Zipping the kids in their own tent is one way to have a successful camping holiday, but there are lots of other, easier ways to make it great. Photo / Getty Images
In our September 29 issue, we asked you – our outdoor experts – for your best tips for successful camping holidays. Here are some of our favourites.
Remember your why. Whatever your reason for going camping — be it disconnecting, getting into nature, quality family time, relaxing or whatever — prioritise that even if it means dinner is just sausage in bread or the kids go to bed far too late. Don’t stress (too much), enjoy!
— Ingrid Naude. Ingrid was the winner of our Kathmandu prize pack, receiving more than $2300 of camping equipment
Save those shower towels from being soaking wet by using your squeezed-out flannel to quickly “dry” off after a shower. The flannel soaks up the water mega time. Just finish off with your towel — this really works and saves wet towels from hanging around. Try it.
— Sheila Parker
Never forget the G&T, cards, and mozzie repellent.
— Brett Agnew
If you’re camping with kids, get there two hours earlier. It’s so much better to have a leisurely set up than try and do it when they’re hungry or night’s falling. If you still end up arriving late, bring something for them to snack on and a head torch to entertain them.
— Steph Watts
Do your zip from bottom to top to keep the kids safely in the tent.
— Miah Phelps
In Māori tradition, we use a special method of cooking our food called a hāngī. This requires a fair bit of digging and is done in a pit underground. We burn the wood/logs to heat up the rocks before they are used to steam-heat our food. The tip is to re-use all the leftover burnt wood for your campfire whilst you eat your hāngī and place all your organic compost scraps in before covering the pit with dirt again. This tip helps feed everyone.
— Christian To’omata
Invest in a separate tent for the kids. Put them in their own tent next to yours so your camping holiday can be full of romance and peaceful nights of sleep.
— Meredith Willoughby
Bring an A-frame clothes dryer — it’s great for drying out the tent before packing it up too.
— Cait Ryan
Book early to secure a pitch that is away from the kitchen and bathrooms area, you will get a good night’s sleep with a chance of a lie-in, and the walk to refuel and spruce up will do you good.
— Richard Simonds
An air mattress is essential, and if the early morning light tends to wake you, take a sleep mask.
— Jennie Whyte
Take a bucket with you. This can be used for all sorts of things. When campervanning in the USA national parks we would leave it full of water and go out sightseeing for the day. On returning to our campsite, we had warm water to wash with. You could also use it for washing dishes, laundry, etc. A great multi-purpose item.
— Sharen Sorenson
Make sure toilet paper is the first thing you put on your packing list and the first thing you pack. Not just for the loo but also for games, fire starters and medical supplies
— Tania Avia
While we want to have fun, we have to bear in mind our responsibility of taking care of our environment. One tip is to plan ahead so you don’t end up buying duplicates or “disposables”. Our planet doesn’t need more single-use plastics. So let’s give camping its true meaning — to be one with Nature.
— Mavic Base
Freeze plastic water bottles weeks in advance to make sure they stay frozen in the chilly bin for longer.
— Victoria Wilson
Make sure you don’t forget the guy ropes for the tent. Did that once with our brand new tent (years ago) on a holiday to Gisborne (from Napier), and we ended up having to stay in a motel as there wasn’t anyone that sold or had spare guy ropes.
— Gillian Stuart
Set an alarm on your watch to drink water every hour. Even in the shade and cool, it’s amazing how much we dehydrate in NZ’s summer.
— Cameron Twigden
Try and relax. It doesn’t matter if you don’t keep to a schedule or eat at regular times. What matters is having fun and spending time with your family or friends, doing something different to what you would normally do at home. Most importantly, enjoy yourselves.
— Megan Ballam
Always pack a few extra pairs of undies. Let your whānau, who stay home, know where you are going — safety first. Stay or interact with locals; they know all the good spots and hidden gems. Visit the local i-Site, you’ll always find friendly and helpful people there, as well as fellow travellers with who you can share your experiences and get tips from. Make your own dough for bread. Nothing tastes better than bread made with love above a bonfire.
— Tim van Mal
Hang your torch up in the middle of your tent, that way it’s easy to find in a hurry for those late-night toilet expeditions in the dark. It will also light up the whole tent while hanging so you can easily find your snacks or phone charger.
— Claire Vordermann
Go with a positive attitude. You will have a great time and be able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Enjoy the time being disconnected from the world and the stresses and worries that come with it. I believe more people should camp. The world would be a happier place.
— Laurelee Walmsley
Test your camping equipment ahead of the trip. Check the weather forecast. Prepare for the worst-case scenario. Check out your camping site ahead of time. Prepare meals before you go. Take a map of the area. Take safety and first aid gear with you.
— Bonnie White
Check the weather forecast and pack appropriate clothing. Prepare a camping checklist beforehand, be prepared for injuries and be sure to pack a first aid kit, pitch your tent on level ground, pack dryer lint to start fires, bring baby wipes to clean hands, pack food that doesn’t spoil, don’t forget your compass!
— Angelica Bach
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com