13 Tips for Family Camping

Posted November 24, 2022



Top Tips for good Family Camping
Here's 13 tips for family camping.
Tip number 1: Staying Warm
Everyone loves camping in the sunny summer weather…. but in NZ the weather can change at any moment right ?

Be prepared with extra layers for all. If you are camping in colder weather, merino wool base layers are great, you can even sleep in them to keep you toastie at night.

Avoid sleeping bags that are too cheap. Thin summer bags are not warm. You will want at least a 2 Season sleeping bag to be comfortable for most of late Spring and Summer.
When it is cold, you will want to take some extra layers from home. However, unlike home, don’t put these on top of your sleeping bags. Place them underneath. You lose a lot of heat through the cold ground. If you insulate underneath people’s beds, they will be much warmer through the night. If you are sleeping on an airbed you can put a layer of cardboard underneath for insulation.

Tip number 2: Keeping Everyone Dry
As we all know, even when the weather forecast is for a dry weekend, it can soon turn to rain. Unless you are unlucky, your tent should keep you dry, but being stuck inside your tent is no fun at all, the kids get bored very quickly.
Get a camping tarp and learn how to use it. With a tarp you can create a shelter outside of your tent for you to cook, eat, play, and chat under. 
We’ve been to many a campsite where everyone was shut up in their little tents as the rain came down, but we were still able to sit outside, have a small campfire, and get on with stuff without the rain bothering us.

A tarp is also useful if you must pack up when it rains as you can use it to make a shelter from the door of your tent straight to the boot of your car. 

Tip number 3: Research
Research the area you are visiting before you go. Look for indoor and outdoor activities, days out, or walks nearby. Particularly important for those wet days, it's always good to have a secret weapon up your sleeve to keep the kids happy and active.

Tip number 4: Activities for the kids
Take some indoor games with you to keep the kids busy for when the weather is bad or you need the kids to occupy  themselves while you get on with a few jobs. Card games are a good idea and travel games that don’t take up much space in the bags! When the kids were very young we used to take some simple crafts activities with us. Boxes that come with the all bits in it are ideal.

Tip number 5: Allow plenty of time

Setting up camp can take a while. Of course, this depends how much gear you take and the kind of tent you have. But you need to allow a bit of time to set up camp.

Don’t arrive too late at the campsite; pitching a tent in the dark is no fun at all. Pitching a tent in the dark when you are tired can easily lead to costly mistakes and strained relationships !!!!!!!!!!!

Tip number 6: Prepare and plan meals
When we are camping, we often take a meal prepared at home for the first night. For example, a chilli or pasta dish that we can just reheat at the campsite on the stove.

After travelling and setting up camp, a quick easy meal for that first night is very welcome (especially for the adults!)
Tip number 7: allow time to clear up
Remember when camping that everything takes longer to do! From making a cup of tea to getting ready for bed! So, you need to allow extra time when planning your day. This is particularly important when washing up after a meal. You don’t want to be doing it in the dark! (Not all campsites have lit wash up areas) When camping for us, the routine goes out the window and we enjoy living by natures clock. It’s time to relax and live wild!

Tip number 8: Pitch wisely
Choose where you pitch your tent wisely! We have learnt this from past experiences. One of our first camps we pitched on sloping ground and consequently spent all night rolling down the slope!

When we arrive at campsite when you are not allocated a pitch, we always take time to have a quick around the site to choose the perfect spot for us!

Here are a few pointers to consider. Do you want to be near the facilities? Are you looking for a pitch to get away from it all? Is the ground level and suitable for your tent? If there is a playground, do you want to be near it so you can keep an eye on the kids? (Though they can be noisy places to camp particularly in the evening when groups of kids and teenagers tend to congregate) How exposed to the elements is the spot? Are there any natural barriers (i.e. hedges) that you can use to act as a wind break?  

Tip number 9: Enjoy the dark
We usually take glow sticks with us, small kids love them.

They not only make it easier to locate your children in the dark, but you can also play games with them. Try throwing the bracelet glow-sticks over a stick.

And if your kids don’t like the dark, it might be a welcome distraction. (Obviously follow safety instructions when using glow sticks)

Head Lamps are another winner for small children.

Tip number 10: Have your expectations in check
Be realistic and not have too high expectations. Not all camping experiences are successful, which can sometimes be the case when the weather lets you down.

If you do have a bad experience, don't let it put you off. Even these can make great memories.

With a bit of preparation and planning you'll soon be back outside with the tent enjoying all the pleasures that camping has to offer.

Tip number 11: Torches & Head Lamps
You can never have too many torches! Always take more torches than you think you’ll need. 
We generally light up our tent with a few lanterns, then handheld torches for individuals and trips to the bathroom. If you’ve got very little ones, you’ll need lots of light for reassurance. It makes the tent feel cosy and homely too!
Tip number 12: Practice makes perfect
A practice pitch in the garden is a good idea, and fun for all, particularly if it’s a new tent. You want to make sure nothing is missing, and any pitching problems are ironed out. Knowing how the tent goes together takes off the pressure at the campsite ( especially with fellow campers looking on!! ) And makes for a quicker pitch, so more time to relax and enjoy your camping adventure.

Tip number 13: Keep it clean
When you are camping, you’ll find that you are in and out of the tent all the time. Particularly so with children.
We try to keep the inside of the tent clean ( it doesn’t always work! ). Shoes that slip on and off easily make this a lot easier for everyone.
Kids like wearing Jandals and these work really well.
These are a just a few of our tips that we have learnt over the years from camping. Now it's your turn to get outside and go camping! Why not

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