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The Best Camping Accessories For a Family Camping Holiday

Updated on April 25, 2011

Camping Holiday

Camping is popular again, staying on camp with your family is a fantastic way to spend your vacation. Camping has changed, camping gear has evolved, gone are the days of leaking tent's, muddy fields and smelly toilets. Campsites are multi million dollar business, campsite owners have invested heavily in ensuring your camping holiday is an enjoyable one.

Your camping checklist and the amount of camping accessories you need to carry will be dependant on the size of your family, home comforts you can live without and your transport set up. Outdoor camping stores literally have everything you need to camp in the wild or on a family campsite, the question is do you really need it.

In this article we will explore the camp gear you will need to go camping with the family, we will point out some camping accessories you will not need and hopefully give enough information to make your camping trip fun.

What Tent Will I need?

When I first started camping my tent was an old army surplus bivvy, it was heavy, smelly and very leaky. Fortunately tent manufacturers have invested heavily in technology, there is a tent now for every type of weather and every family set up.

The four most important points when choosing a tent are:

  • Weight
  • Size
  • Hydrostatic Head
  • Ease of Erection

We will now look at each of these points in more detail.

Weight- Will you be backpacking or taking the car on your camping trip, obviously the weight of your tent needs to be given consideration based on the answer to the last question. Camping tent material is very lightweight these days, nylon tents are common, carbon fibre tent poles and lightweight tent pegs.

Size- How many people will be sleeping in the tent, a simple one man tent will be small and light, easily carried on your backpack. A 30ft x 30ft family tent will still be very large and heavy when packed away.

Hydrostatic Head- This is a measurement used to state the waterproofing of the tent, the higher the number the more water the tent can take before leaking, me personally anything under 3000HH is taking a chance, there are tents with a hydrostatic head rating of 5000 and above.

Ease of Erection- Have you ever tried to put a tent up in the wind, try it; your camping holiday could be over very quickly. Family tents are the worst, often you will need two people to put it up so choosing a tent that fits together easily is a must.

#Tip 1- Practice putting your new tent up and down at home, make sure you can do it and all of the bits are there before you go on holiday.

#Tip 2- Never put a tent away wet, if you have to take it down wet air it out as soon as possible. Mould will take hold very quickly and ruin your tent.

#Tip 3- Never lean anything or run your hand against the inside of a wet tent, it will break the water seal and you will have water in the tent.

Tent Recommendations

I like to give honest reviews and three very good tent brands I have owned and have used are Outwell, Vango and Coleman. My personal favorite is the Outwell range of tent's, the range is generally named after American states but I don't think they are sold in America. Told you I was honest, I am not flogging you a tent if you live in the USA, seriously they may be available but you will have to do a bit of scouting around. If anyone knows where thay are available in America leave a comment at the bottom.

That said here is a range of family tent's that are also worth a look.

Camp Beds and Sleeping Bag

Sleeping in a field is one thing, sleeping in a field on the floor is a whole new ball game. I have owned more than 20 air beds, notice I say owned. Every single one of them burst; usually in the middle of the night, I do not recommend air beds for camping outdoors but that is my personal preference.

Camp beds are great if you can carry them, they last longer, are more comfortable and they keep you of the ground away from the bugs and critters.

Don't let me sway your decision and investigate air beds if you like but if I was you I would buy a framed camp bed.

Sleeping bags are a must when in the outdoors, don't buy one from the discount store for a couple of $$'s, it will be rubbish. When you wake up freezing in the middle of the night under your paper thin piece of material remember Aiden Roberts did warn you.

Buy a sleeping bag that is fit for the night time temprature you will be camping in. Goose or duck down sleeping bags are widely regarded as the best however new technolgies and fabrics are coming a very close second these days.

A quality sleeping bag should keep you warm even if you are butt naked, it will use your own body heat to keep the bag at a sensible temperature. Did you know Amazon sell a sleeping bag costing nearly $1000, take a look below.

For my full review of sleeping bags go here

Camping Furniture

There was a time when camping furniture involved sitting on a log, fortunately camping suppliers have developed a range of fantastic furniture for us homely types.

Funny Story: if you have read my story "living with rheumatoid arthritis" you will know the wife needs a weekly injection, I give her this injection. As regular campers we decided it would be a good idea to buy an inflatable couch for her to lay on whilst having the injection; can you guess what's coming next?

Your right, she jumped; I missed and the $100 couch went in the bin with the air beds.

There are camping chairs, tables and bench Set's to suit every family member. They are lightweight, sturdy and very durable, be sure to buy camping furniture that will last longer than the trip.

Camping chairs and couch

Camp Kitchen

Have you ever made food over a camp fire, did you enjoy the grass and grubs; I think it adds flavour myself.

You can buy basic aluminium pots and pans for cooking over the fire, you can buy a gas camp stove or what about a fully equipped camp kitchen. Yes you can have all that and more in the camping kitchen stakes.

I wrote an article on camping coffee pots recently and was surprised that you can buy a coffee percolator that doesn't use electricity, heaven for a coffee addict like me.

The secret in this section is "don't buy more than you need", if you want all of the comforts of home "stay home".

Camping Checklist

I am sure you are aware, camping is cool again. There are a plethora of camping accessories available, too many to list in this short article. What I would say is that if you keep in mind the following tips you won't go far wrong on your camping trip:

  • Buy what you need not what you want
  • Buy the best you can afford as it will last longer
  • Watch the weight of the stuff you buy
  • Clean it after using it
  • Store it in a dry place
  • Most of all go with the flow, camping is fun

If you have enjoyed reading this article please take the time to leave a comment, share it with your camping friends and vote it up; thank you.


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    • Butch45 profile image

      Butch45 6 years ago

      Hi Adin I have a large list of camping tips on my new hub also. But I see you did a nice job on this hub also. I have been camping most years of the last fifty anyway.

    • Aiden Roberts profile image

      Aiden Roberts 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi thebluestar

      Camping is great fun for all the family, we have had so many great times under canvas.

      Thanks for your comment

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Good hub, love camping but haven't been for several years. Must get the tent out and have a weekend away this year.