17 Things I have Learnt About Camping With Kids

So we went camping at the weekend and as we went with several other families there were 17 kids in total between us! *laughs manically* Anyway I just though I’d give you a debrief in case you were thinking of making a similar mistake trip…

1. It will take you approximately 5 hours to pack your car for a two night stay and you will have had 37 different arguments before even leaving the house.


2. When you arrive at the camp site you will feel optimistic, capable and ready to face anything – just like Bear Grylls!


3. You will feel slightly less like Bear Grylls when the Sainsbury’s driver arrives delivering essential supplies of prosecco, halloumi and minted lamb kebabs.


4. You will feel more like what you actually are – a middle class twat on a camping trip.
5. You will have loads of nice food to eat but the children will exist entirely on a diet of crisps and Capri-Sun.
6. There will be so much to do! Make a list so you don’t forget anything…


7. It will be so lovely to see the kids being at one with nature (pissing against the trees and hitting each other with sticks) that it will seem like a good idea to let them stay up long past bedtime. They should sleep in later the next day so it will be fine!


8. You will drink wine from mugs and dance around the camp fire like you are at a 1990’s rave. Why not put your Care Bear onesie on? You are crazy! You are so much fun! You are unstoppable!grumpybear

9.YAWN. Even Rave Bear gets tired eventually. Time to say goodnight. Oops… did you forget you had to sleep in a tent rather than your comfy cosy bed?  *sad face*

where tent

10. You have a lovely blow up mattress but you will fall/get kicked off it in the middle of the night and sleep pushed up to the lining of the tent on top of a spikey rock.
11. You will wake up at 3am and really need a wee but be too cold and drunk to find the toilet. You will feel very glad you bought the kids potty…pisscup

FYI I would certainly never do this I just imagine some people might.

12. Despite going to bed 3 hours later than usual your kids will wake up at 4.30am because of the BASTARD SUN.


13. You will momentarily want to be dead.
14. But you will power on because CAMPING IS FUN! You will all enjoy the nature walk if it kills you.


15. You will watch your kids running, playing, getting filthy dirty and enjoying doing everything that kids should do and you will feel all warm and fuzzy and happy.
16. Well done for being such an excellent parent! Please proceed home to enjoy some lovely, lovely technology.


17. And laundry.



Like my witterings? You can buy my first book here and pre-order my second book here :)


44 thoughts on “17 Things I have Learnt About Camping With Kids

  1. Kiran

    Katie you are a good woman to have agreed to this escapade. Seventeen children and tents? Madness. Glad you are now home to the land of iPads and coffee machines. Xx

  2. Beta Mummy

    Oh god, this is fricking hilarious – I too went camping with my kids last weekend, and can relate to pretty much everything you’ve said!
    I’m planning a camping blog post once I’ve recovered from the trauma…
    Can’t wait for your book to come out, it’s gonna be great!
    P.S. I too would NEVER piss in a kids’ potty. Nope.

  3. Mum-Work-Repeat

    Absolutely brilliant and spot on. We went camping a few weeks ago and had to shoe horn everything into the car. Stayed up way too late drinking and also paid for it in the early hours of the next morning. If it doesn’t exist already, somebody needs to invent blackout linings for tents! But damn, doesn’t your bed feel great when you get home :-)

  4. Anya from Older Single Mum

    Have only done the day trips to see others who are actually sleeping and, oh yes, the glamping with mattresses and loos. You’ve inspired me to try it rough. No not really, Katie. We have met. You know not, lol! I love you though and admire you for trying and bet you had a blast really and am ordering your book pronto (sounding middle class enough to have a FO Sainsbury’s delivery van on a camping trip. Genius!).

  5. Steph

    I have most definitely taken a wee in a potty & because it was like a horse wee I had to stop half way through & empty it for fear of it over flowing lol. Camping rocks ⛺

    1. Smelly

      ha ha! Soooo true , I never thought I’d admit to it but I did exactly the same – chucking the potty out in the rain in the hope no one would notice!

  6. sylvia bell

    brilliant although you forgot one think, that lovely person in the tent next to you, keeping you awake at night as he is cutting the trees outside with a very big saw….. oh wait he is snoring!

  7. Original Tracey

    As the mother of 3 grown up children ( 2 of whom actually haven’t) I have to agree that camping is nasty. I did it twice using a tent. Once in a week of fog & rain in Cornwall with an 11 month year old, wrapped across my neck,all night, every night, screaming NOOOO! The second time was a week in the same Cornwall in torrential rain with a leaking tent. Springer spaniel had its own tent. 14 yr old daughter shared another with her friend who it emerged the next morning had decided to dye her beautiful blonde hair in the middle of the night to dazzling patchy red. We hadn’t noticed this during the thunder and lightning storm where our sons friend was projectile vomiting over us as well as everywhere else.
    Everything is wet when you wake up. No one tells you this…..If you can’t get ypur kids to sleep at home they definitely won’t in a tent and neither will adjoining friends or strangers in their tents !
    Caravans are better. No insects no spring dew and you can contain the screams from the kids and yourself

  8. Jane O'Neill

    You are a genius! Myself and my husband just cried laughing at this – talk about hitting the nail on the head

  9. Gemma (aka Colleyswobbles)

    I’ve never been camping, but now the father in law has bought us a tent and my husband has watched a few episodes of Bear Grylls The Island, it would seem me and the kids are doomed er I mean destined to go camping this summer. I shall use your blog as a survival guide and pack a vast amount of Capri sun, crisps and glow sticks; a couple of onsies, sainsburys on speed dial, and most importantly gin, lots of gin. On another note, absolutely loving your updates you do make my ribs tickle on the regular. Keep up the good work and hurrah for gin (especially when camping) Gem (aka Colleyswobbles) x

  10. Gemma Pearce

    Ha ha ha.
    All very true but me and my family LOVE camping. We just spent bank holiday in the freezing cold and fog :/ was miserable I admit but when the weathers nice it’s great!
    We go electric hook up and have a heater and fridge etc so yeah it does take HOURS to pack the car.
    And Vango tents have black out linings in the bedrooms, but our tent don’t…luckily my kids sleep in in the tent! But yeah the late nights piss me off, wanna sit and chill with the other half but the kids are still in full pelt come 10pm!!!
    Dare you to try again!!

  11. Sarah

    Love it!

    And then you’ll forget and do it all over again next year!!

    I also just love the new obsession with ‘mini beasts’ that school has encouraged…”hey mum, want to see my snake?”…erm…[it’s a slowworm]. “can the snake sleep in our tent?”, “oh no I think I trod on the snake”, “it’s not moving mummy…save the snake!!!”…cue lots of tears….

  12. Emma T

    This was us last summer, when across a week 7 mums and 18 kids went away (some husbands arrived for the last 2 nights!). We were so proud of ourselves, even when our ‘Camp Bastion’ gazebo was flying off in the high winds and rain on the penultimate day. But the dancing around with wine is certainly true…we’re going again this year!

  13. Speff

    See, whenever I get depressed about the size of our tiny kitchen, or not-much-bigger loo, or the general chaos and clutter around the house, I plan a camping trip for the three of us. Four days and nights of what you have just described (subbing Pasta Choice and Mattesons Smoked Sausage for the Sainsbury”s delivery) and suddenly…on returning home…my loo/kitchen/bed/flat is HUGE! Going to the toilet at 3am is completely FINE! My shower does cold, hot, AND WARM water! Etc, etc. It’s basically a reality check for my life, with added midge bites.

  14. Jo

    I kept the nappy bucket, because somehow I knew its nice soft curled edges would be of benefit someday. I hadn’t quite realised that benefit would be camping trips when my knees were no longer designed for precarious potty squatting…

  15. Nicky

    Love this. All true but still love camping. Don’t feel bad about the potty wee … I had to have an emergency poo in a Tesco carrier bag. 5p well-spent …

    1. Debs

      Just spat my wine all over the keyboard laughing at this comment tonight. I know you posted this a while back, but you are the winner of the Internet tonight in my eyes – thank you!!

  16. Rajeena Holland

    So this is what happens when you actually stay on the camping trip! WOW! I am so glad that we went home after THREE hours…from our GLAMPING holiday…after I had told my son I was going to have him adopted because we couldn’t cope with being confined within the luxury glamping (we are wimps) that we had hired for two days. I spent two weeks buying non-required camping items from Home Bargains, stylishly arranging it all into lovely neat plastic tub boxes. I even bought 4 of those head torches that flash like a mini rave! When we got there, I lovingly unpacked the fairy lights/roberts radio/borrowed camping oven/fluffy rug and even divided the room with like some sort of hippy rug strung up using a box of hooks that I had put together. We absolutely hated it. I would ove to do it again. On my own. Without the kids.

  17. Pingback: Glamping with Kids in Beriwkc Upon Tweed |

  18. Jen Hughes

    It’s all absolutely true. The only thing I would argue with is the unsuitability of gin while camping. There is absolutely no way you will ever assemble a glass, a lemon, a knife, ice, gin and tonic in a tent. Red wine with a screw top drunk from the bottle is more achievable and far less stressful. You won’t care what you are drinking as long as the alcohol content can anaesthetise most of your senses.

  19. BumpBabyToddler

    Ahhhh the morning sun…at 4.30 am…and the lovely headache…LOVE IT (not). Been there, done that…and will do it every year over and over again. I ask myself WHY???? :)

  20. Matt Savage

    Some crazy mad people choose to go camping with other people’s children, for up to two weeks at a time!

    I count myself amongst them. We’re called Scout Leaders (or Cub Scout Leaders, or Guide Leaders, or Brownie Leaders, or Badger Leaders, etc. etc.)

    If you can’t face the prospect of camping yourself, farm out your kids to these silly victims! :)

    Don’t worry about alcohol with these Leaders. Their Rules say they’re *not allowed* to consume alcohol whilst they are directly responsible for other people’s children. It’ll leave you free to consume as much as *YOU* want!

    For the 3am wee, a potty in a tent that might be shared with other adults isn’t really practical. For men, it’s a bit easier – we can use a ‘comfort bottle’, secreted away inside our sleeping bag. Women might want to get products from here: http://www.shewee.com

  21. Karen Clarke

    Haa Haa. I can definitely relate to much of this but drag my lot camping! I once saw a little boy standing taking a pee up the side of his tent one morning. His mummy had obviously told him to pop outside first thing!

  22. Gayle Reilly

    I gave birth to 4 . I certainly never went bloody camping with them. I’m not an idiot. That’s their father’s job. Mine is to stay at home doing mumsy things like moan about all the housework and drink wine while screaming ” and they wonder why I drink?!!”

  23. Meredith Blake

    FFS get a camper van. Go to a festival where they have “activities for kids”. Abandon your kids in the craft tent/circus tent whatever is there. Write your phone number on the kids foreheads. Tell the eldest child that you will be “over there”. Proceed to beer tent… Don’t forget to retrieve kids at sundown… That, my friends, is how you camp. Oh, and as for mornings, pack liberal supplies of breakfast bars and juice, and just throw them at the kids and tell them to piss off. Then get back into bed. In your camper van. Where it’s cool and dark. Stay there until you don’t want to die any more…

  24. Bonzodog

    Remember not to have sex. The walls of the tent are not soundproof and you will just end up embarrassing the kids in the next tent.

  25. Marie Steadman

    When my son suggested camping I made his Dad take him. Never regretted it, not even for a microsecond. I had a lovely evening at the pub with an old friend. I didn’t even feel guilty. Of course, I have depression and that (and a WHOLE lot of therapy) taught me that it’s ok to be selfish every now and then, in fact, it’s healthy!

  26. Heather

    The last time we camped as a family was the year of the eclipse(1999-I had to look it up).We went to France and stayed on a farm/communey thing with a dear friend who arranged for us to stay in an ancient horse drawn caravan.Thankfully there was no horse and it was very comfortable.It was quite wonderful and prompted us to never camp again-hotels,hostels,gites,bunkhouse barns…anything but the discomfort that we had tolerated for years.

  27. Robert kean

    My 36 year old daughter passed this on saying ‘someone is monitoring my kitchen’ as she has 2 under fours with ‘issues’!
    I on the other hand recognise practically everything we went through with her and view her probs as retribution.


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