Camping with kids can be fun. But it’s a break from the routine, without a lot of the home comforts we usually take for granted. So it helps to have the right kit. After our camping trip last summer, I came back armed with ideas about the best hacks to make a family holiday under canvas that little bit more comfortable – and civilized.
Here’s what you need.
If the thought of sleeping on the ground gives you the horrors, then an airbed is a must. We love our double Comfort Bed from Coleman. It’s puncture-resistent, and the double-lock valve system means no nocturnal deflation or sagging. The best bit is the double inflation system. Like your bed soft and squidgy? You can inflate your side to half-mast. And if your partner prefers a rock-solid mattress, they can pump up their side to the max. The choice is yours, for a good night’s sleep all round.
A tent with blackout bedrooms
Our children are fearsome early risers – before 7am on a good day, and that’s in their own bedrooms, with blackout blinds. Keeping them up late doesn’t seem to help. The 5am dawn chorus is sometimes enough to wake up youngsters in a tent – but if you choose one with blackout bedrooms, then it’ll block out the dawn sunshine, which help keep them (and you) slumbering a little longer. Last summer we tested out the Coleman Cabral 5 family tent, which worked a charm. It won the Best Innovation Category in the 2016 Camping Magazine Editor’s Choice Awards. The tent was so dark inside the bedrooms that the children slept until their regular waking-up time. Almost. You can read our review of the tent here.
A multi-function camping stove
Camping stoves have come a long way. The lovely people at Campingaz sent us a 600 SG to try out, on our next camping trip. We’ll be sourcing some gas to give it a good workout on our trip, but in the meantime, I put the stove together to look at all the different components. One great thing about it is that it comes as a unit, complete with legs, so you don’t need to find a table to put the stove on. The two burners can be used as stovetops, for boiling pans, or as grills, to brown meat, fish or toast. It all folds down neatly into a carry case. We’re looking forward to testing it out properly.
If you’re looking to shop around for travel with a camping stove, check out this post.
A picnic table
Dining al fresco is always more pleasant when you’re sitting at a table. I liked this handy Charles Bentley picnic table with four chairs. It was lightweight, and folded up easily, with the chairs tucked away inside. We used it a lot on our camping trip, and it’s the sort of thing that’s handy to have at home too, for BBQs and larger get-togethers.
A camping shelter
When we camped with other families at the Green Man festival, a couple of years ago, helpful friends brought along a shelter. It was an invaluable piece of kit. We met under the shelter to have our meals, and it kept us dry on the one evening when the heavens opened, so we could drink wine together rather then huddle in our separate tents.
The Charles Bentley camping shelter we took on our camping holiday last year was also useful. The one downside was that it didn’t do very well in the high winds on our campsite, and one of the poles snapped in the big gusts. You can read our review of the shelter here. Although it was less sturdy than I would have liked, it did pack down very small. It was an easy thing to throw into the back of the car, with a lot of added value.
Wet weather gear
I don’t want to but a dampener on things, but….this is the UK, and chances are, we might see some rain. Still, it’s an excuse to dig out some dapper wet weather gear.
I’ve gone for a combination of wellies AND flip-flops. Although wellies give better protection from rain and mud, if the downpour is of the tropical, steamy type, sometimes it’s better to go for waterproof flip-flops, and then dry your toes off with a towel afterwards.
I liked these Crocs Flip Flop Sandals. The wellies are from Hunter. Also from Hunter is the smock, which is nicely fitted at the waist. And, to top it off, I’ve chosen an umbrella from good old Mountain Warehouse.
What top items would you choose for a family camping trip?
This is a collaborative post, and I was sent some of the items mentioned here. The post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small amount of commission if you buy an item after following a link. All views are my own.
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