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What To Take Camping: A Mum’s Sanity Saving Guide

What to take on a family camping weekend

What to take camping: A Mum's Sanity Saving Guide
There’s something about the fresh air and the stress-free nature of camping that breeds good memories and experiences for me. We used to camp every year for three weeks at Broken Head, just out of Byron Bay during the summer holidays, when I was a kid. Some of my best childhood memories are from camping.

I still love camping but we haven’t done it near enough. You know how life just gets in the way?

In typical Eva fashion, I’ve probably left booking too late for an Easter family camping trip, but I really want to go to Stradbroke Island and camp by the beach. I must admit, it makes me a little nervous because the last time we went camping, I only had one child, this time, I’ll have two! This means that we (ok, more so I) need to be ultra organised if it is to be a truly stress-free holiday.

Am I kidding myself? A stress-free holiday with kids? Is that even possible for a mum?

Anyway, I can at least try to reach that dream by planning and list making, outlining all the things we need to take camping instead of relying on memory which is what I tend to do and I’m not very good at it anymore.

The moment we leave the tent pegs behind (particularly sand pegs for the beach…I’ve learnt that there is a difference between regular pegs and sand pegs) or forget to pack the insect spray, I’m pretty sure everything will go pear shaped.

I asked Gordon Bayne, Head of Travel at Scoopon for some savvy family camping packing tips for this mum who has never before been camping as a family of four. I figure Gordon will cover all the bases! Here’s what he suggested.what to take camping

Campsite Set-Up

Visualising how the campsite will be set up is a good start to knowing what you need. A good tip is to pack a tarp to lay the tent on as the dew in the morning can seep through the tent. Remember to pack a hammer to get those tent pegs snug in the ground. You’ll also need a fold up table and chairs for the communal area to cook and eat.

  • Waterproof tent (pegs)
  • Tarps
  • Rope
  • Fold up table
  • Fold up camping chairs
  • Hammer/tools to help secure tent


It’s not much fun sleeping on an uneven surface, which is why a blow-up mattress is vital to a good night’s sleep. Bring an air pump so you don’t spend hours blowing up mattresses. A repair kit is also useful should any holes appear. Pillows and sleeping bags are essential, but bring extra blankets as it can get very cold at night.

  • Sleeping bags
  • Sheets/blankets
  • Pillows
  • Air mattresses
  • Air pump
  • Repair kit for mattress

what to take camping


When it comes to camping and eating, the best policy is to keep it simple. Check ahead to see if where you’re camping has a BBQ. If not, pack a gas stove. Bring foods that are easy to cook and don’t require too much washing up such as snags, burger patties, eggs, bread, fruit, precut vegetables and deli meats. Pack a plastic tub for washing up as well as detergent, garbage bags and paper towels for cleaning up.

  • Stove with gas
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cutlery/cups/bowls/plates
  • Detergent
  • Plastic tub to wash dishes
  • Paper towels/garbage bags
  • Marshmallows (for smores)


If you’re only going away for the weekend you needn’t bring the whole bathroom cabinet, just the essentials. This is especially the case if you’re staying at a cabin. The whole family can share a bar of soap, toothpaste and skin care such as moisturiser and sun cream. Wet wipes will become your best friend if you don’t have running fresh water at your disposal.

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Thongs to wear in the shower
  • Toilet paper
  • Bath towels
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen
  • Hair/skin care
  • Wet wipes

For the Baby

Camping with an infant can be challenging if you’re unprepared. Bring a backpack carrier for any potential hikes, formula, baby food and enough bottled water. In addition to your wash up tub, pack another to use as a bath tub. When it comes to bedding, seek out a travel crib so you don’t have to bring the bassinet and make sure to pack extra blankets.

  • Backpack carrier for hiking
  • Formula/food/bottled water
  • Extra bibs
  • Nappies (extra)/Nappy bag
  • Wipes (extra)
  • Plastic tub for a bath tub
  • Toys (as well as teething toys)
  • Travel crib /extra blankets

For the big kids

For the kids that are a little bit older, bring plenty of things to keep them entertained. And by this I don’t mean an iPad, I mean bikes, scooters, torches and walkie talkies. However, this means you might need to pack extra clean clothes!

  • Bikes/scooters
  • Board games/cards
  • Favourite toys/beach toys
  • Flashlights
  • Walkie talkies
  • First aid kit

Essentials You Will Probably Forget

Some of these items may fly under the radar while you’re thinking of the obvious.

  • Chargers
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches
  • Can/bottle opener
  • Insect repellent
  • Jump leads

Do you love camping? What is an essential on your ‘what to take camping’ list?


Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)
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