Summer camping is a tradition for many Kiwi families – who make tracks for their favourite spots, there to relax and read, share stories around the fire, swim in the river, climb hills and trees, play tennis and cricket, and simply spend time together.
Tips for first-time family campers
Pitch it on your Patch
Before you go camping, pitch your tent in the garden. The kids will love playing in it by day and sleeping in it (or not) at night. It will build everyone’s excitement and confidence.
If this is one of your first family camping trips, it’s a good idea to choose somewhere close to home. Check out: doc.govt.nz/camping or holidayparks.co.nz to find campsites or holiday parks in your area, and consider the facilities you’ll need. How important is it that you have hot showers, a kitchen and laundry, barbecues, a heated swimming pool, a TV lounge? If this is your first time camping, perhaps commit to only two or three nights.
Weather or Not to go
Camping in relentless rain or wind is not fun for anyone, especially if you’re new to the experience.
Invite the Crew
It can be fun, and convenient, to camp with friends or family, especially if they have more experience, or more gear – such as a cooker and table for communal dining.
Light & Sound Asleep
Good sleeping bags are worth their weight in goose-down or the synthetic equivalent. If your kids have a nightlight at home, glow sticks are a great option for the tent. Consider earplugs for yourself.
Buckets on your List
A few large tubs are really handy – they can be used to storing food, for rubbish/recycling, for washing dishes and for washing kids.
Setting up Shop
Arrive early in the day so you have plenty of time to set up. Try to get the kids involved, but have realistic expectations. Playing music on a portable speaker helps establish a positive atmosphere, as do yummy snacks. Choose a site on a flat, sheltered, elevated piece of ground, ideally grass (rather than sand, shingle, pine needles…). If you have a baby, position your tent close by, but not in a high-traffic area.
Why we love camping