My kids love camping, my friends’ kids love camping and as a kid I loved camping, ergo all kids surely love camping. Go for it, you’ll have a blast.
Tips? Don’t skimp on bedtime comfort. I remember sleeping in a tent with a duvet and foam mat as a kid and was absolutely freezing. The floor will suck all and any heat out of you so use a good sleeping mat, blankets, good sleeping bags and duvets if you must, but make sure the kids are going to be warm and comfortable.
Don’t expect to come back refreshed from a good nights’ sleep 😆Posted 3 years agoCougarSubscriber
The one thing I wish I’d known when I started:
Do not buy cheap crap.
Do not buy cheap crap.
Almost everything I’ve ever bought from Gellert and their bargain basement chums I’ve had to replace due to degrees of “not fit for purpose,” meaning I’ve forked out for proper stuff anyway in addition to the rubbish. Borrow kit from friends or stump up for quality gear, but do not buy cheap crap.Posted 3 years agohooliMember
You will have a brilliant time, your kids will love it and will ask to go all the time.
My advice as somebody who camps quite often with 2 young kids, don’t try and be Ray Mears. Take the stuff you need to be comfortable – air matress, duvet etc. Dont worry about fancy cookers, kitchens and all the gizmos you think you need.
Choose a camp site near a pub for a meal and to get out of the weather for a bit if needed, dont stress about kids sleep times, routines. Just relax and have fun.Posted 3 years agohooliMember
One more tip, buy a bigger tent than you think you need. They normally have the same number of poles as smaller tents so no harder to put up but give you the space you need to sit indoors if it rains. Also gives kids a spot to play and for all the stuff you will take.
Only downside is they take up more space in the car so maybe an issue if space is tight anyway.Posted 3 years agojekkylMember
Great fun for the kids to run about on all the grass all the time, take a walk about the campsite before bed, see what wildlife you can spot. Had a great time the other weekend me and the wife sitting out watching the sun go down after the little one had gone down, ducking for the bats swooping above our heads. You don’t get that in your living room.Posted 3 years ago
Timely thread. We just bought a second hand Outwell Montana 6 yesterday for the bargain price of £150, came with a carpet and some other bits. It’s a few years old but seems to be in good nick so I’m happy.
Any recommendations for kids sleeping bags/mats? Go outdoors have some bags for around £15 each, what is Hi Gear kit like?
I’ve only ever bought very good lightweight kit for hiking etc so this is a little new to me.Posted 3 years agodanielgrovesMember
I first went camping when I was three months old. Loved it then, love it now.
As others have said, don’t skimp on decent kit. If you’re not warm enough when you sleep, it’ll be hell. Otherwise, you’ll be fine. Make sure whatever tent you buy has a good hydrostatic head, the higher the better. As it stands I think my laser has a hydrostatic head of ~3000. I wouldn’t go any lower than that.
I’ll also warm you that it’s addictive. At last audit we have nine tents in this house between three of us. Seeing the link to the TerraNova above, I’d vouch for them as a brand, however have no experience with the particular model. Wild Country tents are TerraNovas old models made from slightly heavier materials, so fine if you’re not having to carry it miles.
Check the comfort rating on sleeping bags. They’ll be rated down to an ‘extreme’ temperature where you’ll be freezing and uncomfortable, but alive in the morning. You really want to get something where you’ll be sticking within the comfort ratings. If it’s borderline it would be wise to keep some blankets handy to throw over, particularly with kids. You can also get silk sleeping bag liners which make a surprising difference relatively cheap.
Just need to talk dad into giving me the Trango now he doesn’t use it anymore…Posted 3 years agowrightysonMember
We bottled it this weekend as the weather was shite and the mrs was suffering migranes again Saturday morning.Posted 3 years ago
However we’ve been regular campers for 7 years now with the kids. Laddo was 2 1/2 when we first took him, daughter was 5 1/2. Loved it from day one and want to go most weekends if possible.
Echo some of the above, we bought a cheap tent from the bay to start with. It was ok but on its 2nd year and heavy rain we had to bail one very wet Sunday morning. Went to a camping show and bought a good vango tent with an add on awning. The main thing it has tho is “integrated ground sheet” in my mind the best part of any good tent!DaveRamboSubscriber
I’d echo the don’t buy cheap.
We have a Montana 6 with extension and carpet. Had it for 5 or so years and it’s lasted very well and is a joy to use.
Friends who bought at the same time are on their third cheap tent and struggle every time away. It often leaks, struggles in the wind and isn’t worth the hassle IMO.
Decent kit can be re-sold easily if you decide to not camp anymore.Posted 3 years agoSpudMember
Having camped for one night recently we’re thinking of replacing our now 17yo mountain tent for those quick get always. We ditched the two weeks in a family tent 3 years ago for a caravan. That’s currently being re-roofed due to storm damage but kids loved the one night away. So more may follow. I’d echo buying cheap, don’t, you’d not be comfortable if the weather turned. Enjoy!Posted 3 years agoacehtnMember
tonyd, Hi-gear equipment is budget end, you get what you pay for.
Some bits are ok.
Only used the fuel tablets, and bought an insulated stainless mug with lid and folding handles, which fits in an Alpkit myti pot 🙂
The mug on display had a failed spot weld on the plate that holds the folding handles on. I rummaged through the boxed mugs and got one that was allright.Posted 3 years ago
Might buy another, some gems in Hi-gear but mostly budget don’t expect it to last kinda stuffglobaltiMember
From now onwards, take midge repellent or Skin-so-soft and mosquito coils to burn around the tent in the evenings.
I lost count of the number of family climbing/camping trips we cut short when I was a child because the midges were so bad. Usually we’d get to Wednesday or Thursday before binning it and going home to a nice dry midge-free house.Posted 3 years agostilltortoiseSubscriber
As a bit of balance to the “don’t skimp” comments, you don’t have to spend silly money. There is good inexpensive camping equipment out there. The expensive stuff is expensive because it needs to perform well and be light and easy to carry. If it’s coming out of the back of the car you don’t need the expensive stuff.Posted 3 years agodavid47Member
Our kids have been camping since about 11 months old… Great memories of holding smallest one by the hands while she was learning to walk and chasing some ducks round a field at a Campsite near a pub in Devon…Posted 3 years ago
Keep them warm, they will have a great time… We have an Outwell tent bought from ebay, and we all survived the last weekend at erlestoke 🙂
Get a tent with a carpet, makes a big difference… Definitely need a big space inside, and we also find a gazebo/event shelter also makes a difference on the rainy days!
My twins are 3 and a half, will I die?
Of course not. Ever met a kid who didn’t like camping?
It’s far better than staying in a hotel. Get back from your activities and they can run around in a large open area all afternoon playing, you can sit around with your beer/wine/book/whatever watching them and they’ll be knackered come bedtime.
The very definition of win/win.
Hi Gear stuff is often ok, but it’s worth spending a bit more on tents since they are rather crucial. Just bought a hi-gear rip-off of a Thermarest prolite. Slightly heavier, 1/3 the price.Posted 3 years ago
Hi-gear equipment is budget end, you get what you pay for.
[quote]Hi Gear stuff is often ok, but it’s worth spending a bit more on tents since they are rather crucial. Just bought a hi-gear rip-off of a Thermarest prolite. Slightly heavier, 1/3 the price. [/quote]Largely as I expected then. I was thinking sleeping bags and mats, might spend an extra tenner per bag and get something with a lower temp rating. I don’t mind spending more but don’t see the point when it’s going to get outgrown and/or shredded pretty quickly.
Other than cheaper and heavier, what was the Hi Gear mat like? Weight doesn’t matter as it’ll be carried all of 10 feet at a time 🙂Posted 3 years ago
Be careful going for the low temperature ratings. Unless it actually is that cold you’ll regret it when you boil to death in summer time. I did!
I’d suggest less warm bags with a blanket or duvet packed for emergencies. Sleeping bags only get lighter as you get more expensive, and if this isn’t a consieration then buy cheap. Or just a duvet – that’s what we usually use. It’s nice.
Re mats – there seems to have been some kind of patent expiration recently as every cheap gear manufacturer and his dog seem to be making copies of the original Thermarests from 20 years ago. I paid £45 in about 1996 for a Thermarest Ultralite, they are a tenner in Go Outdoors now and are identical as far as I can tell. The Hi Gear mat I bought seems absolutely fine.
Our next camping trip will be in the US so our kit has to fit into air luggage. We already had two full length mats and the aforementioned Ultralite, so we just needed one more for our other kid. It’s that small and light that not only will it help with the packing for the flight but it’ll also double up for any backpacking we may need to do in the future.Posted 3 years ago
Good point on the low temp ratings – I have an expensive and light expedition bag that I just can’t use in this country as it’s too warm. I think maybe some cheap and cheerful bits for the kids for now then. The wife on the other hand….. can you get inflatable four posters?Posted 3 years ago
Not but you can get these:Posted 3 years agochrisdwSubscriber
Used to go camping a lot as a kid. We had a 12 man tent that web used for 3/4 of us and 2 dogs. You can walk around in it, and cook in it no problems. Wynster sattelite 12 it was.
Definitely go big, our wynster didn’t have a bucket groundsheet which was a pain if its really wet. So get one of them.
Take airbeds and a 12v air pump. You’re in the car and don’t have to carry it, so go for the extra comfort and warmth.
Edit: Take a dustpan and brush too.Posted 3 years agomark90Member
Taking our 4 month old for his first camping trip next weekend. 7 yr old daughter has only spent one night under canvas before, but she is an old hand a ‘camping’ she started in touring caravan at 3 months and then we progressed to camper van for the last 5/6 years. Arrival of Jn 90.2 has meant a change from camper van to tent.
We bought an Outwell Nevada XL over the winter when Go-Outdoors had a great offer on it. This brings my collection of tents to 6, ranging from £20 Asda disposable ‘festival’ tent (which is actually way better that it ought to be at that price) to a Mountain Hardware 4 season mountain tent, none of which where big enough for the familiy now.
The one night daughter had under canvas was in the mountain tent when we pitched just the inner as it was stonking it hot. A strategically placed tarp was rigged to provide shade from the rising sun.
I find air beds, cold unconfortable, hateful things (not quite what I want going down on me during the night 😉 ). Have a old genuine termarest, but just bought a couple of 7cm Outwell Dreamcatchers, first outing for them next weekend.
Agree on keeping warm at night for a good nights sleep, especially kids. Our daughter tends to run hot at night, so would often be out of her sleeping bag. We used to just throw it over her as a duvet when we went to bed. She always slept better in our camper van that at home, will see how she fairs in the tent. I expect the early morning light will wake her 😕Posted 3 years agosurroundedbyhillsSubscriber
Have got a HiGear Tent and seen plenty more around campsites, they are cheap and functional and I expect to replace it sooner rather than later but it works.
On the other hand I tend to buy functional kit from the middle to higher end for stuff like cookers and water carriers Campinggaz and Coleman etc.Posted 3 years agoroggMember
I’m relatively new to this camping malarky as well, but I would echo the recommendation to get a slightly bigger tent than you initially think you need.Posted 3 years ago
Take a windbreak of some description, and one of those folding kitchen stand/table things that lets you cook at a reasonable height rather than crippling yourself bending double.
I’d normally also suggest earplugs, but you’d probably like to hear if your kids yell in the night!
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