Dh and I used to be quite outdoorsy before we had kids but haven't done much in the last few years. I've gotten the possibly daft idea into my head that I'd like us all to go camping. We have a 4yo, 3yo and 1yo. Kids are generally easygoing and outdoorsy-ish too. Obviously we'd only be going to fully serviced sites.
We haven't been camping since our pre child years, so would have to invest in a semi decent tent and some equipment (don't know anyone who could loan us one). Wouldn't want it to be a total waste of money of it turns into a hellish experience I know it won't be all kumbaya around the campfire, but I'd like to think that it could turn out to be enjoyable.
Can someone talk me in or out of it with your good/bad experiences please?
Definitely try it. Don't spend a fortune on a new tent though just in case you hate it. Bundles are often 2nd hand on eBay or fb selling sites. Get a pitch with ehu (electric hook up). Take a cheap kettle, small heater & tablets etc for early mornings. Take a frozen bolognaise or chilli etc for 1st or 2nd night & plenty of snacks as they always seem to be hungry. Biggest problem will be keeping them entertained whilst you set up/pack up.
We've done it, the kids love it. I don't know how helpful these tips are to you but here goes.....take crop tops/bras you can sleep in, if you're not jiggling about on the way to the showers you will feel much more comfortable and confident. We ended up buying a portable loo for 4am wee runs, not fun to go to the toilet block in the pitch black with toddlers. Buy easily washable quick dry sleeping bags as kids do have accidents, with non flocked air beds as they do dry out better. We always tried to go to sites with a washing machine. Get the kids involved in all the jobs, even if you have to 're do them, it keeps them busy. We got ours to fill water containers, do washing up, passing you the pegs etc... Try and avoid the bbq white bread and meat diet, or be prepared to take lots of sennacot! And lots and lots of hand sanitizer. Good luck. X
Get a big tent so you have plenty of space/ shelter if the weather isn't great. The type where the flysheet and groundsheet are sewn together are warmer and more secure against small Houdinis. Zips out of reach help too.
We've found a cookstand for getting the stove to a safer height, plus the storage is very helpful. A table and seats is good for meals and things like colouring.
We've just upgraded to camp beds for us, but our DCs liked us co-sleeping on the floor on thermarests together. Covering it with a large thick blanket helped against rollers/ separating mats.
Laundry is essential. Much less stressful when you know you're only 2 hours from an abundance of clean clothes and not a tight ration of clothing with little margin for messing up.
Go somewhere with a pre-pitched tent option first time out. Setting up and packing away are the hassles that can make or break it & if you’ve previously had a successful trip under canvas before you negotiate that then it’s easier to convince yourself it’s worth it!
1) crocs or similar shoes, waterproofs, warm socks & hoodies 2) dustpan & brush 3) snacks, snacks, snacks
A campsite near the beach is always a winner. Or on a farm with daily tractor rides and animals for them to cuddle! If just right, you'll come back from the beach when they are really tired but not over-tired and they'll just sleeeeeep! And if you're close enough to the beach, you could pick up fish and chips on the way back to the campsite and they'll still be warm. Good times.
There are loads of children's books about camping: 'Maisy Goes Camping', 'Curious George Goes Camping' etc.... which is a good way to prepare them for what to expect and get them excited. I recommend your first camping trip to be 3-4 nights. If it's any less then it's like why bother and the kids don't get enough time to make friends on the campsite. However, I'd also recommend not going too far from home on the first trip....just in case!