Genius Family Camping hacks for stress free family camping!
Whether it’s tricks to squeeze more into the car or how to make packing for a camping trip take less time – we’ve got some great ideas to help make your next camping trip less stressful and ensure you have a great time when you arrive and actually get to chill out! All these camping trips and tricks are based on our own camping experiences with 4 young kids. Our first camping trip with kids was a disaster but we’ve learnt a lot since then and keep amending our packing list so that camping becomes a great way to relax with the family!
Easy Camping hacks for families to make camping more fun!
If you need some fun ideas to have on hand on your next camping trip, this 14 page camping activity booklet will be a perfect addition to your adventures- it’s great for keeping kids entertained camping while you set up camp or for some things to keep kids busy if it’s raining when you’re camping.
Read here if you need more ideas for camping toys and activities to keep the kids entertained on a campsite.
One top tip for camping with kids is to invent ‘Camp Tokens’. We take different colour tokens, they are called camp coins. Each child has a different colour and they earn camp tokens by filling water, washing up, collecting wood etc. At the end of the holiday they get coins to put in the penny arcades or spend in the camp shop, after this you’ll I have a lot of willing helpers around camp!
Top tips and hacks for camping in the rain
Raining on your camping trip?! Don’t panic! Read here’s to find ALL of the top tips for camping in the rain or in windy weather to keep you safe and still make it fun!
- Keep a spare change of clothes for everyone in the car. That way if your tent gets wet, you’ll still be able to be dry.
- If it is a very wet camping trip – place wood under your car to keep it dry for your fire!
- Place a bath mat inside your tent in the entrance – this will absorb water when you come inside from the rain.
- Have a ‘no shoes’ rule in the tent if you can, to keep it dry. Use a plastic box with a lid to store shoes in, if you don’t have a porch to your tent.
- Keep a dustpan and brush in your tent, to sweep up dust and dirt as you go and keep your tent clean.
- Dry your tent as soon as you get home to prevent it from becoming mouldy. Add large silica bags where you store your tent to prevent your tent becoming damp.
Easy Hacks and Tips for camping with kids
Camping food hacks
When you have a family, cooking food at a campsite can become really stressful! So here are our best tips for camping gear and our easiest way to cook on a campsite!
- Freeze plastic bottles of water ahead of time and they’ll act as ice to keep any food cool on your journey but when they melt you have drinking water for your family. (Fill them up 2/3 of the way to give room for when they expand as they freeze.) We even freeze the bag of wine (from a box) which keeps everything else chilled and then we have cold wine on arrival – which is a must! Find out more tips for keeping cold food whilst camping here.
- Pre cook an easy to heat meal for the first night…eg: meatballs and spaghetti. If you don’t have electric hook up, freeze everything you can to act as ice packs.
- Write your name on ice packs in permanent marker. Most campsites have a freezer you can freeze them in but you don’t want them to go missing!
- Lots of camping equipment can be really bulky. We love these kettles and camping pans and washing up bowls that fold down easily, they save a ton of space in. the car!
- Another way to save space in the car – don’t take groceries and do a food shop online to be click and collect to your nearest supermarket. Set the tent up and then send someone to collect the food!
- If you have an electric hook up, take a slow cooker. Perfect for when you get back after a day out!
- For young children – bring bowls and plates that suction to the table and cups with lids. Things tend to get spilt more easily when you’re camping! These ones work well!
Try these ideas for quick camping meals you can cook in one pot.
Top tips and hacks for lighting a camp fire
Easy Hacks and Tips for Camping with Kids
- An easy and cheap way to start a fire is to put the lint from your tumble dryer into a empty cardboard toilet roll – chuck it on your fire and it will catch light quickly!
- Dip cotton wool pads in wax – they also make an excellent fire starter
- Always bring a plastic bag to keep your firewood in. Wood won’t light once wet and even if it’s dry and hasn’t rained, wood can get damp from the dew on a cold morning.
- There are also many kits which include a FireSteel which allows you to create sparks to start your fire. The FireSteel creates a spark similar to the way two rocks hit together create a spark.
Packing Camping Hacks
- Pack clothes in individual packing cubes. Pick a colour for each family member and pack their clothes in their travel bag. It will make it much easier for everyone to find their things and it saves space in the car as you can squeeze them into small spaces in the car. These ones pack up nice and small and read here to find out the best way to use packing cubes!
- For ease of packing up and setting up – invest in some stackable boxes and keep all your food items and small items together in them. I top the boxes up after each trip and store with my camping gear. That way I don’t have to think about food and essentials like sauces, cutlery, salt/pepper, tins of food. I have a box just with utensils! Then you only need to pack a cool box and go.
- Take a pop up washing basket – it’s nice to have somewhere to store dirty clothes so they don’t get mixed in with the clean ones!
- Try vacuum packing your clothes to save space. You’ll need some vacuum bags and a portable mini air pump which will also come in handy for blowing up your air bed!
- Make sure everything stacks! Ensure you cups, plates, bowls all stack. You can buy sets which contain all of your camping kit like Wildo’s Camp-a-box.
- My favourite camping item that saves SO much space is the Sea to Summit Camp Kitchen Clean up Set. It contains everything you need for washing up but takes up a tiny amount of space. The set includes a palm-sized Pot Scrubber, 50ml Washing up liquid, 10L Kitchen Sink, double-sided Washcloth and DryLite Dish Towel—all packed away in a convenient carry case.
Camping Advice for families
If you’re off on a particular adventure or need specific advice about any camping equipment – we love using Trekitt. They are experts in outdoor adventures, contain all the camping (and other outdoor pursuits) equipment you’ll ever need along with specialist clothing and can support you with planning for your next adventure. They also offer in store rucksack and boot fitting services and offer quick delivery for all camping equipment. Find Trekitt here.
Best Camping Hacks for Clothes
Here’s some easy hacks and tips for camping with kids that make camping more of a joy than a stress!
- Bring flip flops or crocs for the shower.
- Bring shorts for changing into after shower as it’s tricky to get trousers on without them getting wet!
- Quick drying clothes like leggings and cycling shorts are best, they also don’t take up much space when packing.
- If it’s rainy or wet, make sure you have a puddle suit for little kids. If you have older kids, tights are easiest – they can be changed quickly if they get mud splashes on, without the need for a full change of clothes.
Camping hacks for keeping warm
- How do you keep warm when camping? Try our best camping tips and tricks to help you keep warm when it’s cold. Medical foil blankets and foam alphabet kids mats under blow up beds stop a lot of cold air getting to you on really cold nights. If it’s warmer you can do away with the blow up beds and add a blanket.
- Put a fitted sheet over your air bed to take the chill off it if it’s a cold night. You can buy fleecy ones here!
- Always insulate from the ground up, add blankets below which will keep you warmer.
- Wear a woolly hat to keep you warm at night, you lose lots of heat from your head!
How to ENJOY camping with Kids!
Easy Hacks and Tips for camping with kids that means you’ll actually want to go camping and have fun!
- If you’re tired of the kids tripping over guy ropes, get some swimming noodles from the £1 shop and cut them into 3 and put them around the bottom of the tent pegs/ guy ropes. It stops much tripping over and tears ….. kids and adults alike!
- Go star gazing with your kids – camping is the best place to go star gazing as there’s not any light pollution. A great app to help you with star gazing is Stellarium. This star gazing app is a must have for your phone when you are camping. Described as a “fully-featured planetarium for your phone.” It does cost but it does mean your star gazing experience will be worth it. Stellarium can be found on android and ios.
Camping Packing List
But see below for some of our favourite items to take camping for families below.
Things to take camping to make it stress free!
- Head torches or hat torches – better to be hands free when you’re going to the toilet or cooking at night!
- Bring a pair of pliers if the ground has been dry – easier for pulling out tent pegs!
- Don’t forget the glow sticks– they’re great for keeping kids entertained and for lighting up the tent at night! Add glow sticks to water bottles for some more illumination around your campsite.
- Camping toilet is a must for those who have to wee in the night! This camping toilet folds up nice and small.
- You can never have too many of these bulldog clips – we use them for everything! From hanging up towels to clipping fairy lights to the tent!
- Collect the clip type hangers that some shoes come with when you buy them, they are amazing to hang up your towel or wet clothes as they have a clip and a hook. One on each corner and hang up to dry!
- Washing line string and pegs…. wet towels are a pain.
- These lights are brilliant, they can be easily tied up in a tent and light the whole tent. They are battery powered but easily turn on and off by pulling and they’re easy for kids to use.
- Bring a big flexi tub. Can be used as a bath tub, to carry washing up to the sinks, and to chuck wet/muddy/sandy clothes/shoes in the car after a day out. They have multiple uses!
- I bought a few plastic drawers like these. They’re super light, so I pack them with clothes instead of using suitcases and then just lift them straight out of the car and into the tent, and back again much easier and better for space saving. Plus I find it stops the clothes getting damp and provides additional work tops.
- Towels can take up so much space, always take microfibre towels like these which pack up really small and dry quickly.
- Bring pens or paints to colour rocks, then go hide them around the campsite! My kids love doing this!
How to have an easy Camping trip with the family
Main thing about camping with kids is to try and enjoy it, easier said than done but these tips help:
1) Expect the unexpected!
2) They WILL find the muddy puddle, kids seek them out so don’t worry. Mud will wash.
3) Remember it’s their holiday too and they’re excited – giddy over excited kids are easier to manage outdoors!
4) Set the boundaries using clear non moving visuals (don’t go past that gate or that tree) giving them freedom without totally wandering off and have a place they should head if they get lost.
6) Give them a job that is theirs … ie: wash dishes, dry dishes, take the rubbish out etc….
Have fun, enjoy the adventure, make memories and find all our camping tips and hacks here.
*This Post contains Affiliate Links which means I may make a small commission if you click on the links. It doesn’t cost you any more though and I only recommend products I genuinely love! All thoughts, words and photos are completely my own unless stated*