Camping in the great outdoors can be a truly enriching experience and one that the whole family can enjoy. Nothing beats sitting round the campfire as a family and getting time away from the everyday hustle and bustle of the town or city.
However, camping with family can often be stressful, especially if you haven’t done it before. You have the kids to think about, so more appetites to consider, not forgetting there’s plenty more stuff to pack. There’s no need to worry, though, as we have put together a list of top tips for surviving your first – or any, if we’re honest – family camping trip.
Try Before You Go
If this is your family’s first time camping, a good idea is to figure your tent out before you go. Pitch your tent in the back garden or living room to save time faffing around on site with no idea which pole belongs where. This is also a good way to make sure everyone can fit in nice and comfortably so that when it comes time to head to bed on the campsite, everyone will know what they’re in for.
There’s nothing worse than forgetting something as small yet necessary as pegs. By doing a test-run while you can still pick up all essential accessories, everyone’s guaranteed to be happy!
Check the Weather Forecast
Checking the weather forecast before you go is a must, especially when children or pets are in tow. If the family are inexperienced campers and there is a poor weather forecast, it might not be the best idea to go, as you might not know what to do when faced with challenging weather.
Quickly checking to see what they weather will be like also gives you an idea of what kit you’ll need to bring, as well as any emergency layers like extra hoodies or blankets and jackets. Making sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible is a must especially when there’s a sudden downpour.
Regularly check up to see if there are any changes in the forecast, and also make sure you’re searching the area you’re camping in on the weather app, not just your current location! You’d be surprised how different things can be only a few miles away.
Depending on the attendees, there’s different things you might get up to while camping. With kids, they’re more likely to get restless when they realise they can’t just sit in front of the TV at night time so it’s important to make sure they have plenty of activities to do. Games that require minimal storage space are best – such as a frisbee, football, dominos or a classic game of charades.
You don’t want to take up too much room with toys, but it would be best to pack a tennis ball if you’re bringing the family’s resident furry along.
Nature provides the best playground. When out in the wilderness, it’s good to encourage the kids to let their imaginations run wild to keep themselves entertained. Skipping rocks by the lake still hasn’t gotten old, no matter how much we have.
Plan Your Meals
Dinner should be a highlight, not a stress point. Despite the lack of fridge or storage space, camping meals can still be very tasty. It’s essential to plan your meals before to make sure whatever you need can stay fresh in cool boxes or bags, and you know what utensils you need to bring.
One thing you can never go wrong with is snacks, so be sure to bring plenty of snackables to keep everyone’s stomachs happy throughout the trip when it’s not yet lunch or dinner time.
If you need some inspiration on camping food, recipes and the like, check out our Camping Foods Ideas and Hacks article for more.
Another must-have? Water. Water, water, water. You can never have enough, and it’ll help you be prepared for any dehydration disasters.
The most important thing to remember for any camping trip, whether it’s your first or 100th, is to stay safe. The outdoors can be a dangerous place if you aren’t familiar with it, so taking a few safety precautions will help to ensure that everyone has a good trip.
Make sure your campsite is well lit so it’s easy for people to see where they are going and what they are doing. You can also give each person a whistle so you’ll be able to signal one another should you get separated.
Having a buddy system might also help to ensure everyone always has someone there with them, meaning you don’t need to worry about the little ones wandering off on their own.
Another tip to make sure everyone stays in good health is to take a first aid kit with you, just in case any accidents or injuries do happen. Plasters, pain killers, antiseptic cream and wet wipes are simple life-savers that nobody should go away without.
And there you have it! A list of our top tips for surviving your first family camping trip. We hope, as always, that you have found something useful and take on board some of our pro advice when planning your next trip.
Stay safe, stay hydrated, pack smartly and – most importantly – enjoy spending some fun-filled time together without any distractions!