Complete camping virgin needs a master class on the basics.(134 Posts)
I have a tent. That is it. Want enough stuff to go camping with DH and DCs (6,4,2) for a couple of nights, locally, to start with whilst we find our camping feet.
What do I need? (On a budget ie as cheap as poss)
I assume something to sleep on and in and something to cook on and eat off?
Inflatable mattresses except for DC3 who can use a travel cot (also useful for safety!)
Sleeping bags unless you have high tog duvets instead (it's cold outside even in summer)...bags are warmer
Waterproofs (trousers too) and wellies
We sit on floor (large tarpaulin with blanket over) to eat but you might want a table and chairs (beware the all in one versions, children often can't reach the table from the benches)
A gas camping stove (I use one like this but also cook over camp fire so you might consider 2 rings.
A frying pan, a kettle and a saucepan. Possibly a bar.B.que. wooden spoon, tongs, spatula.
A washing up bowl and cutlery/plates/bowls/tumblers/mugs
A water carrier
Good torch/head torch per person (maybe not the toddler!!)
Lantern for the tent
we camp very basic and use a fire to cook over all the time...you can take all sorts of things but (other than food, toiletries and clothes) this is the minimum that I get away with for me and 4 DC)
All of the above, plus thermals, pjs, extra jumper, hat and socks for sleeping.
Oh and small games for the children, + balls/bats/books
A corkscrew and wine for you.
All the above plus...
I always take a hot water bottle (or 2) to make sure I'm toasty warm in my bed. I either heat a kettle of water to fill it or I fill from the hot taps in the toilet blocks if is hot enough.
I stick one in ds's sleeping bag to warm it before he gets in.
Really useful even in good weather.
These are great tips thanks all. I won't forget the wine don't worry.
Re sleeping bags - any recommendations? Am tempted to get m DFather to dig out the ones we used as children - they must've been made in the 60s or early 70s and are truely retro
Airbeds or those roll up mattresses?
Airbeds are warmer (though my DC always end up on the floor unless we put them on doubles in a double compartment!)
DC have these sleeping bags Gelert 250 because they were on special offer.
I suspect the ancient ones would be cold and need exra layers...I use my old 1970s versions to put under the beds for extra insulation on colder camping trips
PS...if you think you'll keep camping it is better value to buy adult sleeping bags for DC and tie up the ends to make them snug...then you can get 3 season bags which will make everyone warmener
What are 3 season bags fool?
Sleeping stuff is the MOST important thing - never underestimate how cold it can be when you're camping so old sleeping bags are a no no, fabulous for an extra layer underneath but you need to invest in good sleeping bags. We used to take quilts but we are wimps and had a roof box to put them in!
Picnic blankets under airbeds gives an extra layer too.
1 Season Sleeping Bags Best for Summer - Usually Around +4/5 Degrees. In my opinion only for use outside the UK or for sleepovers indoors!!
2 Season Sleeping Bags- Later spring to early Autumn when its not sweltering, but when you are unlikely to be on the receiving end of cold snaps or snow. Around 0 degrees
3 Season Sleeping Bags- More technical than a 2 season bag, these are best for mild to cold nights, without frost, but with a very low temperature 0 to -5 degrees
4 Season Sleeping Bags- The most technical bag! These are made for very cold Winter nights in the outdoors. These are typically more bulky and weigh more, but they do keep you exceptionally warm. To -10 degrees.
Everything is covered above, don't take too much else as its just loads to pack, transport and clutter up the tent and you don't get that 'simple life' feeling! Duvets and airbeds are a real luxury so def squeeze them in if you can :-)
Love camping! BBQ bacon baps for breakfast too
Get yourself down to Go Outdoors over the bank holiday where there is a 20% off promotion. Their own Hi-Gear stuff is cheap but of decent quality.
The cheapest way to sleep is on an airbed or foam mat. Kids will sleep on a foam mat on the ground. Adults normally need a bit more padding so you are looking at an airbed or a selfinflating mat/SIM at least 5cm thick. SIMS are a bit pricey but a lot more comfortable than you'd think for the thickness. If you get an airbed try putting a foam mat on top because the air inside gets very cold at night.
I'd get a 3 season sleeping bag minimum for the UK - it's forecast 2 degrees at night over the bank holiday - so you want a bag with "comfort temperature" down to 0 degrees IMO. You could probably supplement a thinner one with blankets/duvets - but these all take up space in the car.
possible? Vango a bit roomier
Mallet - that's our camping nemesis, we lose or forget it nearly every trip!
Take fleece blankets too, as many as you can possibly manage because there is nothing worse than being cold in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep. We have plenty of cheap ones that we've acquired over the years and they can be folded or rolled up and shoved into gaps in the car.
We use the silver survival blankets under airbeds to provide an insulating layer and reduce the cold coming through the bed.
You lot are great thank you! Now, anyone got any tips on persuading my DH it's a good idea? I'm just going to buy and squirrel away the stuff and present it 'ta da! We're off camping!'
Re sleeping bags - those mummy ones look a bit restricting - anything wrong with the more traditional shape?
Also, I have a stupid question - is there electricity at campsites?
if you see "hook up available" and a higher price for a pitch then you can buy and take an electrical hook up.
Some shops/offices will freeze ice blocks for your cool box and/or charge your phone for you
I have a square end shape sleeping bag. I think it is a Vango and I know it was about £50 many years ago.
Hook up is how you get electricity but you need a proper hook up lead which isn't cheap. I wouldn't advise buying one until you know you like camping. Ice blocks can usually be frozen on site and your phone can be charged in the car whilst you are driving.
It took me years to convince DH to go camping. Now, however, he loves it although is not prepared to camp in the rain. So long as he has his axe and the means to build a fire, he's a happy man! Actually what swayed him was watching a BBC documentary a few years ago about camping where they interviewed grandparents, who have camped with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and I think it warmed the cockles of his heart
Tescos have cheap (£6 I think) fleece inners for sleeping that will help keep you warmer and the slleping bag cleaner - can recommend them.
Bucket for washing up is easier to carry
onesies to sleep in!
Easy food!! (Pot noodles are good for a quick instand snack if desperate, cook a couple of meals before that can be warmed up, if you freeze them they'll stay fresh longer and keep the cool box colder.
Irony like to be restricted in my sleeping bag so I have a square end one. Dh and ds have mummy shaped ones. They are good vango ones that weren't cheap but worth every penny for the warmth.
Oh, I keep a "kitchen" box (plastic box with lid) in the attic for when we go camping. It has cutlery, plates, plastic glasses, salt, pepper, cork screw, mugs, dishes, sharp knife, kettle in. I just make sure it gets packed in the car each time and I know I haven't forgotten stuff.
I also pack into stackable plastic boxes with lids rather than suitcases/rucksacks because thu stack better in the car. They can then just be taken into the tent and stacked in there for easy access.
Oh - take slippers and big socks for inside the tent. Helps keep the muck and dust out. I stick one of the empty boxes in the porch bit to bung "outside" shoes and boots in (so everyone knows where they are even for late night toilet visits.
I assume someone has mentioned a washing up bowl. it can be a long walk to the sinks on some sites so you'll need something to carry the pots to and fro.
Fleece blankets are also great to wrap up in of an evening whilst sitting outside before bed.
If you do end up getting a connector for electricity, take a cheap electric kettle - boils twice as fast as one on the camping stove!
There are square end sleeping bags obviously but they are traditionally aimed at caravans and you have to hunt around to find properly warm ones with a temp. rating (e.g Vango). The mummy ones are warmer like for like, as less air inside them to keep warm. But not everyone gets on with them. (DH made me camp with only a mummy bag and a foam mat for about 10 years so I've got used to it!)
A couple of decent plastic boxes like these are good for storing/packing cooking stuff and you can also sit on them or put things on them. We have a full set of camping pans etc but if you are taking your everyday stuff tape a list to the lid!
There are often electric sockets in the shower block for hairdryers/straighteners. (Yes people do use them!)
My irony is also restricted in a mummy sleeping bag
I got dd a square mummy bag from snugpac for her birthday. Think it's a 2-3 season and packs up beautifully small and was not too £££.
Sleeping- we use a airbed on top of a picnic blanket with a fleece sheet on top, then duvet and sleeping bag and hot water bottle. Roasty toasty.
Cooking... I do just fine on a cheapie £10 stove thingy with one ring, and a kettle. On a week long trip I take two ovens.
EHU- I get the hook up- usually £3-5 a night more. The EHU is about £35 from amazon. I use it for blowing up the airbeds, boiling a cheapie kettle (fiver from Morrisons), charging phone and ipad etc. Yes I take my ipad camping. SUE ME!
Oh, and I also use plastic stackable boxes with lids, not bags. One for kitchen stuff (stays in loft, never unpacked- plates, cutlery, chopping board, knives, etc). One for our clothes. One for everything else. Fits well in the boot, easily organised. I let DS take a rucksack with toys and games of choice.
Things to remember: mallet, carrier bags (useful for bin/wet clothes), baby wipes (for people and things!), toilet roll, towel, washing up bowl + liquid, lots of snacks! Oh and a light of some sort.
There's a great list in the travel section of mn which is pretty comprehensive OP.
I'd def get mummy sleeping bags, you can tighten them right in round your shoulders which keeps you much warmer.
Thanks again. Am writing all this down in my camping book. I'm going to be the best organised virgin camper ever!
These sleeping bags are great OP www.vango.co.uk/range/aurora-comfort-double-grande.html
With loads of room. I've just linked to this years model but if you hint around online you can get older season ones with different colour cheaper! I hate feeling claustrophobic in sleeping bags and this was the widest I could find.
It can also tighten around shoulders, head etc but probably wouldn't be as warm as one that is super close to whole body. It is warm though, especially with a hot water bottle at my feet!
After doing a quick two minute search here is older season vango sleeping bag at almost half the price to the current seasons one! www.camperlands.co.uk/vango-sonnogrande-sleepingbag.html
I really rate the Vango Nitestar sleeping bags - we have adult and kids ones. If buying adult get a left and right and you can zip them together to make one big bag!
We always take a portable DVD player for when the kids wake up a the crack of dawn (aka 6.30 like they do everyday in life!) We charge it off the car battery the night before and it gives us at least an hour's peace when it would be too early to get up and start making breakfast.
Home Bargains have a some camping stuff in - I got an LED tent light (runs off 4 AAs) for £1.99 recently. Took it camping last weekend and it was good.
I too use a box for kitchen stuff but use big blue ikea bags for everything else. I find it fits better in our car as we can squish it all about a bit!
I use fabric laundry bags with drawstring tops to store all our clothes in.
My tip is to get into pjs before tea and put clothes on top. Then just take clothes off to get into your sleeping bag in toasty pjs. Also means not having to find pjs in the dark after a bottle of wine. Was very pleased with myself last summer in the freezing cold.
My advice? Consider a nice villa in Majorca ...
We religiously camped, year in year out til about 3 years ago when we went 'you know what? We're tired of battling wind and rain. Let's get some guaranteed sun'....
It's a pity because I love camping but the reality is, we feel we can't 'risk' wasting our valuable family holiday on a rain driven field on the edge of Dartmoor.
Another essential for us is a couple of cheap doormats, keep them in the porch or outside the door, stops it getting too muddy on the bits that are being walked on all the time. Small Dustpan and brush for getting all the bits of leaves etc out of the tent before you put it away is v. useful too.
We take glowsticks, you can put one on the outside of the tent to help you find it in the dark and have one inside for a tiny bit of background lighting. Also headtorches are useful for reading and going to the loo at night. Also a pair of crocs, you can slip them on and off easily and it doesn't matter if they get wet or left outside.
I'm camping again this summer for the first time in 8 years! The weather better be nice to me.
If you have a smaller tent, that you have to kneel down to get into, then a cheap doormat (one designed for outdoors) is essential so that you can kneel down on it to get into the tent rather than on the wet ground.
If you tent has fitted groundsheets, either throughout or just sleeping compartment, then it can be useful to buy a cheap extra groundsheet to fit the footprint of your tent. this means that
a) when you pack up
in the mud and rain the bottom of your fitted groundsheets are reasonably clean and dry for rolling up in the tent bag - even if you have to get the tent out at home to dry out it is a whole lot easier to do if the fitted groundsheets aren't that muddy. The cheap loose groundsheet is much easier to hose off and dry than one fitted to a tent.
b) your fitted groundsheets are likely to last longer and not get worn where they've rubbed against a stone etc.
Take something to carry water in - even if it is just a large 2-4 litre bottle of mineral water. It stops you having to go to the tap every time you need to boil the kettle or give dcs a drink.
It might be helpful to have a plastic box just inside the door of the tent and make every one put outdoor footwear in it to stop mud and wet getting everywhere.
Wetwipes/babywipes - lots of them - quick cleanups without having to trog to the loo block.
Groundsheet or waterproof picnic blanket for sitting on outside.
Either lots of old supermarket plastic bags or a roll of bin bags. You will get through loads more than you think as you will probably want to get rid of rubbish every day rather than having it mouldering in a corner. They are also good for stashing wet/muddy clothing that you are not going to do anything with till you get home.
Pillows - I know they aren't for the camping hard-core but I think they make all the difference to a good nights sleep.
Matches, a couple of spare tent pegs, tin opener!
Oh and if you tend to wake up when it is light then you might like to think about a sleep/eye mask as the tent lets in loads of light and dawn is ridiculously early
as will the waking times of your dcs be!. The birds can be incredibly loud too and will compete with your children for the privilege of waking you up at silly o'clock !
We have only camped as a family at festivals, but have found these invaluable for middle of the night wees!
Comfy Track suit bottoms and sweat shirt to sleep in (for me and the dcs), Fleeces to wear in the evening and early morning even in midsummer, cool bag, plenty to read.
Better and cheaper (tried and tested) wee device for both sexes:
Small bucket-shaped receptacle (pound land etc do small storage tubs, of the kind you might buy for kids pens/lego). Line the inside with a carrier bag, then z fragrances nappy bag, then open out a cheap nappy (or line with a couple of value range sanitary/incontinence pads.
The wide rim enables you to squat quite easily (in fact you don't really need to squat, just place it between your legs and bend your knees slightly. The nappy absorbs the wee and means it's not sloshing about, then you simply tie the bag and dispose of it the same as a baby's nappy sack (this is essentially what it is, just with grown up wee!). We keep an empty bucket by the door to this nappy sacks in at night, but you could just leave it outside thd tent and get rid in the morning.
If you are looking for a traditional sleeping bag then I would recommend the Outwell Lux 3-4 season. Its about £60 but totally worth it. I enjoyed camping much more with it than last year in a 2-3 season mummy shaped bag.
I would also get fake crocs for everyone. We all wear either those or wellies when camping. Easy to get on and off when nipping in and out of tent, great if you are on the beach.
I'll add a tea towel and washing up liquid
because I always forget them
All the things already said.
It is horrible to be cold at night so take more than you think you'll need. I'm looking forward to wearing my onsie camping this year as it seems tailor made for camping. Execpt for the tail. I've taken my duvet for the last couple of trips but now I'm looking for a cheap smaller one just for camping. My kingsize is a bit too big. (So lovely to use it though!)
Wet = Cold. Keep a special dry change of thing to wear only in the tent in the evening/night. Wellies in the morning.
Sometimes you just want to get fuel inside you for little effort. Have a couple of meals where you can just add water and heat. Pasta with a jar of pasta sauce, or flavoured rice or something. Even Pot Noodles!
A note pad. Make a note of the things you wish you had and keep it with your tent for the next camping trip.
Make your first camp within a short distance of a big camping shop, and take plenty of money.
And always know where your towel is!
Great wee tips thanks! So basically a potty with nappy bag then nappy, wee, tie and throw. Easy!
Still need cheaper sleeping bags - need to buy 5 and just can't stretch to £30 ish each.
What about a portable BBQ? Or is a ring enough?
not strictly necessary but I always take hideous knitted poncho-great to wear in a sleeping bag as it stops cold air coming in when you turn over and empty wide necked fabric conditioner bottle in lieu of chamber pot. also a trug-them handy rubber bucket things, I find are more versatile than plastic washing up bowls.
those very, very absorbent cloths that suck up loads of water. great if your tent leaks. Ask me how I know this.
must just don't end up taking duvets, you'll end up very cold.
How about you buy one or two decent sleeping bags (at least one for you?) and try and improvise with duvets or borrow some kit for every one else. Kids often don't get as cold. If you like camping, gradually build up your kit each time you go so spread the cost over a few trips.
We have a folding BBQ like this but you could take a disposable one. It's nice but not essential.
Flip flops or crocs and a plastic bag to keep your clothes dry for the shower
We took our travel potty with disposable liners for night time emergencies. It actually came in useful on a couple of occasions when the children simply couldn't wait. Head torches were really useful too.
Never camped in my life before I met DH, who has a psychopathic love of sleeping in water-filled ditches etc. Still not a great camper (when he takes DC to the water-filled ditches, I head for the spa...) but some tips:
Goretex is worth the money (or, as DH puts it, "Get everything Goretex 'cept condoms" - DD1 was an unplanned camping trip baby!) .
Baby-wipes are the best thing since before sliced-bread was ever thought of (You can have a really refreshing full-body wash with just a dozen!!!).
The only cooking equipment you need (per person) is a small non-stick frying-pan, a wooden spoon & a metal mug with a strip of duct-tape on one part of the rim:
You can cook for 2 in a small n-s f-p, so share chores; everyone eats with their own spoon.
No need to wash-up: use a baby wipe!
For a brew, boil the water directly in the cup, add tea-bag, coffee, spoonful of marmite etc, then drink from the bit with the tape.
Have 2 sets of clothes: one for day, one for night. ALWAYS change back into day clothes in the morning, even if they are still wet; NEVER let your night clothes get wet. With one set dry, you can survive more or less indefinitely; with both sets wet, you've got 24 hrs max, normally a lot less...
Never go barefoot: sleep in lightweight sneakers (baseball boots with hi-sides are ideal) in case DC start crying in the next tent or you need the loo or cows break into your campsite or there's a mega-storm or flash-flood or, as DH puts it, "..you get bounced by the bad guys...!" etc.
DH also says you should keep your personal weapon tied to your wrist so you can find it quickly if there's any bother, but I think this is unnecessary at Center Parcs...
Some great ideas here. I did a few camping trips years ago and had all the gear - stove, table and chairs, mini fridge etc. I'd like to do it again but I really can't be arsed with all the food related faff. Would it be easy enough to camp without having to cook - ie do many campsites serve brekkie, lunch etc without it being too expensive?
...would I be able to get a flask filled up with tea?
Get some lactose free milk. (Lactlose?)
It comes in UHT type cartons that don't need to be kept cold, but seems to taste like normal milk.
For storage I love my flexible buckets http://www.amazon.co.uk/Draper-49099-42-Litre-Multi-Purpose-Flexible/dp/B001GUWUI8
They squish down in the car. I take about 5, one for shoes, one for food, one each for kids toys, can fill with water for water fights/wine cooling.
Depends on the luxuriousness of the site, Flumperoo - I tend to go for the cheaper sites so they might have a little shop and not much more. The bells and whistles places probably have cafes or restaurants.
I looooove camping, off to Dorset in June for a night to give my newish tent an airing. I always take a sleeping bag and a duvet and a pillow, and usually an airbed or thermarest but always with a rollmat underneath as you need something between the ground and the airbed otherwise it can be very cold.
If you're a light sleeper, take earplugs. There will always be someone who stays up later/gets up earlier than you. And there'll always be some arsehole who insists on sitting in their car with the engine running at 7am.
Always have a knife or pair of scissors inside the tent with you so that you can cut your way out of it if an emergency means you can't get out of the door.
I was inside a tent with (ex) boyfriend cooking supper in the entrance. He managed to cause a mini explosion with the camping stove somehow which caught part of the tent alight. Thankfully he had the water container next to him which he chucked over the flames and it put them out. If the fire had taken hold we would have both been trapped in a burning tent - and they can go up in seconds. It was pretty scary.
Also, goes without saying - NO naked flames inside the tent - no candles, no cigarettes, no lighting matches, nothing.
A bucket with a lid for when DS (and me!) get caught short in the night....I am not going looking for the toilet block in the middle of the night for anyone
And yes I have a friend who goes camping and every morning she drives to the shower block and washes and straightens her hair !!!
Ps don't forget hot choc and marshmallows!
Practice run. If you have a garden camp out for the night. It will help to check everything is OK with the tent (no rips, missing or broken poles enough pegs). You can see for yourself how cold it can be but still close enough to go get another duvet. Check the airbeds hold the air and don't deflate in the middle of the night. If it's a disaster abandon tent and go get in bed.
Most important don't stress it, if you enjoy it so will the children chill and have a great holiday.
Normal UHT milk tastes like normal milk these days too, no where near as bad as it used to be.
We have a plastic lidded "kitchen box" we keep packed for camping too, with all cutlery and plates etc in it. we use it as a washing up bowl when we are there as well.
I usually take my duvet and put it on top on my double sleeping bag. I hate hate being cold when camping.
Marshmallows, glo sticks, bubbles and kites type things for the kids. My kids love those velcro catch and grab sets for camping trips.
Pegs and a bit of washing line and duct tape are a handy thing to have about for quick repairs or rigging up shade/shelter if extra is required. My dh mocks me for packing the duct tape every time, but we almost always seem to find a need for it.
I save up those froot shoot (i never give them to my kids really, oh no not me) type small bottles for small amounts of cooking oil, washing up liquid.
We are camping as we speak and this year the extras have been shown going home for the duvets as it really is cold at night and an electric heater. We so camp at a site that does food so no cooking. We are all having a fab time and I have read my first beast quest book. Oh yes we also have kindled and a fridge!
Little reading light (tiny beam) so you can read when dcs asleep (even if dc2 ends up in bed with you)
Double sleeping bag (even if 2 zipped together) or double duvet for you and dh because if 2yo cries the easiest thing to do is take him into bed with you and you can't do that with a little single sleeping bag with narrow foot.
Is the 2 yo in nappies? try to use normal bedding for him in that case, I mean the stuff you have loads of, and bring spares, so that if there is a leakage you just change it, rather than having to find a laundrette or going home or putting him in a shitty sleeing bag. I suppose this is what you would naturally do anyway if you are putting him in a travel cot, but if you are putting him on a camping mat then try to make it up with stuff you have spares of.
My main camping tip is to take way more bedding than you think possible to need. Especially to sleep ON rather than under. More camping mats etc than seem sensible. It's not so very warm as you might think at 2am in the middle of a field, to paraphrase Eyeore.
Camping is fun- a slice of pioneer life and you get to use unaccustomed things a couple of times a year. Great "dépaysement".
If you are camping in UK, hot water bottles absoutely essential
Definitely definitely get 3 season sleeping bags. I camped Friday and Saturday night, boiled during the day
and am now as red as a lobster but slept in DP's down 3 season, with my 3 season opened over the top and wore proper thermals, two t-shirts and a fleece. I was still relatively chilly!
Buy a cheap picnic blanket for the inside of the tent to put muddy boots on.
Take a dustpan and brush for brushing out the tent before you pack it away.
Asda's own brand cheap hot chocolate (in a white opaque pot) is really bloody good, you need to use a good 4 heaped teaspoons per mug but you can have that for a thick hot chocolate with just water.
I take TravelJohns with me, I also have some in my car at all times in case of an emergency when travelling! They are brilliant though do bag them and bin them as squirrels might take a bite
Gaffer tape for any emergency repairs. Handy to have a spare tent pole .
Take a flask of hot water with you for a no- faff cup of tea when you arrive.
Three- quarter length trousers are handy.
It's worth keeping a spare pair of trousers / shorts and pumps in the car when you pack up, so that if you pack up in rain and mud you have clean dry clothes and shoes to drive in.
Take fresh pasta rather than dried for reduced cooking time, and bags of ready grated cheese. Remember cupboard staples like salt and oil. If you have some ready - made meals in the freezer like casserole or pasta sauce, take them with you frozen and they will help keep the cool box cold.
A colllapsible water bottle is useful.
Pump for airbeds plus spare batteries.
In- car charger for phone if you are not using EHU.
A large platic bag-for- life that stands upright is useful by the door for shoes.
Battery operated lights only for inside the tent, and always leave barbeques/oil lamps or anything that involves gas/oil/burning outside the tent. Not only are they an obvious fire risk but they also pose a big CO risk.
Cool boxes are good for storing food, keeps it dry.
Don't put anything within a good few inches of the tent edges, it will end up soaking by the morning, water proof tent or not. Avoid also touching the sides of the tent as water will come in, usually from condensation.
Plastic boxes for dishes, storage, clothing to keep stuff dry and organised
Wooden sticks to place shoes upside down (especially good for welly boots), dries them out and stops spiders etc from moving in.
Torch by the door, next to shoes on sticks (have a grab and go bag)
If you don't fancy seats, rolled newspapers in an overlap fashion covered in bin bags and stuck with masking tape's always good.
Take tent patches for repair in the possible event that the tent rips, plus spares of everything especially pegs. Spare rope/strong wire for guys. Waterproof spray for the tent.
Take plenty firelighters, also fire proof gloves, and sand/water buckets if you plan to cook on a fire.
Take a first aid kit, spare fully charged mobile in case you can't charge it and need one.
Plenty of spare batteries.
Plenty of loose change for token washers/driers.
Cook simple stuff - e.g. spag bol, salads, pasta dishes. Have big breakfasts and lunches, lots of snacks - camping makes me very hungry..
A groundsheet, fleece, then a raised bed, with another fleece layer is good for warmth. To save time on the first night you can make bedding rolls and stuff jammas in them etc.
Washing lines and the like can be easily made if you have some good strong bits of wood (tree branches etc) and spare rope.
Make ground rules if you want to avoid tent mess - e.g. no shoes to be worn in the tent..
Waterproof trousers and macs are fab for sudden downpours.
Plan day trips or take indoors stuff if it rains - e.g. colouring books, simple toys for kids, kindle etc for adults.
Have camped for years and years since I was tiny, did loads of camping with girl guides in the green bell tents where the sides are rolled up daily and everything has to be packed up each morning!!
Pack clothing in plastic bags inside holdalls - keeps the clothes dry if you have to have the bags out in the rain for any time while you are putting the tent up . Also means that you have bags to put dirty / wet clothes into later.
It's also best to take cleaning stuff as well, e.g. water purifying kit, sterilising tablets, Dettol wipes/spray, handwash, travel clothes wash..
Don't forget tampons or the like either (had a period on camp before) - they can be stored in nappy sacks in an airtight box lined with fabric if you can't find a suitable bucket.
Don't forget basic medicines either - have been on camps with people who've had vomiting bugs/upset tummy, always good to have paracetomal, anti diarrhea and rehydration stuff.
We were told in Guides to stand in the shower clothed in our waterproofs and boots just to ensure that they were truly waterproof.
Also got told to go outside and chuck our plates at the walls - if they broke, they weren't suitable for camping (not so much of an issue in a family, where people are likely to be a lot more gentle about dishwashing etc.)
To be honest it was sensible advice - the first camp I went to as a Guide, it rained solidly for 6 hours followed by a spectacular lightning storm (during which we cooked chocolate bananas under awning tents!)..
If you can, it makes sense to make a fridge outdoors - you'd need a good strong stick, and a good strong bag plus ice boxes. If you raise the carrier above ground level by a foot or so, you can place drinks etc in it to keep them cool overnight. Means you can keep the cool box for stuff such as milk, cheese, etc, stuff that really has to be kept cool.
Oh I miss camping now...
Oh, waterproof your matches by dipping the tops in wax. Haven't tried this myself yet but my scouts swear by it.
Also, watch videos on how to build a fire and have a practice in the BBQ at home before you go, I still can't work it out and get DP (who is just as bad) or my scouts to do it depending on who I'm camping with
Remember you have to be able to fit all of this stuff in your car.
<eyes bulging boot dubiously>
Oooh you could get those things that you stick pots on, a fire grid think they're called. They're a good measurement for how big you want the fire/flames to be etc.. And they help as you can dunk pots for boiling/simmering on whilst preparing other stuff.
Fires are fab to be honest for cooking, even after you've dampened the flames down you can use the ashes/coal for cooking off stuff such as baked nectarines, cored and baked apples (stuff em with raisins), chocolate stuffed bananas, cheesey jacket potatoes..
Head torches are good for stumbing around finding stuff at night.
Please PLEASE also remember the family whose daughter died of CO poisoning from a BBQ while camping - don't leave anything smouldering inside the tent. A whole bunch of campers last year got CO poisoning from those bloody disposable BBQs.
I can't believe I read this full thread. I don't even want to go camping. Some great ideas though!
Has anyone got tips for keeping warm in a tent where the ground sheet isn't sewn in?
Our recently borrowed tent has bedroom 'pods' but the main part has a separate ground sheet. DH is convinced we'll be frozen/blown to death.
Ha ha ha and camping is the cheap option? we considered camping this weekend for the first time with our dc (3,5) and realised that after adding up all the 'essentials' plus paying over 30 quid for the privilege to pitch our tent in a damp field with predicted night time temperature of 3 degrees, we'd be better off in a hotel. We had a lovely evening and night and a cooked breakfast this morning.
Think well give camping at least in the UK a miss (forever)
You lot are awesome! Such great ideas. Am feeling much more confident about it and have started looking for kit - am looking on eBay and thought I'd put a notice up at work in case anyone has any bits thy want to give/ sell me - lots of people of the age who probably don't camp anymore their little ones have flown the nest.
For our first run we are going to camp locally for 2 nights with some friends, probably in August so should ease us in gently. DSs overheard us talking about it today and were so delighted there is no backing out now....
Take your pillow if u can fit it in the car.
Good torches are essential.
Don't go if the weather continues to be cold or if forecast wet, you just won't enjoy it.
If you have never slept out I a tent do it first in your garden or .a friends garden just to get used to the strange noises, early light etc.
There are many wonderful campsites in the UK. Where do you fancy going?
I don't like airbeds. They need a lot of insulation or will be cold, and they deflate when the cold air loses volume. Self inflating mats are much nicer.
katy those self inflating mats look great - definitely don't fancy blowing up 5 airbeds!
mouse we've never had a tent with a sewn-in groundsheet and never had an issue with it. Our current tent has what I think is called a bathtub groundsheet so it's not flat, it comes up at the sides which I guess must help keep the draughts out?
We put down dh's old scout blanket, self inflating mats and use 3 season sleeping bags (fairly cheap ones at that) and we're always warm and toasty. Always take cheap fleece blankets just in case but have never needed them (they're nice to wrap up in round the fire though!)
Are kids ok in adult sleeping bags if I tie off the ends? Or do I need junior ones? If so, how long until they grow out of them?
How old are your dcs musttidy? I think unless they are very little they should be OK in adult sleeping bags. My older two (nearly 9 and 7) prefer to use grownup sleeping bags now (I don't even bother to tie the ends) It would help if you can pull the sleeping bag closed around their shoulders to keep the heat in. They would both still fit in a junior sleeping bag though I think (dc1 is quite small for age)
Has anyone any advice on sleeping bags for little ones?
My DC is going to be 21 mo when we take her camping this summer. She wears a sleeping bag normally, but she'll need a lot more warmth - where we're going can be very cold over-night after a clear day (we had frost at the end of August once). I expect we'll take the travel cot so an adult sleeping bag would be a bit much.
Sorry to hijack your thread, OP.
My self inflating mats came from go outdoors, their own brand. Reasonable price and very good. Also easier to set up and pack.
Don't bring food into the tent at night. Store it in the boot or a sealed cool box. We had a hedgehog come in for a snack in the middle of the night. Harmless creatures, but creepy to hear it and I had to roll it out of the tent with a stick.
Thanks DewDr0p we're off to the lakes on Thursday so I'll take extra fleecy blankets.
YBR We've just bought a nitestar bag for ds2 who's 1 at Go Outdoors. It was £20.
I use cheap Asda duvets and cheap fleece blankets like you find at Pound Stretcher. A bit bulky in the boot, but easy. Especially the fleece blankets, which work as sheets, layering easily. And they are easy to wash and dry and generally air out .
Just back from camping this weekend.Very pleased with my self inflating mat from argos... less pleased now I see it's 25% off at the moment grrr
My tips are: fresh tortellini for quick cooking. You could also freeze it for coolbag assistance and then cook quickly once it's defrosted
Also, and this was handy in a bell tent which can get messy rather quickly - those collapsible laundry baskets. pack flat in the car, and then you've got somewhere for everyone's clothes/ shoes/random stuff that has come out of the suitcase. I also appreciated a hangnging pocket thing for storage, and extra pegs always come in handy
I always take a couple of buckets. One is full of water, for washing hands, and later as a washing up bowl. The other serves as a potty at night. Easier than walking to the loo.
Hijack away YBR I need the answers too!
DCS are 6,4,2 so not sure about sleeping bags. Maybe adult ones for the boys (4 year old is a big lad) and junior one for the squirt?
Avoid air beds - they just hold a layer of freezing cold air under your body.
Newspapers are great at the tent entrance if its wet/muddy. They absorb the water and are easily replaced.
We took a couple of Ikea stools (Bolmen) last trip and found they came in handy. Can get a bit of height if needed for putting the tent up, an extra chair for unexpected guests, a bit of gaffer tape on the holes and some ice and it's a wine chiller... Most useful purpose was the shoe-change stool. Great for small kids (and sometimes mum!) to have a designated spot at the tent entry to sit and change from outdoor to indoor shoes, and vice versa, with the shoe bucket next to it. Saw a definite increase in shoe compliance. They stack and are easy to fill with odds and ends for minimising car space.
Dustpan and brush to sweep those bugs and bits of grass off the floor (well, ground sheet) ... plus lots of crisps and books
Anyone who is interested I have just ordered these
self inflating mattesses for £9.75 each. The reviews are very good.
Had a bit of a result yesterday - I checked my tesco points and had at more than I though so used the tesco exchange and got £100 worth of camping stuff for free!
Haven't camped with children yet but my camping experience tends to be wild camping or bivvying out.
In the UK I wouldn't go below a 3 season sleeping bag even in summer. The sleeping bags typically from the 70s are so cold, really a bad idea. Mummy bags keep heat in better, down bags are warmest but most expensive and hard to dry.
Roll mats are cheap, but you can also get Thermarests, which are more insulated, more comfortable, pack down well, but more expensive. They inflate automatically, so no pumping.
I second the headtorches recommendation. Petzl are the best make. Some of the cheaper ones have beams that don't reach your feet so not hugely useful.
Camping stove (maybe a larger one, I've got a MSR pocket rocket I think but it's best for a couple). Also shielding (wind break, ring of cardboard) so the wind doesn't blow the gas out. And please don't use the stove in the tent, that's very dangerous, tents go up in flames incredibly quickly.
Get a trangia cookset if you dont plan to do much cooking. reduced to £69 here. Packs up tiny, you could add a small frying pan and not need anything else! We use ours on a small low fold up table.
Only camping thing I can't do to my satisfaction is toast...
Those that say to take bucket/potty for use in the night - do you just walk with it to loos in morning? I'd be a bit embarrassed walking around with a bucket of wee
But I think it might be neccessary as ds is only fairly recently potty trained..
Well if it's just wee and no toilet paper chuck it in the hedge ?
I figure if animals wee all the time everywhere that might be OK?
Or take a nappy bucket (with lid) so at least it's covered and carry it too toilet to dispose of. Or use those disposable pee bags that are used for potty training out and about and tie it up and throw it away but that is the expensive option.
We are off to the IOW at 5am tomorrow for our first ever camping trip. My poor little ford Fusion is bursting at the seams and I have yet to strap the bikes on the back.
Taking a four year old DD too , she is really excited especailly about the boat trip although she did think I was going to row the boat over to the island!!!!!
It looks like we might actually get some reasonable weather too after five years of holidays in the UK where it has rained every fucking time!
Thanks for everyones tips and advice. I think we have all bases covered and that includes the kitchen sink (a collapsable one)
Nobody has ever noticed me walking with a bucket of wee.
People at camp grounds in the morning are busy trudging off to brush their own teeth to care what you have in your bucket.
Have fun City let us know how you get on.
at buckets of wee - wouldn't occur to me to notice or care
Take 2 mallets. tent gets put up in half the time!
we always put our pj's on early evening after tea. then we put a big tracksuit on over them that way we can just peel our tracksuits off and jump into bed - no getting undressed in the cold.
I also cook a big chilli or something before we go and freeze it. we then have a nice cooked meal for our tea that night without the faffing. I freeze our bbq stuff and take it out just before we set off - its then ready for the next day.
a bat and ball is a must.
Take a tent-peg puller-outer - something with a hook and handle. Makes it so much easier if you can just hoik them all up, especially if you are on hard ground.
I precook a few meals and seal well in plastic containers.
Just reheat for dinner. e.g.curry/pasta dish/your favourite casserole
You can then use the large containers to store food,etc when washed
Oh yes and it's a very bad idea to go all Swallows and Amazons and store bacon in a waterproof wrapping under a stone in a stream which is also populated by voles ... <voice of experience>
No probs taking a bucket of wee to the loos. I have a luggable loo (bucket with a plastic seat on! I use some fab smelling green gloop from go outdoors which keeps it sweet in the hot summer - then I don't have to trek to the loos/go a little bit away from the tent in the night.
Beware of weeing next to the tent, attracts vermin so I'm told.
Can't wait to go to wowo again this summer, time of our lives last year.
Weeing anywhere round tents is horrible. DS likes to go roaming in the undergrowth around the tent, he's too young to go far on his own yet. I would rather he wasn't crawling through people's piss.
We have a Kampa Khazi which has a lid. You see plenty of people carrying them to the toilet blocks to empty in the mornings.
I'm interested in the green gloop Brambles. Will take a look at Go Outdoors.
Oh yes, wowo!
Best ever camping experience. (Yet!)
Oh brambles what a find! It looks fab! We are in Kent so great location for us too. Pray for good weather for oct half term
nuffink. Don't take nuffink. No campsite is that far away from a 24/7 supermarket these days so when you're sitting in your empty tent you'll know soon enough what you need, then you can go and get it.
Quen a hedge isn't the grass around the tent is it? [Hmm]
I guess with the grass around tents there might be dog wee so you might want to be careful of your DS.
Yes there might be dog wee, but not in (possibly adult) human-style quantities.
And yes, DS does like to explore hedges etc around the tent. It's what being in the great outdoors is supposed to be about and he's too small to go exploring further afield on his own.
Well we just use a nappy bucket that works well.
You might want to go to dog free camp sites because of dog poo/piss though Quen as I always see dog owners out and about with their dogs peeing in the hedges/around trees etc, especially if your little one likes to crawl in hedges.
One more to add ( have been sorting camping stuff out ) - those supermarket wine bags with six compartments are quite handy for holding cups, cutlery and utensils.
mock crocks! I know they are the shoe style forgot but they really come into their own for camping and you can buy kiddy sizes in the £1 shops nowadays.
So handy for slipping on in order to nip to the loo with little people at 5 am, also great for wearing in the shower if the hygiene standards are less than you'd like etc. I'd never go camping without a pair for everyone in the party.
A picnic blanket with a waterproof underside - so many uses as the grass in the UK is always damp even in a heatwave. A total necessity with kids.
My preference is always to take a gilly or kelly kettle in order to guarantee my am coffee supply no matter what! Originally designed to ensure Cornish and Irish fishermen still got their cuppa in the fiercest storm they can handle anything the average camping hol can throw at em.
They don't require gas canisters and can be fueled with moss/twigs/your rubbish so incur no additional expense. I like the idea of an open fire but find my trusty gillie kettle a much safer option with young children/dogs as the the fire is enclosed, (which also means they never fall foul of the fashion for banning open fires some campsites embrace).
Don't get too stressed about food prep would be my biggest tip. I've yet to have a camping trip where we didn't give in to the urge for fish and chips or a local greasy spoon cafe brekkie at least once during our break, (usually after a day the beach or when we wake up to find it's raining cats and dogs) It is after all supposed to be a HOLIDAY!
Most of us can live on a diet of good bread, cheese or peanut butter, fruit (and wine ) for a few days without coming to any great harm. I only ever fret about taking a very,very few items specific to my son's special diet as he is dairy intolerant - otherwise in the UK you are never more than a brisk walk from a shop, or a short drive to a mainstream supermarket.
Online supermarkets will deliver to campsites if you want - a good tip is to get a bread/fruit delivery for the morning after you arrive to save lugging it with you to the site
Do pack a halfway decent small first aid kit including calpol and your favourite remedy for bug bites/stings.
For camping stuff, Mountain Warehouse is a great place to go - they have everything you need and are reasonably priced.
We always take fairy lights....not exactly essential I know but look so cosy and pretty when it's going dusk,we have a set in the DDs room inside the tent and some around the entrance as well. Solar ones are not great we use battery ones.
Hello there. I'm new to this so please be gentle with me! I'm here 'cos I get lots of enquiries from people about camping with small children for the first time. What equipment to buy is the most obvious question. You can go camping with very little equipment or you can go camping with half the shop!! It's up to you.
Please contact me if I can be of any help. I love to help ;-))
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