real life

"I went camping with my kids and lived to tell the tale."

Excilor Protector Spray
Thanks to our brand partner, Excilor Protector Spray

Camping is a fantastic way to make memories, especially when you have young children. As a mother of three (and another on the way) I have recently come around to the idea of camping holidays with the family. Gone are the days of laying by a pool sipping cocktails. These days it’s about keeping costs down, kids happy and the general public more or less undisturbed by my offspring.

The idea of camping with children used to send me into a panic, hyperventilating in a corner. However, I’ve since realised that so long as you’re organised, camping offers families some of the best options for getting away from the ‘real world’.

The key to a successful camping trip is being organised. Image: Supplied.

Now, there are a thousand ‘Camping Essentials’ checklists available if you do a quick Google search. But here's what you really need to enjoy your camping trip:

1. Some clothes. Not many.

While you’re away camping you still do need to dress your children. Although, I guess that depends on where you go and the weather. Head somewhere really remote and you could just let them nude up and save on the packing altogether. Your choice.

If you’re not quite ready to adopt the ‘naturalist’ lifestyle (yeah, me neither) think carefully about what you need, and what you don’t. As parents, we tend to throw almost every item of clothing into their bags ‘just in case’.

But the beauty of camping is that they can wear the same t-shirt and shorts for days on end without anyone batting an eyelid. Is that stain on their shirt just from this morning, or barbecue sauce from three days ago? Who knows! Who cares! There’s dirt, sand and suncream everywhere so just accept that your kids will be filthy and vow to scrub them senseless when you get home.

Your kids will be covered in sand, dirt and suncream. Enjoy it. Image: Supplied.

 2. A well-thought-out first aid kit.

This one seems obvious but it’s what you put in the first aid kit that will set you apart from the first timers. Band-aids, pain relief and antiseptic cream will always be needed, but you’d be smart to chuck in a few cold packs as well. You know, the gel-filled ones you can buy from the chemist. If your kids are anything like mine you will be at your campsite for approximately 20 minutes before one of them runs into a tree.

Your parenting skills will be judged far more positively if your child is nursing their injury with a penguin-shaped cold pack, rather than one of Dad’s cold tinnies wrapped to their head with a tea towel.

Another thing you’ll definitely want on board is Excilor Protector Spray, because bringing home memories is one thing, but fungal infections are a whole other ball game. The age-old ‘thongs in the shower’ is only mildly beneficial if your children keep the damn things on their feet in the first place and don’t turn their amenity block time into a game of ‘slap my brother in the face with a wet thong’.

Excilor Protector Spray offers eight-hour protection against campsite nasties like warts, Athlete's foot and nail fungus and can be used on the smallest members of the clan from two years. Also great for saunas and swimming pools, think of this as mental insurance to that ‘ick’ feeling we all get making our way into the communal shower block.


3. Torches and head lamps.

Making sure you have the right nighttime lighting will really make the difference to your camping trip. Equip the children with head torches so that they can get around hands free at night, but do yourself a favour and replace the bulbs with something friendly on the eyes because there’s nothing quite like a child waking you up in the pitch dark, with a fluorescent head torch pointed right into your retinas.

You'll need a torch for when the sun goes down. Image: Supplied.

Save the real power for your own torches, which will help you navigate the campsite after dark searching for a long lost cuddly toy that they can’t possibly sleep without and who may be around here somewhere, or who may be down at the sand dunes. Either way, you’ll want optimum wattage.

4. Everyday essentials you actually like.

Some people like to go with whatever’s on special at the time when they do their camping shopping. I’m talking essentials like scourers and dishwashing liquid (but I guess the same mentality can be used for ‘luxury’ items like soap and toothpaste). For me, I take brands that I like because let’s face it; it’s highly likely that I’ll be the only person using said dishwashing liquid and therefore, I’ll buy what I prefer thank you very much.

5. Plastic bags.

Huh? That’s pretty standard isn’t it? Yeah, I guess it is, but I feel the simple plastic bag is so crucial to a successful camp trip that it needs to be included on such a prestigious list as this one. Rubbish - that’s a given - but the humble ‘placky bag’ will also save you from a projectile car vomit, having to hold your child’s collection of stinky sea shells they just couldn’t leave behind and contain the stench of the swimming costume you found still damp in the bag four days after it went missing. Just make sure not to leave any around the camp site.

6. Pre-prepared food and snacks.

Pre-planning your camping meals is a great way to stay organised and make sure you leave home with everything you’ll need for the trip away. The same goes for snacks. I’m talking about yours, not theirs.

Is it really camping if you don't have a BBQ? Image: Supplied.

For example; night one’s menu will consist of a sausage sizzle with yoghurt for desert. After the children are in bed, the menu will continue with an entire block of Cadbury’s finest paired with a very personable merlot. To prevent the kids from finding your stash, keep it wrapped up in a lettuce leaf. The perfect crime.

What are your camping essentials? Tell us your tips below.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Excilor Protector Spray