1. Start tiny. Plot a short, simple route that’s not a long way from home. Traffic free is best if your kid wants to try carrying some of their own gear.
2.Forget about going fast. We rode about 10 km along a local cycle path for our first trip, stopping numerous times to climb trees, hunt for bugs and eat snacks. It’s very slow going but when you’ve pretty much all day to ride 10 km, it’s no biggie. Plus you’ll be carrying most of the gear anyway.
3. Know exactly where you’ll be camping – you definitely don’t want to be searching for a wild camping spot as the sun goes down. I like a site called Nearly Wild Camping as their sites are super low key, uncrowded and uncommercial but do often have a composting toilet and somewhere to light a campfire.
4. Take a lot of snacks. Fruit leather, rice cakes and flapjacks are great for warding off hunger but Jelly Babies are an absolute lifesaver when the going gets tough. Marshmallows to toast on the fire make a nice treat and evening activity and instant noodles always seem to go down well.
5. Get the kids involved in everything. Let them peg the tent, collect firewood, make their own instant noodles and carry some of their own gear.
6. Take a TowWhee, a kind of bungee cord you attach to your child’s bike to give them a little assistance when the going gets tough.
7. Let them stay up. I’m not sure everyone would agree with me on this one but when we are camping, I don’t try to put the kids to bed at their usual time. Let them run around and wear themselves out and bedtime will be easier and more enjoyable for everyone. For me, camping is a break from routine and a chance to live differently so relax and enjoy it.
And my final piece of advice: don’t forget the teddy!