Sunday 3 February 2019

Planning a Family Camping Trip with Simply Hike

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Last year I was finally persuaded by my husband and son James that we should buy a tent! It went from just popping down to our local camping store, to walking out with a huge 6 man family tent about an hour later and im not going to lie, I wasn't feeling very enthusiastic about the idea.

We went on our very first camping first during the summer holidays last year and whilst I was pessimistic about the whole thing we actually had a fantastic time. I actually think it was exactly what we needed, escaping the hustle and bustle of our busy town and work/school routine and just enjoying time together and the great outdoors.

I'm not going to lie, being so worried about camping I packed so much stuff! When in reality we didn't need half of what I packed but did need other things I hadn't even thought about packing. So I wanted to share with you today some essentials for a family camping trip, what to take and what not to take!

Find the perfect tent - Finding the perfect tent is the most important thing when it comes to camping. Before buying a tent its a good idea to think about what you want from a tent and how much time you will be spending in it. We wanted a large "living" area that we could relax in. We also wanted a bedroom area that we could all fit in together and have the option to divide as right now the kids want to be in with us at night but as they get older that may well change!

Simply Hike have a great range of tents from small one person tents that fit in a back pack to huge family tents with several different compartments. One great brand for families is Outwell tents who have tents like the Vigor 5 tent. This tent has a large spacious living area with standing room height, while the bedroom area is more compact to keep the pack weight down

Toys and games - One of the best things about camping was seeing how much fun the kids had being outdoors. I was initially worried about them being bored and that we would struggle to keep them entertained without any electronics etc. However they totally took to camping and hearing them laugh, run and play outside together made me so happy. They invented games, toasted marshmallows and ran barefoot on the grass in the sun and slept the best they ever have, no doubt because of all the fun they had been having during the day.

I would definitely recommend getting some board games and outdoor games to take with you when you camp. Some of our favourites were swing ball, badminton and a football. We also took big tubes of bubbles and some other small games such as Molkky (a wooden skittles game) and some of our favourite board games to play on the evenings in the tent.

Warm pjs and a comfy bedding - Our first camping trip last year was in the middle of the summer holidays in August. It was in the middle of the heatwave and temperatures were scorching. I was worried we would all be boiling hot in the tent during the night but boy was I wrong! I quickly realised that even in the height of summer, the nights still get cold.

The best advice I could give is to invest in some good quality sleeping bags and pillows. This Outwell double sleeping bag looks really cosy and its definitely worth spending a little more on good quality bedding, you will be so grateful come night time in your tent. The kids also had fleecy blankets they used over the top of their sleeping bags. You could even take hot water bottles to warm up the beds if you are taking a kettle or have means of heating water. I have also purchased some fleecy pyjamas and onesies as well as some fluffy thermal socks for us all ready for our next camping trip.

Cooking utensils - For a short camping weekend break you can probably get away without taking any major cooking equipment. We got by with buying a few disposable BBQ's and using the onsite facilities such as the chip shop and local supermarkets. However if you are planning on going away for any longer I would advice looking into purchasing a camping stove or similar.

You can get a variety of options from single ring gas burners to a large double ring burner, some even have a little grill underneath so you can make your toast in the morning. You might struggle to cook a big meal on them but they are so handy to have for warming things up or making things like beans on toast, soup, noodles or pasta etc.

Camping chairs - Investing in some good quality camping chairs was another must for us. They become out sofas for relaxing in the tent, our chairs for sitting outside to watch the kids on and the things we sat on to eat each night. So it was important we found ones that suited us.

The kids found some funky coloured one that has cute little cup holders in the arms and were kid size so the perfect size for them.I chose a huge "tub style" chair which when you sat in felt like a big hug. I honestly could have slept on it all night it was so comfy! My husband went for a reclining chair which I have to admit looked pretty comfu but it did take up loads of room and he couldn't recline it inside the tent either so its worth considering the space you have when looking at chairs too. I also purchased an inflatable double sofa seat for the kids to relax on when in the tent. It was really comfy but we did need to keep inflating it so its worth remembering to purchase a cheap electronic pump if you are going to be taking anything inflatable with you such as chairs or even at beds.

What you might not need.... 

I ended up taking so much stuff with us the first time we went camping that ended up being left in the car and took up valuable space we could have used for more useful items such as extra bedding! Items such as hair dryers or straighteners are pointless unless you want to spend your morning standing in the communal bathrooms getting ready. I just winged it and it was actually quite liberating not worrying about make up and hair products.

Electronics were another thing I probably wouldn't bring next time too. I brought them along as I worried about the kids getting bored but actually "out of sight out of mind" rang true here. They were having so much fun playing outside and used their imaginations so much more they didn't even ask for their electronics until they found them in the car on the last day! If you are trying to get some "tech free" time this is the perfect time to do it. 

Of course there are lots of other essentials you will need for a family camping trip, these are just a few of our must haves. If you are looking for a full check list for a family camping trip check out this great checklist available from Jenni who blogs over at Chilling with Lucas it has everything you need for your next camping trip. 

Have you ever been camping? Do you have any essentials you would recommend? 


** I received a simply hike voucher in exchange for this post. However all words and opinions are my own and I retain full control of this post. **


  1. I have never gone proper camping before but bought simple hike tents we used in autumn and loved them. They are good quality and easy to put up.

  2. We need a new tent after ours got broken at Camp Bestival last year. I love Simply Hike - the best prices I have found

  3. Oh I love the inflatable chair! I would love to take my children camping this summer for the first time :)

  4. Oh we love camping with the kids! It's such a fun thing to do together (not as much fun in the rain though!).

  5. We had our first family camping trip a couple of years ago and the girls loved it. We must try and go this year.

  6. We love camping with our children haven't been for a while because i was pregnant and then we had newborn so hoping to go this year in the summer holidays with all of them xx

  7. Tents, food and toiletries are a must. Love all you have mentioned here.

  8. I think cosy pjs and comfy bedding is a must. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep on a hard ground.