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Camping with Kids
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First Time Camping with Kids

Last weekend we went camping as a family for the first time. In reality it was only the second time I had slept in a proper tent and so I didn’t exactly have a great deal of pre-children knowledge to draw on. So what was it like First Time Camping with Kids?

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The move to camp had been led by the fact that I had recently acquired a lot of camping equipment from Regatta Outdoors following our Camping Ready project last month, which had been kindly topped up by
Millets . So we had all the gear, and therefore no excuse to give it a try.

Camping with Kids

In the weeks following the agreement to camp, and after the actual camping equipment arrived, I started to wonder what I had done. We had all the gear certainly, but we had absolutely no idea what we were doing! What was it going to be like First Time Camping with Kids?

Fear started to set in when I started to pack on the Thursday. Would I turn up with far too much stuff, was the amount of kit we now had ridiculous or was it necessary. Did we need to take the mini BBQ as well as a camping stove and was the blow up sofa overkill? Should I take cereal and milk, did people do that? Was croissants and jam a good idea? You get the picture…

Friday morning came and I started to pack the car. What’s apps flew backwards and forwards between me and our friends: can you really get all this stuff in the car? Is it actually worth doing this for 48 hours? Are you sure it isn’t going to rain? Thank goodness for their patience/amusement!

We finally did get all the stuff in the car consisting of:
4 man tent, double airbed and double sleeping bag, double sleeping mat and three sleeping bags for the kids , five pillows, tent carpet, blow up sofa & chair two adult chairs and 3 chairs for kids , camping stove mini bbq two tables, BBQ food, coals and Zippo firelighting equipment, crockery, cool box of food, box of dry food, beer wine and cups, snacks a plenty for the kids, outdoor games, lanterns. I must have forgotten to put something in – oh yes the kids!

We set off and it started to rain – joy!!!

 First Time Camping with Kids?

But we carried on. I don’t think Armageddon could have persuaded hubby to turn round after all the packing up and we got to site at around 5.30pm agitated and a little worried about camping in the rain. Beer was provided by our friends, space given for us to put our tent up, and things started to improve.

Camping with Kids

Our tent went up quickly and easily. We had practiced once in the garden which definitely helps a first time camper. The kids were excited but entertained by friends kids and keeping them out of the way definitely helped this process.

Then the BBQ went on. It appeared it had been a good idea to bring a mini BBQ because not only does everyone love a good BBQ but because camping stoves are notoriously slow to warm up and cook things and the kids were starving!

Camping with Kids

BBQ on, tent up and rain dispersing the mood lifted and smiles started to form.  The kids loved the collection of chairs and blow up sofas we took with us and happily played about.  They were also actually useful for relaxing on in the tent and for the kids to use to sit on and read books when they were eventually tired.

Camping with Kids

Camping with Kids

What I loved from the minute we arrived to the moment we left was the freedom the kids had. They loved the site instantly and kicked a football around, joined in with cricket games, fished in the river and their enthusiasm was infectious. I had abandoned any rules about bedtime before we embarked on the weekend and they happily ran about til 10pm making new friends and delighting in brushing their teeth in the toilet block with their significantly older (10 year old) friend. So far first Time Camping with Kids was going well!

Camping with Kids

Camping with Kids

Camping with Kids

Exhaustion didn’t set in immediately for the kids once they were in bed but an extra blanket thrown over the sleeping bags seemed to give them the illusion (if nothing else) of more cosiness and they went to sleep. I’d predicted a broken nights sleep for my three (who at home sleep in pitch black darkness) but apart from a 2am toilet wake up (thanks for the potty tip Emma and a useful Lantern in the tent for aim!) they slept soundly til 6.30am!

Camping with Kids


Camping with Kids

If I had managed to sleep that would definitely have been a win but for some ridiculous reason I tossed and turned and didn’t really get much more than two hours sleep! Not the ‘best’ first time camping with kids for us however thanks possibly to my hot water bottle husband and our double sleeping bag, it definitely wasn’t because I was cold like some others I spoke to in the morning.

I woke up however to find our friends cooking sausages and bacon on our new camping stove and I was presented with a brew! It appears that our camping stove is actually pretty brilliant, warms up quickly and cooks as quickly as a stove does at home! It definitely go the thumbs up from our seasoned camper friends. I also had this view! Things were looking up.

Camping with Kids

Not a bad view for cooking breakfast! @milletsonline @regattaoutdoors #ukexplore #camping

A photo posted by Karen Beddow (@mini_travellers) on

We had decided that no plans for the day was the best plan of all. The weather was dry and warmish and we sat around chatting, eating, chatting, and eating some more. We played cricket and football again and the four girls enjoyed taking all the pots off to wash in the outdoor sinks. Note to self if we camp alone we need a spare bucket to put dirty pots in, some washing up liquid, cloths and tea towels!

We were camping in Appletreewick and so we took a leisurely walk along the river to Burnsall to play in the river and roll down the hills. A pint and some chips in the pub completed the afternoon before we walked back to camp. I regularly noticed during the afternoon that despite being tired the girls were happy and giddy to be out and about on their adventure and looking forward to another BBQ tea!

Camping with Kids

Camping with Kids

Camping with Kids

Food from our pitiful cool box had earlier in the day been moved into our friends rather better and cooler box to keep it fresh, helped by some frozen bottles of water that had kept their cool box fridge like. Frozen water is a top tip, as is a frozen box of wine!

We had steak, kebabs, burgers and finished with a cheese board and wine around the firepit. Apparently when you camp it is no excuse to eat bad food. Another thing that definitely pleased me!

Camping with Kids

Whilst Friday night had been fairly busy in the campsite til midnight ish, by a similar time on Saturday it seemed like ours was the only lantern still lit so we called it a night and retired to our ‘bedroom’. This time I had no problem sleeping and we all slept soundly til 7.30am, I don’t think that’s even happened at home in a long time. The fresh air obviously agreed with us all.

Camping with Kids

Packing up the tent was easier than I expected (helped ably by the kids) and by 10am we had breakfasted (more bacon and sausages) had a couple of coffees and filled up the car!

Camping with Kids

The kids decided it had been the best adventure they had ever had (sorry Disney) and we decided that for these first time campers it would not be the last trip.  We went home exhausted (even the doll looked tired) and that evening we slept very very well indeed. We survived and even enjoyed our first time camping with kids!

Camping with Kids




Camping with 3 Kids Under 6 for the First Time


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  • Reply
    29th June 2016 at 7:18 am

    A great post. I look in admiration at parents who camp but have yet to do it! I will give it a go at some point. Love the inflatable sofa x

  • Reply
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome
    29th June 2016 at 8:05 am

    Love this Karen!! You’ve definitely made me feel better about giving it a go, I’m wondering if I can rope some more friends in too so I know we have enough stuff between us. We will definitely be having a go with the tent in the garden once it arrives, and love your frozen wine tip!! Glad you had fun xx

  • Reply
    29th June 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Oh it looks like the kids had a great time! I went camping every year as a child and absolutely loved it – Hubby hates camping though so doubt we’ll ever go as a family! Lovely seeing you at the weekend x

  • Reply
    29th June 2016 at 2:34 pm

    What an exciting trip and if you only forgot washing up stuff, you did very well. I’ll look forward to hearing all about your next camping trips.

  • Reply
    Lisa Jane
    29th June 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Looks like you all had a great time Karen and certainly sounds like you are fully equipped to go camping regularly! Like you found out potty’s are an absolute must when camping with kids. We also like to take something to contain my youngest son too – a travel cot and pack and play means I know that he cannot go wondering off when I am seeing to the BBQ etc:)

  • Reply
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    29th June 2016 at 6:40 pm

    The freedom for the kids and the fresh air is what it’s all about. I’m glad you had a great time despite the rainy start!

  • Reply
    samantha rickelton
    29th June 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Ah I am so pleased you had a nice time and are up for camping again – all your kit looks fab! Yeah for the kids sleeping past 7am too!

  • Reply
    Tracey Williams
    29th June 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Check you out with your cafetiere of coffee Karen, love it. We used to go camping when ours were little, think from when Katie was 3. We have such fond memories of our trips and like you said the freedom for the kids is the best bit of camping. Love all your pictures, you can just tell the girls are having a blast x

  • Reply
    Laura & Daisy
    1st July 2016 at 11:47 am

    Looks like a perfect camping trip! We are yet to take our dog and little boy camping but it’s something that’s definitely on our list. That river looks perfect for a family paddle too, something we always look to do! 🙂

  • Reply
    Erin Ek Rush
    1st July 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Amazing! I love Appletreewick, and clearly the girls had the time of their lives on ‘their best adventure yet’. It does look like a lot of work for set up and packing but I would imagine it gets easier once you’ve done it a few times? We’ve planned for a summer camp out in Grandma’s back yard this summer in Montana and if all goes well I may be back to look again at your packing list! Thanks for linking up with #YorkshireFamily

  • Reply
    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too
    2nd July 2016 at 10:16 am

    I haven’t been brave enough to take my children camping yet, but something everyone must do at least once #countrykids

  • Reply
    David Mellor
    2nd July 2016 at 11:12 am

    Despite the sleepless night it sounds like you all had great fun. We go as often as we can and, as you say, it’s the space and ability to be outdoors all day that our kids love about camping.
    Potty Adventures

  • Reply
    Fiona - Coombe Mill
    2nd July 2016 at 11:16 am

    I think it looks like a wonderful first camp and definitely one to keep you coming back for more. The kids look like they are having such an adventure with pond dipping and cricket games. This is just how childhood days should be. I did feel sorry for you with your night of no sleep, I have to say if I were sleeping in a tent it would take me till the second night to get any sleep too. You’ll have to try a longer stay next time. All your meals look wonderful, the BBQs are definitely a camping highlight.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  • Reply
    Lauren (The Helpful Hiker)
    3rd July 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Glad you enjoyed your first family camp, it really isn’t as daunting as people think! I always manage to sleep really well in a tent (something to do with camping resetting your body clock) and, as your fab photos show, the best bit is the first cuppa of the day looking out over a great view. I can’t wait to go camping again (hopefully next week). Your post has made me doubly excited 🙂

  • Reply
    Stuart Forster
    3rd July 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Sounds like a rewarding trip. I know that I adored camping as a kid as it represented adventure and quality family time.

  • Reply
    4th July 2016 at 9:39 am

    Looks like you had an amazing time. My children have only ever camped out in the garden but one day we’ll have to head further afield.


  • Reply
    Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope)
    4th July 2016 at 10:04 am

    Awww this made me miss camping. We use to camp every week last year!

    I know what you mean with freedom for the kids. My son just played with the other kids the whole day in the camp.

    I wish we can camp again now haha!


  • Reply
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)
    4th July 2016 at 2:13 pm

    What a fabulous camping trip you had and sounds like you all really enjoyed it. That photo of the exhausted doll did make me chuckle! I haven’t attempted camping with the children although have gone camping a few times in my pre-child days. You certainly all looked much more comfy and cosy than I remember my camping trips being and it makes me think that maybe I should give it a try sometime! 🙂 #countrykids

  • Reply
    5th July 2016 at 7:41 pm

    What a great first camp and all that wonderful camping equipment! Loving the sofas. We have a 3 man tent a teeny camp stove and no blow up air beds just mats! We took our 9 month year old camping a few months ago and it was great fun! I’m hoping for more gear on future trips!! #countrykids

  • Reply
    Samantha Free
    6th July 2016 at 8:27 am

    Camping is up there as one of the things I most want to do with my children, though haven’t been brave enough yet! This looks like the perfect trip! #CountryKids

  • Reply
    7th July 2016 at 10:31 am

    Ah, great post! We love camping here, but did it way too much last year so having a year off 😉

    I had never seen the blow-up chairs, I’ll definitely be looking into them 🙂

  • Reply
    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely
    7th July 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I’m pinning this!!! I think this might be the summer we give it a go … if the rain holds off. I’ve never been one to camp but I’m liking the idea of it more and more. The boys will think it’s the best thing ever, I’m sure.

  • Reply
    Laura - dear bear and beany
    9th July 2016 at 8:20 pm

    You have given me hope that its all going to be ok! I have been making notes reading this on what to take. My husband loves the frozen water tip 🙂 Thank you x

  • Reply
    Emma - hip2trek
    12th July 2016 at 4:19 pm

    What a lovely post, I love Appletreewick we took my eldest there when he was a baby. The inflatable sofa sounds amazing, I must add one onto my camping list!

  • Reply
    Lucy (@Lucy_at_home)
    11th August 2016 at 3:40 pm

    We’re going camping next week for the first time with it kids. I am sooo excited! I used to go all the time when I was little but haven’t been in about 8yrs now. I love those blow up chairs and the people canopy thing! #yorkshirefamily

  • Reply
    Phoebe Turnbull
    12th August 2016 at 11:28 am

    wow It seems you and your kids had great time together. I really want to go camping with my children because not only it’s good for them but I also want to refresh my mind. Thanks for sharing with us your memory and experience, maybe I will arrange time and set off with them soon!

  • Reply
    Lisa Smith
    9th September 2016 at 9:20 pm

    WOW !
    Awesome post !
    A most pleasurable moment with baby by camping ! i also try to go for a camping with my 2 baby and my husband !
    i am so inspired and got some awesome idea by reading this amazing post !
    Great thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Tracey Jones
    19th April 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Damn. I was looking for what I wanted. Thanks for sharing this amazing blog. Been many times on camping but this time gonna be happen with kids. Hope this time will be more amazing as before.

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    4th July 2019 at 11:27 am

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