How to Prepare Your Kids for Their First Camping Adventure

Photo of pitched dome tents overlooking mountain ranges.

Some of us have been going on camping trips ever since we were little kids. We only had a few responsibilities while others took care of us. The first time you take your young children camping, you quickly learn how much work is involved in getting ready. This guide will help you prepare your kids for their first camping trip, including where to stay, what to eat, and what to bring along.

Camping is a different dimension than the one you remember when you were a kid

Most families use camping as a way to create fond memories for generations. Children’s camping trips are the kind of memories that can be passed down through generations.

But camping with kids is an entirely different experience than your childhood camping trip. As we age, we appreciate the effort that goes into our youth’s seemingly uncomplicated family camping trips.

Some parents are so overwhelmed with the responsibilities of camping with kids that they give up before even setting up a tent. Parents often ask themselves many “What if” questions, such as:

  • Kids can’t sleep
  • They come across a wild animal
  • Hate camping food
  • They are not having fun

Following these guidelines will ensure that your trip goes smoothly. When everything is planned and prepared, you can give all your attention to your children without worrying about whether or not you forgot something. If you want to take camping with your family to a higher level, include the children in the preparations. This way, you inspire children to appreciate the outdoors and look forward to their next trip.

A family roasting marshmallows by the campfire.
Nothing is better than family stories before bedtime by a warm campfire

How to choose the best possible campground?

Before leaving, you should choose a campground and a spot for your family camping trip. Remember to prepare your kids for their first camping by picking a campground oriented for families and a suitable campsite.

After settling on a campground, it’s time to choose a specific spot. Throughout your visit, you’ll be resting there. If you want to have a great time camping with your family, you should be as selective about your campground as you would be when choosing a new place to live. For simplicity’s sake, you should ensure that the campsite is close to the bathroom; in case of night departures. Additionally, try not to camp too close to the water for the safety of your children.

Your first night at camp

A million possible scenarios run through parents’ minds when planning a family camping trip. But for every problem, there is a solution. And, as we mentioned earlier, things will be challenging. But that’s what makes it an adventure. It’s essential to pack the camping gear and bring your gear with you, and the rest of that you can compensate in another way. The necessary equipment includes sleeping bags, as well as pads, blankets, and sheets.

Men talking by a campfire about how to prepare your kids for their first camping.
Camping does not represent constant care for children; everyone should enjoy it.

Choose a tent that fits the size of your family

Tents are generally made according to how many people they receive. If you bring a tent for two people, it will be difficult for you. As an investment, you can buy a tent for three or even four people so that they can enjoy even greater comfort. Of course, remember things like sleeping pads, mattresses, or portable cribs.

Choose a camping bag according to the weather conditions in which you are camping

It is essential to choose the right camping bag. This means you choose a bag that suits the weather conditions you are camping in. For example, you will not take a bag for winter in sub-zero temperatures if you are camping in the middle of summer. Children can be nervous because of the heat, and if their sleep is disturbed, the nightmare begins for you.

When it comes to sleep, don’t be strict with your children. Let them stay up later than usual. Nothing is better than family stories before bedtime in front of a warm campfire.

Tent with an opened side looking at waterfalls.
If you want to prepare your kids for their first camping, pick a good camping tent and a suitable bag.

Tips for preparing and enjoying meals while camping

Camp meals are often simple and back to basics. Children usually love the simplest options. Don’t worry about what the child will want to eat on the camping trip. After an exhausting day where they run and have activities in nature, they will not be very picky when tired. If you want to play it safe, you can create meals ahead of time at home, so all you do at the camp is reheat pre-prepared meals.

Some of the most common meals you can take are sandwiches, meals you have already prepared, and snacks. When camping, children are always hungry. Pack healthy, high-energy snacks. Remember to bring water. Plenty of water. Due to numerous activities throughout the day, children will always be thirsty.

You can have a barbecue to give them an authentic experience during camping. This means you can arrange pieces of meat on sticks and place them on the fire. These meals are prepared quickly, and children love to lick their fingers after them.

It’s not a nightmare if you have to prepare your kids for their first camping

If you and the kids need a break, go camping and have fun. Since you made a plan, packed all your things, and showed up on time, you can enjoy it. Take in the crisp air, breathtaking views, and smokey smell of a bonfire as it drifts through the woods. It’s time for youngsters to use nature as their playground, school, and soccer field.

Join them in discovering the wonders of nature and spending time together outdoors. Simply said, camping is for everyone, not just the young. Everyone in the family can enjoy camping. No, it won’t be as carefree as when you were a child. Overall, if you follow up on how to prepare your kids for their first camping and put in the necessary preparations, you shouldn’t have any major concerns. To put it simply, the greatest is yet to come.

How to Choose the Right Tent for Camping in Ireland

The tent is possibly the most important item when it comes to camping. While other options exist such as the bivvy bag and hammock, tents are more suited to the conditions in Ireland. Not every tent is suited to every type of adventure and certain things need to be considered to find a tent that’s right for your adventure:

What size should it be? Which features should it have? Is the weight or colour of a tent important? Is this tent something that you can afford?

In this post, I’d like to take you through some things to consider before investing in a tent. This will help you decide what type of tent is right for your upcoming adventure.

The Season, Size and Weight of a Tent

It firstly depends on what type of adventure you have in mind. For instance, if you plan to go car camping, the weight of a tent won’t matter. As for hiking the Wicklow Way, you will want to strike a balance that allows for a reasonably lightweight tent. Then there’s the season, conditions and number of people you need to squeeze inside!

The Season

Ireland has very unpredictable weather patterns. I recommend choosing a 3-season tent. This is considered an “all-rounder”. Aside from extreme weather, this will suffice in most types of conditions in Ireland. Most tents should be up to this task. For more extreme weather, you’ll need a formidable 3-season tent to withstand strong winds and heavy rain or snow. All considered, a decent 3-season tent should be enough to protect you from the wind and wet-weather conditions.

The Size

How many people will sleep in the tent? Each tent will display a specific size that states one-man tent, two-man tent etc. However, this size will also change with each brand. That is to say, there’s no “industry standard” and some are more spacious than others.

For Car Camping – Size won’t be an issue when you stay on a designated campsite with a car. There’s plenty of space and you don’t need to carry the tent. This means you can pick a tent with whatever special features catch your eye. If you go wild camping and take the car, you won’t want a tent so big that it attracts attention.

For Backpacking – I recommend that you pay close attention as the size will determine the weight that you end up carrying. As a rule, I always go one size bigger. I choose a two-person tent for solo camping and a three-person tent for two people. This is because most “two-person” tents feel rather cramped and small for two people. I also prefer to have lots of space for moving around and keeping my backpack inside. I’m happy to carry that extra bit of weight on my back in order to have this extra space.

Tip – Choose 20 square feet per person for a bit more room and 15 square feet per person for something more compact.

The Weight

You definitely need to think about weight if you intend to carry this tent in your backpack. It will be the heaviest item in your bag and a weight that you can’t lighten until you replace it. At the same time, remember that safety is your number one priority. You should never choose a lightweight tent that may not withstand the conditions and changing environment in Ireland.

A Quick Note About Lightweight and Ultralight Tents

The material on ultralight tents is rather thin and the poles are much lighter than a standard tent. It’s important to know that durability is not sacrificed. These poles etc are often stronger than you might find with a heavy tent. This superior material and design are why lighter tents are more expensive. Most long distance hikers in particular are happy to pay more in order to carry less.

What Else Should You Keep in Mind?

The “Peak Height” of Your Tent

The height of a tent will dictate how spacious it feels inside. The “peak height” is the distance between the ground and the top of the tent. This will determine whether or not you can sit up comfortably in the tent. For car camping, this will also illustrate if you can stand up and walk comfortably around the inside. Also, tents with vertical walls can feel more spacious as they offer more shoulder room.

The Tent Door

I never really cared about the entrance of a tent until I went on my first multi-day hike. In short, having more than one door is very useful. It means you don’t have to climb over another person to get in/out when sharing the tent. I also prefer the side door as it feels easier to pass through – but this is my opinion.

The Vents and Vestibules

Mesh and tents are not to be overlooked. Vents allow a tent to feel less stuffy and reduce the amount of condensation inside. This means vents are even more important on a single-walled tent. As for vestibules, these small porch-like areas are great for storing your bag or keeping your shoes and any wet gear.

The Color

The colour of a tent is important for wild camping in particular. A bright orange tent is more likely to stand out or attract unwanted attention. More specifically, I prefer to go with green or brown tents (natural colours) for wild camping. Preference is also important and light colour tents allow more sunlight to pass through the walls which is very important to me in the mornings!

The Footprint

Footprints are often ignored by hikers but they create the perfect barrier between your tent and the ground. I suggest investing in a lightweight footprint. This will keep the tent dry but also protect the fabric from any loose stones, branches or sharp objects on the ground.

Maybe you want a little more help with choosing the right tent? Here are a few of my suggestions to get you started.

My Tent Recommendations for Camping in Ireland

Hiking Tent for Wild Camping in the Mountains

The Vango Banshee Pro 200 is my favourite tent for wild camping in Ireland. It has a low centre of gravity which enables the tent to withstand heavy winds and rain. There’s just enough space inside for one person and a backpack. The green colour is useful for blending in with the environment. I have many very expensive tents but the Vango Banshee Pro 200 has outperformed most on many occasions. For a two-person tent, you can also upgrade to the Vango Banshee Pro 300. By the way, I carried this tent for the entirety of my 3,000km walk around Ireland a few years ago.

Check out more hiking tents here

Banshee Pro 200 – Vango

For Car Camping with the Family on a Campsite

The Avondale 5-person Airbeam by Outwell is a spacious tent that will suit a family or friends that wish to camp together on a campsite. It has a lot of headroom (height) and a specially designed ventilation system that makes it feel airy inside. The many ropes and pegging points allow for the tent to be secured properly. For something smaller or more affordable, the Huntsville Twin 600 by Easy Camp is a very practical option that features twin facing doors and a large living area inside.

Check out more family tents here

Avondale 5 Person Airbeam – Outwell

For a Multi-Day Hike on the Wicklow Way, Kerry Way etc

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person tent has been on my wishlist since hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I used a similar tent back then but many of my fellow hikers were using this tent and I’ve wanted it ever since. The tent is super light (3lb 2oz) which is something every long distance hiker will appreciate! The green colour also makes it ideal for blending in with the environment. Aside from the spacious interior, you’ll find this durable 3-season tent the perfect companion for a multi-day hike.

Check out more Hiking tents for multi-day hikes here

Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person tent – MSR

For a Budget Alternative for Wild Camping or Multi-day Hikes

The Inis 200 by Rock n River is incredible value and a green dome tent that blends in nicely with natural scenery. With plenty of room inside, the tent is ideal for one or two persons and the tent is rigid and fully waterproofed. There’s also a nicely sized vestibule in front with a mud flap and gear pockets for smaller items inside.

Check here for more great value adventure tents

Inis 200 – Rock N River

For a Different Night of Wild Camping in Fair Weather

I tell my friends that a bivvy bag is like a waterproof sleeping bag and this is partially true. A bivvy bag is more useful than it sounds. It is a great way to sleep outside, while feeling more “connected” to your surroundings. The Stratosphere Tent by Snugpack is a lightweight one-person bivvy. It’s a great alternative that promises a more personal or immersive encounter with the outdoors. That being said, I only recommend a bivvy bag to experienced campers and during decent weather.

Check out more hiking tents here

Stratosphere – Snugpak

Final Thoughts

You might notice my favourite tents for camping in Ireland are neither the most extravagant nor the most expensive options. There’s a lot to be said for experience and these tents have always performed well for me. That said, everyone will have their own preference. The above guidelines should at least help you find the right tent for whatever adventure you have in mind.

What Goes in my Pack in Winter?

I’ve taken quite a few long distance hikes in recent years, from walking around Ireland and walking the Camino to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in America. These trips were very different in terms of climate and logistics but I still managed to use much of the same equipment on each one. That being said, the winter weather is not to be underestimated in Ireland and especially warm gear is essential for this time of year.

But what exactly should you carry in the Winter months?

Here’s a list of what goes into my pack in Winter…

The Big Four – My Shelter, Mattress, Sleeping Bag & Backpack

Tent – Vango Banshee Pro 200

If I had a few extra bob, I might invest in the ultralight MSR Hubba Hubba NX. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that my Vango Banshee Pro 200 continues to find its way onto my packing list for every trip here in Ireland. It’s green which helps this tent blend in with the environment but more importantly, it performs surprisingly well in most weather conditions and has just enough space inside for both myself and the backpack – I recommend keeping your backpack inside at this time of year.

Mattress – Trek 3 Compact Mat

I have a foam mattress and a Thermarest and use both for camping in Winter. But a proper Thermarest is needed at the very least to keep you off the cold ground underneath. Weight is usually the reason for a difference in price between these mattresses. The lighter the mattress, the higher the price and I find the Vango Trek 3 Compact Mat is quite affordable, while the Neo Air would be my dream mattress!

PS. It might seem as though I’m biased toward Vango in some way but that’s not the case. I’ve tried so many options and Vango continues to outperform in many cases.

Sleeping Bag – North Face Blue Kazoo

I used a North Face Blue Kazoo for many years and it served me well. But it wasn’t always warm enough and a sleeping bag liner is now required to get a decent night of sleep in the winter months. For this reason, I am looking at a few sleeping bag options such as the Thermarest Questar. Although some sleeping bags might seem a little too warm, it’s important to remember that you can often regulate this temperature. Opening the sleeping bag is one way to do this and it’s certainly better than shivering the night away in the cheapest bag you could find. Just so you know, a cold weather sleeping bag will have more synthetic or goose down insulation and will often have zippers above the shoulders and a hood to keep in the heat.

My Backpack – Osprey Exos 58

If you’re going for quick overnight camp in Winter, it’s still necessary to carry more gear than you might in the summer months. That’s why I often use my biggest backpack for the winter months. It should be remembered that carrying a slightly bigger backpack doesn’t add a lot to your base weight if you pay close attention to the contents. The Osprey Atmos AG 65 is a nice alternative to the Exos.

My Winter Clothing

My Shoes – Merrell Moab

I wore Altra Lone Peak shoes for my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and these trail shoes are incredibly comfortable. However, I also wore the same type of shoes for my walk around Ireland and it just wasn’t the same. It’s obvious now but the wet and muddy conditions in Ireland were much different to the mostly dry landscapes in America. I have been really impressed by the Moab which keep my feet dry, while providing great support and protection for hiking in Ireland. If you prefer boots, there is also a boot version of the Merrell Moab that you should check out.

My Socks – 1000 Mile Socks

When I came back from America, I had fully realized the importance of hiking socks. There was an American brand called Darn Tough that really impressed and so my mission was to find a similar type of brand/sock on my return to Ireland. I wore several brands on my walk around Ireland last year but 1000 mile were the only socks that lived up to the job. They are warm, durable and comfortable – enough said!

Underwear – Ex-Officio

Have you heard of these before? Ex Officio Underwear is comfortable, light and quick to dry. Since I began wearing this type of underwear, I always wear and carry them in my pack.

Gloves – One Light/One Waterproof

It’s important to have more than one pair of gloves and I almost always need to rotate these gloves in the winter months. This is often because the first pair gets wet. But I also like to have a rather light pair of woolly gloves for milder days or for wearing inside the tent at night.

Base Layer and Middle Layer

Aside from the long johns I mentioned already, I usually wear and carry a polyester or wool top that can wick away perspiration. This fabric will help keep the skin dry and warm. I will also have a sweater as a middle layer but some hikers/campers will prefer something heavier like a fleece. If the middle layer is not that heavy, just make sure your outer layer (jackets) are sufficiently warm for the environment/conditions.

Jacket – Regatta Down Jacket

Believe it or not, I wore a down jacket from Penney’s on my walk around Ireland and also using a Regatta puffy jacket at this time. But that also meant carrying a bulky jacket that was rather difficult to squeeze into my backpack. I’m personally thinking about buying either the Arete Hooded jacket or the Lightline jacket – both by Mountain equipment. Either way, this type of jacket is essential and a great item for wearing inside the tent on cold nights.

Rain Jacket – North Face Soft Shell

My North Face soft shell has lasted through multiple trips over the last five years. I’ve been looking at this jacket and also this jacket by mountain equipment.

Headwear – Beanie Hat, Baseball Cap & Buff

I wear a baseball cap when it rains because I like how it shields my face and eyes from the elements. But the beanie hat is essential and something I wear at every opportunity – even when I jump into my sleeping bag. A buff/snood/morf is also a lifesaver in windy conditions and will save your face and lips unnecessary discomfort.

Trousers & Rainproof Pants – Sprayway Rask

Rain pants are not only small and lightweight but also an absolute necessity for hiking or camping in winter. It’s just so important to have waterproof layers to keep everything underneath as dry as possible. Even in light rain, I will often stop to put on my waterproof pants to ensure a comfortable day of hiking and a dry night in the tent. The Sprayway Rask are comfortable and breathable, while also light and compact for packing away.

Cooking Gear in My Backpack

I have a small MSR pocket stove which is fantastic. However, I sometimes long for the ease and convenience of a Jetboil. Cooking can seem like a chore in winter, especially when it gets cold after a long day hiking and a simple cooking system is worth the money. I also have a titanium pot, mug, spork and tiny kettle for morning coffee.

PS. Don’t forget matches and a lighter as backup.

Food and Water for Cooking in Winter

I always make drinking water a priority and use a water filter to purify anything taken from rivers. It’s a nightmare to run low on water whilst cooking in the evening so the best way to avoid this from happening is to carry more than you think you will need. For food, I take meals which are quick and easy to cook which makes ready made meals such as this pasta and meatballs meal by Wayfarer for camping in winter. Otherwise, oats, cereal bars, chocolate, biscuits and a bagel with cream cheese will often find a way into my backpack!

Other Accessories in My Backpack

Headlamp – Petzl Actik Core

I know LED Lenser is getting some proper traction and rave reviews in the outdoor industry. I’d love to have one but honestly, I find no reason to do so until my Petzl Actik Core gives out or gets lost. It’s a powerful headlamp with 350 Lumens and several modes between which you can alternate while hiking, cooking, pitching the tent or even reading at night.

Map, GPS & App

You really need to have a map at the very least and while paper maps are good, I personally find a GPS app such as or Google maps extremely useful in the outdoors. Needless to say, you should have your phone and take a power bank to ensure this can be charged or recharged whenever needed. I also hike with my phone on airplane mode which will help conserve your battery throughout the trip.

Toiletries & Luxuries

I carry very little toiletries and aside from soap and toothpaste/brush, I can only think of lip balm as a recommendation to carry. As for other items, toilet paper and a small spade will sometimes come in handy and anything else that is small and important to you.

Final Thoughts

I carry more weight in the winter months and always err on the side of caution. It’s best to carry “too much” and focus on what gear can keep you dry and warm. As for the process itself, it’s just so important to keep clothing and gear as dry as possible and not to wait until you are wet or cold before adding layers to protect against the elements.

Anyway, that’s all for now so thanks for reading and please do enjoy camping this winter!

In praise of Winter Camping

Winter is the perfect time for camping.  Yes, we know that this is a controversial statement and are well aware most people see it as an activity only suited for days when the sun is busy splitting stones and a heat haze rises off the horizon.   If you curtail your camping only to the hazy days of summer, you will miss cold misty mornings, an unshared wilderness, the high starlit skies of winter and the joy of hot drinks cupped in warm hands around the campfire.

Ireland often has ideal hiking weather from late Autumn to Early Spring.  Dry cold days with winter sunshine are perfect for taking to the trails. Camping at the end of a long trek, under a clear starlit sky can be idyllic end to an expedition and although you don’t have to worry about insect bites, dehydration and falling over other hikers, there are other considerations to winter camping  The secrets to successful winter camping is quite simple!  Take the right gear with you and follow some common sensical advice!

The right Winter Camping gear

You can expect to pay a little more for winter weight camping gear.  That pop up festival tent is not going to cut it.  The Outdoor Adventure Store selection of cold weather Trekking Tents gives you plenty of options. To make that escape to the winter hills, you’ll need a lightweight tent that is strong enough to withstand the toughest weather conditions. Explore our range of mountaineering tents from top brands such as MSR, Force10, Snugpak and Vango.  They are all still relatively light for carrying, yet provide great space to weight ratio, plus strength and stability so you can simply enjoy the adventure.   Choose a decent sleeping-bag designed for the cold.  A mummy bag with a hood is ideal.  Don’t try to get away with a summer weight sleeping bag, unless you have also invested in a good liner and some thermal sleeping gear.  There is nothing worse than a lousy night’s sleep after a great day in the outdoors, so put a little thought into the ground mat too.  Investing in the right ground mat will keep a high-quality insulation barrier between you and the cold hard winter ground and reduce the loss of body heat.

Choose the Campsite carefully

You can have a wilderness experience not too far from the general population just in case the weather turns fierce nasty.  Camping in winter in Ireland is all about the wind chill.  Pitch your tent using natural windbreaks such as tall hedges and trees and always face away from the prevailing wind.  If there is a bit of a slope on the ground, then face the front of the tent downward as cold air will flow into a tent facing uphill.  Surprisingly enough, a valley may be a colder spot in the winter. If you fancy beach camping, keep an eye on incoming tides and perhaps pick a more inland spot for your winter outdoor adventure. Choose campsites that allow fires and/or use a safe fire pit. This amazing Irish hand-made Midos phoenix fire is perfect for toasting your toes and the ubiquitous campfire marshmallows!  Pitch your tent in a safe place and not too far off the beaten track.  You can have a wilderness experience not too far from the general population, for safety and security.

Dress for the weather

Layers are the secret to keeping warm on the winter trail.  Layers on the body. Gloves on the hands. Warm dry boots and socks.  A snazzy hat and you are all set.  Check out our great range of jackets which keep wind, rain and misery out!and don’t forget that a thermal layer underneath, or a layer of thermals underneath, will keep you cosy dry and comfortable on the trail. It is easy to forget to hydrate when camping in the winter, so be sure to drink plenty of water as you would in the summer months. Don’t forget the torch, stove and lots of food to keep you going.

Enjoying the best spots without anyone else around

Winter camping means bagging all the best camping sites, with no tourists, day campers, bugs or midges to bother you.  This is definitely because people will think you crazy. Having said that, off season camping is enjoying an increase in popularity and the appeal of peeking out of a tent at snow-capped mountains and frost covered fields is on the rise.  It is still likely that the wild spaces will be all yours at this time of year.  Enjoy that rare solitude. Plan ahead, bring the right gear and leave nothing behind but good vibes. 

What You Should Know About Wild Camping in Winter

I had some extremely cold nights on the Pacific Crest Trail a few years ago during which myself and three hikers found it difficult to sleep. We had decent equipment at the time but not enough to feel comfortable in the snow-capped peaks of Washington.

But how might this cold and sleepless night have been avoided?

If I had a warm sleeping bag liner, there would have been no issue and I ended up relying on wearing several layers of clothing in my sleeping bag. And while this kept me safe, it just wasn’t quite warm enough and certainly not comfortable.

Wild Camping in Winter: From Stressed Out to Searching for Solitude

I go wild camping to have a good time and add a little excitement to my week. But I also want a stress-free time and a good night of sleep is also near the top of my list.

With this in mind, there were times early on when I really didn’t enjoy wild camping and felt stressed, worried or uncomfortable. Here’s a few reasons why:

– Taking a tent or sleeping bag that was unsuitable for wild camping in winter.

– Wearing insufficient rain gear.

– Having no weather-proof system to keep my gear safe and dry.

– Leaving my stove behind and missing out on the pleasure of a hot meal!

I will talk about some of these in a moment but for now, I wanted to make it clear that having the right gear and preparation is most important for wild camping in winter. In fact, once I figured this part out, I fell in love with wild camping at a time of year when the trails were so quiet and when the frost made me fully appreciate my morning coffee or the warmth of my sleeping bag as I sat up in the tent doorway.

You see, I should also add that I absolutely love wild camping in Winter!

Some Things to Keep in Mind for Wild Camping in Winter

Pick Somewhere that’s Easy to Reach and Return

I went wild camping in Wicklow some years ago and decided to trek up over Tonelagee and down to Glenmacnass River. It felt like a nice workout upon reaching the river but after a night of heavy rain, the way back took twice as long. In fact, it took so long that I was miserably wet and cold and near ended up hiking in the dark.

Moral of the story? Remember daylight is short through Winter and the unpredictable weather can turn what seems like an easy trek into a proper slog.

I suggest you pick a local marked trail with which you are familiar and then plan to wild camp just off that particular trail. If the trail is maintained (which is should be), you can rest assured that getting home should require the same effort as getting in there.

Invest in a Sleeping Bag Liner

It wasn’t just the Pacific Crest Trail when I was left yearning for a sleeping bag liner. This has also happened on my wild camping trips through Africa and even here in Ireland. It’s true that my choice of sleeping bag wasn’t always right but most times in which I was cold, the weather had taken me by surprise. A sleeping bag liner is not only a lightweight item to carry but also surprisingly effective and just as useful for trips during the warmer months or when sleeping in hostels on the Camino de Santiago.

Use Separate Dry Bags for Your Spare Clothes and Belongings

If you plan to hike in especially wet weather, it’s not enough to expect a waterproof cover to protect your backpack. You will need one, of course, but a backpack cover is only useful for reducing the exposure of your bag’s contents to the elements. In reality, rainwater will always find a way into your backpack during a heavy downpour and this will certainly happen any time you need to open up the bag. You can protect these contents by using a separate dry bag for clothing, electronics etc.

Make Sure You Take Warm Gear and Proper Rain Jacket/Pants

It’s essential to have dry gear at the end of every day in the wild. This includes your jacket, clothing and sleep system. It should go without saying that you can’t keep warm and dry in wet conditions without a proper rain-jacket and I always discourage relying on a poncho of any kind to do the job.

You also can’t sleep in wet socks and I recommend taking long-johns and a having a warm fleece on hand for the evenings. Believe it or not, I will often pack my down-jacket away somewhere dry so that I have an especially warm layer to wear in the evening. Waterproof trousers are another item that some hikers forget and you absolutely need these for wild camping in Ireland or anywhere for that matter.

Either way, safety is the main priority for wild camping in winter and nothing is more important than going to bed in a safe, dry and warm environment.

Try to Develop a System for Staying Dry

Even if rain is not forecast, you should still have a strategy for keeping your gear dry. The weather is just so unpredictable in Ireland and I can’t count the number of times I got caught in an unexpected downpour. Also, there is always the risk of stumbling head-first into a creek in Donegal which is something I may have done in the past. Afterwards, I had to return to a B&B in town because my sleeping bag was so wet.

Anyway, I recommend having a system in which bags are kept inside other bags and then also protected by a backpack cover. Never leave your backpack open or sitting in the rain and put snacks in your pocket before leaving shelter so you don’t need to open your backpack again. Finally, don’t wait for conditions to deteriorate before putting on your rain jacket or waterproof pants and get ready at the first sign of rain.

Here’s a few more tips for wild camping in winter:

– Keep your backpack inside the tent at night (not in the porch area)

– Keep your shoes inside the tent (not in the porch area)

– Keep your tent inside the backpack (Not strapped to the outside)

– Put your sleeping bag inside a plastic bag/bin liner at the very least.

– Avoid having your sleeping bag or clothes touching off the sides of the backpack.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Warm Meals and Drinks

If the wind, rain or cold feels like too much, I might not be in the mood for taking out the stove. However, I always do because nothing compares to a warm drink or meal in these conditions. If you worry about keeping the stove lit at such times, think about buying the MSR Windburner but either way – please do take the stove with you!

I also say this because I firmly believe that cooking, eating and drinking are central to the enjoyment that comes with wild camping. I don’t particularly enjoy cooking but will humour myself for the sake of the pleasure that comes from a warm meal/drink.

And Some of these Last Minute Tips for Wild Camping in Winter

– Buy a reliable headlamp so you can put your hands in your pockets.

– Wear a beanie hat to sleep so you don’t wake up with a cold head!

– Take a flask of hot water if you don’t want to use a stove.

– Cooking in cold weather isn’t the most pleasant – Buy ready-made meals.

– Get up and moving early to keep warm and have cereal bars for breakfast.

– Put your phone in a ziploc bag in your pocket.

– Put your pride away and wear long-johns the entire time!

– Bring a book for entertainment and leave streaming for when you’re back home.

Final Thoughts

Wild camping in winter is all about preparation. While I don’t think it’s wise to feel overly stressed, I do think it’s important to be especially careful at this time of year. If I was to re-iterate one thing in this piece it would be to stay as local as possible – especially if you don’t have much wild camping experience. This might mean camping on a nearby hill instead of the mountains and sticking to well-marked trails at the very least. Otherwise, if you pay close attention to what you pack and make every effort to stay dry and warm at all times, wild camping in Winter should be a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience.

10 Wild Camping Tips for Beginners that You Should Know 

I remember walking into a campsite in Kerry last year and feeling sorry for some of my neighbours. There were some fantastic setups but there were also a lot of people looking incredibly stressed and frustrated. In fact, one family was already arguing over the remote because yes, they had taken a television on their camping trip.

And each to their own, right? Of course.

But this also reminded me of why many people don’t enjoy their first spot of wild camping. Wild camping is far from being a science but it’s easy to spoil this experience by taking the wrong gear or failing to understand what makes it so enjoyable.

In this article, I talk about some wild camping tips for beginners and simple ideas that would have saved me a lot of hassles and discomfort when I started out.

10 Wild Camping Tips for Beginners that You Should Know

+ FREE Printable Wild Camping Checklist

1. Pack Light and Only Take What You Need

Carrying too much gear was my first mistake when it comes to wild camping. I think that because I was so afraid, I compensated for this fear by carrying more gear than necessary. This not only meant carrying too much clothing but also too much food and accessories. For instance, I had three different torches and spare batteries for each one! Because I took this approach to multiple items, I ended up carrying more weight than during my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail a few years ago. I believe experience teaches everyone the same lessons about wild camping but it’s sometimes better to learn from others’ mistakes, rather than your own!

I’ll be outlining a basic packing list at the end of this post.

2. Make Sure You Have a Warm Sleep System/Gear

You just won’t enjoy a night of wild camping if you have an insufficient sleeping bag, which is why I have a different sleeping bag for the warm and cold weather months. But here’s a few ways in which I suggest you can keep warm and comfortable each and every night:

Bring thermal leggings and socks that you can wear if needed.

– Invest in a lightweight sleeping bag liner – they can add an insane amount of warmth.

– Wear a down jacket/puffy jacket in your sleeping bag on especially cold nights.

– Place a rain jacket over the foot area of your sleeping bag.

– Wear a beanie hat to sleep so that you won’t wake up with a cold head.

– Take an emergency foil blanket as a backup.

In short, it’s better to be too warm or a cold night of wild camping is just not enjoyable!

3. Choose a Suitable Tent for Wild Camping

I sometimes use a bivvy bag for wild camping and really enjoy the immersive experience they offer. But a bivvy bag is not always suitable and this is especially true during wet and windy conditions. For this reason, I most often use a one or two-man tent for wild camping in Ireland.

But what else should you consider when choosing a tent?

If you want the best chance of remaining unseen and to avoid the risk of being asked to move, a green or brown tent is the most discreet for obvious reasons.

Pick a tent that performs well in especially wet and windy conditions. I find a low profile works best because they are much less likely to shake like crazy or make noise in general.

4. Pitch Your Tent Before You Go Wild Camping in Ireland

I went wild camping on Dunree beach some years ago with a Vango Banshee 200. It’s my favourite tent for wild camping in Ireland and incredibly easy to pitch. However, I made the mistake of assuming this would be really quick and easy to set up for the first time.

It was getting dark and raining hard at the time. Due to these conditions and the onset of frustration, I spent a good hour trying to figure out how to pitch the tent properly and the rest of the night trying to get dry and warm myself up again.

It’s true, the tent is extremely easy to pitch. However, every tent design is different and the Vango Banshee 200 required a different approach than my other tents. Moral of the story? I could have avoided this disaster by pitching the tent in my backyard beforehand.

5. Consider Taking Cold or Pre Made Meals Instead of Cooking

After a long hike, I do enjoy a hot meal but I’m often too tired to cook. That’s why I always carry the option to have a cold meal in the mornings or evenings. Cooking is one of the most enjoyable things about wild camping but it’s also messy at times and not always ideal in especially bad weather. What’s more, I’ve often found a cold chicken tikka wrap to be just as enjoyable as a hot meal of any kind- especially if someone made the wrap for me!

6. Aim for a Wild Camping Spot Away from Built Up Areas

I find that picking a forest area can be especially reliable for wild camping. A forest is most often a sheltered and calm place to camp but also one in which you’ll be out of sight. In terms of choosing a spot, it’s also quite easy to pick out forested areas on any GPS or physical map.

You should also notice it’s harder to find a wild camping spot near a town or built up area. This means if you are hiking a long distance trail such as the Kerry Way or the Wicklow Way, it’s best to pick out some potential wild camping areas either long before or after such places.

7. Choose a Safe and Comfortable Spot (Near a Water Source)

Camping on a bed of pine needles is a beautiful thing and much better than a bed of stones or especially hard ground. That being said, none of this matters if it rains and you’re pitched in a ditch or depressed area that’s likely to flood or become waterlogged. It’s also important to stay clear of any dead trees or branches and avoid exposed areas when the weather is particularly wild. The last thing I would mention is the convenience of having a nearby water source. This will not only mean that you can use as much water as you like but a water source also makes washing dishes (and yourself) much easier. On the other hand, maybe it’s a spot known for midges? In which case, midges like water and this might be something to avoid.

8. Wait Until Nightfall to Pitch Your Tent

If you want to avoid getting moved on, it’s best to wait until nightfall to pitch your tent. I actually do this so that I won’t be thinking or worrying about having to relocate. It obviously won’t matter as much deep inside Wicklow National Park but it’s a decent rule of thumb.

For the sake of the wild camping community, I also suggest you pack up and leave at first light. It’s not about getting caught but rather about making every effort not to disturb locals and to help the wild camping community avoid any unwanted attention.

9. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of a Headlamp

I used to lead camping safaris in Africa. Before these trips, I would often pick up a few headlamps as my guests would often show up without one. You see, many of these guests had never gone camping before or tried to pitch a tent in the dark – without a headlamp. It might seem like a rather obvious or minor matter but you need both hands to pitch a tent which will inevitably make the process a little more than frustrating. The same goes for cooking in the dark, reading in the dark and going to the toilet in the dark – you get the idea!

10. Use Reusable Dry Bags (And not Plastic Bags)

I try not to use plastic bags wherever possible and dry bags are the ideal replacement. It’s important to use these bags to ensure your gear is fully protected from the elements. The truth is, backpacks can leak and a dry bag will ensure your backup gear is properly stored.

Just so you know, I use reusable Ziploc bags for food. However, I not only use a dry bag for my spare clothing but I also have a separate dry bag for my cooking equipment, sleeping bag and electronics. You can never be too careful but you should also find these precautions will serve you well on future trips.

Now, here’s a quick look at a basic packing list for wild camping. Please remember this is a basic outline and you will need more or less gear depending on various factors/conditions.

Basic Packing List for Wild Camping

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag (& Sleeping Bag Liner)
  • Sleeping Mattress
  • Down Jacket
  • Gloves
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Beanie Hat
  • Backpack Rain Cover
  • Dry Bags
  • Spare T-Shirt
  • Spare Socks
  • Warm Sweater
  • Thermal Top / Bottoms / Socks
  • Headlamp
  • Map / GPS
  • Water Filter
  • Stove / Gas
  • Pot
  • Spork
  • Lighter & Matches
  • Camping Knife
  • Phone
  • Powerbank
  • Charging Cable
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Toilet Paper
  • Credit Card / Cash
  • Plastic Bag for packing Trash / Waste

Final Thoughts

I think that most people often worry and think about the same things before they go wild camping for the first time. These “things” include getting lost, being attacked or not having the right gear. But most of these thoughts are either unlikely or irrational and having the right gear is a simple matter of careful research and packing.


Either way, stay safe and whatever you do – enjoy your time in the wild!

Back to the Hills

It has never felt better to get out and about for Outdoor Adventure.  Our enforced time at home may have been pleasant but it is time to run for the hills.  The easing from 2km to 5km felt amazing, but now we are flying free again. We are unleashed to enjoy all that this great country has to offer in terms of thrilling treks, fantastic walks and amazing scenery.  At Outdoor Adventure Store, we have missed you all as much as we have missed walking, climbing, running and revelling in the outdoor life.   To celebrate our joint freedom and renewed appreciation for the world, we have generous reductions on many items in-store.  So, take this opportunity to treat yourself to some new outdoor equipment as you get back to the hills.

Hiking and Walking Boots

Before you invest in some awesome footwear, take a wee moment to decide what is best for your needs.  Consider which type of hiking, hill walking you plan to do and what kind of terrain it involves. This will be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing appropriate footwear.  A good pair of hiking boots is an investment in many years of comfortable trekking. Getting back to the Hills will be a charm with the right footwear.    Hiking long distances and upland trails comfortably and without blisters or wet feet while reducing the dangers of slipping and falling, is dependent on good footwear.    A good pair of hiking boots are optimised for ankle support on all terrains and will protect your feet from rocks and spikey trail debris.   The wrong shoes are simply not suitable and those who start walking in regular footwear, often regret their decision quickly.   It may be that the type of hiking/hill walking that you are planning to do, would be better suited to a walking shoe or sandal.  The important thing is not to get blistered and footsore.   Check out our blog on how to choose the right pair of boots for you, or call into the store to avail of the expert advice of our friendly staff.

Walking and Trekking Poles

Perhaps you are not as fit as you were prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, but this should not deter you from getting back to the hills with vigour and enthusiasm.  A good walking pole is not just an extra piece of equipment, it can be the difference between making the summit, and safely descending your favourite mountain with a smile on your face.  At Outdoor Adventure Store we have a fantastic range of trekking poles and hiking poles to suit every expedition, whether they are big or small.  For walking pole novices, we recommend the robust three-piece trekking pole from Leki .  Its adjustable safety strap and rounded supporting surface on the new Evocon trekking grip are particularly pleasant for a downhill climb.  The length of the poles should be adjusted to suit your height and the activity you are planning. Generally speaking, lengthen the poles for descents, and shorten them for ascents and the length for walking along flat or gently slopes should be around waist height.  To avail of our great offers on walking poles, see the range online or talk to one of our knowledgeable staff.

Trekking poles for walking

Baby comes too!

There is no reason why baby cannot come too!  Especially when we have great offers on all baby carriers.  One of our most popular models is the Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier, a sturdy model that boasts the same innovated suspended mesh back system as some of our most comfortable hiking and backpacking packs. It also has essential sun protection. The rapid deploy Poco Plus Sun-Shade, with an UPF 22 rating it protects your little cargo from harmful sun rays, making the perfect shaded spot for an afternoon nap. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, deploy the integrated rain-cover.  See our previous blog on which is the best buy for you and your little one. 

hiking with baby


We truly cannot keep the tents in the warehouse this year!  Our unbelievable value in tents for family staycations or for solo travellers has seen an unprecedented amount of canvas sold since the lifting of restrictions.  But don’t worry, we have plenty of tents still in stock for your camping needs. RockNRiver have the very best in adventure camping packages for as little as €99.00, and if you are looking for some luxury at the campfire, the Vango range of tents has all you could ever need and more.

As we all enjoy our staycations in Ireland, with a reborn appreciation for alfresco living let’s do with the best equipment possible.  Whether we are camping with the family, hiking solo or climbing to the top of the tallest mountain.  Outdoor Adventure Stores have everything you need to make the experience a pleasant, fun and unforgettable. We have your back as you get back to the hills.

Now is the pitch-perfect timing for a camping staycation in Ireland!

The best places for family staycations camping in Ireland and the very best reasons why you should choose to holiday at home in 2020

The time has never been more right for a camping holiday in this beautiful country. An increasing number of families are now considering holidaying in Ireland.   A camping staycation. The desire to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the planet makes staying closer to home for your annual holiday, a very inviting prospect.  The high cost of fuel, both to our own pockets and to the environment, means that long journeys are increasingly unappealing.    A camping staycation in Ireland allows families to enjoy a wonderful break with the smug and self-satisfied knowledge that they are not contributing further to climate change, pollution or toxic emissions.  Of course, the fact that we have the most awesome scenery and incredibly beautiful places to pitch your tent, makes the sacrifice of staying home, a very easy one to make.

Best Campsites in Ireland

Foreign travel involves a lot more organisation than a home camping trip.  Packing for a staycation is a less tedious task.   Airports and ferries can be expensive and stressful and you may lose a few days traveling to your destination.  A staycation has a lot of positives to offer, particularly for camping families.   No queues or cancelled flights/ferry sailings.  Doggie people can enjoy the company of their best friend for the duration and no kennel fees when you choose dog friendly sites. It makes sense on many levels to vacation at home.  Often you can be one short-dated passport, or one unfilled prescription away from disaster when traveling abroad!

The money you save on international flights can be invested in a family tent and some great camping equipment. The Vango Airbeam tent is a hassle free, no poles, no arguments, comfortable and stress free camping dream for any family to spend starry nights dreaming in.  It has two bedrooms that are separated by a centre porch. Fits up to 8 people and only take 12 minutes to pitch. This is camping luxury that you will enjoy for years to come.    

Camping can be quite luxurious now and has come a long way from burning a tin of beans over a fire before sleeping on rocks with various insects for company.  See our blog on Glamourous camping.

Camping Ireland

Where to pitch up…

Here are some of Ireland’s unique and best camping sites for the family tent.

Pure Camping in Querrin Co Clare

On the Wild Atlantic Way and near the scenic village of Kilkee, Pure Camping is an eco-retreat that welcomes pitching tents and even has some pre-pitched, if that is your preference. A sauna, solar showers and rainwater harvesting add to the eco-friendly vibe.  Children love the donkeys and chickens, and the nearby woods for adventuring. A communal dome tent provides a place to make new friends. 

Coomshanna Wild Camping in Co Kerry

The views over Dingle Bay are incredibly inspiring.  A stream runs by and other than this, there is a field devoid of rocks and bumps in which to pitch your tent.  Take your wee shovel when you want to use the toilet and no fire rule is enforced.  This is eco-friendly and   peaceful camping.  The starry skies are incredible.

Nore Valley Camping and Caravan Park Co Kilkenny

Family friendly, child friendly and well… just really friendly. Nore Valley has a lovely vibe. Maybe the hay trailer rides, the crazy golf or the petting zoo have something to do with Nore Valley being one of the most popular family camping sites on the East Coast.  Get lost in the wooden maze.  Go for a trip on a pedal powered go-kart.  This camping site is close to Kilkenny city and is a great camping base to just chill with the ostriches (Gail and Ragsy) or to explore the East Coast treasures.

Hidden Valley Holiday Park Co Wicklow

Classic campsite in Rathdrum which boasts fantastic facilities for families.  Kayaking and swimming on and in the Avonmore River.  Fish too, if that is your jam! Riverside campfires, a kid’s adventure fun park and cinema nights with beanbags are all on offer in this beautiful campsite.  The Wicklow Mountains are on the doorstep for hiking, biking, sight-seeing and generally enjoying the wonders of the garden of Ireland.

Eagle Point Camping Co Cork

Eagle Point campsite is a 20-acre campsite, a few kilometres from Bantry in West Cork. A great family campsite which hugs the water, with pebble beaches and great views over the sea.  A kids TV room, football, basketball and the usual facilities make Ballylickey/Eagle Point an easy place to pitch for a gentle fun filled holiday.

Affordable Camping Gear

Perhaps in the rush to explore foreign climes, we have forgotten all that there is to offer here at home.
This is just a wee taste of the fantastic camping choices available around Ireland The Wild Atlantic Way has a trail of camping sites that will bring a new experience every day. Stay-cationing is fun and make sense. It contributes to saving the environment, by cutting down of fossil fuels and air miles.  It is good for local employment and the sustainability of rural communities.  But most of all its good for your own sanity, and isn’t that what a holiday is all about.

Family Camping

Your quick guide to getting your family camping adventures started.

Now, more than ever, we want to encourage our children to spend time outdoors appreciating nature and enjoying life in the wild. To feel the dewy morning grass beneath bare toes, to hear the dawn chorus in the wilderness and to lie under a starlit sky and wonder at the beauty of this wide world.

A family camping trip is the perfect place to make great memories and enjoy happy times together.  But before you pack the car with the marshmallows, the sleeping bags and the spare socks, take some time to prepare your camping expedition and be sure that they will be epic adventures and not miserable disasters!

Here is our quick guide to camping en-famile. Whether you have babies, toddlers, wobblers, petulant teenagers or reluctant spouses… or all of the above… follow our easy steps to making time in the wilderness a wonderful family experience.


Perhaps in your youth you grabbed a two-man tent, a bag of cans and a few tins of beans and headed to festivals. Fun weekend family camping is the anti-thesis of this scenario. But don’t worry, it is still fun. Family fun. Especially if you have remembered the essential toilet rolls, battery power packs, milk etc.

Take time to research where you might like to camp. Decide first if you are going completely off-road, or if you would like to have amenities, a toilet/ showers and a chip shop nearby.  There are plenty of family- friendly campsites to cater to all requirements.   From beach to mountain, from lakes to rivers, Ireland offers a wonderful selection of picturesque places to set up tent for the night. It is up to yourselves to decide if you want to go it alone, or have civilisation on hand.

Food and Essentials

Lists are your friend here.  Make a list of meals and snacks for while you are camping and shop accordingly. Include all the needful items such as toilet rolls and water.  Over time, you will get smarter at knowing what works and what doesn’t for your own clan. Appetites are usually better in the great outdoors so make sure you bring plenty of food to bulk up on.   At Outdoor Adventure Store we stock a range of exciting instant meals.  The gourmet, Wayfarer range are long dated and easily prepared so work as a great standby for hungry mouths.  Some stalwart campers learn all kinds of hacks for camping.  They bring pre-cooked frozen stews to thaw in time for dinner. They break all their eggs into a plastic bottle at home for easy carrying and easy scrambling. See some Camping hacks here


Stoves and Fires: You may have romantic ideas about a roaring campfire but reality often brings nasty weather, damp wood or a camping site that does not permit such luxuries as open flame (If you really want this experience, then include it at your planning stage.)  The likelihood is that you won’t cook for the whole tribe on an open fire and there are many other options available.   Trangia’s are lightweight fast and reliable storm-proof stove systems used by outdoor people all over the world. A Trangia burner is an ingenious original product that is well worth investing in. You can purchase a storm-proof stove system that comprises of a kettle, two windshields that fit together, a burner, a couple of non- stick pans, a non-stick combined lid/fry pan, and a pan grip-handle to make most meal times easy for you.   Most importantly, it’s a safe way to heat food for your family.

Tents:   A family size tent with a canopy is the ideal solution for all families heading into the wilds. The canopy is a godsend when the sun in blasting down on wee bare arms, or when the rain showers halt outdoor play for a while.  It is also a welcome space for chatting parents to escape in the evening, as the tired-out tots snore away the days adventures.  An investment in a state of the art family tent is exactly that!  An investment, which compares favourably in monetary value to every other type of accommodation out there and will allow you to enjoy the outdoors together for many years to come.  Do not be tempted to squash two or four children into one man or two-man tents. It may seem like a good idea, but those shoulders sticking out may cause the tent to touch the fly sheets and this can cause damp, not to mention the claustrophobe inside can lead to arguments.  Tents come in all shapes and sizes and even if you need to borrow an extra one for the teens, it is worth it for all to be comfortable.  You are making happy memories here after all!  Check out the air beam tents with fibreglass poles and ample room for everyone from Granny to the dog. Orava 600xl Tent.Don’t forget to pack extra tent pegs.  Like socks in a washing machine, tent pegs have a tendency to disappear.

Sleeping Bags:   Choose a sleeping bag for the weather, the season and the type of camping you plan to do.  Like duvets, sleeping bags have tog ratings, making it easy to pick the most suitable bag.   A simple child’s sleeping bag is relatively inexpensive and they pay for themselves quickly.  Not only will they be used in your family camping excursions, but they will be hauled out for sleep overs and dragged in front of the telly on those lazy Saturday mornings.    Double sleeping bags are readily available, so there is no need to go back to the days of zipping two singles together.  Unless you think that is romantic, in which case, off you go and no complaining when there is a zip like indentation on your back in the morning! 

Torches and Headtorches:  A good hand torch or headtorch is indispensable for camping with the brood.  The torch is absolutely essential when searching for bugs under hedges at dusk, or when finding the loo in the middle of the night and seeking out that one favourite teddy in a dark tent.  See our guide to head torches here: Brighten up your world with a head torch!  Make sure you have plenty of batteries or a trusty power pack for recharging. Galaxy rechargeable Lantern

Extras.   Folding chairs are comfortable after a day of hiking in the hills. Hammocks are fun. Footballs and Frisbees find a new lease of life in the outdoors.  

But camping is about getting away from it all.  It is about letting the world drift away for a while and enjoying a simpler time in nature, as a family.  If you can manage to get your teenager off sending snapchat’s long enough to Instagram the happiness being outdoors brings you, you will be instilling in them a love of the wild and a respect for nature.

Happy Camping!

Camping Disasters – Cautionary Tales for Happy Campers

Camping is tremendous fun. It is one of the best ways to commune completely and whole heartedly with nature. Immersing yourself in nature to watch small rabbits nibbling grass in the dewy morning or lambs skipping in a spring meadow. Camping, when it is well organised and approached with calmness and sensibility, is a real joy. There is nothing more memorable than a sky full of stars in the silence of a remote campsite. It’s a unique way to enjoy the wonderful natural world that surrounds us.

However, there are those campers who have had a totally different experience. The secret to good camping is good organisation. Sorry to be nerdy, but that’s just the way it is! Almost every adult has had at least one camping disaster.

Tent Calamities:  Forgotten tent poles and tent pegs will contribute to making your camping expedition totally intents… get it??… intents!! Seriously though, a badly packed tent with the ensuing mildew and lost tent pegs is a real disaster. Modern tents pop up easily and there should be no need to jostle about trying to access an internet signal to watch urgent YouTube videos on tent erection. But it still happens. Savvy campers have a practice run with the tent at home but those courting drama leave it to the universe and the universe laughs. The wrong tent is the start of most camping calamities. Choose from a wide range here

“Hours were spent erecting our tent, so large and complicated it required a degree in engineering”  

“We bought a tent. Didn’t know how small it would be. We’re both tall, 5’10 and 6’0 we were in a tent for midgets.”

Weather to Travel or Not:  Flash floods! Sideways rain! Howling winds! Sleeping outside brings the weather just a tad closer than we are used to. Camping in a snow storm is only fun if you have sub-zero gear and the experience and drive of the veteran camper. For the rest of us, it’s no fun at all. Check the weather before you leave home.

Woke up after a night of puking up my guts to find myself submerged in an icy river winding its way through my tent. It had snowed, in August. I was 8.”

Beasties and Creatures of the Night:  The tiny midgey can destroy a camping trip (bring midge nets). If you are afraid of creepy crawly things, flying things, climbing things and clawing things, don’t go into the woods. It’s where they live. You are the visitor and it’s their home. Thankfully in Ireland a nosy sheep is probably as wild as it’s going to get and grizzlies are only in your child’s imagination.

“Look mommy! Look at the big butterfly! “Yeah. Not a big butterfly. A bat had gotten into the tent and was flying around in a panic because it couldn’t get out. I think I’m still partially deaf from my mom’s screams.  Buzzfeed

Fire Fire!:  A shocking amount of novice campers set fire to their tents. Not deliberately, we are not talking about lazy music festival campers who cannot be bothered to pack up properly. No, just the regular camper trying to get the sausages cooked will frequently set the tent alight. In all honesty, most fires will not cook your food. (See our range of well-priced camping equipment to successfully heat the alphabetti spaghetti). Check out the local rules for setting fires, before you pour petrol on the campfire… 

“We kicked a flaming gas canister (the whole canister had caught fire) into the centre of the campsite field before it could set fire to our tent, car and children. Finally, we managed to put the fire out, but that didn’t impress our angry fellow camperWanderlust

Camping disasters make good stories. So, if the great outdoors becomes to be too much to bear, simply, throw the tent on the fire, horse the rest of your gear in the boot of the car and head for the nearest high stool. On the upside, you have a great story to tell the entire pub.