What I wish I knew before my first camping trip with kids – by Kirsty from Get Kids Outside

It’s not often I host non book related guest posts on this blog, but I think actually it might be a nice way to introduce my readers to some of my blogging friends – and Kirsty is someone I’ve known since before I started to blog. Yes, we really do go back *that* far. We’ve done a lot together over the years, and had many shared camping holidays, so it seemed like a great topic for Kirsty to write about here. So here you go!

The first time I went camping was actually with Jax over 10 years ago now – we shared a pod in her tent as we attended a home educators festival. I was really nervous camping, I’d not even done it as a kid and I had no idea what it would be like, especially with my own kids to entertain too. Would it be awful? I’d heard stories of how bad camping would be and that it’s what you did when you had no money for a ‘proper’ holiday. I’m glad to say it was a great experience and we’ve since camped lots as a family and had fun each time. We’ve done camping in small tents, big tents and camper vans over the years and all this applies!

Here’s some things I never knew about camping before I started and wished that I did:

It gets cold

*Shiver* I can still remember that cold feeling now – maybe it was just me as I can also picture the kids being fast asleep and laying half in and out of their sleeping bags and in just some normal pyjamas. There was me with about 3 layers on, a wooly hat and blankets and I was still cold!

Even if you’re going camping in the height of summer it can get really cold at night. I always bring wooly hats and blankets nowadays. It’s especially a good idea if you think you’ll be chatting in to the evening while the kids rampage around. Cups of tea help too!

Early means early

Oh my. When someone says to be prepared when your kids get up early while camping they really mean it. I didn’t think it could be worse than them getting up at 6am like they did normally. Could it?

Yes. Yes it could be worse! When the sun begins to rise and the light gets in to your tent you’ll know about it. You might stir, hear the birds singing and think – wow I had such an amazing sleep, it must be really late. Then you see the time and it’s about 5am! Actually, if it happens like that you really are lucky – what normally happens is that the kids see the sunrise and want to be up, playing, fed, toileted all before 5.30am while you’re still dead to the world. Coffee?

You can hear everything

I’m someone who worries all the time what others think of me so when I first started camping and realised that I could hear everything that was going on in the tents around me I realised that that meant they could all hear me. They heard every line of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ as I read it before bed, every time the kids woke up crying and every time I got myself stressed.

Of course, your camping neighbours are probably more worried about their own noise than you, so as long as it’s low noise I don’t worry about it too much now! But be aware – sound carries a long way in a field!

Bad weather means nothing

I used to worry about bad weather and bored kids but really that means nothing when camping. What is more fun than puddle jumping? Especially when you have new found friends to do it with and no wellies because your mum forgot them! Listening and watching thunder and lightning is also fun and never normally lasts that long.

You can never have too many spare clothes (or waterproofs)

And with the previous point in mind – take clothes. Lots of clothes! I’d assumed a couple of spare pairs would be good but you can go through those in a day! A week long holiday can feel like forever when you’re faced with the fact that *all* your kids clothes are dirty.

And if you run out – start being ok with kids in clothes with dried on mud. Seriously – they’ll blend in with the rest of the campsite – no-one expects immaculate kids.

Or you could buy some good waterproofs – they’ll be worth their weight in gold!

Those early mornings are something else

There’s no doubt about it, the early mornings can be stressful. But I wish I’d known how amazingly peaceful they are too. Sat with a cup of tea, the kids pottering about quietly (we can wish), the birds singing, no-one else up on the campsite and watching the world come to life. It’s just amazing.

It *really* tires them out

Being outside all day long can really tire your kids out. Now this can be great, it might mean naps when you’d given up that thought years ago or it could be slightly worse if your kids just get grouchy when tired. Or you might be lucky and they’ll just be off playing all day, come back in the evening and drop off straight away while reading the bed time story. One thing is for sure, it’s not like a normal day at home so be prepared for it.

It makes memories that last

Finally, I never knew how much camping would create amazing memories. For some it might seem like a compromise because it’s a ‘cheap’ holiday but it’s definitely not second rate. The friends, the moments and the laughter are priceless. We still talk about those trips now. If you’ve not tried it, definitely do.


And thank you for that! About time we organised a get together in a field, no? If you want to hear more from Kirsty, maybe check out her tips on camping with kids and toddlers? and if you are in need of a packing list, here’s the original camping with children list I put together all those years ago.

About Jax Blunt

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  1. I haven’t been camping since I was a teenager. I keep trying to get Robert to go and take the kids, but he’s having none of it. This looks amazing though and so much fun. Peaceful x

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