Top tips for a family camping trip

Summer is here and if you’ve ever fancied embarking on a camping holiday with your family, now is the time to do it. So, we asked Lauren and Sam from @the.tuckers.tent for their top tips on how to prepare for a camping trip and make it a memorable experience for everyone.

Lauren & Sam Tucker

Picking a campsite

We always start by picking a county or a town we would like to stay in and explore. A quick Google search for campsites in that area or browsing sites like Pitchup.com is probably the easiest way to find the perfect place to camp in the UK and beyond. Reading reviews or finding the campsite you like on social media is always a good idea too. The amenities are usually clearly listed such as if the campsite has laundry facilities, electric pitches or if it’s dog-friendly. Make sure you check these to see what will be included or restricted from your stay and whether your campsite has any specific rules about arrival/departure times, noise levels or campfires.


We’ve found packing the car the night before if you need to leave early for a long drive is super helpful. We pack all our camping gear, clothes, and toiletries but we always go to a local supermarket near the campsite to buy food and drinks to save room in the car (but do remember to take a few snacks and a drink for the journey). Our top tip: pack your tent in the car so it’s easily accessible, then you can set this up first and put everything from the car straight inside.  It’s taken multiple trips to create our essential packing list and to realise what we were missing. We have quite a comprehensive camping checklist now and each family will have different requirements, but I’ll include our camping essentials at the end to help give you an idea of what to take.

The journey

Our two-year-old son loves to travel in the car and luckily he usually sleeps a lot of the way, but he can become irritable if strapped in for too long. Plan breaks if you do have a long journey ahead of you, take plenty of engaging toys and books, pack snacks and drinks, and any comfort aids your child may have such as a dummy or sleep blanket. 

Camping stories

Setting up your tent

We take a travel cot for our son and this doubles up as a secure playpen for when we are putting up the tent. When children are a bit older, you can get them to help set up by creating games or competitions about who can do things faster. Teamwork makes everything so much easier when it comes to pitching up!

Making yourself at home

Our quote that we have hanging in our tent is ‘Home is where we pitch up’ and we bring along lots of home comforts such as soft pillows, duvets, and blankets. If you want a family film night in your tent, we take a projector to play movies on a fabric screen, but laptops or iPads work just as well. Comfy camping chairs are a must and water-boiling equipment to make that all-important cuppa! We chose a folding gas burner and a whistling kettle.


Some people opt for sleeping bags, but we prefer traditional bedding and an air mattress. Whatever your choice of bedding, make sure you take plenty of layers! The temperature can really drop at night. If your campsite has an electric hook-up, then electric fan heaters are safe to use inside a tent. NEVER use a gas heater inside a tent though due to the fumes they release. You can also heat up a hot water bottle or snuggle up together to keep the heat in. Our top tip for better sleep is eye masks and ear plugs. Hopefully, you’ll have lovely weather on your family camping trip but the noise of wind and rain can be really amplified when you’re in a tent. Plus the later nights and early mornings of the summer can mean a lot of brightness in the tent, so trust us when we say you’ll get a better lie-in with the sleep masks!

Cooking and food prep

Once you’ve stocked up on food, you’ll want to keep it cool so ice packs and a cool box are our preferred methods for doing this. We like to have cereal for breakfast every morning, but we often smell lots of families cooking bacon and sausages – it makes us jealous every time! We don’t do a lot of cooking whilst camping – the most we usually cook is a pot noodle and sometimes we BBQ, but we mostly enjoy sandwiches, fruit, crisps, cereal bars, meals in restaurants and takeaways. Some of the campsites we have stayed in have had wood-fired pizza ovens, but our favourite is usually fish and chips on the beach. If your campsite allows campfires, then marshmallows are probably the most important food item – toasting them as the sun sets really is wonderful.


Our favourite activity to do while camping as a family is to explore the local beauty spots and attractions. Some campsites have tourist information centres, but we like researching and planning what to do before we go. Hiking, cycling, swimming, paddle boarding, hiring a boat, and visiting theme parks are all things that have been on our itinerary for this year whilst on family camping trips. Activities don’t need to cost any money though. Bringing games from home with you, foraging and wild swimming are great ways to fill your day.


I’ve mentioned above that you should never use a gas heater in your tent – gas in general should be handled with care and kept away from children. Personally, we never use an open flame in our tent for cooking or boiling water, we always do it outside. We also keep a mini fire extinguisher in our toolbox just in case. We padlock our tent during the day when we are away from it to keep our belongings secure, and we use a carabiner clip at night on the inside of the tent door zips so nobody can open them from the outside. We also have a flip knife in our toolbox in case we needed to cut our way out of the tent for any reason. A whistle or alarm and torch are great pieces of safety equipment too.

Our packing list:

Camping gear:

  • Tent with a ground sheet and pegs
  • Mallet and peg hook for removing pegs
  • Sun parasol/gazebo 
  • Lamps and torches
  • Camping chairs and table
  • Folding kitchen unit
  • Fan heater
  • Battery cooling fan
  • Fire extinguisher/blanket
  • Whistle/alarm
  • Padlock
  • Carabiner clips
  • First aid kit


  • Gas burner/stove
  • Kettle
  • Camping pots/pans
  • Folding water container
  • Bamboo/plastic crockery and cutlery 
  • Insulated water bottles
  • Chopping board
  • Utensils 
  • Cool box and ice packs
  • Picnic blanket
  • Lighter/matches 
  • Condiments 
  • Tea and coffee

We buy all our other food in the local supermarket.


  • Bin bags
  • Dish soap, sponge/cloth, drying towel
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Alcohol hand gel
  • Folding bucket


  • Projector/laptop/iPad/tablet 
  • Chargers/spare batteries
  • Power bank
  • Toys and games 


  • Inflatable air mattress and bedding
  • Travel cot and bedding
  • Blankets
  • Hot water bottle
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Oodie/dressing gown/thick jumper
  • Thermal socks


  • Soap 
  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Dry shampoo 
  • Wet wipes 
  • Toilet roll/tissues
  • Nappies
  • Sun cream 
  • Insect repellent 
  • Make up/skincare
  • Compact mirror 
  • Hairbrush and accessories 


Our clothing packing list varies depending on the weather and our chosen activities but it’s always a good idea to bring clothes that you can layer. If your campsite has laundry facilities, you may wish to pack less clothing and wash them to wear again.

  • Waterproof lightweight jackets – we always bring these no matter the forecast
  • Hats – these are essential. Either sun caps or woolly beanies depending on the weather. Beanies can help keep you warm at night 
  • Towels 
  • Swimwear 
  • Drying robes – these can double up as dressing gowns, perfect for after a swim or keeping you warm in the evening 
  • Walking boots/trainers
  • Crocs/flip flops

Big thanks to Lauren and Sam from @the.tuckers.tent for sharing these wonderful tips. Check out their Instagram for more family camping inspiration!

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