FOR ALL AGES

Ultimate Camping Checklist (UK Edition) For Families

Family lying in a tent laughing on their camping holiday in the UK.

Whether you're a seasoned camper or newbie, this holistay offers something for all the family.  

So roll up those sleeping bags, dig out the insect repellent and pack up your tent for a cheap and cheerful excursion into the great outdoors! To ensure your family camping trip gets off to a good start, we've compiled a camping checklist covering all essential items sure to make your family camping a roaring success.

Equipment For A Happy Camper

Getting away from it all requires careful preparation. To help you remember all those camping essentials, here's our packing list:

- Tent and tent pegs. Ensuring you have the right equipment is crucial on a camping trip. Try setting your tent up before you go; it'll reassure you everything fits, alert you to any missing parts and air out any musty smells.

- Comfortable bedding is another camping essential. Whether you pack an air mattress, sleeping mats or camp bed, comfort is key. Select your cosiest duvet or sleeping bag and pillows to snuggle down after a day of outdoor adventures.

- Toiletries. You know the drill. Pack everything you'd bring on a holiday abroad: shower gel, deodorant, toothpaste etc.

- Table and camping chairs = camping must-haves, adding a bit of home comfort to your home away from home.

- Lantern/Torch. Whether you use it to tell your children stories around the campfire or to find the facilities at night, no camping experience is complete without one.  

- Water carrier/reusable water bottles. Always keep hydrated! Stock up on bottled water and use a water carrier to fill up at appropriate spots.

Little girl sat on a camp chair outside the tent ready to eat on her family camping holiday.

UK Camping

As we all know, the UK summer does not guarantee sunshine. Avoid being caught out in a very British downpour, with our camping checklist for all weathers:

- Waterproof clothing. Nobody likes being wet wet wet, least of all on holiday. Rain-proof your camping wardrobe with waterproof trousers, walking boots and a good old fashioned anorak.

- Spare clothing. There's nothing better than changing into dry clothes after a downpour, and this will stop the inside of your tent getting soggy!

- Bin bags. One of the most versatile campsite essentials and high up on our list. Use them to keep equipment dry, as a laundry bag, for rubbish and more!

- Warm clothing and layers are imperative even when the weather's glorious. You'll need them for those chilly nights and frosty mornings!

- Flip flops - perfect for chilling around the campsite or letting your feet breathe after outdoor activities.

- Sunscreen and sunglasses. Whilst famous for our grey skies and rain, the UK can have gorgeous sunny spells. Pack for all weathers, chances are you'll be punished if you don't.

Campsite Kitchen

Kitchenware is one of the most important camping necessities and easy to get wrong. To avoid using your bottle opener as a fork for the duration of your stay, give this list a scan:

- Tableware. Whilst it may seem like you're packing the entire contents of your home - plates, bowls and cutlery are key to creating that Al fresco dining experience!

- Cooking pans and other utensils. Bring them all!

- Camping/Gas kettle - what holiday is complete without a cuppa? Whilst some campsite facilities will have them, it's better to be safe than sorry.

- Cooking equipment for camping. Whether you choose a gas stove, disposable or portable barbecue or pressure cooker, make sure to pack the appropriate accompaniments - e.g. cooking oil, charcoal etc.

- Matches or fire lighters. Avoid facing the wrath of your hungry family by double-checking these are packed!

- Cleaning equipment is as vital camping as it is at home. Keep your campsite kitchen clean with washing up liquid and sponges.

Family sat around a bonfire on a family camping trip.

Baby On Board

Family camping with toddlers and babies presents its own set of challenges. To overcome these, follow our kids camping checklist:

- Entertainment tops the list of camping with kids essentials. Make the most of daily outdoor activities, but you'll need board games, cards and toys back at camp.

- Snacks. Hungry children become grumpy children. Say no more.

- First aid kit. Toddlers are accident-prone at the best of times and you may be in a remote camping area. Prepare for all calamities with a well-stocked first aid kit.

- Wet wipes are every parent's best friend and one of the most necessary camping essentials for kids. Bring them to keep your tots, tents and camp surfaces clean.

- Sport is a great way of exercising your little ones, whilst keeping them entertained for hours.  So pack a football, bat and ball or Frisbee and take some play time pressure off you.

- Baby equipment. Bringing your baby camping can seem daunting, but so long as you take extra safety precautions and do your research, it'll be breezy. Baby-proof your camp with a safe, warm sleeping zone (bring your own travel cot) and build a baby fence around the campfire.

Added Extras

Although not strictly essentials for camping, these certainly help. While advisable to bring spare plates, bowls and washing up liquid, here are the extra items that didn't make the main family camping checklist:

- Insect repellent - nobody enjoys itching all holiday!

- Portable charger for tablets/phones. Although many go camping to escape external distractions, a bit of digital activity never hurt anybody. Moreover, it'll guarantee quiet children on the journey home.

- Air pump and mallet. Whilst not as critical as a sleeping bag, these will make setting up and taking down camp so much quicker!

- Tent repair kit. More precautionary than a priority on the packing list. However, if your tent gets damaged you'll know about it. Taking Gaffer tape, cable ties or a sewing kit could make all the difference.

- Thermos flask. Ideal for hikes or your morning coffee fix.

- Cool box - practical and perfect for day trips.

Children sitting on the grass outside their large tent on a camping trip.

Covid-Safe Camping

Whilst Coronavirus is a concern, camping is a self-contained and safe holiday. Keep vigilant with our Covid-safe checklist:

- Hand sanitiser is top of the list of Covid-safe camping essentials. Whilst most campsite facilities should provide this, it's always worth having your own handy.

- Face masks and plenty of them. It's amazing how many will mysteriously disappear and you don't want to be without one when it's most needed.

- Toilet paper. Bring your own to reduce contamination at facilities and to clean up after your mucky pups.

- Contactless cards. It's best to avoid handling cash and many places no longer accept it.

Good To Go

Now you've read our checklist of camping essentials with kids, it's time to put our tips into practice. So leave your stresses behind, get closer to nature and allow your kids to explore their sense of freedom and adventure, on a family camping experience we hope becomes a tradition for years to come!

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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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