10 Essential Family Camping Tips

At Ladram Bay we know a camping holiday with the family can be in turns educational, exhilarating, entertaining and exhausting. Regardless of whether this is your first family outing under canvas or in a caravan, or you’re a seasoned traveller, there are a number of ways to take the frustrations out of your trip that will leave you feeling relaxed and happy and able to enjoy your family time.

Image courtesy of Campers in Cornwall

Image courtesy of Campers in Cornwall

  1. Cooking for your family while you’re camping can be a challenge and yet buying take-away food night after night is often far beyond the average family budget. Instead, work out a menu in advance of leaving for your holiday. Take into consideration the access you have to cooking facilities (as you will have limited ring and grill availability). Meals that you can make in one pot are ideal. Once you have a number of those in mind work out what herbs and spices, salt, pepper and stock cubes you need and then decant these into small plastic bags. Fasten them securely and label them. Then work out what other staples you need to take with you and which you can buy when you arrive at your destination.
  2. If you are likely to be bothered by flies and wasps, pack some essential oil and take it with you. Lavender oil is great for flies, peppermint for mosquitos and citronella for wasps. To make your own fly repellent check out this great Wikihow guide. You can buy citronella candles from a variety of outdoors or camping shops. Smoke is also good for deterring any winged beasties trying to cramp your style.
  3. Given the vagaries of the British weather and our dislike of insects it really does pay to have plenty of dry storage. You should take zip lock bags and cling film with you and consider something like these plastic food containers that stack easily inside each other until required. They have the added advantage that your little ones can play with them and they won’t get damaged. Make sure you take plenty of plastic bags with you to store wet or dirty clothes, shoes and litter.
  4. If the weather is going to turn bad have a Plan B and consider what activities you can do as a family. Many areas have decent museums and swimming pools that need not cost the earth. Consider also that the beach is as much fun in the rain as it is in the dry. You can have warm showers and hot chocolate with marshmallows once you get back to your site.
  5. If you or someone in the family cannot bear the idea of a sleeping bag then take your duvets with you – many people do! They needn’t take up too much room – you can vacuum pack the duvets into plastic bags or lay them across the seats of your car. Take plenty of blankets with you too, you can lay these across your airbed for extra protection from the cold ground and consider taking a cheap rug to put on the floor of your tent – the cosier you feel, the more pleasant your camping experience will be.
  6. If your bedding gets damp or feels damp, pack it into the car when you go out on a daytrip. It will dry out on the backseat while you go about your day.
  7. Consider investing in some solar lights. They will demarcate the area around the tent to show ‘your space’ and help to keep the area illuminated as dusk comes. Once the sun goes down they’ll pinpoint where your guide ropes are and stop you and your family tripping over them.
  8. Make a game out of giving your children a ‘survival kit’. They should have a torch each (wind-up ones are particularly durable and good fun), some plasters, and a whistle that they can wear around their neck. If they get lost on the campsite or when you’re out and about, tell them to blow on the whistle.
  9. Really think about how to pack your car up before you leave for your family camping trip. Stow items in all the nooks and crannies – don’t forget the foot wells and under the seats. Consider what you will need access to first once you start unpacking and make sure those items are on top. You may need to hire a roof box or trailer so think about this before you leave for your trip.
  10. Finally consider taking ‘trugs’ instead of buckets and bowls. Trugs are a great answer to your storage needs as they are flexible – as in squashable – and come in a variety of sizes so can stack inside each other. They can be decorated, which your kids will love, and you can even get lids for them. They’re available from a number of retail outlets.