Camping is the best type of family holiday when you have young kids. It will be the most cost effective trip that you can take, plus you won’t have to worry about your little ones causing chaos since they will have plenty of space to run around and burn off all their energy.
However a camping trip will take a lot more preparation and planning than staying in a hotel, guest house or self catering accommodation. You will need to bring everything that you need with you. For this reason preparation is key and there are some vital things that you need to purchase.
Here’s what you need to know to plan the perfect camping trip with your family:
Choosing Your Campsite
You need to figure out what type of campsite would be best for your family. Do you want to hike with your family into a remote area to set up camp far away from anyone else or do you want to camp close to a town so that you can go out during that day with your kids to visit tourist attractions?
Some camping sites have things to do at their camping site, such as swimming, trampolines, volleyball and other campsites just offer a place to put your tent.
Some camping sites are on a lake or have a river running through it so you need to decide if this will be great for your family or maybe it will make the holiday stressful for you if your kids can’t swim yet and you spend all your time worrying that they are getting too close to the water.
Do you want running water, electricity and nice ablutions with hot water or do you want to rough it completely?
How far you are willing to travel with your kids in the car will also play a role in where you decide to camp. Traveling long distances with small kids is not always ideal so you may want to look at destinations closer to where you live.
Once you have decided on a suitable campsite make sure to book well in advance, some popular campsites are booked up months or even a year in advance! This is especially true of school holidays which is when you will want to go on holiday as a family.
Packing For Your Camping Trip
A biggest part of preparing for your camping trip is packing all the things you will need. If you forget something it can turn into a costly affair if you need to buy a replacement when you get to your destination.
My suggestion is that you make a list of all the essentials you will need for every trip and then add in optional things that you personally like to take with. You can also store all your camping gear in boxes ready to go for each trip and then just add in the extras like your food, clothing and toiletries. The more organized you are the easier each trip will be.
Here is a list of essential things you will need for every camping trip
- Tents, ground sheets and rain fly
- Sleeping bags, pillows and camping mattresses
- Camping stove, camping lantern (with full gas)
- Crockery, cutlery and cooking equipment (don’t forget things like cutting boards, tin openers and bottle openers!)
- Cooler bags
- Water containers
- Suntan lotion, insect repellent and first aid kit
- Flash lights and extra batteries
- Washing tub, dish washing liquid, cleaning and drying cloths
There are so many awesome extras that you can bring from portable cell chargers, gazebos for shade, fold up chars and tables, to stands for washing up. It just depends on how comfortable you want to be.
With regards to packing for each person don’t forget things like waterproof clothing, swimming costumes and hats. It is important to be prepared for any type of weather.
It is also a great idea to bring some family games for in case you get rained in and have to spend some time cooped up in your tent. You can also bring bikes, skateboards and many other types of outdoor equipment to keep your family entertained.
Plan Your Meals
Make sure to bring plenty of food – little ones that are running around and using up a lot of energy are going to make for very hungry campers. Make sure to plan lots of healthy meals for your family.
Plan around how long food will be able to keep fresh in a cooler bag and think about how far you will be from the closest grocery store. If you are camping in a very isolated place you will need to think about packing lots of tinned goods and things that keep well.
Chores and Responsibilities
Just like at home there will be certain chores that need to be completed while camping. There is no room service to come and tidy up any mess that is made.
Make sure to define what each person’s responsibilities are before you get there, or immediately upon arrival. If you don’t do this chances are that mommy will be sitting with all the chores while the rest of the family are out having fun.
Things that will need to be done are:
- Setting up camp
- Preparing food – think of all those awesome braais with salads and sides!
- Cooking food
- Washing and drying dishes
- Sweeping the tent
- Fetching water
- Collecting firewood
- Chopping firewood
- Tidying the campsite
Take Good Care Of Your Camping Gear
After each trip make sure that you check all your gear and do some simple maintenance to ensure that you are ready and prepared for your next trip.
- Clean and dry out your tent, ground sheet and rain fly before storing otherwise it can start to mold and get damaged.
- Check your tent and equipment for damages and get it repaired.
- Fill all the gas bottles for your camping stove and lanterns before packing away for the next trip so you don’t get caught with a nearly empty gas bottle.
- Service and repair gas bottles, camping stove and camping lanterns.
These 5 tips should keep the planning and preparation for your family camping trip nicely organized. Do you have any tips to add for planning your camping trip?