Camping and caravan getaways can be one of the best summer holiday escapes if you’re looking for a convenient, low cost and child friendly alternative. You have the choice to travel near or far, for a quick weekend break or even a few weeks, all in the comfort of your own vehicle without the worry of missing flights or scheduling your stay around travel providers.
With hundreds of campsites and caravan parks around the country, there are a number of activities that these sites provide including scenic hikes and cycling, boating and canoeing, rock climbing and animal watching. No matter who you are or where you go – there’s something for everyone.
However, to have a successful and stress-free camping experience, bringing along the all-important camping essentials is vital for an enjoyable, smooth-sailing trip for the whole family.
Preparing for your stay at a camp site or in a caravan, especially if it’s your first time, can be somewhat bewildering. It’s necessary to pack effectively so that everything you need fits comfortably into the vehicle – so we’ve pulled together a camping and caravanning essentials guide, so all that’s left to do is to start ticking off the checklist!
The car journey:
Depending on where you’re travelling to, preparing for the commute to your camp site might be a key factor to consider when packing – especially when travelling with the whole family. We understand that the journey can be challenging, and when travelling with kids keeping them entertained, nourished and comfortable is only half the battle for a smooth, pain-free journey.
Be prepared for traffic jams and long journeys (and maybe a tantrum or two!) by packing the below necessities.
- Snacks and plenty of water to stay hydrated and energised
- DVDs, MP3 players or game consoles (iPad/Tablet)
- USB chargers and charging blocks
- A map/ Sat Nav/ directions to your camp site
- Car/ motion sickness tablets (and sick bags!)
- Travel blankets & pillows
- Car seats – take a look at our guide for travelling with children here
- Particularly if hiring a vehicle or caravan; car insurance details, breakdown information, driving licence and passports if travelling out of the country
Food and drink:
Depending on where you will be staying, the food and drink you may need to bring with you can differ. Many campsites include onsite restaurants and even small shops which are useful at meal times, although it’s important to remember that some do not so it’s best to be prepared for the worst. You may also be planning to cook your own meals during your stay, so it’s important to bring along some kitchen essentials for easy preparation.
- Bottles of water – you can even bring along water purification tablets for emergencies.
- Teabags, coffee and powdered milk/creamer
- Washing up liquid and sponges
- Multi-use cleaning products and bin/recycling bags
- Aluminium foil – great for keeping your BBQ grills clean and packing away leftovers
- Plastic cutlery, plates, bowls, cups and glasses
- If you will be cooking your own campfire meals – bring along any pots and pans
- Gas stove and matches
- Long-life foods such as porridge, eggs, beans, tuna, biscuits, pasta, rice, nuts and dried fruit
- Condiments including ketchup, vinegar, syrup, sugar, salt and pepper, stock cubes and herbs
- Beers, wine and soft drinks – and a cool box!
Tent, caravan and campervan sleeping essentials:
Whether you’ll be in a sleeping bag or a caravan, you want to make sure you have everything you need to avoid any disturbances to your accommodation and sleeping arrangements. Should you have any hiccups along the way, it’s great to have backups and quick fixes to hand.
- Tent(s) (and don’t forget the tent pegs and poles)
- Air mattresses (remember to bring the pump)
- Hot water bottles
- Extra duvets and pillows
- CO2 & Fire Alarm monitors
- Fleeces, thermals and waterproof jackets and trousers
- Torches/ headlights
- Sleeping bags
- Ground mats
Emergency and first aid essentials:
Camping and caravanning is all about having fun, however it’s extremely important to put safety first and be prepared for any emergencies. Most official campsites are monitored 24/7, but it’s important to be prepared for the worst in the event you are unable to find help or assistance in a time of need.
- First aid box (including plasters, bandages, antibacterial wipes, paracetamol, surgical tape)
- Re-hydration sachets and Imodium tablets
- Medication for children (calpol)
- Hand sanitising gel and alcohol wipes
- Mosquito and bug repellent (bring along some after bite creams just in case!)
- Antihistamine creams and allergy creams or tablets
- Burn sprays
- Sun screen/ SPF
- Any personal medication or vitamins
- Instant ice and heat packs
- Jump cables
- Road hazard signs/ high visibility jackets
- Tool box
- Tow chain/ ropes
- An emergency full can of fuel for your vehicle