Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Published June 1st 2020
Remember these things for a fantastic winter camping trip
With Covid-19 restrictions being lifted across Australia in time for the winter school holidays, many of us may find we're out of practice when it comes to packing for camping trips. And while adults are often able to do without certain comforts for a night, children may be less resilient to essential items being left at home.
Families across Australia will be able to enjoy camping again these winter holidays
Even in warmer states such as Queensland, winter nights can become chilly, This drop in temperature often becomes even more pronounced as one moves further inland and away from the moderating effect of the ocean. Warm socks and thick, preferably windproof jackets are a must, while gloves and beanies should be considered in colder areas.
Having warm enough clothes can be the difference between success and a camping disaster
2. Keeping warm at night:
Sleeping arrangements should be considered, in particular, whether mattresses will be placed directly on the ground or not. Air mattresses, in particular, allow the cold to transfer directly from the ground to the bodies lying on top of them. When camping in tents this can be offset to some degree by placing foam mats or even cardboard beneath each mattress. Hot water bottles are a great idea for really cold locations, and if you camp with a dog they may find that they become a sought-after source of joy and warmth.
Keeping warm at night is key to a great family camping trip
Camping trips almost inevitably require some time spent in the car. This can be really hard for children, especially younger toddlers whose bodies are telling them to run, jump, and climb every moment that they are awake! Over time families will often discover which games and songs work best for them. Some, such as I Spy may need some adjustment - for example, if children are too young to spell then colours could be used for the game. Favourite books may gain parents some precious kilometres, as may a favourite DVD or YouTube video. Some days each of us just needs to do what is necessary to reach that golden family time at the destination campsite.
A harmonious backseat is integral to camping trips with kids
Although children generally love to explore, each child will have particular items from home that help them feel secure in novel environments. Camping often means a change of routine, and certainly a change of location. My son had a cat that he loved, and my daughter a puppy that went everywhere with her. Taking these precious friends along on camping trips often helps with bedtime routines, and generally adds to each child's pleasure as they "teach" their friend all that they are learning on the trip.
Very important friends can help kids transition from home to camping
5. A campfire (and marshmallows!)
Finally, no camping trip ever feels complete without a campfire, and the warmth they provide is certainly appreciated when camping in winter. Children - and often their parents too - delight in post-dinner / pre-bedtime routines that are unique to camping, such as toasting marshmallows. While young children may need help with this, toasting marshmallows can be integrated into learning about fire safety for older kids who don't only gain a delicious treat, but also life lessons and a feeling of competence.
The warmth and joy of a campfire will help create memories that last a lifetime
With these winter essentials added to the usual list of camping items, Australian families should be ready to hit the road in time for the winter school holidays!