Camping ideas for families

Being prepared can be the difference between a fun camping adventure and a disaster holiday story. If you’re ready for anything before you head off, then no nasty surprises can ruin your trip and you’ll be able to enjoy the bush/beach/backyard! Check out these camping ideas to get you started:


It’s important to research weather patterns for areas you are unfamiliar with and the best advice can be gained from the park rangers or information centres. Weather can change in an instant so err on the side of caution and pack that extra tarp!

Ready to go:

Have a camping backpack ready to go to make packing for camping easier. Include a cutlery set; dinner plates and bowls, cups and mugs, a flashlight with new batteries, a first aid kit, a couple of packets of waterproof matches and a swiss army knife. After each camping trip wash and clean the contents and repack the bag ready for the next trip.

Second hand gear:

Garage sales and Trade Me are great places for picking up second-hand camping gear.

Test before you go:

Don’t wait until you are in the middle of nowhere before you realize your lantern doesn’t work, you’re missing all the tent pegs or that you have a hole in your airbed. Always thoroughly test your equipment before you leave home.

Wire toaster:

Wire toasters are available in most camping stores and cost very little. To use one effectively, the wire mesh needs to be underneath near the heat and the toast rack on top. Place it over a low flame, or coals, so the wire just turns red. If flames don’t come through the wire mesh, your bread should toast beautifully.

Stretcher bed:

Stretcher beds are great for kids and save having to blow up numerous air beds. They cost very little and pack away neatly. They also make great beds for sleep overs at home.

Camping list:

Keep a list of what you need to take at home and update it after each camping trip, as it is the kind of activity where experience counts for a lot. If you refer to your list when packing you won’t forget a thing.

Here’s Kidspot’s tried and tested ultimate camping list.

Protecting food and rubbish:

You can hang a ‘food safe’ such as a Hessian bag or large string bag from the branches of a tree to stop animals getting at it. This should also be done with rubbish bags. If you leave them on the ground they will certainly be torn apart by the next morning. Alternatively, store perishable food not kept in the chilly bin in your car overnight.

Drying towels:

If you can find a strong branch lying around that has lots of short branches still attached, hang it from a tree to air wet towels. Tie a piece of rope around the top of the branch and dangle it from a tree so the short branches reach upwards.

Fire starters:

Collect candle stubs at home to take camping because these make perfect fire starters. Just light and place in the fire under the kindling.

Cooking fish:

If you are going to fry fish in a pan, line it with aluminium foil first to save washing up while also preventing lingering fishy smells.


  1. Angelgirl081 27/11/2017 at 8:08 pm

    Some of my best memories as a kid were our camping trips. So wish I could do it with my girls but it is quite a big initial investment to build up a set of all the gear needed. It is something I will work towards as they get a bit older though.

  2. Mands1980 20/11/2017 at 1:20 pm

    We used to go camping a lot as kids by the lake but havnt with our kids a lot. There is some great ideas in this article about everything you should take camping and think about doing before going.

  3. felicity beets 19/11/2017 at 5:36 pm

    great idea to use candle stubs from home to use as firestarters when camping- had not heard of this before.

  4. Bevik1971 17/11/2017 at 11:29 am

    We used to camp every Christmas when I was a kid – loved it!! Had a huge family tent and actually quite a few mod cons even back then 🙂 I haven’t been proper camping with our daughter yet, we do stay in a tent when we visit my Dad in Alexandra in the summer as it’s lovely and warm. The weather is a big one, can’t control that and you know that it will do what it wants over the Christmas break haha.

  5. kymmage 16/11/2017 at 6:48 pm

    We only have a festival tent. It’s ok in really hot weather but it’s not great if it gets a little cold! The door doesn’t zip up at the bottom. I’m going to have a look out for second hand tents and see if we can upgrade! Great tip!

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