/ Family camping - the essentials

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Irk the Purist - on 08:21 Thu

So after many decades of camping as a two - we're going camping as a four. (two kids under 5)

We have a tent, so that's done. Now I have less than a month to buy everything else we need and frankly, the tent took all the money. So I can't buy everything. What are the essentials for camping as a family?

Is there any really good kit you have that makes life easier?

Any recommendations for stoves, kids sleeping bags, lighting, tables, chairs?

Anything totally random that changed camping for ever? Can't wait.

Thanks!

Report
gravy - on 08:43 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

#1 bung in a rug/blanket to line the kids tent floor.

#2 feed kids frequently (every 1/2 hour)

#3 if the sleeping bags are too long tie the foot end up with a bit of string

#4 take yourself a pillow

#5 as soon as you're happy get them a separate tent

#6 tell them "it might be light and the birds might be singing but that doesn't mean it is time to wake up" (alternatively get a black out tent).

The rest is detail - enjoy

Report
dread-i - on 08:59 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

A fire. Poking a fire with a stick, is an essential part of camping for kids. Cooking marshmallows or toast on a stick, Or damper wrapped around a green stick, cooked and covered in jam.

It will probably rain; so wellies, spare clothes, water proofs. Plan some local indoor attractions, even if you have other activities planned, so that you can go somewhere warm, dry and interesting as a plan B.

Glow sticks, or the ones you can make into bracelets etc. Head torch for the kids to use.

Midge repellent.

Report
subtle on 09:00 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Wine or beer for when they go to sleep!

Try to keep them occupied, but also warm and dry during the day - once they get cold they will be miserable and so will everyone else.

Hot chocolate - ours love it - makes it an end of the day just before bed ritual and helps them settle

Take their teddy if they want, helps settle them

Hot water bottles are great for them

Somewhere to sit and eat makes life simpler as well

Don't expect much sleep fro them the first night, just go with the flow but try get them down eventually then go to my first point, relax, and then worry about how little sleep you are going to be getting when they get up at 6am

Enjoy the trip.

Report
Sealwife - on 09:19 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

As others have said, give the kids a torch each (but make sure they switch them off when not in use).  

A folding tables on the larger side of what you can fit in your tent/car.  Makes wet evenings easier for board games/cards etc and also meals, cooking and general organisation more civilised.  We have a ginormous folding trestle table from Amazon, admittedly it was bigger than expected - also doubles as a wallpaper pasting table at home.  For seating we have a few cheap supermarket deckchairs and someone sits on top of the esky box.

Translucent stacking plastic boxes with lids make packing and finding stuff a LOT easier.  I think that was our biggest game changer.  A box for camp cooking stuff, a box for food, a box for kids stuff (games, toys, books, hot water bottles etc), a box for wellies, wet stuff etc.  You can see what's in them without opening them and they can be packed in the boot easily and used as storage in the tent without strewing stuff everywhere (which will probably happen anyway, but the boxes contain it a bit).   Also means the stove, camping cookware etc is always kept in the box in the garage so I don't have to turn the place upside down finding the bits every time.

Got a new lantern the other year - a Black Diamond Moji.  Was much smaller than I expected when it arrived, but it's great, gives out good light, batteries last for ages, light and easy to pack and you can hang it up if necessary.  Much better than the huge, rechargeable one I had before which  ran out of charge too quickly and then broke.

Report
Jon Greengrass on 09:42 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Essential a car with a bigger boot, then a roofbox then a trailer or a van.

Inflating sleeping mats?  My kids  use them as trampolines ( which bursts the seams and I've no idea how to repair?)  then they complain in the morning when they've had a cold lumpy nights sleep on their deflated mat. 

Lighting, we just take  a set of solar-powered fairy lights that we picked up in the end of season sale at the supermarket,

Table, avoid the ones with built in fold out chairs, they will break. We have something  that looks like this https://www.millets.co.uk/tents-camping/147959-4-person-picnic-table.html/301912/?istCompanyId=b238823a-59fd-4816-9c36-7dd47877f2a8&istFeedId=7d0b9473-c15d-46b7-a914-417c84c392e6&istItemId=awtxrwxq&istBid=tztx&msclkid=78ea04e5929510f9fee9583884a9b8ce&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping&utm_term=4581321355954645&utm_content=All%2520Products&gclid=CNDksqjIn-ICFY-YxQId7WwE-w&gclsrc=ds It takes up a lot of space in the car, the table is a bit rickety but the folding stools are bombproof.  I prefer to book a campsite that has picnic tables for each pitch.

Chairs, the fold out stools that pack up inside the table are all that there is room for in our car, with 3kids there is no longer space for the comfy fold out chairs we used to take before, instead we take sit mats and a picnic blanket with a  waterproof backing to sit on the ground.

Stove and pans, any recommendations for something powerful enough to make porridge for 5 in less than half an hour? 

Thing that changed camping forever. We take enough of  those foam jigsaw tiles they sell for gym/garage flooring to completely cover the footprint of the sleeping compartment, which means no cold spots to roll over onto in the night. We also take a tarpaulin to give us extra dry living space when it rains and shade when it is sunny.

Report
pasbury on 09:49 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

The revolutionary object that most improved our camping experience was a potty.

The kids didn't like weeing in the hedge and we got fed up of escorting the to a distant toilet block in the middle of the night. 

Report
LastBoyScout on 10:15 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

My girls are 3 and 5, so same boat as you. We have:

https://www.kampa.co.uk/accessory/airlock-junior-bed-candyfloss-pink (also in blue) - they can't roll off it. Also take a battery pump (came free with ours), as blowing them up takes forever!

https://www.wiggle.co.uk/petzl-tikkid-headlamp - keep an eye on prices, I got them at £15! They're not too bright that they'll damage their eyes.

https://www.mountainwarehouse.com/camping/sleeping-bags/kids-sleeping-bags/apex-mini-patterned-sleeping-bag-p12277.aspx/pink (other colours available). As Gravy said, tie the end off if a bit long.

Youngest is still in a Vango Wilderness convertible.

Couple of fleece blankets in case it really turns cold at night and be prepared to end up with them in your sleeping bag. Also useful in the case of a wet bed - although I take a spare sleeping bag, too.

Take a thermos flask and fill it with hot water at night time. Then you can mix it with milk to make a nice warm drink quickly if they wake up.

Potty!

Battery powered fairy lights from Robert Dyas post-Xmas sale. Glow sticks also a big winner.

https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/15906289/gogas-dynasty-ii-multi-fuel-stove-15906289 - pathetic without a windshield, but easy to use and very stable with large pots.

Usual favourite toys, bedtime books, etc.

Top tip - make sure your wife is warm and dry, too!

Report
RX-78 on 10:21 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Lighting: head torches for all, especially you to read when they are finally asleep. We got a battery powered lamp from decathlon that hangs from the top inside the tent, a red light/night vision setting is very handy. Also a big powerful lamp for outside is useful. 

Brush and pan for cleaning the tent, they will drag in dirt. We got nice folding reclining low level seats, get the kids the same or better than yours or they will want yours.

A rug or 2 with waterproof backing for inside and outside.

Report
TheDrunkenBakers - on 10:31 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

All thing covered above but a revelation for me was a double sleeping bag for me and my wife. An absolutely essential thing.

Report
Jon Greengrass on 10:34 Thu
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

We bought single sleeping bags with LH and RH zips so they can be zipped together into a double.

Report
RX-78 on 12:39 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Also, gas stove with 2 burners and grill where bottle sits away from stove. Also normal sized pots and pans, cooking for 4 now!

Report
Rob Exile Ward on 13:22 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Personally I'm a fan of gas lanterns, so long as they can be suspended out of harm's way. Not only do they have a nice soft light, they make a soothing noise and heat the tent up as well!

Report
Ffat Boi - on 13:58 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Potty...with a lid! 

Report
stubbed on 14:06 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Bucket / potty for night time

Pub near by for evening meal and ice creams

Good indoor option

Double sleeping bag (I take the kids on my own but the children get in with me if they are cold)

Vests, winter pyjamas and onesies for overnight

Report
LastBoyScout on 15:15 Thu
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I may well end up buying a double sleeping bag as this season's camping purchase - we have plenty of bags, but they're all either RH zips or the zips are incompatible.

Report
abcdef - on 18:24 Thu
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Unless it was baltic I see a double bag as a form of hell to have to share with my wife as they are just not roomy enough

A windbreaker and a tarp with a couple of poles to make it freestanding are useful.

Maybe going to buy a Uuni portable pizza oven - anyone got one and would recommend it??

Report
Dave the Rave on 18:53 Thu
In reply to RX-78:

Yes. I have one of these. The joys of beans on toast when ‘camping’.

A gas lamp made dark evenings brighter and warmed the tent before bed.

A bucket to piss in.

A chair if no tree stumps available.

Report
Irk the Purist - on 19:16 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Thanks all. Potty, glowsticks and clear plastic boxes added to the essentials list. The rest has been added to 'if there is a next time'...

Report
pasbury on 20:37 Thu
In reply to abcdef:

> Unless it was baltic I see a double bag as a form of hell to have to share with my wife as they are just not roomy enough

Agreed! Bloody draughty and if think you’re going to get some nookie after you’ve finally got feral kids to sleep at 11.00 then good luck.

Report
wilkie14c - on 21:04 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

A family

Report
Jenny C on 21:45 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Wellies

Headtorch per person

​​​​​​Outdoor/beach games 

Spare clothing (kids don't understand the need to keep clothes dry) 

Tracksuit to use instead of pj's

Report
Bobling - on 21:53 Thu
In reply to Irk the Purist:

My wife and I just take our duvet!  With a sheet over the sleep mat it's almost like being at home (OK nothing like being at home but we can kid ourselves!).  As others have said plastic boxes for storage and a dustpan and brush are essential.  Our tent has a nice living space and we've enjoyed playing board games in it when the weather is dreesh.

Report
LastBoyScout on 09:48 Fri
In reply to Bobling:

> My wife and I just take our duvet!  With a sheet over the sleep mat it's almost like being at home (OK nothing like being at home but we can kid ourselves!).

That thought has occurred as well, but my wife would want to take the thick winter duvet. And it's HUGE! And I'd MELT!

Report
LastBoyScout on 09:52 Fri
In reply to abcdef:

> Unless it was baltic I see a double bag as a form of hell to have to share with my wife as they are just not roomy enough

I did wonder about that - perhaps we won't, then.

Report
TheDrunkenBakers - on 14:49 Fri
In reply to abcdef:

> Unless it was baltic I see a double bag as a form of hell to have to share with my wife as they are just not roomy enough

The one we have is a really good size and exceptionally comfortable. Its a Vango and from Go Outdoors. I would be without it now. I bought a single of the same version. Just lovely when its dry as they arent technical in any way. 

When camping with the family comfort is the only option.

Report
Dave B on 18:49 Fri
In reply to wilkie14c:

Alternatively, contraception...

Ps. Have a good camping trip Irk. My kids love camping

Post edited at 18:50
Report
Timmd on 17:17 Sat
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> Inflating sleeping mats?  My kids  use them as trampolines ( which bursts the seams and I've no idea how to repair?)  then they complain in the morning when they've had a cold lumpy nights sleep on their deflated mat. 

While walking along it occurred to me that you might be able to use a heavy duty sewing machine, and resew it together and perhaps seam seal the seams afterwards? Or get somebody who has access to a heavy duty sewing machine to do that, but that might not be cost effective.

Report
Timmd on 17:52 Sat
In reply to Timmd:

Resew it with the seams 'sticking out' as it were.

Report
Babika - on 14:32 Sun
In reply to Irk the Purist:

My only tip is leave the wash kit at home. Let the kids go feral for a weekend. It'll be much less stressful all round and even no teeth brushing for 2 days won't kill them

Dustpan and brush? Can't think of anything worse. 

Games, toy cars and a colouring book for that 5am wake up however........essential. 

Report
Timmd on 14:43 Sun
In reply to Babika:

I'd maybe clean their teeth, but I enjoyed going feral as a kid when camping. 

Post edited at 14:43
Report
wercat on 17:24 Sun
In reply to Timmd:

> I'd maybe clean their teeth, but I enjoyed going feral as a kid when camping. 


to a point, but the devouring of other live things and people always troubled me a bit afterwards

Report
Timmd on 22:10 Sun
In reply to wercat:

It was the leaving flesh on bones which was the problem IIRC, because it could attract scavengers.

I remember once getting home while pretty young, and being sternly told I needed a bath because I hadn't had one for two weeks. Stealthy cleaning of teeth at communal cold water taps in the dark was something which was encouraged I remember, but I was afraid of the camp showers until a certain age, something about the noise of them I think.

Post edited at 22:12
Report

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.