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We all had a brilliant first camping trip to the Cotswolds and have now caught the camping bug. We are looking forward to taking another trip and definitely feel we will be a lot more prepared on what to do and bring. Camping can be a great way to get away and spend quality time with the family but it does take a bit more preparation than your average holiday. It can be quite daunting for first time campers to know what equipment you need and which campsite to book. We learnt a lot from our first camping trip. Here are my top 10 first time camping tips.
First time camping tips
1. Don’t spend a fortune
If it is your first time camping you do not want to go and spend a lot of money on lots of equipment until you know you enjoy it and want to go again. Its a good idea to beg and borrow from friends and family. We bought a tent from Amazon and had our own sleeping bags and camping chairs and then borrowed most of the other things from friends. We also went with another family that have been camping many times so were lucky enough to have use of their cooking equipment. The benefit of going with seasoned campers is they can also help set up your tent.
2. Buy a bigger tent than you think you will need
A four man tent may sound perfect but when you add blow up beds, bags of clothes, food etc it doesn’t leave much space. You should opt for a tent that’s bigger than strictly necessary. A head height lounge area is also great so you are not always bent over. We went for the 5 man Vango Farnham Tunnel Tent which gave enough space at the back for the 4 of us to sleep and a lounge area at the front for all of our things.
3. Choose your campsite wisely
Its worth doing your research, ask friends for recommendations and read online reviews before booking a campsite. Think about which facilities are important to you and your family. Do you want a lively park with lots of activities or a quiet back to nature campsite. Make a list of what is important, whether that be a swimming pool, an on-site restaurant, walkable to a pub, you can then use this as a check list when searching the internet.
4. Become familiar with your camping gear
If possible before you go try setting up your tent and other equipment in your garden. This will make life easier (and save a few marriages) when you are there and trying to set up camp. Putting a tent together for the first time can be stressful especially when the instructions are quite minimal.
5. Plan your meals
During our first camping trip I was pleased we had thought ahead and planned our meals as this made things much easier while we were camping. This means you know what food you will need which means less wastage. Its also really nice to have your first meal prepped as you will be hungry after setting up camp. We took a chilli that I had pre made so it just needed heating up.
6. Arrive early
Setting up your tent and camping gear is never straight forward on your first camping trip so its important to arrive at your campsite early. I would always arrive as soon as possible after check in is available. Setting up is always going to be easier in the day light.
7. Go close to home
For your first time camping I would recommend choosing a campsite that is not too far from home. This way if you decide camping is not for you or the weather turns nasty you can pack up and head home early. This is another reason to choose your campsite wisely.
8. Electric hook up
Not everyone will agree but for me choosing a campsite with electric hook up will always be on my must have list. Having electricity made our trip that bit easier as it gives you the ability to charge phones and we used an electric cool box to keep our food cold. I use my phone as a camera so I would be lost without it. We took a Eurohike Mobile Mains Kit which worked a treat.
9. Plan for all weathers
Camping in the UK is great and there are some amazing picturesque places to see however you can never count on the English weather. From our trip I have learnt to always bring suitable clothing for all types of whether. We were lucky and had lovely warm sunny days during our trip but it did turn chilly in the evenings and we experienced heavy rain the day we were leaving. Even though you could be sitting in your shorts during the day a wooly hat maybe needed while sitting outside your tent in the evening!
10. Entertainment for children
If you are camping with children its always good to think ahead about what they may need to keep them entertained, especially if you are on a quieter campsite. Bring some games for them to play, a bat and ball, scavenger hunt sheets, a skipping rope all help to keep them busy. Glow sticks also go down well when it turns dark.
We all really enjoyed our first camping trip and learnt a lot to prepare us for our next trip away. I hope my first time camping tips help you and make your first trip easier.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. You may also be interested in reading –
- Our family trip in the Cotswolds – What we got up to
- A long car journey with kids – my tips on how to survive!
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