Family Tent Shop: Planning the Family Camping Trip

First, we should ensure that the tent is as waterproof as it can be. It may be a good idea to have one of the family members pitch the tent in the back yard and use the water hose to give it a good wet down, then go inside the tent and see that we have no tears or holes in the tent that need attention. If there are, they should be attended to at the time. If a rain storm does come up we do not want it to turn our family camping trip into a bad memory, or worst case scenario a disaster. After the tent has dried thoroughly, it should be packed up as neatly and small as possible.

Next, let’s discuss camp wagons. There are many of foldable wagons on the market and we consider this a necessity on a family camping trip. You can load the family tent and other camp necessities, such as ice chests and other items to deliver to the campsite and save trips to the vehicle to move other items to our campsite.

The type of food, groceries and other essentials that we need of the outing should be next in the planning of the family camping trip. The first thing to remember on any family camping trip, is the toilet paper. (When I was young, we went on a camping trip and no one remembered to bring the toilet paper. It was a memorable experience, but not for the right reasons.)

The next item that should be on the agenda, is drinking water. You should at least two liters of water per person per day on the camping trip. (We usually remove about a quarter of the bottle container and put the bottles in the freezer and freeze them. Then we put them in their own ice chest, or store them in the ice chest with perishables This ensures that we have cold or at least cool water for our outing.)

If our camping trip is a short duration, we may want to bring just frankfurters, hamburger meat or other sandwich making items. We generally will freeze the meats overnight, then put them leak proof zip-lock bags, in the ice chest with frozen water bottles. This prevents the added weight of having to buy many bags of ice, (although getting a bag of ice is as back-up is not a bad idea).

A smaller ice chest may be a feasible, for storing other items. Such as sugar, coffee, disposable trash bags, flashlights, matches, paper plates, eating utensils and other items required to make the camping trip enjoyable and relaxing. We must always remember that everything we bring must be taken with us, or properly disposed of when we leave the camping area.

This article was written to assist in the planning of the Family Camping Trip. We hope this article has offered suggestions that you may find useful. Enjoy yourselves and “Happy Trails”.

Anyone who has ever been camping will have a few camping tips to share, and so here are just a few that I’ve acquired over time. I do not claim to have invented these ideas but they are things that have stuck in my head. Some you may have heard of and will be familiar with, some may not be helpful, but hopefully (maybe) you’ll like the sound of just one – or it may even give you a spark of an idea – and you’ll find a way of using it on your next camping trip.

Firstly, it is always a good idea to have a Practice Camp – if not in your garden, then in someone else’s, or at a quiet spot somewhere where you won’t be disturbed. Basically it is much better to get used to your canvas tent and basic gear first, before you pack the car up, drive a good few miles and then discover that you underestimated the time required for pitching and setting up camp. Or worse, that you don’t thoroughly understand how to erect the tent in the first place. If you have a bell tent it is one of the easiest tents around to erect – but having said that I have still seen some rather basic mistakes, which have resulted in the tent being unstable, wonky and something that would not resist much of a breeze.

Once properly erected for the first time, and especially if it’s in your own garden, a good idea is to furnish it with stuff that you think you’d either (a) need or (b) like to have with you on a camping trip. Take time to work out what you need around you to (a) function and (b) feel comfortable.

So then you can build a check-list of essentials that you ‘need’ to take on either a short or more basic camp, or alternatively things that you ‘would like’ to take on a longer, more comfortable camping trip. Categorise things such as bedding, cooking, wet wear, dry wear, hot/cold weather gear, kids stuff, games, relaxation (wine!), basic kit, glamping items, whatever suits you.

Another ‘pre-camp’ tip is, split the tent poles, pegs and canvas. Bell tents should come with a main carry bag for the tent and groundsheet, a separate bag for the poles, and another bag for the pegs, mallet, spare ropes etc. This means that you are basically splitting the weight. Even if you use a trolley this makes it much easier to handle the basic tent components.

One final – always use a footprint. A footprint is basically any old (cheap) tarp that you place underneath the actual tent groundsheet. You can buy expensive ones but it really is not necessary. Ensure that the footprint is around 5cm/2inches smaller than the actual outermost edges of the groundsheet. Using a cheap builders tarp found in any DIY store will do. Then simply cut to size. The idea behind the footprint is that it helps to keep the bulk of the dirt off the underneath of your groundsheet, making pack-up much easier. And it needs to be slightly smaller than your groundsheet to stop rain from running in between the two and ‘pooling’ under your tent.

Kids usually love camping and being outdoors. They love the freedom, and the resulting dirt! So kids’ clothes may need to be frequently changed. A suggestion is to pack kids’ clothes in individually rolled bundles. For example, pants, socks, shorts, T-shirts – all rolled into individual bundles and then those bundles packed into some sort of storage case or box. This makes things a lot easier – simply pull out a bundle and hey presto! Clothes for the new day!

Speaking of storage boxes – plastic storage boxes can be easily found these days in a huge mix of sizes and styles. So to use these for packing camping essentials makes sense, as the containers themselves are lightweight, and also stackable. This means they’re easily packed into car, and once in your tent, they can be positioned around the tent in strategic positions with a simple cover/throw over the top. They then instantly become transformed into attractive, stable, usable, table-like surfaces.

Yet another reason to take (at least one) plastic storage box with you if you have very young children, is that it can be filled with warm water to create a convenient bath-tub for a youngster. And they’ll probably love it!

Speaking of water, if you are camping on a lake, or with a boat or canoe, a brilliant suggestion I once saw was to attach your key(s) to a champagne-type of cork. If the keys are not too heavy, or if you only attach the most important one (or else attach each key to a cork) it will float if dropped into the water! Brilliant!

Another idea for storage is to buy one of those soft plastic or canvas hanging-style shoe-caddy type things. They have multiple ‘pockets’ into which, unless you really want to store your shoes, you can store kitchen utensils, cloths, candles, corkscrews or other little bits ‘n bobs. Simply hang the caddy up in your kitchen tent, or on one of the poles inside your tent.

Family Tent Store: Planning a Family Camping Trip Part 2

The destination of our scheduled adventure is the next item we should discuss. A family member could be chosen to research area camping grounds and camping areas. If our destination is a long distance from home, the routes, logistics of the trip, (such as planned rest areas and availability of fueling stations on route) could be delegated to one of the older siblings. They will be more able to use web research for the items and make them feel more accountable in the planning of the adventure.

Another item to be researched is, if the camping ground or area, allows open fires or if we will have to bring camping stoves for meals and warmth. These items are easily located at camping stores or online. If open fire areas are available. Can we gather firewood or should we bring it with us?

The next thing to be considered is the food. In the past when we planned a long camping trip (5 to 7 days), we froze the meats that we planned on cooking at least 3 days, then packed them in their own ice chest. This proved to be the best option, for us, to prevent spoilage and possible contamination.

Perishables are another matter. Condiments, milk, bread and sandwich making meats were put into their own ice chest with frozen water bottles added to keep them cool. It must be remembered that we should plan on at least two liters of water per person, for each day of the camping excursion.

When we made extended camping adventures, we generally had three 50 quart (47 liter) ice chests. One for the frozen meats, one for the perishables and one for other items. Such as hygiene supplies, toiletries, flashlights, matches!! And other necessities. Water supplies were stored in the available areas of the three ice chests.

Another item that we found to be of extreme necessity, is a ground sheet. The ground sheet is put on the ground where we will pitch our camping tent. It serves several purposes such as preventing twigs and small branches from making holes in the bottom of the tent floor and also conserves heat. We used a piece of indoor/outdoor carpeting the same size as the tent floor. Other alternatives can be researched on the web, as they are readily available.

We hope that this article will assist in the planning of your Family Camping Trip and make it an enjoyable and memorable adventure. We hope this article has offered suggestions that you may find useful. Enjoy yourselves, “Happy Trails” and go out and create some “Family Lore”.