The year of the staycation.
It’s certainly been one to remember. And although recently many people have been donning their speedos and jetting off to foreign lands, we decided to remain on home soil this year and give camping with three toddlers and a dog a go. I mean, what could go wrong?
So we upgraded our two man tent to a slightly bigger number, invested in some snuggly toddler sleeping bags (the twins were for 3 year olds, but hey, they’ll grow into them) and stocked up on wine and off we went.
We are currently 3 trips down with 1 to go. We’ve had a blast with friends on the previous 3 trips, but are going it alone for the next one.
Things I’ve learned from camping with kids:
- Never underestimate the power of an ice cream bribe. It will save you in the most sticky of situations. Unless your child decides they never want to eat ice cream again in protest. Which may or may not have happened to us.
- People will stare and say you’re mad. They’ll tell you they didn’t take their kids camping until they were 50 years old. Ignore them. You are mad, but you’re having fun.
- Do anything to make life easier. We got the twins to sleep in their pushchair and transferred into the tent later on. I can’t be doing with sitting in a tent waiting for them to fall asleep.
- Bring kids snacks, and lots of them. Then pack even more.
- Camping with kids reminds you how 7am was such a lovely time to wake up when you’ve said ‘shhhh people are sleeping’ 10,000 times before sunrise.
- Pack for all weathers. Seems simple, but we legitimately went from swimwear and sun cream to raincoats in one day. Oh the great British outdoors.
- Choose campsites with lots of room between pitches. I highly recommend The Greener Camping Club (of which we are now members. Cool, right?)
- You miss the shower queue when you have kids as it’s all about the shower before bed instead of the morning shower. (For them. I’ve forgotten what a shower is.)
- Go to the beach come rain or shine. Memories are made on the beach. Whether in rock pools in puddle suits or jumping waves in the sea.
- Don’t wash your car before a camping trip. Sand goes everywhere.
- Bring wine. Lots of wine. Don’t forget your wine glass (like I did, 3 times).
Since going on our first camping trip I’ve read other handy blogs about camping with kids, with great tips and hacks about food storage, entertainment, bathing stations, limiting screen time, night time safety etc.
Unfortunately, like most things in our life, we winged it. So you won’t find many useful tips here. Winging it has its advantages though. We got to explore new places and weren’t restrained by timelines or bookings. However, we also didn’t bring any toys for the children, we forgot to replace our broken bed pump, and all ended up sleeping in the middle of the tent without the bug nets as we overestimated the size of the tent. Who needs a trial run, hey?
Despite this, and not learning anything from trip one to trip three, we had an amazing time, made loads of memories, and left with happy toddlers with a new found love of camping.
Whether you’re a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person, camping is a great way to see more of where you live at an affordable price. It really doesn’t matter if you have the whole trip planned out, or you wing it. Providing you are happy to scrap plans when one of your little angels throws a tantrum and screams that they never want to see you again, not even in 100 years. Just an example, of course. This certainly didn’t happen to us……
Next up is a trip to West Wales for 3 nights, just us and the doggo. It’s going to be an adventure without any extra pairs of hands and eyes to help keep tabs on the tribe, but I’m sure we will survive. We’re even throwing in a trip to a theme park with 2 toddlers who are obsessed by rides but who aren’t tall enough to go on them….
Wish us luck!