Pack kids’ clothes (and your own) into clear plastic zip-up storage bags – this makes it super-easy to see the clothes so you can grab them without having to scrabble around the bottom of a bag.
Pack nice underwear. You’re going to have to hang it out to dry in full view of all your camping neighbours.
Patterned clothes show up less dirt. And opt for darker colours too.
Invest in decent sleeping mats. Go and try them out in a camping shop to make sure you get one that you find comfortable.
You can’t have too many pegs. Ditto those clips for keeping food sachets etc closed, and sandwich bags
Packsingle sheets for hot nights so you have an alternative to your sleeping bags.
Bring somehard ground pegs, so you can still pitch your tent on a hard, dusty site, or one with ground full of rocks.
Inspect your pitch thoroughly before laying out your tent and try to locate and remove any large stones or rocks. Otherwise they’re bound to end up right in the middle of your bedroom and you’ll stub your toe on them a million times a day.
A dustpan and brush is supremely useful for ridding your tent of dust, grass, sand etc. A doormat also helps.
Although it took up a lot of space in the car, the camping toilet (essentially an oversized potty) we took with us was invaluable, even if I did have to agree to empty it every single day of our trip because it was me that insisted on bringing it.
Don’t rely on satnav, or you may find yourself completely lost in the middle of nowhere. Read any instructions about finding your next site in advance.
When you arrive at new site have a picnic blanket and activity easily accessible so you can get it out and set the kids up straight away.
Never try to put up a tent hungry. This is a mistake we made too many times.
Appoint a tent leader for putting up the tent. Or let just one person do it. Too many chiefs and all that.
Organise your camp kitchen. We used a large storage box with a built-in divider for our tins, spices etc. When we stood the box on its end, the divider became a shelf so the box could be used as a mini shelving unit.
Those plastic flexi garden trugs are great for organising stuff when you unpack (we used one for shoes, one for games and one for the washing up), and they stack into each other and can be squeezed into a footwell when you’re on the move.
Use a bungy cord stretched between tent poles as a mini washing line for tea towels etc.
Be militant about keeping the bedroom doors zipped up if you want to avoid insect bites.
Buy icecube bags and ask to put them in the freezer at your campsite. Some owners will let you, some won’t, but the possibility of a cold G&T makes it well worth asking the question.
Don’t rely on wifi, even if your chosen campsites say they have it. Most of our campsites had wifi, but to use it you had to sit outside the reception office – I personally had places I’d rather be!
Go go gadgets. For backing up our photos etc, we used a Verbatim Mediashare (wireless portable streaming device) to transfer files from the SD card to an external hard drive (using an app on your phone or tablet).
If you’re not going to be using powered pitches, we used a Kit universal portable power bank/emergency charger from which we could charge anything with a USB cable.
Remember that in many countries Sunday closing is still prevalent. Ditto bank holidays. So make sure to stock up on provisions in advance (or live on pasta for two days in our case).
Hang a shopper full of fruit and veg in a nearby tree. This keeps it cooler and keeps the ants out.