Many parents were campers before kids. After kids? Honestly, it all seems really hard. Travel writer and expert camper Sue White says you can go camping with kids. It isn’t as hard as you think. Follow her family camping tips and you will make you look like a pro.
Borrow gear to begin
The volumes of second-hand camping gear available online exist partly because new campers get wildly enthusiastic about camping – then they try it. It’s wise to borrow equipment to start and build up slowly. After each trip, you’ll realise what else would add value to your camping kit.
Have a wet weather plan
Camping in the rain is sub-optimal, to put it politely. The saviour is a dry indoor space. Create it with large tarps between tents, or a tent with an extra room. Smart campers put older kids on their own in a large family-sized tent and sleep in a tiny dome tent nearby. The annex of the larger tent then functions as a play space for all on rainy days.
Early to bed, early to rise
Unfortunately, sleep-ins are rare when camping. The new “blackout” style tents are excellent at keeping things cooler and darker, but they can’t stop late-night fireside revellers or crunching tyres when the fisherman on the next site heads off at dawn. Counter the unavoidable early mornings with early nights – think of it as a good chance to catch up on your reading.
Take some mates
When camping with kids, most parents agree the more the merrier: kids entertain other kids. Larger campgrounds like Holiday Haven Tourist Parks or Big Four Holiday Parks are usually packed with families if you can’t convince your existing friends to come along.
Car camping? Forget packing light
It’s easy to pack half your house when heading off camping, but some things are worth their weight. Children’s bikes are usually worth the hassle (scooters are even better as they fold), while a folding table is worth the space (even a small one). Don’t forget that even younger kids value having their own folding chair or high chair. Want to keep your camping “bedroom” sand-free near the beach? A $2 dustpan and broom will save your sanity.