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An Outdoors Family - Tents And Tantrums

An Outdoors Family - Tents And Tantrums
5 March 2020

Photo Credit: An Outdoors Family

Keith and Stacey loved the outdoors long before they had children but worried that having young kids would stop them. Over the last 8 years, they have been learning how to get outside as a family, go on adventures together and make lasting memories.

For more family adventures and inspiration follow them on Instagram: @anoutdoorsfamily


Wild camping can be an exciting but daunting idea. Imagine walking a whole day away from your car, then setting up your tent as the sun slowly drops below the horizon, looking forward to the stars coming out before repeating it all again tomorrow.

Now imagine that experience shared with babies or young children. The sense of excitement might turn to dread thinking about the extra equipment, the meltdowns and the heal dragging? It doesn’t have to! We have found that family wild camping trips have been some of our most memorable adventures, from sleeping in a cave, to camping on deserted islands, winter camps and Munro summit camps.

father and son sat in a tent

Photo Credit: An Outdoors Family

Here are some tips to make wild camping a great family adventure. Will you have tantrums? Probably, but meltdowns always seem easier in the great outdoors.

  • Start small and local: It helps to go to somewhere you know for an easier first trip. An adventure doesn’t need to cover huge distances so pick somewhere that is a short walk so children don’t get too tired and you can bail out easily if it all goes wrong.
  • Get your children involved: Having your children help with planning, looking at maps, packing, picking snacks, leading you on the path and picking your camp spot all help to make them feel part of the adventure

  • Have alternative plans ready: It doesn’t always go to plan, so being flexible enough to change goals can turn a tantrum filled trip into a success by reducing distance, difficulty or main aim. A long mountain walk with a summit wild camp or a short walk along a stream looking for fish and splashing about are both fantastic fun!
  • Take enough warm stuff: Hopefully, your children will be running around lots to keep warm, but if they are pre-walkers, they can get cold fast. Make sure you dress them in at least a layer more than you and always have a hat, gloves, waterproofs and an extra layer to hand. It’s not fair and may be dangerous to drag your children out in town coats when you have high tech mountain waterproofs.

  • Pack light: If you are carrying your child, you will already have a heavy pack, so it pays to pack light. You can buy fantastic lightweight equipment, but starting by asking ‘do we really need this?’ is a great way to save weight.

  • Get a water filter: A water filter gives reassurance that water from mountain streams will be safe. They weigh very little and save you carrying kilograms of water.

  • Use walking poles: If you are carrying your baby, use walking poles to give an extra safety net as well as reducing the strain on your knees.

  • Start with good weather: Spring is a great time for a first trip. You often get sunny, reasonably warm weather and no midges.

  • Leave no trace: If you packed it in, you can carry it out. Also, remember a trowel to bury poop.

  • Have fun: Make the goal of your adventure to have fun together. Take lots of photos and make great memories!

father and son sat outside their tent

Photo Credit: An Outdoors Family


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