Everyone remembers their first camping experience, their dad in the driving seat, mum riding shotgun, the city in the rearview mirror and the hood of the car pointed toward the great outdoors. We all remember what it was like sleeping in a tent, the smell of the campfire in the air, the stars shining brighter than ever before. It is one of those pastimes that all parents find themselves looking forward to resurrecting, desperate to see the look their baby’s face as the great outdoors unfolds before their very eyes. But before you let optimism and any thoughts that your first camping trip as a small family will be wonderful, you need to check yourself because chances are, it won’t be.

Okay, that was slightly strong. What we meant was, it has the potential to be tough if you aren’t prepared. You see, at home, you have four walls to contain your toddler and everything you need to keep them happy. But that disappears when you step into the wilderness. That’s where your preparation can either make you a hero or villain.

Luckily for you, we have pulled together a piecemeal guide to making your first family camping experience the adventure you always imagined it would be.

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Have A Test Run

If you have a garden, then we strongly advise you commit to a test run. So, take a pad of paper and a pencil and make a note of everything that works, everything that doesn’t and everything you forgot – that includes food, comfort and even an entertainment kit. This is your chance to mess up without messing up. You will get to practice setting the tent up, seeing if everything fits and if it is comfortable and warm enough. We all learn from experience, which is why this little safety net of a trial is going to be your BFF.

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Make No Sacrifices

When it comes to the real thing, and you have gone and made all the amendments-slash-changes you need to do the real run, you need to make sure everything fits in your car. If it doesn’t, then you need to look at visiting a cheap car hire place to get a bigger car. It just isn’t worth making any sacrifices. If you need it you need. There is more than just a few tears at stake here, there is the chance of your favorite pastime being ruined and camping being ruled out forever.

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Always Do Your Research

Your first port of call on the research front is to look at the weather. You’ll really want to know what side of mother nature you will be facing off against. If it is really bad, then it could be worth postponing. It just isn’t worth it with kids. It is also worth remembering that it will always get cold at night. Always. Period. It is also worth knowing what other threats are in your planned destination, you know, like wasps, mosquitoes, stinging nettles, bears, that sort of thing. It is also worth knowing if there is fresh water nearby if you are going wild camping. Basically, the more you know the better.

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