Monday, 22 June 2015

My top 5 tips for camping with toddlers

The first time Adam and I went camping was when we'd only been married a few months. We picked up a cheap 2 man tent, a couple of sleeping bags and an air bed and thought every thing would be great. It wasn't, it really wasn't. We pitched our new tent in the rain and we were wet and tired once we'd finished. The tent was alot smaller than we expected, but we thought we'd make the most out of it anyway. Halfway through that first night we discovered the tent had leaked leaving us lying in a puddle, the air bed had deflated and the wind had whipped through it leaving us freezing cold. We retreated to the car and, first thing the following morning, we packed up and took the tent straight back to the shop. It took a couple more years before we gained the courage to try camping again, but when we did, we had learnt so much from that first expiearience. We now go camping every year and absolutely love it! Here are my top 5 tips to enjoy camping with your children.

1) Keep warm during the night
The main thing we learnt about camping was that if we were dry and warm we could do anything. Being warm during the night often means a better night's sleep and the ability to tackle anything in the morning. At night time the children wear thermal vests, pj's and a big fleecy onesie on top. They then have their quilts off their beds and a big fleecy snugly blanket. I also take enough blankets so that they have the option of having another one if they need it. For us adults we wear tracksuits, have our quilt and snugly fleecy blankets. I'm a person who always feels the cold so I usually have a pair of gloves and a woolly hat to hand, and don't forget those think thermal socks too!

2) Take a potty
Trekking out in the middle of the night because Millie needs the toilet is no fun. Trekking back just to find that Callie now needs to go too is just really not funny. We take a make-shift travel potty made up of a small peddle-bin liner placed over a potty, lined with thick cheep maternity pads (think 10 for 20p). When the kids have finished we tie up the bin liner and place it in a nappy sack ready to put in the bin in the morning. Job done! I also like to believe that the less we unzip the tent at night the warmer we all stay!

3) Buy the comfiest chairs
Somewhere comfortable to sit can transform a camping trip, especially with young children. A comfortable place to feed a baby, nurse a hurt knee or sit and relax for a few moments once the kids have gone to sleep is essential. A few weeks ago, on our last camping trip, our chairs broke. I am gutted, but am on the look out for new ones in time for our next camping trip later in the month.

4) A dustpan and brush can save a marriage
I am very tent proud, I like my tent to stay tidy and grass and leaf free, especially as I have a toddling toddler who likes to pick up every thing and eat it. That's not so easy when you are camping in the middle of a field! I love my little dustpan and brush and we have a little morning routine down where I send out the kids to play with Adam while I sweep out the tent. I find it really therapeutic sweeping out all my frustrations, the dustpan and brush definitely contribute to our marital harmony while we are camping.

5) Have a couple of Thermos mugs
I bought these on a whim one particularly cold August and they have been an absolutely essential part of our kit since. A hot drink in the morning to warm us up while the sun warms up the tent and a hot drink in the evening to warm us up before we snuggle down in bed is just perfect.

My bonus tip is to invest in a good tent. The tent we now have is a totally enclosed 8 man pod tent, complete with a carpet, that's big enough to stand in and with a large space where the girls can play when its raining outside (we also have a separate kitchen tent). This is a major factor in why we now enjoy camping. A large pod tent isn't for everyone, some people prefer a tunnel tent, bell tent, tepee or trailer tent. Do your research and whichever one you choose, make sure you invest in the best one your money can buy.

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