Maybe the idea of camping out in the WA bush with a young family starts to make you run a fever and curl up in the fetal position in a corner.
However, I am here to tell you that it CAN be done and it CAN even be enjoyable!
I was never an outdoorsy type of gal, so when my husband declared our family should start camping I did not jump up and down for joy. In fact there could have been a lot of eye rolling and protesting.
Yet, a few weeks later I found myself in a packed car and heading to our first camping trip.
My husband is super organized and I think this helped me actually enjoy the camping experience – so much so that two weeks after our first trip, I gladly agreed to go camping again.
We have camped at caravan parks where there are a range of facilities to help amuse children as well as Department of Parks and Wildlife sites where there is a drop toilet, the bush and the beach.
We have now been on over 10 camping trips in the last 18 months and I am always looking forward to our next trip.
Let me share with you 8 things that help make a camping trip with a young family a success.
1. Invest in good storage
You know your budget, but find storage options that are going to work for you. Whether you grab storage tubs from Red Dot or invest in the camping storage boxes from a camping shop – get good storage. We use separate storage tubs for the following:
Dry food (see next point)
Cutlery, plates, bowls, tea towels and other utensils
Torches, batteries, sun cream, bug repellent
The great thing about the storage tubs is most of them can stay packed and ready to go for the next trip – which saves on packing and unpacking time.
2. Take dry food with you
Obviously if you are camping in a more isolated spot then this is a given, however, if you are choosing to camp at a caravan park it can be easier to think you will nip out to the shops and get what you need when you need it. This ends up costing more money than it should and you find you still don’t have what you want (or need) at the right time. Nothing worse than waking up in the morning and not having enough food for breakfast. Only makes the kiddies crazy and the mumma grumpy.
3. Buy cheap washable cutlery and plates
If it is just your first camping trip and you are not convinced you are going to love it – then maybe disposables will do for your first trip. However, we have invested in a cheap set of plates and cutlery so we can have them each trip. They end up staying in the storage tubs between each trip so they are there ready to go.
4. Practice sleeping arrangements
If you have young children, the idea of even sleeping in a sleeping bag can be a new thing for them (and as we found out – a weird new thing!). Our son howled for the first ten minutes on our first night as it had never entered our mind that sleeping in a sleeping bag would freak him out! With a few practices between that trip and the next, bedtime was much smoother the second time around.
5. It’s ok to take the iPad
Yep, you heard me. It is ok to take the iPad. It is also ok not to take the iPad. Even if you are not at a powered camp site a trip in the car will help give the iPad a bit more juice. We love camping and the opportunity it brings for all of us to unplug and reset – but we do still take the iPad. When children are young, there is only so much they can do without parental supervision. So after a morning of swimming, bushwalking, exploring, playing at a park or whatever it is you get up to – there are still times during camping where the iPad is a welcome change. It also might just let you lay down in the fresh air and read a book.
6. Share the cooking load
(All the mummas cheer!) If you can share the load it means you can both look forward to having a break. When we camp, I am very fortunate to almost have to fight for a turn to cook. My husband loves cooking, especially if there is a BBQ involved. I know not every couple is like this. You know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Plan your trip accordingly.
7. Be kind
Really? Why have I put this as a point? Well, have you ever set up or packed up a tent? It can make or break you that is for sure. My husband and I have this running joke that we have a blanket “I’m sorry” to cover any little grizzles we have that arise from setting up or packing up the tent.
Don’t be that couple swearing at each other throughout the campsite.
8. Go with the flow
As with parenting in general, a sense of going with the flow is absolutely needed when camping with young children. Know that things are not going to always go to plan and then it will be easier to deal with them when it happens.
If you've never been camping (with our without children) check out the WA Holiday Guide website for details about Perth's camping and campsite.
This production of The Jungle Book relies strongly on physical theatre, from a young ensemble, and will incorporate puppetry, poetry, and animation, creating an eclectic style of theatre true to itself.