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I grew up in a camping family. Every school holidays, us and a few other families would pack up the car, trailer, boat, dogs and head off around Victoria for a week or so – usually on the Murray River. The kids had a ball – exploring the bush, water-skiing, making completely inedible damper and generally getting very muddy.

It’s only now as a parent myself that I realise quite how much planning and packing is involved to make it all happen. Yes, it’s a lot more difficult than turning up at a resort or hotel, but sitting around the camp fire with a wine under the stars each night, makes it totally worth it!

Here’s our top tips to raise your own happy campers:

1. Only pack “camping clothes” for the kids, which means old/cheap clothes that you don’t mind if they get dirty or totally wrecked (which they invariably will within minutes of arriving). A last-minute trip to Kmart for some $4 t-shirts comes in handy here

2. Keep warm: there’s nothing worse than feeling cold on a camping trip. Make sure you pack lots of layers and extra blankets in case it gets cold at night. Thermals are great for kids pyjamas

3. Buy the kids their own camping gear where possible – little fold out chairs, sleeping bags, mini-torches all make it much more exciting


4. Arrive and set up in daylight. Let the kids help: they could set up the chairs, pass the pegs, unpack the car


5. Loosen up: Baby wipes make a great alternative when baths and showers just aren’t available (or you can’t be bothered). Getting the kids to sleep exactly at bedtime is near impossible during daylight savings and who cares if they have sausages in bread for dinner two nights in a row? What happens at camping, stays at camping


And of course, don’t forget your camera! What’s your best family camping hack? Share on our Facebook page so we can all benefit!