Over the Australia Day long weekend we went camping for the second time since having kids. Our boys are aged 4.5 and 3 and we felt it was time to get back to basics and enjoy the novelty of all things camping. I thought I would share my thoughts on the dos and don’ts so if you’re thinking about a camping trip with kids, these points might help.
TOP 5 DOs:
- Do upgrade your tent if you haven’t been camping since you were a couple back in 1998. A good sized family tent is a great investment. Easy (ish) to put up and lots of space for all your stuff. Our tent was marketed as a “9 person” tent but in reality it probably only sleeps 6 comfortably. With the four of us, we had plenty of space for our beds (inflatable mattresses) and our gear.
- Try to set your tent up where you might get some shade or some breeze. We experienced 36 degree days on our trip and it was HOT. Too hot perhaps. Luckily our boys don’t have daytime sleeps anymore so we were able to avoid the tent oven during the hottest parts of the day. If you have younger kids, camping at Easter or during spring might be a better time.
- Take two eskies. If you are camping for more than two nights and don’t want to go to the shops every day for supplies, two eskies is a very good plan. We only took one and it was a challenge fitting all the food and beverages in. An esky dedicated to beer and wine would have been amazing. Because in 36 degrees a beer at 1pm is a VERY good idea.
- Take an extra marquee / gazebo / shade tent. Whether it’s the heat from the sun or an afternoon thunder storm, having an under cover area in addition to your tent is essential. If you go camping with numerous families, this area can become the communal eating / seating area.
- Try to relax. I don’t think camping is the most relaxing holiday for the parents but try to sit down and relax when you can. If the kids are happily playing, don’t sweep out the tent. Enjoy the camping chair you paid $70 for and sit on your bum. And when husband takes the kids for a walk to the beach, grab your plastic Tupperware wine glass and enjoy a drink. No matter what time it is.
TOP 5 DON’Ts:
- Don’t take make-up or jewellery. You won’t wear it. No you really won’t.
- Don’t stress about the dirt. If the kids have been for 13 swims and are exhausted at the end of the day, give their feet a wipe and pop them into their sleeping bags. Don’t worry about trying to keep them clean all the time. Or chuck them in a tub of warm water for a quick clean and rinse. And don’t take any white or light coloured clothes. Black and grey are your friends particularly on the days when you’re setting up or packing away the gear.
- Don’t bother taking too many toys, ipads etc. Bikes and scooters are great as well as a few other hardy favourites. Our kids pottered about collecting rocks, bugs and sticks a lot of the time. Although an ipad for one movie night wouldn’t go astray.
- Don’t try to rush anything. Making a cup of tea takes 25 minutes. A batch of washing up will take 32 minutes. Cooking bacon and eggs 37 minutes. Enjoy the time it takes for the billy to boil a pot of water. Sit on your bum (see point 5 above) and enjoy the serenity.
- Don’t forget your chairs! A chair for everyone is essential. Even the kids. You’ll use them for all your meals, meal prep and downtime. I highly recommend a super comfy deluxe chair with a wine glass holder attached. Mister 3 even slept on my lap for half an hour on one particularly exhausting day and I was still comfy and well hydrated.
Final recommendation – definitely give camping a go. The kids loved it and once you have the gear, it’s a very cost effective holiday option.
Are you into camping? Any other dos and don’ts to add to the list?