Camping Essentials Guide for Family Camping in Ireland
So like many of you what this last year has taught me is to value our great outdoors a bit more and the joy that can be found in the simpler and more relaxed way of life. While we have dabbled in a little camping from time to time we have never truly embraced the camping movement but this year we received numerous requests for recommendations on family camping in Ireland thus our interest has been reignited and like you I began researching What Camping equipment do I need?
Camping is a fun, affordable and easy way to escape outdoors with your family. But nothing can ruin a wilderness weekend like forgetting an essential piece of equipment.
Furthermore, there is nothing that screams a good auld family adventure than a camping trip while fresh air, new friends, the great outdoors make happy children that will sleep easy at night and gone are the everyday squabbles such as what’s for dinner and who said what. If you find the right campsite with relaxed family vibe you should make good use of that all important comfortable chair you invested in and sleep soundly under the stars.
While I consider myself a novice, Craig is certainly a more experienced camper than I and has long harboured the dream of bringing the kids camping, discovering the simple life, exploring the wilderness and learning survival skills. I have compromised at bringing the kids camping………
Preparation is the difference between your long-awaited adventure into nature and cross parents, cranky kids and a stressful start to your family holiday. Make sure you invest in a few basics wisely and you can add on the luxuries from there but there is no point in doing a hap hazard approach so make sure you know what camping equipment you need for camping in Ireland.
So whether you are thinking of trying camping for the first time or just investing further in your equipment and you are not sure what to bring here are our ideas for What Camping equipment do I need for camping in Ireland.
1. Tent - What Camping equipment do I need?
First and foremost you need shelter. Buying the tent is the single largest investment so take your time to get it right and there are many different tent layouts and design features to take into account.
The correct layout and design for your will depend on your family size and circumstances. We have recently trialled and tested two of the best tents for family camping and here is a link to our review.
2. Sleeping Mat
Temperatures can drop significantly at nightfall so a good sleeping bag and more importantly mat is essential. Some sleeping mats have a foil base to protect you against the cold rising from the ground. We purchased the self- inflating mats in Lidl this year and they were perfect.
Alternatively, I would suggest purchasing a foil based blanket to lie under your mats.
A fellow camper has also recommended Decathlon’s inflatable camp bed base and while at €70 it is not cheap apparently it is super comfortable.
3. Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Bags come in all shapes and sizes and the right sleeping bag can make all the difference to a restful night’s sleep when you are camping in Ireland.
The mummy style bag tapers towards the feet and is therefore more fitted than a regular rectangular bag improving heat retention. The hood of a mummy sleeping bag also helps keep in the warmth.
A basic rectangular or ‘envelope’ in shape with a zip around two sides are roomier and can be fully opened and used as a blanket. However they are less effective at retaining heat and are best for indoor use, caravanning and summer camping.
We all have the mummy style except for Craig who as the envelope style as he prefers a cooler and roomier option. Most sleeping bags suit everyone under 6 foot but for those under six feet, companies such as Mountain Warehouse do extra-long sleeping bags.
4. Comfortable Chair
A comfortable portable camping chair is quite high up on our list of camping gear essentials as after a fun day of activities, you want to be able to sit back and relax on something far more comfortable than the floor or a mat. So look out for a comfortable seat with comfy armrests and a pouch for your drink as it a must have essential for the adults in any camping set up.
If you choose a good family friendly campsite you should be able to enjoy a relaxing evening on your chair while the kids have fun playing with their new friends. Vango have launched a new heated chair this year which I would not mind treating myself too soon.
5. First Aid Kit
A portable first aid kit is undoubtedly a camping must-haves as kids are likely to get a few scratches or bug bites while camping so it’s best to be prepared just in case.
A first aid kit can be purchased from most camping shops and pharmacies or you could make up your own DIY kit just make sure to include a cream for bites and bee stings and leave it in the car as it may come in handy while out on a day trip when you are far from built up areas.
6. Stove Cooker
If you are only heading away for one night you may not need any cooking equipment as a good site with a well-equipped camper’s kitchen may suffice. However, you may have to queue in the current climate.
I always cook at least two dinners such as a curry or Shepard’s pie which I can transport easily to the freezer in the campers kitchen and when you return after a long day with a hungry army you are prepared and it saves you cooking over a hot stove on what is meant to be your holiday too.
With a family I feel you are cooking more so a sturdy yet easy to assemble stove is essential. This year we were delighted to receive a camp chef explorer two stove burner from Vango and it is absolutely ideal for families. Not only is it incredible sturdy around our rowdy bunch but it had enough power to cook a Christmas feast. There is nothing worse than waiting hours to boil a pot of water.
It may look heavy but it was not with it has removable legs making it very portable. It has a wind protector on three sides which is a godsend in our weather. The camp chef explorer stove is on offer at €175.00 down from €200 with The Outdoor Adventure Store.
We also received a portable BBQ to try out from Vango and to be honest while it is not essential I won’t be heading away without it again. BBQ’s can be tricky on a campsite to get the meat just right and the portable BBQ’s are all too often too small and a bit of a pain. This made BBQ child’s play and I even cooked toast and panini’s on it so it’s an allrounder. The Camp Chef BBQ Grill Box is €120 down from €180 with The Outdoor Adventure Store.
7. Pots & Kettle
The Vango Aluminium Cook Kit is a neat little set including three pots, a kettle and a non-stick frying pan, all you need. Best of all they nestle back into each other when you want to put it away so they are the perfect space saver. The Outdoor Adventure Store have these on offer at €34.95 down from €44.95.
Lantern – One very good lantern should do the whole tent. Just invest wisely. The Vango Lunar 250 power lantern will give stay lite for 3.5 hrs and has a built-in rechargeable battery with USB output allowing you to charge your phone or tablet.
Best of all it is strong and durable when little hands get at it. The Outdoor Adventure Store have it on offer for €29.95 down from €39.95.
9. Dining Furniture
I would recommend staying away from the easy to fold table and chair units. While they are small and easy to fold away they can be flimsy and offer less space for adults and a whole family.
After trialling the Vango Orchard XL 182 Table and Chair set I can highly recommend it. The table and chairs fold into a neat bag and while it does take up a little more room, I was glad to have a spacious dining area on the campsite. Its steel frame is a lot more durable and it is very sturdy when we are all around it. Again, you are in luck as The Outdoor Adventure Store has it on offer for €179.00 down from €199.
10. Cooler Box
When camping with the family a cooler box is a must have. Make sure it is big enough for all the food essentials but not too big that it takes up too much room on route.
The Vango Pinnacle Wheelie 45L cool box is ideal and we have used it to store all our household fridge items and still had a little room.
Furthermore, it stays cool for 100n Hrs so it was perfect for three or four days camping. It is not too expensive at €89 (normally €99) with The Outdoor Adventure Store.
Let’s face it with the Irish weather, it is going to rain from time to time and even on sunnier days the evenings can be quite chilly. Throw in a small blow heater or you can purchase the Kampa Diddy Camping Heater for around €25 and turn it on for about 30 minutes before bedtime. It takes that dampness out of the air on wetter days or just makes it cosy when the sun goes down. We find this a godsend and you worry less about the kids getter cold.
Power and Small But Critical Items
While a portable power extension lead is extremely handy, you do not need it immediately unless you want power in the tent. I personally could not camp without one as you can charge phones securely and plug in a heater. We use a the Vango Roll Away Power Supply.
Other handy items are Matches, Bottle Opener, Brush and Pan, Cups, Bin Bags, Cutlery and Crockery!
It’s always worth creating your own checklist of What Camping equipment you need before any trip and I would not recommend going out and buying everything today. Borrow as much as you can from friends to try first and don’t be afraid to ask fellow campers on the site as they are always happy to share ideas.
Each family have their own preferences and I have held out on buying proper clothing storage as I am still figuring out which suits me best.
Some items you will think look great but may be awkward to transport or too large for your tent so try out as much as you can first. Check out campsites with a good campers kitchen and you will not need to invest in cooking equipment straight away to keep your costs down and help you determine which works best for you.
Once you have the basics of shelter and warmth to start you can add from there. Remember its camping and meant to be simple!