Surviving Camping with The Kids

Camping with your family can be an extremely rewarding experience and, let's face it, as far as holidays go, camping is pretty inexpensive — or it is once you've bought or borrowed the required gear. But the main reason that camping is such a great idea with kids is that it gets them outdoors and exploring without the distraction of a computer of TV screen.

They can have their noses stuck to a computer screen or video game console the other 51 weeks of the year, but a week in the great outdoors is a great way to get them moving and experiencing nature.

The one thing that can turn your holiday into a soggy nightmare is when the weather takes a turn for the worst. Especially if it's an extended bout of nasty, rainy, stormy stuff.

Suddenly your dreams of exploring the woods and sitting around the campfire while your children wear themselves out on fresh air and nature turn to the dread of realizing that you're trapped with them inside a tent or caravan that's smaller than the bathroom in many homes. They’re starting to get cold, bored and dangerous…..

By the time this happens you may be in trouble. But if you prepare for the worst ahead of time, you'll not only make it, but you'll do so without any more grey hair, a minimum of time-outs and quite possibly without losing your voice.

We have experienced a few summers on the trot which have been a LOT wetter than we imagined. In fact it is the norm. Decide to do anything, like have a weekend away, go for a ramble or go to a festival, and the skies will open out of what seems like pure spite. 

Add children into the mixture and it can get a lot worse. Our children today are generally going to be as content as adults to stay indoors for the entire weekend, so it is a good time to get together and enjoy that fresh air if properly equipped.

Wearing the right clothing is essential.

A good light breathable base layer is the best place to start – this will give you warmth and comfort whatever the weather throws at you. In addition, once you are wearing this, you won’t be taking your life in your hands to wear that T-shirt you’ve been waiting all year to wear, or cover the lovely fleece with a bulky jacket when the temperature drops in the evening. Eskeez are warm even when wet and dry super quick - so you have a chance to sry them out in time for them to keep you warm and cosy all night.

Good footwear is next.  A choice of wellies, flip flops and “Croc” like shoes should have you covered for any eventuality.

A waterproof, breathable layer on top will stop the wind cutting into you and keep everything underneath how it should be.

The main problem with going out and splashing in puddles will be getting everything dried afterwards – if you’re in a tent and so don’t have an indoor area handy to spread out wet macs etc, look for a site with a drying room. Or, if despite all your care about getting wet weather gear, the issue is wet socks (it will be), stay on a site with a launderette. Also, your mother told us to tell you to bring at least two extra changes of clothes and as many spare pairs of socks as you can manage. Stuff them inside the Wellies when you’re travelling for optimum feeling-clever space.

If it’s really chucking it down, send the kids off to the play area or kids' club while you do something much more fun and grown up like going to the hot tub or TV room.

This is all very well if we’re taking the kids to a campsite, but what about if you’re wild camping? It’s just going to be you, the kids, the tent and a lot of rain. 

Try these tips:

  • Betray your values and get the laptop/portable DVD player out. You can charge it in the car and bring plenty of crisps and snacks, including popcorn so you can tell the kids that they’re in the cinema.
  • Get them involved in the catering – foraging for mushrooms, wild garlic and berries may be just the distraction they need for the duration.
  • Bring a rainy day box – a plastic sealed box with games, puzzles and toys is something that will save your sanity if you have it in the car all the time anyway. Books like Making Stuff for Kids or The Rainy Day Book will have you congratulating yourself – although do make sure you have a flick through them before the camping trip so you can get any arty or crafty materials you’ll need for activities you think your kids might like. You can also throw absolutely anything at all into the rainy day box – well, not the dog – and use it as a story box.

With both wild camping and campsite camping, remember to always have plenty of resealable plastic bags with you. These should be coming along on any camping trip anyway, indispensable as they are, but on rainy days are good to keep phones, consoles and any other delicate electronic equipment in. No-one likes damp salt/matches.

Eskeez give all the family the thermal and wet weather protection you need – we stock sizes for all the family from babies up and have the all important thermal socks which won’t bulk out your wellies and cut off the circulation to your toes.