I’ve already spent a few nights under canvas this year – and will have spent several more before the end of summer. Whilst this does mean that I’m slightly sleep deprived, the kids think it’s an absolute adventure. So whether you’re heading away on a camping trip of epic proportions or just pitching a tent in your own garden, I thought I’d share a few of my top tips:

1. Plan Ahead

OK, if you’re staying at home then it’s not so important to think about packing but the last thing you want is to be unzipping your tent once you’re all cosy and warm for the night! I have a set kit list of things I know that I’ll need for the night – such as an accessible torch with fresh batteries and an extra pair of socks – and also have a set place for these things.

On a recent visit to The Centre Livingston, I popped into Wilkos to pick up a few extra things for this purpose. They have a great array of items from home hardware to seeds for the garden, but on this occasion I just wanted some extra containers for packing things separately. So tip one: make a list and then follow it!

2. Pay Attention to the Weather

Scotland has such changeable weather that it can be really hard to predict what will come. In the summer months, a two season sleeping bag will generally suffice but it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra blankets! Katie had broken the zip on her old sleeping bag, so I grabbed her a new one from Argos that is also ‘child-size’ as actually – a longer bag on kids just means cold spots!

However, given we have been blessed with some warmer weather recently I’ve been really mindful of the sun! Children’s skin is so sensitive even when it’s overcast you need to think about sun protection. The Cotswolds Outdoors at The Centre stretches over two floors and has a great kid’s section – I got Katie a pair of shorts with UV protection along with a lightweight jacket that not only the same UV credentials but is wind and water resistant. She’s already been wearing both out to play and at our allotment. They’re quick to dry and obviously comfy to wear!

3. Have lots to do

My kids are so used to being able to just switch on the TV in moments of boredom but obviously most campsites don’t have this luxury! Whilst they are pretty good at just playing, I do like to have an array of things to do. A Pocket Kite, water pistols, a Nerf football… anything that is lightweight and can be used by all the kids makes my list!

The Cotswolds Outdoors and Argos both had loads of options in this category on our last visit to The Centre so is definitely worth a look if you’re looking for this type of thing!

4. Have a few comforts

I made the decision this year that life is too short to be uncomfortable. To that end, I purchase an inflatable mattress and small electric pump. It inflates in seconds and although it takes up more room in my bag – it’s totally worth it! The kids all have inflatable mattresses that are self-inflating but they seem to find these comfortable enough. Thomas is absolutely delighted by his Paw Patrol sleeping bag from Argos that actually comes with an inflatable mat attached. Although to be fair, he is in love with anything that is Paw Patrol related!

5. Enjoy yourself!

Finally, although kids often can take all our focus – do take some time to just enjoy it yourself. Make sure you take a comfortable chair and make some time to enjoy what’s around you. So much time is spent rushing from one place to the next, sometimes it’s nice to just sit and appreciate some fresh air!

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Want to know what to pack for a family camping trip? Here are the essentials you really need and some top tips for first time campers.

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