The most important aspect of camping is the tent. Go to a proper camp shop. Look at tents, walk in and out of them. Choose one that is suitable for your family. Before you leave, try and practice pitching the tent in your garden or local open space. Read the instructions and make sure all the parts are there. Make sure you buy a good quality tent.
Get a large family tent that only has one layer. This is much easier then trying to pitch an inner layer then a fly sheet, especially in the rain.
Get a tent that is bigger than you think you need. If you are a four person family, get a six person tent. Remember, four air beds will take up more space than four people on camping mats.
Choose a camp site where you can pay as you go. During busy seasons, you may have to book and pay for your pitch in advance. If you encounter bad weather and have to leave early, you will lose money on this.
Camping can be expensive. Try to borrow bits and bobs from friends and family such as cool boxes, pots, pans, kettles and cutlery. If you buy everything it can be a very expensive first year and if you have limited storage space at home you will wonder what the hell to do with everything. If you don’t get on with camping you will have invested lots of money into items that don’t have much second hand value.
If you have children, make sure you pack them a small bag with toys suitable for their age to entertain them in the car, whilst you are putting up the tent and if it rains.
Remember to compromise. It’s everyone’s holiday so you may have to do an activity that you don’t want to do. Make sure this compromise is returned or you may feel resentful.
Set budgets. If you are stuck in gift shops agree how much children can spend on an ice cream or souvenirs so you don’t come home with expensive tat that eventually goes to the charity shop.
Barbecues and gas stoves can be tedious and annoying for the cook. Don’t get too het up about organic food, five-a-day or healthy eating. It’s only for a couple of days. Tins of beans and sausages, pot noodles or tins of chilli are quick and easy to prepare.
Make a list of everything you need to take, put it all together, then reduce it back down to essentials. Don’t assume the weather will be hot or even warm. Pack good quality rain gear and a fishing umbrella for the poor person stuck by the barbecue. Plenty of quick changes for aventurous or potty training toddlers would be helpful. Don’t take your Sunday best. Be prepared to slum it for a few days.
Our life saving camping essentials
Muddy Puddles Original all in one for children www.muddypuddles.com/Waterproofs/Muddy-Puddles-Originals/Original-All-in-One
Sainsbury’s Bucket Barbecue £9.99
Asda Poncho £2.00