experience under our belts!
Rookie mistakes –
Our first major mistake last year was underestimating just how cold it can get in a tent. Our first night in our new tent was mid-May when the days are lovely and warm, but the nights – not so much! Luckily we had taken a few extra blankets which we wrapped the kids in, but Hubs and I were that cold it was impossible to sleep. I ordered a camping heater that night and to this day it’s the best tent-related purchase we’ve made!
We also went the whole of last season without a proper tent carpet. Instead we used smaller picnic blankets, which didn’t do the job well. We were forever rearranging the carpet and stopping the girls tripping over the edges. That’s why, we’ve invested in an Outwell Tents carpet that is ideal for the job. I do love a bit of camping, but I firmly believe you have to make it as easy as possible for the whole family. If camping is hard work, it’s not going to be the fun holiday you want it to be!
Preparing for the new season –
With the new season creeping up on us, I’ve been thinking about how we’re going to make this camping season better than the last. I have finally come to terms with the fact that we are generally ‘fair weather campers’ and I don’t mind telling you that if there isn’t an electric hook-up, we aren’t going!
Here are a few things on my list to invest in before the season begins;
- A second camping stove – we learned last year that cooking breakfast on one small stove is no easy feat, especially when you want a cup of tea to go with it!
- Sleeping bags for the kids – I was weary of using sleeping bags for the kids last year as they were small, but this year I think they’re robust enough to have a cosy sleeping bag of their own.
- A second lamp – last year our one lamp was moved around far too often, so a second lamp is essential to make camping life easier. A light for each room is on the cards.
- A rucksack – Hubs and I like to walk with the kids, but taking them means you can’t go without supplies. I need a bag that is big enough to put the essentials in, but small enough not to be too heavy.
- Camping towels – without a dryer to throw the towels in, I found that getting them dry between showers a bit of a nightmare. So this year we’re all going to have special camping towels, so they dry quickly ready for their next use.
- A good book – a holiday wouldn’t be made without a good book. Now that the girls are getting older, I’ve found I can sneak a few pages in here and there whilst they play!
I thought I’d ask my fellow bloggers how they prepare for the new camping season, here’s what they had to say;
Emma from Happy Family Hub: ‘Put the tent up for a good airing (and to check it’s all there) well before you go. Also don’t leave finding where the plastic mallet has gone to until the last-minute! (Speaking from experience there…)’
Jaime from Our Family Homestead: ‘Make sure you have a good checklist! and don’t forget to check your camping gas canisters!’
Clare from This Mummy’s Always Write: ‘Earplugs, warm socks and head torches are my essential items. Also an electric hook up makes life a lot easier.’
Janet from Falcondale Life: ‘Air everything in the garden on the first warm dry day of the year. Especially open out and air the sleeping bags. Buy tent seam sealant and re-seal the seams the first time you pitch it each year. It’s quite easy to do, you just run the tube over the length of the seam and let it dry.’
Thankyou to all who contributed to this post!