The school holidays are here once again. It’s time to hit the great outdoors for our kids to experience some fresh air and special activities. Camping by the beach is one of them. Sharing some tried and tested tips on Camping. I am no expert in camping, but thought I would just share some tips from years of experience in camping during the school holidays or over long weekends with our two boys.
Always buy a tent that is much bigger than the number of family members you have. Eg, do not buy a 4-men tent just because there are only 4 of you in the family. Buy a tent that is so-called at least 2 size bigger.
We made this mistake of buying a 4-men tent for our very first camping session but we forgot the fact that when we retire for the night, it’s not just the 4 of us sleeping inside the tent, but also our belongings and such, so a 4-men tent for a family of 4 would become quite cramp after all the rest of the things are stuffed inside. A 6 or 8-men tent would be a much better idea.
Secondly, don’t forget that our kids grow, so eg a 4-men tent might be good for a family with 2 kids below the ages of 10 or so, but it soon becomes too cramp for a family with 2 teenagers, so my advice is to buy the biggest tent that one can afford, so to say, the bigger the tent, the better. Ventilation wise, a bigger tent would be much better as compared to a smaller tent too.
Get the kids involved in pitching up the tents. It’s a great experience for them and they enjoy it too!
Food, Water and Snacks
Bring plenty of water, snacks and tidbits and instant food like breads and buns etc as the nearest convenience store may be some distance away. Canned food to make sandwiches etc.
Locate a good spot as near to the public toilets as possible for convenience. Pitch tents at grassy areas. Lay groundsheets below the tent. This is to give extra ‘cushion’ as well as to make cleaning up easier. It is definitely easier to wash groundsheets than to wash the tents especially for HDB dwellers.
Keeping the Mosquitoes/Insects Out
Before laying the groundsheets, spray insecticide on the area to kill all the creepy crawlies first. Certainly don’t want them to be invading the camp when we sleep at night.
As an added precaution, I would spray insectide around the perimeter of the groundsheets/tent after pitching up the tent, again to ensure that no creepy crawlies enter the tent.
After the tent is set up, I would stick anti-mosquito patches at selected spots on the tent, on the outside to prevent unwanted visitors at night.
Positioning of the Tent Door
Position the tent in such a way that the door faces the sea and not inland. This is for security and privacy reasons to ensure that nobody looks into the tent as they walk past and also not to give people a chance to go inside to steal things if they see an empty tent with things inside.
However, if you have two tents, do not pitch them side by side with the both doors overlooking the sea. Pitch them with the two doors facing each other with a groundsheet in between the two tents to facilitate movement between the two tents easier. If you have two tents for a family of 4, assign one adult and one child in one tent, not both kids together in one tent, again for security reason.
When you and your family members have to leave the tent unattended
Of course, do not leave your tent unattended at any one time, but in the event that you have to, turn on the radio at full blast, leave it inside the tent and zip up the door/windows to give the impression that the tent is occupied.
Bring everything with you into the tent when you retire at night, yes, shoes included. Put all shoes into plastic bags and keep them inside the tent.
Two reasons for doing this. We don’t want other people to know how many people are camping inside the tents at night and second reason is that we don’t want our shoes to go missing while we sleep, do we?
Keep the Tent Zipped up at all times when it is unoccupied
Zip up the netted door/window of the tent at all times to prevent things from being stolen, insects and mosquitoes from ‘camping’ inside while the tent is vacant.
Bring games to entertain the kids. Kids somehow find an ordinary game of UNO more fun if played inside the tent than on the table at home!
What to bring
1) Picnic tables, ground sheets, hammocks etc.
2) Extra clothes for the kids. Which kid can resist the tempting sea and sand? Towels and dried towels serve as pillows at night too. Bring sandcastle building stuff for younger kids too.
3) Plenty of plastic bags for soiled clothes, groundsheet etc for the day after.
4) Plenty of water as the nearest convenience store may be quite some distance away.
5) Torch lights/paper fans etc. If you have those rechargeable lamps and fans, charge them up fully and bring them along too. The tent can be very stuffy at night.
6) Simple first aid items like plaster, and assorted creams for insect bites, cuts etc.
7) Plenty of tissue paper/paper rolls and wet wipes. You never know when you would need them.
8) Personal toiletries including toilet paper in case the toilet paper runs out in the public toilets.
9) Some “S” hooks. Some tents allow things to be hung on the ‘ceiling’, so having “S” hooks would allow some light stuff to be hung on the ‘ceiling’ to free up tent space.
To make the camping trip more interesting
Have a BBQ with family and friends the night of the camping if possible to add to the fun and excitement for the kids. In fact, if you can persuade your friends’ families to camp with you, it is definitely more fun for the kids and adults alike than just your family camping by yourselves. Kids can play games with one another, while adults can chit chat into the wee hours of the night to catch up with one another.
Camping may be fun, but unfortunately most of us cannot have a proper night’s rest in the Tent due to the stuffiness inside the Tent at night or the wee hours chit chats into the night, so make sure that the day after a camp is not a school or working day to ensure proper rest. The only thing you want to do once you step back into the comforts of home is not to wash your soiled clothes, but to have a shower and then off to bed on your comfortable bed to catch up on lost sleep.
Hope my tips help. Have fun in the free Great Outdoors that our tiny island offers!