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If you’re not jet-setting off for the summer this year then we’ve put together some of our best camping tips for family fun. Whether you caught the camping bug last year or this is your first attempt with the tent, you’ll find plenty of hacks to make your camping holiday much easier.
Even if you cracked the tent out last year, you’ll be glad you gave it an airing before you head out this year. Every time you put up your tent, it gets quicker and easier. Plus, you’ll also find that missing bottle of suncream hiding in one of the pockets.
If it’s your first time camping, setting up the tent will give you an idea of how long it will take when you hit the campsite. Which leads us nicely into tip two…
The great bit about camping is the kids can go a bit feral. If setting up takes a couple of hours then send them on some missions to check out the campsite, see who your new neighbours are or to go spot some plants or wildlife. Or chuck them a football and frisbee and leave them to play while you get everything unpacked.
You can also get them helping out with the set up. Even if you have an electric pump for your airbeds, get the little ones pumping them up first with a foot pump. This will make them feel like they’re helping and keep them busy.
Even if you have a blackout tent, it’s far too exciting to be sleeping under the stars to actually go to sleep. If your campsite allows camp fires then you can all snuggle up with a hot chocolate and roast marshmallows. If not, then grab an app to identify the stars and enjoy some late night stargazing with your little ones.
You can always chuck some glow sticks into your bag so they can have fun playing in the dark (and you can still spot them). One of the best bits about camping is that your kids will make friends on the campsite. And you’ll spot when they all start to crash for the night.
If you pick a campsite where you can park next to your tent, then save some space by using your car boot as storage. This saves you tidying up each night and gives you more room to move around.
Even big tents can feel cluttered if you have all your clothes, food and furniture inside. If you can’t park next to your tent - and if you’re camping with friends - then a gazebo can give you some more storage space to keep the tent clear.
Or outdoor lights, or a head torch. You cannot have enough torches when camping. Make sure everyone has their own torch - especially if they want to do some reading before bed - and that you have extra lights in each area of your tent.
This will save you searching around for a light in the middle of the night when one of your kids needs to take a trip to the loo.
Even if it’s not muddy. Getting some shoes that you can easily slip on will save time when you need to make a midnight toilet trip.
Save space on ice blocks in your cooler and freeze a couple of meals before you go. These will help keep any other food cold and will mean you’ve got something to eat on the first night. Even if your campsite has electricity this hack will help save you time and give everyone a good feed when you arrive.
One pot meals and dried food like rice and pasta work best when camping. Unless your campsite has electricity, make good use of the camp shop for your fresh food.
Grab your Trunki and fill it with books, outdoor toys and games. Card games like Crazy Eights, Top Trumps and Uno can keep your little ones busy while you’re making breakfast, tidying up or having a rainy day. Don’t forget to pack any magnetic travel games like snakes and ladders or Battle Ships.
Then your tot can also use their Trunki as a seat in the tent to beat you at all the games you’ve brought.
If you’re heading out to the beach (and our PaddlePaks are great for taking all the beach gear) then you’ll need to let the wet stuff dry when you get back.
A few pegs and the guy ropes will create a makeshift clothes line. Then you’re ready to head back into the water again the next day.
If you can get a good night’s sleep then your camping trip will be way more enjoyable. Stick down some foam play mats, a large throw or picnic blanket under your airbeds. This will help keep the cold out at night and make it more comfortable to sleep.
You might also want to pack a mat for the front of the tent. A cheap doormat will help keep the mud and grass out.
These camping tips for family fun will help make your trip feel more like a holiday but what are the essentials you need for family camping?
And part of the camping fun is trying to fit everything plus all the kids into the car for the journey down.
Camping is about going slow and enjoying the great outdoors. Little ones get the freedom to run around a field and make new friends. Pack as lightly as you can. Be organised and store things in boxes (and the car). Then enjoy getting outdoors with your family. Build a campfire, watch the stars, get lungfuls of fresh air and chat to your camping neighbours over the washing up.