I do love a good list – for me it is a great way of making sure I have everything, ticking it off as it is packed and figuring out what I have forgotten. As a family camping in a tent is becoming a more regular thing to do and after the first time camping you get more of an idea what does and doesn’t work for you. For example we know that we are not the kind of people who like sleeping directly on the ground (even though this would free a lot of room in the car). I have made this checklist of things to pack for your family camping holiday (and by that I mean in a tent – if you are staying in a caravan things are a bit different).
Packing for a Family Holiday Camping in a Tent
What you need to pack will depend on a number of factors such as where you are going and what you are going to do when you get there; how close to the tent will you be able to park your car and how many of you are there, how much can you fit. Obviously ideally a roof box and/or trailer would help but many people cope with just the boot and stuff things into the various pockets.
Packing what you need for The Tent
Of course unless you have paid for an already pitched tent then you will need to take your tent. Then there’s the ground sheet, guy ropes, ground pegs and a mallet to think about. If the car cannot be parked right next to the tent then you may need to carry things quite some distance. Our first tent had a set of very heavy poles but our pop-up tent is really light – so consider how easy things are to transport – and whether you have to get them up and down great big hills. You may instead wish to invest in a trolley. There’s various types, with some also being suitable for small children to sleep in! We also take an easy to pop up Gazebo – it gives somewhere to sit outside the tent but also somewhere to keep the children whilst the tent is being put up and down. You may then also want plenty of spare pegs and gaffer tape.
Packing for Things you need inside the Tent
Next we prioritise our picnic blanket. It is waterproof underneath and acts as a tent doormat – ensure any dirt and/or wetness stays there (we also leave our shoes there) rather than coming into the main place where we sleep. Also inside and out of the tent we need lighting (especially if someone is likely to need the toilet in the night). We have head torches, fairy lights (just to make it look pretty) and solar powered lights for around the outside of the tent to prevent people from tripping on the guy ropes.
When it comes to sleep we take blow up beds, a pump, pillows, sleeping bags and extra blankets. We now have eye masks and my husband needs his ear plugs (personally I like to be alert to noises to make sure my family are safe – probably why I am the one awake all night!). The children also like to take their teddies.
Packing for Essentials when staying in a Tent
Of course you need your toiletries, towels, clothes (including wet weather gear (boots, jackets, trousers). Then you are going to want to take toilet paper, alcohol gel and wet wipes unless you are guaranteed extremely good toilet facilities! Then you will want bin bags and a first aid kit (I make sure ours has paracetamol, insect bite, plasters, antihistamines) – as well as suntan lotion and after sun if it is sunny (and sun hats; or warm layers, hat, scarf and gloves if it is cold). You may also want to take scissors, spare batteries.
Packing for Eating when Camping in a Tent
When we go to festivals we take cereal in small boxes which can be used as bowls, and then for lunch we have foods that do not require cooking (brioche rolls, rice pudding, biscuit bars etc) and plenty of snacks. We freeze drinks and the milk and keep them packed in a cool box. We then enjoy the food there as our main meal. You are going to want somewhere to sit to eat – either on a chair on a blanket. We also take reusable bottles to refill with drinking water.
If you are going to eat all food there, as well as taking prepared food you may also need to take the kettle, cooker, pans, plates, bowls, cutlery, washing up bowl, washing up liquid, sponge, tea towel, cups, cooker and matches.
Packing the Entertainment when Staying in a Tent
When staying in a tent ideally you are going to do more than just sit inside the tent all day – but do remember to pack something to do in case it does rain a lot. This is also important to entertain the children too young to help with putting up and taking down of the tent. Favourites include card games, colouring books and board games. As well as a football if the weather is right.
If going to a festival it is much cheaper if you can bring things along with you like: hair chalk, tattoos, face paint, glow sticks, bubbles (make sure they are not blown onto people’s tents!), and costumes/festival tails/accessories. Not forgetting ear defenders and most importantly your tickets!