Blog post

Planning for your First Family Camping Trip

May 1, 2018

A camping trip is a fun activity to do as a family and can be a great way to spend some time together. More affordable than staying in a hotel or even a caravan, camping is great for families who are on a budget.

A successful camping trip relies on being prepared and having everything you need to have a fun-filled weekend, whatever the weather. To make sure your camping trip goes off without a hitch, here is a useful guide to camping essentials for families.

A Good Tent

Your tent is the item you won’t want to scrimp on. When choosing the right tent, you need to give some thought to size, water resistance, how easy it is to set up and how portable it is. The more often you plan on using your tent, the more you should spend. You might want to consider having a second tent to keep items such as a portable toilet, food supplies, etc. to give you as much room as possible for sleeping. A good rule is to buy a tent that sleeps more people than the amount that will be using it to allow for extra room.

Of course, you can avoid the problem of sourcing a tent and various bits of equipment by choosing family glamping instead. However, even glamping can be expensive if you plan to travel often, so you’ll want to consider this carefully when deciding whether or not to buy a tent of your own.

Sleeping Bags

Good quality sleeping bags are a must to ensure that everyone stays comfortable and warm while camping. Like your tent, it’s worth spending money on the best sleeping bags you can afford, as these will make camping more relaxing and avoid the grumbles from the kids that they’re too cold. Sleeping bags containing down or feathers are a great idea for keeping warm, and you can pick up some great bargains during sale time to keep the costs down for luxury sleeping bags.

Something to Sleep on

Sleeping in a sleeping bag isn’t enough to ensure a good night’s sleep – you’ll need to sleep on something as the ground can be very hard and uncomfortable, even in the best sleeping bag. Sleeping mats are a popular and affordable choice for families and are easy to pack up and put in your car. However, if you want to enjoy a more luxurious camping experience, you can always buy some blow-up beds along. Provided you have a sturdy pump (or even a portable air compressor), you’ll have no problem getting your air beds up. Don’t forget to get some pillows too – your heads will thank you for it in the morning.

Baby Supplies

If you’re travelling with an infant, your packing list is going to be even bigger for your camping weekend to make sure you have everything you need to keep baby happy. Taking a cot with you will help make it easier for them to sleep at night, as they’ll retain some familiar surroundings, and will also make sure they get plenty of space in what can be cramped sleeping conditions. Some nursery furniture items are portable, like special cots and baby nests, and are easy to set up to take with you on the road. It’s probably best to have separate camping items to what’s in your baby’s nursery in case you have any accidents or incidents where equipment gets damaged.


Lights are a very important camping item, but the one that’s forgotten about the most. Lighting will help you all to move around at night, as well as make the most of your time together after dark. You have a lot of options when it comes to lighting your tent from fairy lights to lanterns, and of course – torches. Make sure that everyone in the family has their own lighting source that they can use when needed.

Kitchen Supplies

Even if you don’t plan on eating all of your meals at the campsite, it’s a good idea to bring some kitchen supplies along with you to make breakfast, cups of tea or even late night snacks to keep everyone well-fed and happy. Some of the items you might want to bring include:

– A fuel stove and some fuel

– Matches/lighter

– Camping-friendly pots and pans

– Skewers or roasting sticks for toasting marshmallows

– Cutlery and plates

– Cups

– A cooler (some can be powered by your car to keep them going throughout your trip)

– Napkins

– Foil

– Rubbish bags

– Cleaning supplies

The food you bring along with you should be simple to prepare – things that are ‘just add water’ or tinned food are ideal for camping. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to eat while camping, you can bring meat along with you and provided it’s properly stored and cooked thoroughly, it will be completely safe to eat. You can always prepare food in advance to heat up when you’re there.

Activities and Games

Once you’re all set up with your tent and everyone’s content, you’ll be looking for activities you can do to enjoy together. There are some fun family camping games you can try, while board games are also a popular item to bring along for your trip. Try to leave the technology at home so that you can all enjoy spending quality time together, and keep your phones tucked away – they’ll still be there in the morning.

Toiletries & other essentials

In the absence of a shower of your own, taking the right toiletries with you is a must for keeping everyone fresh and dry during your trip. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are essential, while shower gel, hand gel or soap, deodorant, face/baby wipes and mouthwash are also great to take with you. You can easily buy some travel-sized products to make them easier to carry, or stock up at the nearest supermarket if you’ve forgotten to pack anything. Make sure you pack a first aid kit too to help cover you for any accidents that might happen during your trip.

Camping is a fun experience for the whole family, so make sure you pack all of the essentials to ensure a fun family outing you’ll want to do again and again.

Additional images courtesy of Pixabay


  • Flyingkids

    May 21, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Great tips in preparation for a fun, worthwhile family experience.

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