Camping With Kids
We’ve just returned from another successful family camping trip with friends. After taking the plunge and buying all the gear last year from a friend who’s always said to let her know if we were going to buy a tent because she had discovered after buying everything brand new….that they weren’t campers! Fantastic we got all the gear at a fraction of the cost. The tent even has carpet and a door mat so there was no scrimping on little luxuries.
Hopefully we’ll squeeze another trip in later in the summer but for our first trip of the year we decided to go for 3 nights over the May bank holiday weekend and the destination was Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. It was beautiful. The kids were so excited to go and despite the work involved in a camping trip we know that this is what childhood memories are made of. Packing the car, woah, this is like a mammoth task in itself. I can tell you, it’s amazing how many little pockets of space you find in the car when you have a shed load of stuff to pack. First thing that gets packed is the transit crate for our Hungarian Vizlsa, Yogi. It is a custom made crate that fits perfectly in the back of our X Trail, ensuring that it takes up the smallest amount of space with the maximum amount of comfort for Yogi. The other essential is our Thule roof box. The amount of soft squishy stuff you can squeeze into a roof box is amazing. It came in very handy for sleeping bags, air beds, pillows and blankets, leaving much more room in the car for beer, ha!
The packing usually involves the question I seem to ask whenever we go anywhere “what coats are we taking?” Of course with the Great British weather you generally have to pack for all weather types even for a day trip! However, it was the perfect opportunity for me to flash my gorgeous new North Face Coat which I knew would come in handy if we got any chilly weather and especially good for sitting out in the evenings.
My least favourite part of a camping trip is putting the tent up. It’s like the trigger for a domestic with the hubby but with lots of huffing, puffing and muttered swearing, it eventually gets done. The site we visited in Hawes was perfect for children. The centre of the field was left empty to allow for a huge grassed area for the kids to play and no obstructed view for the adults. The first day of our trip was scorching hot and the kids played out until the sun went down while we sat with the BBQ fired up, glass of wine in hand, watching them have the time of their lives. I’m not going to lie, the words “we are living the dream” were uttered more than once. It just felt so good to be in the great outdoors, relaxing with friends while the kids were in their element. Parenting success!
My favourite part of these trips is exploring new places. Unless there has been some precision planning it usually involves ‘stumbling’ across beautiful dog walks, amazing river banks, pretty little villages and waterfalls like the one below taken at Hardraw Force. I’ve mentioned before what good walkers the kids are so we can’t use them as an excuse to not get out walking while we’re away. It means we can combine the fun and indulgence that trips can bring with the exercise needed to burn it off. Or at least keep the impact to a minimum, ha!
Taking the kids away from the TV, iPads and gaming machines does them the world of good. They played constantly outdoors doing cartwheels, hand stands, playing football, catch games and just running around chasing each other. Even when they did go inside the odd time it was to build dens. Their creativity and ability to entertain themselves really shone, it was like going back to years ago when technology didn’t play such a big part in our lives and everyone just played ‘out’.
If you’re thinking about going camping, don’t be put off by trying to put up a tent without a cross word or the chance you might be cold or wet at some point. The good sides of camping most definitely outweigh the bad. The fresh air, the quiet, the long days, the sun kissed skin and best of all the tired but super happy faces the kids wear.
Do you go camping with the family?
Do you have any good location suggestions for our next trip?