Camping with kids and a dog can be very relaxing, but only if you have the right gear. It took us seven years to compile the list and it is still changing, adding and deleting items after each camping holiday.
Our first camping experience was back in 2012 when we decided to buy a tent instead of paying for two nights in a hotel. Our first list was short: a tent, inflatable mattress, camping chairs, duvets and pillows. From the outset, my priority was to be comfortable. Seven years later we’re still camping, sometimes for up to two weeks during the summer and a few weekend jaunts. We still use the same tent, but the list has grown significantly.
Now, we have a little trailer where we keep most of the essentials. We have bought items specifically for camping, like pots and pans, cutlery etc, and keep these in two large plastic containers, which makes the packing for camping trips so much easier. The only things we have to think about now is toiletries and clothes. We never leave home before we double-check that we have everything on our list. Don’t be put off by the length of the list, start with the basics.
• Camping chairs x 4 (the kids will end up on your chairs if they don’t have their own)
• Sleeping bags x 4
• Pillows x 4 (small cushions are perfect, the inflatable ones are just not that comfortable)
• Air mattresses x 2 double
• Air pump (for the mattresses)
The little extras
• Groundsheet (this helps to keep the base of the tent clean and speeds up packing)
• Extra pegs
• Mallet (for securing the pegs)
• Dustpan/brush (to clean out the tent from general muck and sand that accumulates)
• Repair kit for tent (you don’t want to head back home when one of the tent poles snap)
• Camping stools x 2 (for unexpected visitors)
• Shelter and sides (this is our latest edition to the list and it is where we spend most our time: for a bit of shade during the day when the tent gets way too hot and in the evening it is a great gathering spot around the fire pit)
• Folding tables x 2 (for preparing food and to plonk stuff)
• Small folding table (for morning coffee and evening wine)
• Kitchen box (to store cooking essentials and a stand for the gas stove)
• Gas stove and gas
• BBQ (we have a smokey Joe weber that doubles as a fire pit).
• Cooler box (I will not go camping without our Coleman cooler box. It is essential for keeping milk fresh for coffee and cereal in the morning and for cold beers and wine in the evening. I fill empty milk cartons with water and freeze it to use as iceblocks).
• Matches or lighter
• Plates & bowls
• Salad bowl
• Mugs (the double-wall ones are the best)
• Glasses/reusable water bottles
• Sharp knives (for preparing food)
• Paper towels
• Trash bags
• Dishwashing soap
• Dishwashing bucket (for carrying all your dishes to the camp kitchen)
• Cooking oil
• Food containers (to keep food fresh in the cooler box)
• Pot, handle and lid (we invested in the Tefal Ingenio range, with removable handle, for easier packing when space is limited.)
• Frying pan and handle
• BBQ Tongs
• Can opener/bottle opener
• Cutting boards
• Scrub pad
• Seasoning/sugar/salt and pepper
• Tea bags/coffee
• Dog food
• Dog bowls
• Poo bags
• Lead and harness
• Dog toys
For the kids
• Beach bats
• Water shoes
• Towels – for showers and swimming (we use sports towels)
• Flip flops
• Linen beach bag (for trips to the beach)
• Extra batteries
• Bug repellant
• Camera and battery charger
• Clothes pegs (for drying wet towels)
• Playing cards
• Electric hook-up
• Mobile charger
• Repair kit for air mattresses (they all seem to start deflating over time)
• Tweezers (we use it every trip to remove splinters from small feet)
• Pain killers (just in case)
Read more: A comfort guide to camping in Ireland (from someone who does it every year)
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