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Julia Bradbury on Family Camping

Mum and son reading books in tent on selfinflating mat

Outdoor advocate and TV presenter, Julia Bradbury, reveals some of her essentials for family camping and top tips to get the most out of your outdoor adventure.

Camping isn't just fun − it's one of the most unique holiday experiences you can enjoy. Whether you spend just a few nights under the stars every year, or it's your annual family pilgrimage; the freedom, the bonding and that connection with nature is hard to beat.

As President of The Camping and Caravanning Club and a co-founder of The Outdoor Guide, it's rewarding to share stories, tips and information about the places, the kit and the highlights of exploring and enjoying the Great Outdoors.

Making kids love the Outdoors with great Camping Memories
I’m kept working hard by my duties as a mum of three (I have twin girls aged two and a six-year-old son) so it can require some logistical juggling to ensure we all get our outdoor fix. Like any parent, I want my children to grow up appreciating the value of green spaces, what nature can teach them and what they can take out of it – and all of it making them healthier and happier as they go.

Camping is possibly the best catalyst to spurring children into an outdoor adventure, so encouraging a love for it will help me spark enthusiasm in the next generation of Bradburys. Thankfully there’s great kit available that’s designed to make it easy for parents to take their children on a camping trip, and to make the whole experience memorable.

Great gear for Family Camping

I love the fact you can now get almost everything 'collapsible' – from your washing-up bowl and kettle to your camping lantern and colander – and they’re always in bright colours that really bring home the fun of camping. 

Outwell’s Collaps range is great, and extensive, but most importantly it saves a great deal of space for all those other important things I need to think about when packing to go away with the kids.

Stay cool in the heat

A decent coolbox is also essential in my book, especially one that will work on a 12V or 230V connection, and the bigger the better in my opinion, since keeping the children watered in the summer heat is hugely important. Outwell’s ECOcool and ECOlux coolers are great and you can even charge your phone from them.

Perfect for keeping my Insta updated − although I'm really careful to limit screen time to essential catch up duties − and then switch the phone to camera-only mode. When I'm taking album photos and want a good quality print out of some gorgeous landscape or family photos I use my Canon EOS M3.

The secret to a great nights sleep

There’s great value too in making sure every single one of you is as comfortable as possible when it comes to bedtime. I look for a particularly soft sleeping bag, with plenty of wriggle room and a good warmth rating, coupled with a nice raised mat or airbed that brings the comforts of home on to the campsite. 

The Outwell Dreamboat does the job nicely and don't worry about running out of puff – it self inflates and then you can give it a little top up if you like it super comfy-soft (like me).

Top Outwell Gear for Kids Camping

We all have a basic camping kit list firmly planted in our head but sometimes we forget those little extras that add sparkle to a holiday. 

Camping Gear for Kids

Cook up a campsite treat

Campsite cooking is a highlight these days. Long gone are the days of only whipping up bangers and beans. 

Having a decent stove or barbecue or a combination of a stove and grill is essential to me – I want to be able to make my team a slice of toast or a full-blown tasty meal. The Outwell Roast Gas BBQ with a side table is a great compact all in one.


Lamp lollipops, Fish Tacos or  Arrabbiata Prawn Pasta?

Just pick your favorite.  

Check out Ali Ray's Recipes

Julia’s top ten camping essentials
1. Coolbox – essential for keeping cold drinks and plenty of other stuff chilled, in summer at least!
2. Waterproofs – after all, they won’t enjoy it if they get wet and miserable.
3. Cooking options – a grill, stove, barbecue or combination of them are essential unless you plan to eat out all the time. The Outwell Roast Gas BBQ with side table is very robust and compact.
4. Kids chairs – bucket-style seats such as the Trelew Summer Kids from Outwell will give them somewhere they can kick back all to themselves
5. Low voltage or rechargeable camping lanterns – some kids want to sleep with a light on, so a rechargeable lantern with a diffuse setting, or even a red-light option, is worth having.
6. Storage, storage, storage – camping can soon become an untidy pastime without somewhere to stash the toys you brought with you. And the food. And the crockery. And…
7. Mallet and peg puller – take the strain out of setting up, and the kids will enjoy using them, too.
8. Nature book or guide – to help your little ones identify what they see around the campsite and beyond. 
9. A floor mat – to place just inside or outside your tent for when footwear becomes muddy. Your tent will soon get filthy with the kids running in and out all day unless they leave shoes at the door.
10. Good pair of boots – ensures you’ll be able to climb that hill or walk that path that you’ve just discovered and never knew was there until you arrived.

Julia Bradbury

Outdoor advocate and TV presenter, Julia Bradbury, President of The Camping and Caravanning Club and a co-founder of The Outdoor Guide.

The Camping and Caravanning Club