Mum of five Kellie shares her words of wisdom about camping with your family.
It is the summer of staycations, and everyone and their mother seems to be hitting the road seeking adventure and exploring our beautiful island. It’s actually wonderful to see. This year numerous campsites have seen a massive surge in bookings and a majority of those are first-timers looking to reconnect with nature by sleeping under the stars.
If that’s you, you’re in the right place because today I am sharing camping hacks, tips and tricks you need to know before you set off on your travels.
Buying A Tent
First and foremost know the basics when it comes to investing in a tent, nobody wants to waste money on a tent that won’t keep out the rain. Make sure your tent has a built-in groundsheet, a hydrostatic head with a minimum of 3000 and always size up for comfort. For example, if you are a family of four, get a six-man tent.
Do A Trial Run
Probably a rookie mistake on my part this weekend but we didn’t have the time nor space to practice setting up our tent before our travels. Try to construct your tent and get a good feel of it before you go and take photos as you unwrap it, so you know exactly how to fold it up once your trip comes to an end. And once home, make sure to dry and air out your tent to prevent mould.
Plan Your Meals
Make a list of what you will be eating while camping, even if that means ordering from the local pizza shop. This way, you can plan and prep meals in advance.
- Chop vegetables
- Wash and cut meat for the barbeque
- Invest in a good coolbox or mini-fridge to keep food fresh
- Lunch boxes with different compartments are handy for storing tea, coffee and sugar
- Use Tic-Tac boxes for spices
- Pack plenty of pot noodles, beans, soup and non-perishable snacks
- Prepare pancake mix or whisked eggs and store in a used milk carton
Pack Extra Clothes
Even if the weather is predicted to be splitting the skies, always pack extra clothes - especially socks. Bring LOTS of socks. Pack wellies, raincoats, swimwear and sun cream to cover all eventualities. When packing, roll the clothes up before placing them in a shoe organiser, a large plastic box or reuse some ziplock bags and name each one, so you know who owns what. When unpacking at the campsite, leave your clothes in the car to avoid them getting damp, cold or wet.
Be Frugal At First
Investing a monthly salary into equipment to later discover sleeping outdoors is not for your family will only drive you insane. When your starting out try to get a lend of what you need for your maiden voyage from blowup beds, camp chairs, and even sleeping bags. Then over time if you decide you want to go, again and again, you can build up everything you need over time. Watch out for sales in the autumn and winter months. You will nab a bargain in the colder months.
Place picnic blankets or foam floor tiles under blowup beds to keep out the cold and bring an extra fleece and fluffy socks for everyone at night. Regardless of the time of year, Ireland can get very cold at sundown. A hot water bottle is always handy to have but make sure you buy 3 season sleeping bags to keep toasty in colder weather.
Bring The Kitchen Sink
I’m joking, kind of. While camping is about going back to basics and just enjoying the outdoors, for some, home comforts are a must. Be smart when packing for your camp trip.
- Bring shampoo and soap bars instead of lots of different bottles
- Invest in reusable and smash proof enamel plates, cups and bowls
- Bring small towels, washing up liquid and a basin for doing the dishes
- Pick up some Citronella candles or incense to keep the flies away
- Suppose your boot is small, consider buying a softbox for the roof of your car to create more space and for a comfortable drive. It’s almost like a roof box, only a lot cheaper.
Entertainment For The Littles
Add a little something to your trip by getting the kiddies some battery-operated torches and glow in the dark snap sticks. And don’t forget the marshmallows and skewers, no camping trip is complete without S’mores.
And finally, other necessary things you will need for your pending trip include:
- Hammer or mallet and extra pegs
- A pocket knife
- Hanging solar or battery operated lights
- A repair kit and first aid kit
- A pump for air beds
- An electrical hook up and extension lead
- Bottle openers for wine and beer
- Chopping board
- A brush and pan for clearing grass from the tent
- Bin bags
- A lighter or matches
- A potty for the little ones to save you trekking through the site at silly o'clock.
- A radio or Bluetooth speaker
- Camp chairs
- Yoga mat for the front door
- A stove (and gas canisters) or a BBQ