As I’ve already mentioned (do I keep going on about it?!) we’re really excited to be going on our first camping trip this summer to the music festival – Nozstock! The kiddos couldn’t be more excited and I’m so looking forward to this Summer adventure – we’d like to be able to go to longer camping trips in the future so we’re using this as a little try out to see how it goes and looking at what family camping essentials we need to make it a success!
There’s just one little problem which is that last time Mr M and I went camping is wasn’t exactly a plain sailing! The last camping trip was when we just had a 2 year old Elodie and I was a couple of months pregnant with Finlay. We picked a gorgeous campsite in Devon for a week and the first couple of days was lovely but an overtired toddler who awoke crying at 3am every morning, night time roadworks right outside our tent and morning sickness did not make for a fun trip so sadly we haven’t been again since!
But we’ve been doing our research and trying to work out what family camping essentials we actually need, if you’ve ever tried packing for a family camping trip before, there are so many options and even simple things like sleeping bags and air mattresses come in such a wide variety that it becomes mind-bogglingly daunting to work out what you actually need. So we’ve been reviewing camping gear recently and here’s what we think would be essential items for a family camping trip!
- A tent big enough for your family (as we’re not seasoned campers, I haven’t recommended any tents here as we haven’t tried that many.)
- A mallet (useful for banging tent pegs in)
- Wet wipes/ baby wipes and hand sanitiser – you can’t have too many of these (Johnson’s do some top-to-toe body wash wipes)
- Sleeping Bags (to make sure you stay warm and cosy.) For little ones we love these Eurohike Adventure youth 200 sleeping bags that are warm, snuggly, come with a pillow and little pocket inside and they fold up nice and small too. For grown ups, I really recommend the Vango Harmony Deluxe sleeping bags from Simply Hike. These are the snuggliest sleeping bags around, they really do keep you warm – we used them on a wet Summer Camping Trip and they were really a lifesaver. They’re not the smallest of sleeping bags and so if you’re trying to save space, you might want to check on these other sleeping bags from Simply Hike. But if you’re looking for comfort and warmth than the Vanguard Sleeping bags are perfect!
- Roll mats or airbeds. Airbeds are crucial to insulate from the ground up to keep you warm and comfortable. This double airbed from Coleman is lightweight and puncture resistant so this makes it a good choice. I also like the bag that stays attached for it to roll back into.
- A lantern is a must to see what you’re doing and light up the tent – this Coleman lantern is perfect because it’s small but bright – can be hung up in the tent and is rechargeable. It has a battery lock to prevent battery drain too. I think I’m also going to take some glow sticks for the kids in the evenings!
- Kitchen roll, toilet roll, bug spray and a first aid kit (I swear bugs always go for me first!)
- Lots and lots of sunscreen!
- Lots of blankets and socks – my friend Claire from The Ladybird’s Adventures swears by lots of these – more than you think you’ll need!
- A Picnic Table is vital camping equipment it makes things so much easier if you can sit down for meals and not have to worry about toddlers wandering around and stepping on people’s lunches! This fold up picnic table from Millets makes camping meals stress free – it is sturdy but folds up small and can fit at least 6 people around it. You can also use it for preparing food.
- Portable picnicware – something I really like about camping is having good storage where everything slots into small spaces – anyone else?! This Vonshef Picnic Bag for 4 people has everything you’d need to eat al fresco – for picnics and camping. It even has a chopping board and a bottle opener plus mini salt and pepper! The picnic mat folds up to the front of the bag and there’s plenty of insulated pockets to keeps drinks and food cold on your journey.
- Portable Power Storage – although camping by its very definition means enjoying the great outdoors (!) you might not want to survive without your phone….this power charge from go outdoors is small enough to pop into a pocket, but charges a smartphone in just 90 minutes.
- Sand Free Lightweight Towels from Teselate. Towels can take up a lot of space, are big and bulky and take forever to dry but these lightweight towels are perfect for camping. They fold up really small, are super absorbent and have a massive choice of pretty colours and vibrant designs. They dry very quickly and if you’re taking a trip to the beach – the sand doesn’t stick to them! I love these towels and will be ordering lots more of these for the kids swimming lessons too – will cut my swimming bag weight by half!
Mini floodlight Torch It’s always a bit tricky to find your tent at the end of the night – so this mini torch which fits into your pocket but also lights up a room – is perfect!
- Something to cook on. You’ll want the most compact and versatile of camping cooking equipment you can find. We love this Party Grill – it’s perfect for mini BBQs on the beach but you can also pan cook, grill, griddle plate and the lid even doubles up as a wok for noodles etc….. Best of all it folds up together into a handy carry case.
- Security protection, this may seem an odd one to pick but The Slip is an innovative card carrier which conceals RFID protection, keeping you safe from digital pickpockets and ID theft. Palm-sized, it can conveniently be attached to most modern smartphones too.
I’m sure this list will expand and I’ll pop back and amend it after our camping trip. If you’re not overly keen on camping in tents, you could choose a camper van and still enjoy the outdoor lifestyle! Try Kiravans for some fantastic camper-van equipment.
Have we forgotten anything? Please let us know! Call me crazy but I’m actually really excited about our Nozstock adventure and hope it’s the start of many camping trips to come!
If you’d like to save this list – pin it for later!
*We were gifted these items in exchange for a review. All words, photos and thoughts are my own.*