Thursday, April 26, 2012

How To Survive A Family Camping Trip

You’ll probably never forget where you were when you joyously announced to your clan, ‘Forget Lanzarote - let’s go camping!’ Fast-forward three months, and the horrible truth becomes apparent. None of you have camped before, so, as a result, you are woefully underprepared. There are fights over day over who has clean socks and who ate the last of the jam. Someone is sleeping in the car. However, don’t let that put you off - we’ve compiled a way of making sure that your next camping trip is an absolute success.

Firstly, make sure that a) the tent you’re taking is large enough and b) you’re confident putting it up. In terms of space, you may need to take two tents, so you and the kids can have some space - and some privacy. It’s always worth setting aside an afternoon to pitch your tent in the back garden to make sure you have all the pegs and poles that you need, and that there are no holes. Always leave plenty of time to nip to the shops to purchase a replacement.

Secondly, remember that he weather can never be depended upon, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Always prepare for rain, storms, showers and thunder. Remember that waterproof clothing is what you need - don’t be fooled into thinking that a thick jumper and pair of new trainers will survive a flash flood. Make sure that the whole family is kitted out - the best hiking socks might seem pricey, but they’ll pay for themselves many times over when you’re out and about, and the heavens open. Staying dry is the one thing that’ll keep your spirits up, so make sure that you safeguard your comfort at all costs.

Food is always something that raises a family’s happiness levels, and a camping trip is no mistake. Make sure that you set off with plenty of foods that are tasty, filling, provide plenty of energy and are (if possible) individually wrapped. Foods such as noodles, wholemeal pasta with sauce, cous cous with pitta breads and ketchup, and fried peppers and onions with rice cakes or boil-in-the-bag rice always go down a treat. Fruit such as apples, bananas and nectarines keep well, and don’t forget the obligatory stash of chocolate bars and cereal bars to keep you going. Long-life milk, tea, coffee and herbal teas are lifesavers, as well as double-concentrate squash and Berocca.

Don’t forget that if it’s rainy, you’ll have to amuse yourselves, so don’t forget to pack books, handheld games, puzzle books and some cards. Many a holiday has been saved by a post-lunchtime game of Uno when it’s tipping it down, so bear in mind that some mornings or afternoons rain will stop play. Come prepared, and you’ll find that you lessen the probability of arguments due to frayed nerves.

Finally - remember to choose your spot wisely. Don’t pitch up too close to anyone else, and don’t pitch up anywhere where you’ll a) be in the way or b) you’re too far from anyone else (this will encourage thieves who think your remote position is perfect for them). Ideally, you want to be somewhere sheltered that lets you still be a part of the action.

Vicky Anscombe is a freelance writer living in Norwich who occasionally enjoys the odd camping trip. The only camping disaster she has experienced was when she camped with her family in France, and a flash flood destroyed her Point Crime books.
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