An Essential Guide to Camping With Children!

This year we have booked a family camping trip for our summer holiday! Now that our boys are aged 3 and 6 years they have bundles of energy and so when my brother and sister-in-law suggested we book a camping trip with them as well as my two nephews, it seemed like the ideal holiday for them! And so a camping trip to Cornwall was booked! As excited as we all are for our summer holiday, I must admit, it's a little different from previous holidays we've taken them on so there's been a bit more preparation and consideration given to it. I've spent the past few months researching how to make the most of camping with small children and have also had a mini camping trip this month in order to put together a guide with lots of tips and tricks to ensure your trip is as smooth as possible! 

There's no two ways about it, you need a fair bit of equipment when you're camping from the tent itself to air beds, sleeping bags, chairs, tables and a cooker, to name just a few things. Start off by making a list of everything you'll need and if you can, try to buy a few items each week to spread the cost a little. You may find you can pick up some items from second hand sites or even grab a camping bundle this way! 

Test run
Once you've gathered all the items, its worth considering booking a mini trip, just one or two nights somewhere local in order to do a trial run. This is a great opportunity to firstly test out all your equipment as well as practice putting up, and sleeping in your tent. It'll enable you to discover any problems that may emerge, ie is your tent spacious enough to comfortably fit you all for the duration of your trip? It will also highlight any things you may have forgotten that ultimately will make your trip smoother, for example, on our mini trip we didn't bring a light with us which I now have down as an essential! It will also enable you to check whether you will have enough space in your car for everything that you'll need.

I consider the absolute essential items to be the tent, air beds, sleeping bags, lights, torches, a cooker, first aid kit. pans, kettle, cutlery, plates, cups, chairs, water storage, bottle and a table. There are lots of other items that will make your stay in a tent more comfortable too but these are my key items. It's important to ensure the essential items are the right ones too, for example, I discovered that my sleeping bag was too thin so will be purchasing a new one before our holiday. My eldest son has a gorgeous sleeping bag from Deuter; it's so soft, and has a contour hood as well as a 30cm zip extension at the end. My sleeping bag certainly paled in comparison! 

Sleeping bag
Another essential item to consider is a carbon monoxide detector. CO can enter your tent from a smouldering BBQ outside so for peace of mind as well as your families safety, pack a CO alarm. The FireAngel CO-9X is small and portable with a 7 year battery life. For more information on Carbon Monoxide, visit Project Shout.
It's also important to ensure you pack long-life batteries for all those items that require them; you don't want to get half way through your trip and discover the batteries have died. Varta's Longlife Max Power Batteries are absolutely ideal to take with you; they are ideal for battery-draining items like digital cameras! 

I'm also going to pack Varta's Slim Power Bank which is a wonderful device that helps keep electronic devices charged. I always like to keep my phone nearby now I have young children should we ever need to call someone for help and so this will ensure my phone can stay charged throughout the week. They have multi USB sockets so can even charge two devices at a time!

Home Comforts
There are many ways you can add a little bit of luxury to your camping trip, for example by investing in good quality sleeping bags and air mattresses, adding tent carpets and comfortable portable furniture. There are many products out there to make your camping experience as comfortable as possible. Take a walk around your local camping shop and see which products appeal to you. One of my friends has bought herself a portable camping toilet for her holiday so she doesn't need to walk to the toilet blocks during the night!

Rainy day plans
You can plan your trip in every detail but one thing you can't control is the weather, so it's worth having some activities to hand for you and your children in case of bad weather. You may also wish to plan for activities for when you all need a little bit of relaxing downtime. I really love Little Brian Paint Sticks. They are a convenient and fun way for your child to paint! The paint sticks twist up and down just like a glue stick so the paint can be directly applied to the paper with out the need for paintbrushes and water! We will definitely be packing these in our cases! 
I also love Munch Cats! magazines. They are plastic-free, environmentally friendly magazines. Each issue is jam-packed with activities, craft ideas and puzzles. They aim to encourage children to become environmentally aware, to love nature and they also encourage upcycling of single-use plastic and household items. The magazines are free from plastic and are 100% recyclable. I would have loved these as a child so I'll certainly enjoy reading them with my boys!

Making life a little easier
I'm planning a few little ways to make our camping holiday go smoothly. Firstly, I'm going to bring along some snacks for the week to keep our energy levels up. I've recently discovered protein balls from The Protein Ball Co. They are tasty, sweet balls made with natural, high quality ingredients; perfect for keeping hunger at bay! There are 8 unique flavours including Cherry Bakewell and Peanut Butter for example and they are suitable for vegetarians!

I'm also going to buy some additional storage to ensure that we are not tripping over our suitcases in the night. Camping storage can include collapsible shelving units and compact cupboard units for example. I will definitely be happier with a bit of order to the tent! 

Lastly, I want to ensure we take backpacks with us for when we're out and about, walking around the local towns or taking trips to the beach, for example. Anyone with young children will know just how much you end up carrying out with you; wipes, suncream, changes of clothes ect! I love the range of backpacks from Deuter. They make adult sized ones each with a generous capacity and even ones ideal for your toddler and young child so they can also carry some of those essential out and about items! Explore the range here.

So there you have it, my essential guide for camping with children! I will be covering my camping trip on the blog later in the year so stay tuned to see how we get on! You can also check out this post from Twin, Tantrums and Cold Coffee about how she survived camping with a baby twins and a toddler!

Do you have any camping trips planned or have any essential camping items to recommend? I'd love to hear from you! 

*Disclaimer; we were kindly gifted the above items in exchange for an honest review. I will only ever recommend items to you that I truly believe are high quality.