Before I had children, my experience of camping as an adult consisted of putting up a tent in a muddy field, doing without a shower for three days, dreading visits to a portaloo, but watching my favourite bands all in one place singing their hearts out.
I’m now considering taking on the challenge again but in slightly different circumstances… I’m going to weigh up all the pros and cons of camping with kids, so if you’re considering it too, then stick around.
As we all know, kids are very sensitive to changes in temperature. Trying to get a child to sleep during a heatwave is the hardest task known to man and making sure they’re warm (but not too toasty) during the cold winter months is tricky too. Considering in your house you have windows, fans and central heating at your disposal you can understand why getting them to sleep in a tent is ten times harder.
It’s not just temperature that can affect children’s sleep, the amount of light in their room and what time it shines in will also affect when they fall asleep and wake. You might just find yourself all going to bed when the sun goes down and all waking up when it rises!
Speaking of the sun, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get any! While normally you might all feel a bit miserable about being stuck indoors, if you’re camping then there’s no "indoors" to be stuck in! You’re therefore forced to make the most of whatever the weatherman throws at you!
There’s no sense of adventure when you stay in a hotel, but boy are they convenient. Room service, your own ensuite, and beds to die for are just some of the perks. When you’re camping with kids you literally only have what you bring with you, so prepare to pack your car fuller than it’s ever been before. A roof box will help but let’s just say you can all forget about leg room.
You certainly can’t ignore the main positive about camping with kids, and that’s the price. On average, you can expect to pay 10% of what you’d spend on a night in hotel if you’re prepared to pitch your tent. You can therefore afford to get away more regularly (if you want to) and you can save your pennies for Penneys!
It can sometimes be tempting to cram as much into a break as possible and you won’t be content unless you’ve seen all the sights that your location has to offer. However, if you’re camping then you’ll be so busy with putting up the tent, unpacking and cooking that you won’t have much energy for anything else. While this may sound stressful it’s also a chance to get back to basics and throw your hectic schedule out the window.
One thing you will have time for is family time. It’s a great opportunity to ban everyone’s (adults included) devices and spend time together enjoying and learning about nature. Think of the exciting stories they’ll have for their teacher and friends – it would certainly make a change from letting everyone know they’ve completed their new Nintendo Switch game.
Another thing that their teacher will be impressed with is doing something that is good for the environment. Camping forces you to use less water and electricity and therefore reduces your carbon footprint. Now, if we can all agree that there are to be no muddy footprints in the tent, I think I’m sold!