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Family Camping Trip: The Ultimate Checklist

The British summer may be coming to an abrupt end, but that doesn’t mean you should start cutting corners when it comes to planning a family camping trip. In fact, now more than ever, being prepared matters.

The rain is pretty much a given if you’re taking a trip somewhere in the UK, and although the kids are back at school soon, October half-term and countless weekends are still awaiting your tent and gas cooker. When it comes to family camping trips away, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. We’ve scoured the internet for the best tips and compiled them all into this neat checklist for you.

First up, you’ve got to actually get there...

For the road trip, you’ll need your trusty sat-nav, a backup map, and a tool box just in case. Make sure to give your vehicle some quick checks before you leave: tyre pressure, oil levels, brake fluid and water levels are good places to start. Do you need to tow a caravan or carry bikes? If so, we can help you with that. We offer specialist fitters too, for that extra peace of mind.

Next, camping gear

  • Obviously… a tent: always go for something bigger than you need. It’s nice to have a bit of extra leg room and dedicated space for your luggage.
  • Tent accessories: rug, porch, windbreak, dustpan and brush, ground sheet.
  • Tent pegs (and bring some spares too).
  • Mallet for hammering pegs into the ground.
  • Duct tape: It fixes everything.

Kit out your camping area with whatever furniture you see fit – must-haves are fold-up chairs and a table. A portable toilet may be nice to have, especially if you’ve got young children. Bin bags are essential so that you can clean up after yourselves!

Sleep comfortably

Top of the list should be a decent sleeping bag. It’ll be your lifeline on those chilly Autumn nights. Sleeping mats and/or air beds are also a great addition for a comfortable night’s sleep in a tent. Make sure to bring an air pump! If you’re really not keen on being so in touch with nature, or you’re not a great sleeper, then perhaps consider a camp bed to raise you off the ground and feel more at home. Bring lots of pillows – you can never have too many. They’re good for the car journey too. Consider extra layers for those extra-cold nights. It’s better to bring too many clothes than not enough!

Cooking equipment

This is key to get right if you’ve got hungry children to please! You can adjust accordingly to the type of camping you’re going for. For example, festival-goers may have different requirements to family camping crowds.

  • Water carrier
  •  Stove and fuel or BBQ & charcoal (don’t forget matches and a lighter)
  •  Utensils and cutlery (including can and bottle openers)
  •  Plates, bowls, containers
  • Pots and pans
  • Cooking oil
  • Cool box
  • Washing up bowl

Little extras

  • First aid kit including insect repellent (keep this at the top of your priority list!)
  • Torch and batteries
  • Sun cream and sunglasses – of course, these are weather dependent but don’t be caught without them!
  • Anti-bac hand wash and wet wipes for grubby fingers
  • Toilet roll and paper towels
  • Hot chocolate/tea & coffee making stuff with some long-life milk

It's all fun & games

Whilst road trips and family camping is all about exploring nature and taking in the breath-taking wildlife this country has to offer… it’s impractical to think you won’t need some extra entertainment from time to time.

Bikes and helmets are a no-brainer, it will make a nice change from walking. Quiz books, cards and board games are key for some all-important family bonding time. Try scrapbooking with the kids: bring blank notebooks and glue and get them to collect things to stick inside. Don’t forget, marshmallows around the fire create those traditional camping memories!

And of course, when it comes to packing clothes, you have to be prepared for any eventuality. Layers are the best way to ensure this: try lightweight raincoats, jumpers, a mixture of short and long-sleeved t-shirts and a sunhat. And it’s definitely not a fashion show; walking shoes and wellies should be your footwear must-haves.

Happy camping!

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