Your quick guide to getting your family camping adventures started.
Now, more than ever, we want to encourage our children to spend time outdoors appreciating nature and enjoying life in the wild. To feel the dewy morning grass beneath bare toes, to hear the dawn chorus in the wilderness and to lie under a starlit sky and wonder at the beauty of this wide world.
A family camping trip is the perfect place to make great memories and enjoy happy times together. But before you pack the car with the marshmallows, the sleeping bags and the spare socks, take some time to prepare your camping expedition and be sure that they will be epic adventures and not miserable disasters!
Here is our quick guide to camping en-famile. Whether you have babies, toddlers, wobblers, petulant teenagers or reluctant spouses… or all of the above… follow our easy steps to making time in the wilderness a wonderful family experience.
Perhaps in your youth you grabbed a two-man tent, a bag of cans and a few tins of beans and headed to festivals. Fun weekend family camping is the anti-thesis of this scenario. But don’t worry, it is still fun. Family fun. Especially if you have remembered the essential toilet rolls, battery power packs, milk etc.
Take time to research where you might like to camp. Decide first if you are going completely off-road, or if you would like to have amenities, a toilet/ showers and a chip shop nearby. There are plenty of family- friendly campsites to cater to all requirements. From beach to mountain, from lakes to rivers, Ireland offers a wonderful selection of picturesque places to set up tent for the night. It is up to yourselves to decide if you want to go it alone, or have civilisation on hand.
Food and Essentials
Lists are your friend here. Make a list of meals and snacks for while you are camping and shop accordingly. Include all the needful items such as toilet rolls and water. Over time, you will get smarter at knowing what works and what doesn’t for your own clan. Appetites are usually better in the great outdoors so make sure you bring plenty of food to bulk up on. At Outdoor Adventure Store we stock a range of exciting instant meals. The gourmet, Wayfarer range are long dated and easily prepared so work as a great standby for hungry mouths. Some stalwart campers learn all kinds of hacks for camping. They bring pre-cooked frozen stews to thaw in time for dinner. They break all their eggs into a plastic bottle at home for easy carrying and easy scrambling. See some Camping hacks here
Stoves and Fires: You may have romantic ideas about a roaring campfire but reality often brings nasty weather, damp wood or a camping site that does not permit such luxuries as open flame (If you really want this experience, then include it at your planning stage.) The likelihood is that you won’t cook for the whole tribe on an open fire and there are many other options available. Trangia’s are lightweight fast and reliable storm-proof stove systems used by outdoor people all over the world. A Trangia burner is an ingenious original product that is well worth investing in. You can purchase a storm-proof stove system that comprises of a kettle, two windshields that fit together, a burner, a couple of non- stick pans, a non-stick combined lid/fry pan, and a pan grip-handle to make most meal times easy for you. Most importantly, it’s a safe way to heat food for your family.
Tents: A family size tent with a canopy is the ideal solution for all families heading into the wilds. The canopy is a godsend when the sun in blasting down on wee bare arms, or when the rain showers halt outdoor play for a while. It is also a welcome space for chatting parents to escape in the evening, as the tired-out tots snore away the days adventures. An investment in a state of the art family tent is exactly that! An investment, which compares favourably in monetary value to every other type of accommodation out there and will allow you to enjoy the outdoors together for many years to come. Do not be tempted to squash two or four children into one man or two-man tents. It may seem like a good idea, but those shoulders sticking out may cause the tent to touch the fly sheets and this can cause damp, not to mention the claustrophobe inside can lead to arguments. Tents come in all shapes and sizes and even if you need to borrow an extra one for the teens, it is worth it for all to be comfortable. You are making happy memories here after all! Check out the air beam tents with fibreglass poles and ample room for everyone from Granny to the dog. Orava 600xl Tent.Don’t forget to pack extra tent pegs. Like socks in a washing machine, tent pegs have a tendency to disappear.
Sleeping Bags: Choose a sleeping bag for the weather, the season and the type of camping you plan to do. Like duvets, sleeping bags have tog ratings, making it easy to pick the most suitable bag. A simple child’s sleeping bag is relatively inexpensive and they pay for themselves quickly. Not only will they be used in your family camping excursions, but they will be hauled out for sleep overs and dragged in front of the telly on those lazy Saturday mornings. Double sleeping bags are readily available, so there is no need to go back to the days of zipping two singles together. Unless you think that is romantic, in which case, off you go and no complaining when there is a zip like indentation on your back in the morning!
Torches and Headtorches: A good hand torch or headtorch is indispensable for camping with the brood. The torch is absolutely essential when searching for bugs under hedges at dusk, or when finding the loo in the middle of the night and seeking out that one favourite teddy in a dark tent. See our guide to head torches here: Brighten up your world with a head torch! Make sure you have plenty of batteries or a trusty power pack for recharging. Galaxy rechargeable Lantern
Extras. Folding chairs are comfortable after a day of hiking in the hills. Hammocks are fun. Footballs and Frisbees find a new lease of life in the outdoors.
But camping is about getting away from it all. It is about letting the world drift away for a while and enjoying a simpler time in nature, as a family. If you can manage to get your teenager off sending snapchat’s long enough to Instagram the happiness being outdoors brings you, you will be instilling in them a love of the wild and a respect for nature.