Contribution by Janine Mergler, Editor of Families Magazine, the go to resource for parents raising clever, happy kids.
Camping with kids can be loud, messy and a little daunting, but so much fun!
It’s an inexpensive and exciting family holiday with the added bonus of getting the kids away from technology and out into nature. So what do you need to ensure smooth sailing on your family holiday in the great outdoors? We’ve sorted out exactly what you shouldn’t skimp on – plus some items you could do without!
Camping with kids must haves
● Tent – Of course, the number one item for a camping trip is your shelter – a humble tent. There’s no need to get fancy with your selection, anything that fits the family in it and keeps out the bugs is as good as a castle… providing the weather is optimal.
● Sleeping bags – Some may prefer to drag around blankets and pillows but we think sleeping bags are worth the investment – especially when camping during the cooler seasons!
● Baby wipes – Baby wipes have a multitude of handy uses when camping with the family. Of course nappy changes, but also wiping down greasy hands, spilled milk on the tent, sticky marshmallows in hair and whatever else camping with kids might throw at you!
● Insect repellent – Don’t let pesky bugs bring down your camping spirit! There’s a huge selection of options available these days, from old school roll on repellent to candles and even Velcro patches you can plonk on each child’s jacket.
● Sun safety – Sunscreen and hats are absolute camping essentials! Nobody wants to spend their holiday red and sore from too much sun. We recommend packing some extra hats in case a few blow away or get left on the beach. Sun safety is paramount.
● Wet weather gear – Sad but true, it may not be all sunshine and rainbows – be prepared in case your camping trip turns muddy! Rain coats, umbrellas and extra towels are worth bringing just in case.
● Flashlight – When the kids wake you up at 1am needing to go to the bathroom you’ll be thankful you packed a flashlight! Also handy for ghost stories around the campfire.
● First-Aid Kit – Accidents happen and it’s always best to be prepared!
What you don’t need when camping with kids
● Portable solar panel – Unless you plan on camping being your new permanent living arrangements, we would say a portable camping solar panel is unnecessary! Good old battery operated torches or lamps will do the trick.
● Walking stick – A lot of camping guides are suggesting purchasing painted and polished walking sticks for kids camping trips… we think this is ridiculous! Let your kids explore nature and find their own special walking stick straight from the source and for free!
● Hanging closet organiser – Another item we think is a waste of money is the camping closet organiser. They’re promoted to help campers avoid living out of a suitcase but we think that’s all a part of the experience! We say have a folding clothes free holiday and let the kids rummage for their undies – it might even help them appreciate clothes organisation when they get home!
● Portable iPhone / iPad charger – We are sure many campers are equipped with portable charging devices for their iPhones and iPads but we think you don’t need them! Go technology free, let the kids explore nature and enjoy your family.
You don’t need much for a fun and memorable family camping trip! Keep it simple and watch your kids have an adventure of a lifetime.