First camping trip - essentials/tips?

(38 Posts)
vvviola Thu 20-Feb-14 02:53:26

We're going camping next Friday (it's summer here, we're not completely bonkers).

Both DH and I have camped before, in the dim and distant past (me in the scouts, him 'free camping' with his brother, so I got the impression it was a case of bringing tent, sleeping bags and beer grin)

This is supposed to be a dry-run for more camping trips, so we're camping beside DH's aunts beach hut which has some equipment, facilities etc. MIL and BIL are also joining us, but sleeping in the cabin (provided MIL has actually heard DH's instructions that no, she isn't to bring everything and no, she won't be sleeping in the tent with him and the DC while I sleep in the cabin --long story with lots of background--)

So, longwinded explanation over:
- assuming we have the basics of tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment: what do you consider complete essentials to take?
- what sort of things do you always forget and then curse yourself for forgetting
- DC are 6 and 2, any tips?
- How do you stop a 2yo wriggling down to the bottom of their sleeping bag and getting stuck/suffocating? (Irrational fear created by above mentioned MIL and her desire to 'be helpful' by bringing a cot, baby blankets, high chair etc etc etc for a child who doesn't use them anymore)

This has the makings of a total disaster or the first of many great holidays - I have a feeling the level of preparedness might be key.


purplemurple1 Thu 20-Feb-14 03:15:14

Air beds at least for the adults - we just took roll mats and discovered we are now to old for roll mats!

Living Thu 20-Feb-14 03:41:59

We take duvets not sleeping bags. The bits we tend to forget are things like a book to read to the kids before bedtime and something -other than my bra- to hang a light up in the tent with. Neither true essentials. if you have water, food, fuel and warmth you'll be fine.

kotinka Thu 20-Feb-14 03:42:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rumbelina Thu 20-Feb-14 06:53:36

Plastic bags - lots! Washing up bowl and liquid. Football.

Tie string/a belt round the sleeping bag so it fits.

vvviola Thu 20-Feb-14 09:06:26

Living - I'm loving the image of the light being hung up by a bra! I shall remember to avoid that - not sure poor BIL could handle that image!

Rumbelina - great idea with the belt/string. She'd be gutted if she couldn't sleep in a sleeping bag like her big sister.

Keep the tips coming guys, I'm taking notes!! grin

Slubberdegullion Thu 20-Feb-14 09:11:51

Head torches/ lanterns

Bug spray? Are you in hot Forrin.

What are you sleeping on?

ime kids wriggle out of their bags, not deeper within them. I regularly wake up in the night and find a child with just a foot left in their bag, fast asleep on the floor of the tent.

Something quiet for the kids to look at/play with when they wake up at crap o'clock as it's really light inside the tent. Ditto snack/cereal bar you can lob at them so you don't have to get up and start making them breakfast.

Bucket with a lid to piss in.

LeBearPolar Thu 20-Feb-14 09:14:55

A bag to put dirty laundry in.

It depends on the weather forecast, but as a camper in Britain, I take shorts and wellies for DS - long trousers trail in the wet/muddy grass and it all comes back into the tent.

Brush to sweep tent out with if you're fussy about aforementioned mud/grass.

We like to be comfy - air beds/duvets/pillows/blankets here!

Those crates that fold flat: we store food, books, toys in them.

Head torches for the trip to the loo in the middle of the night. grin

LeBearPolar Thu 20-Feb-14 09:17:45

Variety packs of individual cereal servings and juice boxes.

We take a freezer bag with ice packs to act as our fridge but we always camp on sites where we can get new ice packs regularly and fresh milk each morning.

Wet wipes. You can never have too many wet wipes. This applies to life in general.


Snacks. Food will take an inexplicably long time to cook. Marshmallows. Hot chocolate sachets.

LeBearPolar Thu 20-Feb-14 09:18:42

A couple of extra groundsheets/picnic rugs so that you can spread out around the tent. You always need to be able to chuck the DC out of the tent. grin

LeBearPolar Thu 20-Feb-14 09:19:08

Oh yes - hundreds of wet wipes.

Slubberdegullion Thu 20-Feb-14 09:20:20

Thirds wet wipes.

Get some antibacterial ones too.

rumbelina Thu 20-Feb-14 12:03:40

I got a sheet of tarpaulin from wilkos for about £4 - definitely second this for spreading outside the tent/in the porch <posh>

vvviola Fri 21-Feb-14 07:03:44

Oh this is great - lots of things that hadn't occurred to me.

Shall dig out the bug spray (we have plenty of plug in ones at home as the bugs adore me, so should come up with something for on the move)

Shall also look into wellies (just in case), head lamps and tarpaulins.

DH has just informed me that any time there is an earthquake (not a rare occurrence), this place gets a precautionary tsunami warning. shock I suspect he may be exaggerating slightly, but I'm adding "escape plan" to my preparation list!

hels71 Fri 21-Feb-14 15:16:11

wine..or at least decent coffee.........
A bucket/box to put muddy wellies/shoes in rather than having them all over the tent...
Agree re plastic bags....useful for bin bags/muddy/wet clothes.
wet wipes and more wet wipes.
Matches in a jar so they don't get damp.
DH insists on knee pads to wear while putting in tent pegs, to protect his trousers against mud...

vvviola Wed 26-Feb-14 22:57:47

Right. We're nearly all set.

Recent additions to our supplies:
Bug spray
Extra sun shades
Picnic mats/tarpaulins
Wet wipes
Camping stove
Air beds

Food shopping this afternoon. Will be letting kids pack a small bag of "stuff" for car journey/playing with.

Am sure I'll forget something crucial.

ImMarmite Wed 26-Feb-14 23:30:27

Pen/paper to make a note of things you forgot/wish you'd taken so you know for next time

ben5 Wed 26-Feb-14 23:57:46

Wet wipes, pegs, wine , hammer , extra pegs, another lover of duvets over sleeping bags, leave the mil at home !!smile

TheVictorian Thu 27-Feb-14 00:15:06

Camera to document your adventure and also for various photos of wildlife ect, Maps and a basic survival kit each encase you get lost in the woods (depending on where you are camping). Also if its your first time in the area: a profile of the local area, wildlife, terrain ect.

vvviola Thu 27-Feb-14 01:17:10

TheVictorian it's unfortunately not a wild camping type experience. More a row of cabins with a bit of grass around them, next to a holiday resort. We're keeping close to civilisation for our first go!

As I'm gathering everything up, another question occurs to me - how on earth do people fit everything in the car?! I'm guessing roof boxes etc? We're already having to leave DD2's buggy behind, which I think we may regret, and I don't know how it will all fit (and we have an estate car, so plenty of boot space!)

TheVictorian Thu 27-Feb-14 01:51:34

vvviola could you use a trailer for transporting? when ive seen friends going camping they have had mainly land rover defenders with the cages/racks for carrying equipment ect.

vvviola Thu 27-Feb-14 11:08:28

Unfortunately no tow bar, so no trailer.

DH is working his packing magic on the car though, so hopefully we'll be ok. I'd imagine if this turns into a regular occurrence we'll have to look into a trailer or roof box or something.

SlimJimBra Thu 27-Feb-14 18:48:55

I used a hair bobble to shorten ds's sleeping bag last time we were camping

vvviola Sun 02-Mar-14 06:45:29

I just wanted to report back in and thank everyone for their tips. It was a huge success despite some oddness from MIL

We learnt lots. Like how many times one toddler can trip over the entrance to the tent (lots), that sometimes fish and chips is the best call for dinner, that it has been 20 years since I slept in a sleeping bag for a very good reason (I'm tempted to join the side of the duvet-bringers), that you can never have enough bug spray, and that the only thing worse that changing a toddler's explosive runny nappy is attempting to change a toddler's explosive runny nappy in a tent in the dark when you can't find any of the multitude of plastic bags you brought.

We will hopefully be repeating the experience soon (minus the nappy incident and once we finally get all the sand washed out of our hair)

Thanks again everyone!

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