Every time we head off on a trip I learn something new that I wish I had worked out a bit earlier.
Like that time I collapsed the awning because I didn’t angle it in torrential rain. You know, that kinda thing…
Anyways, from now on, whenever I work something new out I’ll add it to this list and ya never know, maybe I’ll save you learning the hard way at some point 🙂
Face your annex east when it’s hot!
Or, I should say away from wherever the sun is gonna go down!
I know, can’t believe it took me this long either. Luckily I was with a mate who has her head screwed on and she pointed it out.
Nothing worse than afternoon sun blasting under your awning on a warm day.
I use a compass app on my phone to make sure that everything is pointing in the right direction. Check it out on this list of handy apps for road tripping and camping.
Angle your awning when it rains.
I didn’t and came home to the whole thing collapsed and full of water.
Just lower one side so the water has an escape route.
I’ve also used it to catch a whole lot of drinking water when we were running low on an extended trip a little off the beaten track. It’s always good to have a clean bucket on hand in the case of rain.
Have a hot/wet weather mozzie plan.
It was hot and raining and there were midgies and mozzies and I couldn’t leave the door open without getting eaten and it sucked so bad.
I have screens up the top but they let the rain in.
Whatever you decide just spend a few minutes before you go thinking, if it’s pissing down, boiling hot and theres mozzies everywhere what is my plan gonna be…
Update: I have since bought a mozzie screen for the back door of the van and also the sliding door on the side.
If you are in a van and in Australia and you want something like this then get in touch with Pia at Southern Spirit Campervans.
They are based in Brisbane but can send you whatever you need via post and they have been really helpful when I’ve needed things for the van.
You can never have too many tea towels.
No more to be said there really, except there’s nothing worse than a stinky tea towel.
Slip on shoes for the kids.
Take smaller kids a pair of thongs or something similar that they can put on by themselves.
I spent ages putting shoes and socks on the kids over and over as there was a bit too much gravel to go without shoes altogether.
Something like thongs they could slip on and off quickly by themselves would have been a sanity saver.
Have a towel drying plan.
We stayed near the water recently and I spent the whole time trying to dry towels over the back of chairs or over rearview mirrors but it didn’t really cut it.
We have since invested in some microfibre travel towels, very handy indeed, they dry super fast and take up less room when packed too.
Head over to gear that makes camping with kids easier to check out the towels and some other handy gear.
Get a water filter that plugs into a hose.
This is another brainwave from the friend with her head screwed on mentioned above.
It means you can fill your drinking water up at random taps and know that your not drinking anything too dodgy.
There’s an example of a filter thats easy to use and pretty cost effective in the gear that makes camping with kids easier post.
Keep the pin for the toilet on your body!
When staying at a caravan park, write the pin number for the loos on your arm for day one (until you remember it)
Seriously, I must have trekked the length of the bloody park 6 times only to realize I left the paper with the pin on it back at camp. Infuriating!
Don’t choose the site next to a hazard when you have little kids.
If you do end up at a caravan park, don’t choose the site next to a busy road, deep water, high drop off!
It sounds so simple but it totally didn’t occur to me the first few times and I paid the price. Cue spending two days leaping up every five minutes to save one of the kids from getting run over.
Check out how to choose the most kid friendly site at a caravan park for some other ideas about what to avoid when you have little ones.
Never forget the potty/travel loo.
Both of our kids are cool with using a normal toilet now but when you are miles from the nearest loo, it’s late, or raining or you’re half asleep the potty/portable loo will be your friend.
We grabbed a Thunder Down Under from Bunnings for about $40 and it has been the best thing ever.
JJust make sure you ask for the bags and the sachets that go with it.
Get a big outdoor rug/mat for under the annex.
I thought it was a bit of a nice to have not a need to have.
Until we camped for two days on black sand. Total nightmare.
We picked one up for the last three days and it was great! Sand in the bed factor reduced tenfold.
If you want to get your hands on a really spunky outdoor mat then head over to the shop, I’ve got some gorgeous recycled plastic, lightweight, reversible options for sale.
A foot washing station.
We have a collapsable rectangular rubber tub that I fill with water and sit on a towel at the front door of the tent/van.
The kids know that they have to wash and dry their feet before they go anywhere near the bed, works a treat.
Keep the kids toys to a minimum.
I take less and less each trip when it comes to toys. They tend to be pretty occupied with a bucket and sticks/dirt/mud/water.
In saying that, I have managed to narrow down the list of stuff I do take to things that the kids love but also that pack down small. Check out road trip and camping toys that don’t take up too much space for some ideas.
If you have one of these babies in your camper or caravan remember that the fire is gonna set it off.
I know, derrrrrr right? But it honestly didn’t occur to me and I set up the most perfect camp, lit the most fab fire and then had to shift everything because the bloody smoke alarm was going off constantly.
Anything you learnt last trip that I need to know about? Let me know!
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