Family camping trips

Camping with a young family can mean a whole lot of hassle, but it’s ultimately worth it – where else but in the open countryside could you let your children loose in mud, trees and nature, and let them make memories that’ll last forever? Sure, it might require a bit of extra planning (and some essential camping equipment), but immersing them early in the campsite life you love is a sure-fire way to start a lifelong passion of their own.

Of course, if you want to give them a taste of camping without heading out into the wilderness first, why not sleep out in the garden for a couple of nights? With toilets, snacks, and their comfy bed well within reach, they’ll learn to love the novelty of a night under canvas.

Tent: top tips

Space is important when you’re camping as a family – you don’t just need room to bunker down and sleep, you’ll need space to store clothes and other essentials. Go for a tent with a porch – an area in front of the door without a canvas bottom. There, you’ll have room to remove and store your muddy boots and other outdoor gear without getting water or dirt inside the sleeping area of your tent. Head to Argos for reasonably-priced tents with porches, built-in canvas bases, and mosquito meshes.

Also look out for a ‘Hydrostatic head’ count; it indicates how waterproof a tent is. Anything over 800mm is considered waterproof, but most tents will be more than 1000mm. Camping in damp weather? A doubled skinned tent will mean less condensation.

Sleeping bag

It will get cold at night, no matter how sunny it is during the day, so make sure you’ve packed your thermal pyjamas and a quality sleeping bag. A ‘mummy’ (as in King Tut) option will completely cocoon you in warmth, as its hood is designed with a drawstring hood to keep you toasty from the tip of your toes to the top of your head.

For kids, check out the Gelert Huddle junior sleeping bag; they come in a range of bright colours, so you can involve your little one to choose the one they like. The fact they’ve been part of the process should mean you have less trouble persuading them to get into it when you want to stay up and watch the stars over the campsite!


Below are a few essentials you mightn’t have thought of!

  • Antiseptic wipes and pocket tissues – the aim is to get close to nature, so be prepared for grubby knees, the occasional booboo and for your child to decide they’re desperate for the toilet when you’re miles from the nearest loo.
  • A flag – if you’re on a big campsite, it’s easy to get lost (for adults and kids alike). Make sure your tent stands out with a family flag.
  • Water carriers – essential if you’re pitched far away from a water source.
  • Spare batteries – for the lamps and torches you’ll be using after dark.
  • Tin foil – so you can cook these delicious roast bananas on the fire after a long day hiking, swimming or playing.

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