Being prepared and having the right bits and bobs with you makes all the difference when heading off on a family camping trip. Bundle Beds Founder, Lucy, shares her top tips with us.
Lucy is a huge fan of camping and adventures. She is on a mission to change the camping narrative from an exhausting excursion to a super fun family holiday with comfy beds and some added luxuries from home. After years of camping with kids, she realised that being prepared and bringing the right equipment makes all the difference. She’s put together a list of her camping must haves, to make setting up and getting ready for camping much easier.
1) A Tent
I’d say that size really does matter when it comes to a tent! If you're a big family, I'd really recommend buying or borrowing a tent with separate compartments for bedrooms and a large enough "living space" to accommodate you all, especially if it buckets down (which let's face it, is highly likely in the UK!). We have a 5m Bell Tent and we LOVE it. It was given to us as a wedding present and it’s worked for us both as a newly-wed wild-camping couple, to a household of four visiting family-friendly campsites. It’s really simple to put up, and far less stressful than messing around with tent poles! When we were just a couple (golly, those were the days!), we set it up as a whole unit. After having children we added a blackout inner tent with two separate compartments so that we have a separate "bedroom" for the kids. This set-up works really well, because it gives the kids their own space for playing in and also makes bedtimes (and mornings!) darker during summer.
2) Comfy Beds
Do you even need to ask what we sleep on?! After years of air beds deflating during the night, my own bedding getting damp outside of the tent, or sweaty sleeping bags, I love my Bundle Beds! (There’s a reason we call ourselves ‘dream makers for life’!) Bundle Beds have everything you need for a great night’s sleep in one bundle – self-inflating mattress (that’s right, no need for a foot pump!) cosy duvet and pillow, covered in washable jersey cotton sheets. They are really easy to set up, they fit into the footwell of the car (handy to know for a camping packing tetris!) and they have a waterproof outer layer, so can be dumped outside when setting up the tent without worry. My husband & I have a Boosted Bundle Bed each; with a double sheet to connect them together. My two sons aged 4 & 6 years, sleep on Toddler Bundle Beds; a more compact, lightweight design, with inflatable bumpers to stop wriggly sleepers rolling off the bed at night.
3) Day Tent
We’ve found that having an additional day tent as part of the set up gives us shade for sunnier days, shelter if it rains, and also a place to keep all our day-to-day bits and bobs, leaving our bell tent tidier and less cluttered, perfect for peaceful sleeping. For our day tent we have a 9sqm gazebo from Decathlon that we use as a kitchen/living area and for storage at night. We have one side set up with our cooking stuff, and our table & chairs are in there for shade during the day. We then pop the scooters, bikes & other gubbins in there during the night, so that we know that everything is in one place.
4) Good Kitchen Set-UpFor a successful camping kitchen set up you need: Something to cook on, something to cook with, something to eat on, and something to keep things cool. We have a kitchen storage and cooking unit from Decathlon, which has been brilliant for storing dry goods & non-refrigerated items. We put all of our plates, bowls, mugs & cups in one side, and then food in the other. The mesh front means that no bugs or creepy crawlies get in, but it doesn't get too hot. It also helps to keep things tidy and easy to access! The surface is heat-proof, so ideal for cooking with a gas stove. We keep things super simple with two single ring stoves that use clip-in gas cartridges. We always take a couple of spare gas cartridges to keep us going on longer stays. When we’re not camping we often take the boys out for a little walk and make a hot chocolate together, or warm up soup for lunch, and the single ring stoves are perfect for taking on these mini adventures. We have a Weber Go Anywhere BBQ for our visits to campsites that allow BBQs, but often they’ll have ones that you can use or rent. We love our BBQ but have found it’s best to use the one provided by the campsite, as this really saves on (much-needed) space in our boot! We have a brilliant cool box from Cool Boxes UK. It’s a 40L Icey-Tek Cube box and this will keep your contents frozen for 2 days, and cold for up to 10 days with no power. They have 11 colours to choose from - so you can even match it to your tent or Bundle Bed! Here is our list of kitchen essentials for a family of four, which we hope will be helpful:
- Large and small saucepan
- Frying pan
- A stove top camping kettle
- Coffee maker (we take our Aeropress or coffee bags from Artisan Coffee)
- Plates, bowls, cups, mugs & cutlery (we tend to allow for 2 x plates, bowls, cups & cutlery, 1 x mug each, and then plastic wine glasses for the adults)
- A colander
- 2 x chopping boards & a knife (for prepping, we HIGHLY recommend a decent knife)
- Bottle opener & tin opener
- Washing up bowl, washing up liquid, cloth & sponge, and a tea towel to dry
- A Jerry Can - We bought a 10L Travel Jerry Can from Decathalon, and it has been perfect for both camping trips and BBQs, or outdoor picnics with friends. It packs down to nothing, which is definitely a bonus for maximising packing space in the car!
- Rubbish Bins - We have a set of three of the IKEA DIMPA waste sorting bags - we use one for the black bin bag, one for recycling, and the third as a laundry bag for dirty washing in the tent.
- A washing line or a collapsible washing dryer, for wet towels etc.
- A dust pan and brush
- Hand sanitizer
- Loo roll