Let’s face it, leaving the house in general with kids on tow is a military operation. All of the accessories for every outcome imaginable gets loaded into the car . I cover weather, sickness, emergency nappy situations, injuries, hunger, thirst, tears, tantrums……all for a quick trip to the supermarket. Ridiculous?Yes! But I do it anyway, it’s a reflex at this stage! If like me, you pack everything minus the kitchen sink, then you probably think camping out with the kids would be madness and way too much effort. Out of the question right? Wrong!
I strongly urge every family in this beautiful Isle of Ireland to please pack that car up and go camping with your children! It will be the most priceless and grounding experiences for everyone involved.
This Blog wont give you hacks on being a nifty camper or 10 ways to pack less when leaving the house. This Blog will encourage you to get outdoors. To explore the natural environment. To connect on an amazing level with your partner, kids, dog, whoever it is you take camping.
In June, we packed half the house and our 2 sons, (2yr old & 1yr old) into the car and we headed for Westport House and Camping Site, County Mayo. We initially intended to head to the “sunny south east” but the forecast said the East wouldn’t be to sunny, more like a wash out! The West looked dryish so away we went.
There are some amazing Family Friendly Camping Sites all around Ireland. Most have showers, cooking facilities, wash up kitchen and laundry facilities. Everything you may need to have a home from home experience. Particularly if you are not a seasoned camper or are reluctant to camp at all. I promise you will have everything you need!
I am going to give you some tips and advice tried and tested by myself and my family to help make your Family Friendly Camping planning easy!
First things first, invest in a decent family tent! Our boys are both small and the weather is so unpredictable. We wanted to make sure we had comfort and play space during the heavy downpours. Our particular tent is big but so well designed, it is so easy to put up and down. Top Tip Shop around for deals. We bought the Vango Farnham through Amazon so it was a little cheaper than the in store prices.
Sleeping arrangements are important to me, I love my zzzzzzz and so do my kids. ‘Bestway’ One double airbed, a single (Aldi) and the travelcot (smyths) for the youngest, all squeezed in comfortably. Top Tip invest in some good quality sleeping bags and base layers. Anything that says summer tog, stay clear. We live in Ireland. It is cold and damp at night. Think winter tog for the sleeping bags and merino wool base layers under the pjs! Snug!
What to pack for clothing can be difficult to narrow down because you never know what the weather will do. Think Layers! I packed a rain jacket each, wellies, a warm coat each and then a couple of trackie bottoms, T’s long and short sleeve and pullover along with the basic socks and underwear. Most decent campsites will have laundry facilities so there’s no need for a huge stock of clothing. I have a Trunki suitcase for each of my sons. Hard wearing and compact. What ever fit in was all that was brought! Top Tip, choose fleece instead of cotton as cotton holds water/sweat and when the temp drops you will get very cold indeed.
This trip was the first time we used electricity. Most campsites will offer electric on some pitches so you will need to book early if you are banking on having it. We used it as I wanted to have milk at the ready for my kids and we brought our own food, some of which needed to be chilled. We also purchased a mini heater as it was pretty cool on our first night. We picked it up locally in westport and it set us back around € 30, which is not bad considering it acts as a cool fan in the summer time! Top Tip, invest in a Camping fridge. It saved all those little trips to the shops which meant we were pretty must self sufficient for most of the trip.
I am a huge supporter of the use of eco friendly products. We want to leave as little impact as possible so when camping this is no different. My wash bag contents for myself and the family were as follows:
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste for Mam and Dad
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste for the kids
- Bottle of shampoo and conditioner
- Bar of soap with a wash cloth each
- Hair brush and Bobbins
- Plasters for cuts, stings, bite etc
- Lilys Eco Clean Washing up Liquid for the dishes.
Equipment wise, it can seem costly to buy all this equipment for a camping trip but please bear in mind you don’t need everything in one go. You will also use these products time and time again. My first camping trip consisted of just a tent, airbed (that was cheap quality and busted on the first night!) and camp chair. Not fun! Now, I like my comforts and when you have kids on tow, believe me you will be glad of your collection of ‘Frills’! Take a trip, see what you need yourself for your family dynamic and collect the ‘frills’ each year.
Everything I have has been bought during sales and there is some serious value for money to be had if you shop off season!
Stores I recommend for value, sales and selection as follows:
Equipment, airbeds, camping chairs, fridge etc Halfords