What You Need to Pack for a Family Camping Trip in Ireland
Camping with the family can be idyllic...if you pack for it properly. Don't do what I did and forget to pack your clothes, though! Seriously.
Long lists are just for people who love lists, to get an idea of what you need and to help you to not forget the important stuff. The best way to do lists is to divide and conquer.
If you cover the main categories of things that you need, everything will fall into place, and we would break it up as follows -
Sample Camping Scenario
To make it simple lets say that the family camping trip consists of 2 adults and 3 kids visiting one of Ireland's fantastic forest parks, or campsites during the summer, staying for 2 nights in a large family tent near facilities such as showers, toilets, running water etc.
Forest Park Links:
We're going to make it a bit basic here, and we would prioritise your packing list as follows.
(Some people start with hygiene but we're starting with food ;-).
We have to face facts, if the food situation is not adequately taken care of things can quickly descend into chaos, and before you know it everything will be back in the car and you will be hot-tailing it to the nearest McDonalds.
Lets say for the sake of argument that if you're staying for two nights, arriving at lunchtime on Day 1, and leaving after breakfast on the Day 3 that you will need to prepare six meals give or take.
Day 1 - Lunch, Evening Meal, Snacks
Day 2 - Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Meal, Snacks
Day 3 - Breakfast
Breakfast can be easily taken care of with cereal and fruit, or perhaps you want to start frying some bacon and eggs on a small camp stove, (that might cover lunch too).
checkout camp stoves here
Its easy for us to say that maybe a breakfast fry will cover lunch too, but the fresh air, the great outdoors can make you hungry.
Other popular lunch choices when camping include -
- soup and bread rolls,
- sandwiches of all descriptions,
- burgers and sausages.
Dinner on the Campsite
For dinner it is usually a case of varying it up and making something that you haven't made previously. However, as cooking when camping does involve a little work, planning, and cleaning up maybe you would prefer to have 2 large meals per day instead of 3 smaller meals.
Again, popular campsite evening meals include -
- barbecued beef, pork, chicken and fish,
- fried or boiled vegetables,
- occasionally a nice pizza from a portable pizza oven.
See the latest portable pizza ovens here.
The main thing to remember about packing snacks is that if you eat them all on the first day that you won't have any left for day 2 or even day 3.
Awesome snack choices for family camping trips include -
- chocolate bars and biscuits,
- cheese and crackers.
see cooler boxes for snacks here.
Yes, you will need clothes as will the kids. We suggest a combination of light and warm clothes that you can take on or off as the temperature fluctuates, and as sunny as we would like it to be it usually pays dividends to pack some raincoats.
For a three day trip we recommend two changes of clothes including the ones that you wear to the forest park. plus spare shoes, socks and underwear. On a good camping trip, someone usually falls in the water, and it could be you!
Sleeping in a tent can also be cooler than you might expect so we recommend having a extra t-shirt or two for sleeping at night, or maybe even a hoodie.
light summer raincoats
Some people will start with hygiene, while others will go straight to the exciting stuff, that being tents, sleeping bags, mattresses and kit purely designed for camping.
When it comes to tents the options are viirtually endless. From tents that you can perch on top of a jeep to tents designed to be erected on a cliff face, and then more standard and traditional large family tents.
Whether you need a one-man tent, a two man, four man or six man, the tips below will be equally relevant.
If you're camping for a few days, having a tent that is quick and easy to erect is paramount. You don't want to get stressed out building a tent for ever and a day, so when you're choosing a tent, make sure to read the reviews so that you select one that is relatively quick and simple to assemble and then to disassemble when the camping trip is over.
It really depends how hot it gets at night, but if you're camping in Ireland it's unlikely to get very hot. Nevertheless adequate ventilation is important, especially when you have three, four or five people all sleeping in the same tent.
3. Heat Retention
Its also important to make sure that your tent is made from good quality materials and offers a decent and satisfactory level of heat retention.
4. Entry & Access
Good quality zippers and large enough entrance/ exits are key to guaranteeting the longevity of your tent. Looked after in the right way, your family tent will be available for mutiple outings.
Checkout family tents here
HygieneIt isn't at the top of our list but that doesn't mean that hygiene should be ignored on a camping trip, in fact the very opposite.
You and your kids will be having fun and meeting new people over your camping holiday, and everyone feels better when hygiene is taken care of in the right way.
Camping Hygiene Checklist for Kids
- toothpaste and toothbrushes,
- soap or shower gel/ shampoo,
- toilet roll for emergencies,
- spare underwear for emergencies.
Camping Hygiene Checklist for Adults
Pretty much the same as above, although you may want to include a razor, sanitary pads and so on as appropriate.
Cleaning Up Before You Leave
If we all took the view that we wanted to leave the forest jump a little cleaner than it was when we arrived, it would bode for the future of these amazing resources.
To that end you want to bring bin bags so that you can take your rubbish home to dispose of it or recycle it in the correct way. There may also be recycling bins at the forest but be prepared in case there are not.
Best Places to Go Camping in Ireland By County
|County||Recommended Camping Spots|
Chlere Haven, Cape Clear Island
Eagle Point Camping and Caravan Park, Bantry Bay
Knockalla Caravan & Camping Park, Portsalon
Portsalon Yurts & Glamping,
Rosguill Holiday, Rosguill Peninsula
Wave Crest Camping, Caherdaniel
Mannix Point Camping, Gulf Stream coast
|Clare||Pure Camping, Querrin|
|Galway||Clifden ECO Camping, Connemara|
Best Time of Year to Go Camping in Ireland
It's no secret that the best time of year for a family to go camping in Ireland is in mid-summer typically. Sometimes we might get a hot spell in late-Spring or early-Autumn, but very generally the summer is the time to go.
You may need to plan things well in advance, but we have found that if you keep your camping kit ready, that you could get lucky and have a glorious weekend camping in April, May or even September.
Fortune favours the brave and with camping in Ireland it can really pay off to be ready to go when you get a nice spell of weather.
Internet Access When Camping in Ireland
We can deny it all that we want but going a few days without internet in 2022 can be a bit stressful, for both the parents and even your children.
It doesn't mean that its a good thing, but it is a reality so have a think about how you will access the internet over the camping trip, and if you need to at all. Maybe a quick email check in the morning will be sufficient, but this is something that both you and your kids should be aware of in advance.
Stuff for The Kids to Do On A Camping Trip
Ok so so we've covered the internet. Maybe it will be available and maybe it won't but what else can you and the kids do when camping?
There will be a certain novelty with everything that happens on a camping trip (except maybe cleaning up after meals), but a little structure to your day can be helpful.
Popular activities include -
- going to the beach, provided there is one nearby,
- fishing in a lake or river,
- going on a long walk or a hike,
- having familiy games of football, camogie, rounders etc
- making friends on the campsite,
- going on a family bike ride,
- listening to music,
- colouring in and drawing for kids,
- observing the wildlife and nature around you,
- playing cards.
How to Book A Camping Trip In Ireland
The guidelines around camping in Ireland can be a little vague and wild camping is still permitted in many places in Ireland, including forest parks.
For more info go here - https://www.coillte.ie/faq
However, if you want to book a spot in one of the commercially run camping parks, we suggest contacting them well in advance by phone or email, as tent pitches can fill up fast during the short summer period.
One of the things that camping is great for is spending concentrated time with your family, so be patient enjoy yourself and relax, and remember that the idea is for everyone to have a little fun. And don't worry if someone gets a little annoyed by the lack of luxuries as that will quickly pass too.