HomeKidsOutdoor child!

Outdoor child!

Camping and exploring the outdoors with children is great fun. All you need to ensure is that you’re properly prepared. And that there are enough snacks!

Looking for a way to disconnect, ditch the screens and spend time with the family? Fortunately we are spoiled for options, and camping in and around our beautiful country should be top of your wanderlust list, especially with the family. However, the most important thing is to be organised and prepared, and of course have the right gear to make things efficient, easy and stress-free.

We chatted to Jamie Owen, marketing manager for Thule SA, outdoor enthusiast and dad to three-year-old Bryn and six-month-old Liam, who understands the challenges of bringing the little ones along for a weekend outdoor adventure.

Here are Jamie’s top tips and suggestions to keep in mind when you’re planning your next camping adventure with the family:

- Advertisement -

How do you transport your gear?

Any family trip requires taking a lot of gear with you but a rooftop cargo carrier opens up a world of possibilities on your travels. Rooftop cargo carriers are also a much safer option both in terms of overall driving as well as the way in which your belongings are secured, all while having a minimal effect on your vehicles fuel consumption.

The extra space in a rooftop cargo carrier means you can pack everything, and the kitchen sink, when going on holiday, including strollers, fishing rods and all your camping equipment. Packing items into softer luggage such as duffel bags is also a great way of utilising every available litre that these rooftop cargo carriers offer.

Where should you camp?

Find a flat and somewhat soft, level ground to set up the tent. Preferably a location close to water, then you can go paddling, canoeing and swimming (always remember to take life jackets along for those little ones who aren’t able to swim yet).

What type of tent is best for a family?

It depends on the type of adventure. If you are going to carry it with you on a hike, weight and wind resistance are important considerations for the tent. The tent needs to be big enough to fit the whole family. Rooftop tents are also a great solution and are quick and easy to setup.

They can also be packed away within minutes and you don’t have to connect a bunch of poles and secure them in the ground like a ground tent. All you have to do is unfold the tent and you’re done. This means more time exploring and less time setting up camp!

What to do when camping with kids?

We love to paddle on our SUP boards. The feeling of being just above the surface of the water is amazing! It’s easy, peaceful and safe but still full of adventure for the kids. It’s possible to paddle wherever there is water, whether on a river, a small lake or in the ocean. Make sure the kids are well hydrated and well fed with proper meals and snacks. Let them take part and have something to do rather than just tagging along. The kids can paddle themselves and be a part of the activity!

If you prefer hiking invest in a child carrier backpack. We don’t go anywhere without our Thule Sapling that gives our little one a great view and a comfortable, secure ride. Much like Thule’s hiking backpacks, these carrier backpacks are all about comfort and smart features. The plush, height adjustable, ergonomic seat distributes the child’s weight, while the back panel and hip belt are quick and easy to adjust and effortlessly transitions between parents – a lifesaver on longer hikes!

Mountain biking is great fun for the whole family with trails, speed and nature! You can go longer distances than hiking and it is also easy to bring smaller kids in a bike trailer or bike seat. Bike riding together as a family is a great way to bond outdoors and makes exercise fun for all. Details: thulestore.co.za


Jamie’s top tips

Be patient, remember that everything takes much more time with children. Leave time for the small things, like watching a frog, picking blueberries or playing in muddy puddles! Speed and distance don’t count, what matters is that the kids are having fun!

Find small things for the kids to take responsibility for, this makes them feel important and involved. It can be helping to put up the tent, arranging the sleeping bags inside the tent, handing out the snacks or packing their own bag for the camping trip.

Always remember to…

  • Take along enough snacks!
  • Add extra activities to do during the camping trip (like paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking or biking)
  • Choose a camping spot where the kids can safely play and have a good time
  • Don’t forget a dummy or a favourite stuffed animal for bedtime
  • Invite friends to join the camping trip, or let your older kids bring a friend
  • Make sure you have enough drinking water and the family stays hydrated

Camping with kids checklist

  • Tent
  • Sleeping mats
  • Sleeping bags
  • Clothes
  • Insect repellant
  • Torches and head lamps for the kids
  • Insulating clothing
  • Ultralight kitchen stove (e.g., a Trangia stove) and kitchen utensils
  • Food
  • Duffel bags (if traveling by car)
  • Hiking backpacks (if planning a walk/hike)
  • Toiletry bag with toothbrush, toilet paper, first aid kit, small lightweight towel, hand sanitizer and other hygiene products.
  • Plastic bag for rubbish
  • Knife
- Advertisement -

Must Read