The sun's out and we know all you want to do is pack up the car and head for the nearest campsite - so do we! We believe in making the most of the good weather while it's here (and getting out there anyway even when it's not), so we've put together a list of our top tips for a great camping trip to make sure your trip is carefree and packed with fun.
The formula for a good camping trip is pretty simple: lots of food, good friends, and always be prepared for bad weather (just in case). So long as you're comfy and dry, the kids are kept occupied and everyone's well-fed, you can't go wrong - all you have to do is pick an awesome place to camp. If you're after some inspiration, check out our list of our favourite campsites in the UK.
Get to the campsite early.
There's nothing worse than arriving at your campsite late at night when everyone's tired and grumpy, and trying to put a tent up in the rain, or park your camper when you can't see what's around you. Plan to arrive with lots of daylight left, and set off an hour earlier than you usually would so you can sit back and enjoy your journey. The road trip to the campsite can be just as much fun as the camping itself so long as you're not stressed, so put together a playlist of your favourite summery tunes, pack books and snacks for the car and enjoy the ride!
Bring friends: the more the better! Camping is one of those activities that gets better the more people you bring with you. If you've got pals across country you haven't seen in a while, pick a campsite halfway between you and meet there for a few days enjoying each other's company in the great outdoors. Cook lots of food, play games, plan some long walks through the woods around your campsite, and spend long summery nights around the fire catching up.
Cook together. Cooking with your friends or family over a fire is one of life's real pleasures. Plan something that's easy to cook with ingredients that won't go off if they get warm (unless you've got a coolbox - then the sky's the limit!). A big chilli, burritos or a hearty stew are good for feeding a crowd and you can all pitch in and help: get someone chopping onions and peppers, someone stirring and the kids on the washing up!
Store your food in plastic or glass containers to stop it spilling all over your gear. Eggs are a perfect camping food (use them to make pancakes, scrambled eggs, a hearty cooked breakfast or boil them for a trail snack) but no one wants raw yolk all over their sleeping bag: store eggs, flour and other spillable goods in glass mason jars or Tupperware and you won't have to worry about keeping your kit tidy. Bonus: you can fill empty glass jars with battery-operated fairy lights for a gorgeous camping lantern that's much safer than using candles.
Keep your spices and seasonings in a caddy. Keeping everything together makes it easy to find what you need and takes the stress out of outdoor cooking! It'll help keep the cooking area tidy, and when you're finished you can just stow the caddy in your car or van.
Bring healthy(ish) snacks to keep the kids happy! Make up a quick trail mix with raisins, peanuts, pretzels, other dried fruit or even M&Ms in re-usable plastic containers and stash it in your backpack when you head off adventuring. Boiled eggs, banana bread, sliced apples and peanut butter also make good camping snacks that'll stand up to a bit of knocking around in amongst your camping kit.
Bring lots of blankets. You can lay them out around your camp during the day for lounging around in the sun, and when the sun goes down snuggle up and get cosy around the campfire. Pile blankets on the floor of your tent to insulate you against the ground (even in summer you can lose a lot of heat through the ground) and give you a comfier night's sleep.
Go big. Unless you're carrying your tent, go as big as you can for the ultimate comfortable camping experience. Having enough room to move around, lay out all your gear and find things when you need them will make your trip even more enjoyable, and it's great having lots of space under cover in case it rains. If the weather turns bad, retreat to your tent and start up a game of cards or charades: you'll have just as much fun as if the sun was shining!