The Complete Guide to Family Camping
From Alton Water to Grafham Water Park, the options for UK camping holidays are endless. There is nothing better to do on a hot summer's day (if you can find one) than gathering around a BBQ, playing rounders with your overly-competitive family and soaking in the joys of outdoor living.
Camping is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, as more families than ever indulge in a ‘staycation’ rather than travelling abroad. With 77% of campers praising its affordability and 64% noticing a rise in their children's mental wellbeing after a family camping trip, the benefits of embracing a camping lifestyle far outweigh the sometimes rainy weather conditions.
So, whether you are a seasoned camper or new to the campsite, here is the ultimate family camping checklist, to ensure that your trip is an experience to remember.
Though this may be an obvious one, a good tent is key to staying dry, warm and happy whilst battling the sometimes temperamental British weather. However, this doesn't mean that you have to go out and spend hundreds of pounds at your nearest hardware store.
A tent is something that people spend a substantial amount of money on, but may only use a couple of times a year, so consider reaching out and borrowing a tent from a friend or family. Some of the best family camping tents are forgotten and neglected at the back of some else's attic. Look for a tent that is big enough for your family, completely waterproof and with all of its poles. Ideally, circulation holes and a strong zipper will keep the air clean and the outside world, on the outside.
If possible, plan a family test-camp in the back garden first, to get the children involved in setting up the tent. If your children are younger, then consider making them Head Pole Connector, and if they are older, hammering the hooks into the ground is always a fun stress-reliever.
Pre-camping in the comfort of your own garden is an exciting way to get your children into camping, and an insightful way for you to conduct a test run.
In an ideal world, your children will see the open field of a campsite and run around independently for three days. However, that very rarely happens. Children need constant stimulation, and if they have never been camping before then they may need some guidance to keep them entertained. Family camping games are not just for the children, but a way to strengthen family bonds too.
Below are our top family camping games:
1. Nature Scavenger Hunt - As you are trekking through the woods or hiking up a hill, devise a list of animals and plants to look out for along the way. This game will encourage your children to engage with nature.
2. Playground Games - The old classics like "tig" and "stuck in the mud" are classics for a reason, so embrace the games that your children will have played in the playground. These games need no preparation and are easy enough for even the littlest of children to enjoy.
3. Hopscotch - With just a stick and some dirt, you can test your family's balance!
4. Sleeping Bag Race - You already have sleeping bags, so why not turn them into a game? Line the outside with bin bags to protect the fabric, then see who can hop across the finish line the fastest.
5. Camping Alphabet Hunt - As your family is settling down by the campfire, keep the games rolling with this one. Whilst making your way through the alphabet, try and find an object that starts with each letter ("t" is for "tent", "g" is for "grass"). It's not just fun, but educational too.
An integral part of any camping holiday is the food. Memories are made around the campfire, with smores being the highlight of most people's childhood. Whether you want to prep all of your dinners beforehand or host a memorable BBQ every night, then here are the different food options to keep your family fed and happy.
Keep it classic with sausages and burgers (or halloumi if you are meat-free), or mix it up with Mexican inspired camping quesadillas. If you can fry it, you can BBQ it. Make sure to pack a Wok, as it can be used for a multitude of dishes. From stews to smores, kebabs to casseroles, there are more options for BBQ dinners than you may think.
When prepping for a camping trip, tin foil and a freezer box will be your best friend. All it takes is a few chunks of chicken, sliced up vegetables and a sprinkling of herbs, and you have a pre-packed dinner ready to throw on the BBQ. The beauty of prepping is that the magic happens inside of the tin foil, so you can have more time to enjoy the other joys of camping.
No one wants to be halfway up a hill when hunger strikes. Or worse, halfway up a hill when hunger strikes your children - because then you won't hear the end of it. Make sure to pack a tonne of cereal bars, fruit and trail mix, to keep your family going up the steepest of hills.
Camping With Dogs:
On the topic of pets, there are a variety of tips and tricks for camping with dogs. To many people, family holidays wouldn't be the same without their four-legged companion, but how can you ensure the safest, most enjoyable experience for everyone?
Firstly, make sure that you pack the essentials. Attach a car harness, update the collar ID tag and stock up on suitable leads, to make sure that your pooch is by your side at all times. Additionally, poo bags, dog food and their bed, will keep your dog happy and the campsite clean. If the camping holiday is lining up to be a washout, it is advised that you pack multiple towels, to prevent your tent smelling of dreaded wet dog.
Unlike a paved village or the bustling streets of a city, campsites can host more than just retirees and excited children. Your dog must be protected against ticks, fleas and any potential illnesses they may pick up. Talk to your vet to find out more.
Make sure to get your dog used to the car before you travel, and provide multiple stops throughout the journey. While you are at the campsite, take your pooch on lots of adventures, and remember - a tired dog is a quiet dog!
You have the tent, sleeping bags and the food, but what are the extra family camping supplies that you may not have remembered? Here is a comprehensive list of the extra supplies that you and your family may need:
Football/Frisbee: Hours of fun for all the family!
Water: Even if the campsite supplies water, it's always good to bring extra.
Torch: Perfect for those middle of the night toilet trips.
Flannel: If you want to avoid single-use baby wipes, flannels are a great choice.
Sunglasses/Hats: If the sun comes out, fingers crossed, remember protection.
Marshmallows, Crackers and Chocolate: You can't forget smores!
Flip flops: Again, perfect for those middle of the night toilet trips.
Extra Batteries: Just in case, a stove without power is just a shelf.
Speaker: Another game idea? Musical statues!
Stake and a Long Lead: For your dog, not your child - obviously.
Bin Bags: You never know when you will need an extra bin bag.
Pen and Notebook: From making an important note to a child's drawing pad.
Extra Jumpers: Cold children are unhappy children!
Now you are armed with all of the essentials to family camping, go forth into the great unknown and make some memories!
Our water parks not only bring vital water resources for the region, but they also provide a fantastic day out for all the family.
Whether you're looking for an action-packed day on the water, a spot of fishing to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life, or simply want to enjoy a relaxing walk in beautiful surroundings, look no further than our fabulous water parks.