How to create the perfect family base camp
After a packed day of family adventuring, there’s nothing better than returning to a cosy, comfortable ‘base camp’.
With no weight limit and a whole family to keep happy, camping with kids on campsites is all about creating a snug environment everyone will love. Here’s how to create a base camp setup that’s comfortable, cosy, practical and sustainable – without losing your connection to the outdoors.
Whatever the weather
The first rule of family camping is that your setup needs to be weatherproof. Sometimes you'll face drizzle, gales, hail or heatwaves (possibly all of the above) at some point during your trip. That’s not much fun in a flimsy nylon tent, but a top-quality cotton fabric model should be able to ride out almost any storm. Nordisk’s Utgard 13.2 is about the closest a tent gets to being a house. Solidly constructed from breathable cotton fabric with room for up to six sleepers, it’ll keep the whole family cool in the heat and dry in the rain.
Go big on hygge
Unlike wild camping, where every gram counts, there’s no need to scrimp on luxuries for a family base camp. Be inspired by the Danish concept of hygge (basically a feeling of cosy contentment – Nordic jumpers and cinnamon-scented candles optional) and fill your boot with rugs, cushions, camping lanterns, snug clothes for post-adventure brews and plenty of extra blankets. Without weight to consider, it’s also worth swapping roll mats for camp beds. The Rold Wooden Camp Bed won’t just give you the best night’s sleep you’ve had in the wild while doubling up as a bench during the daytime. With its beech frame and canvas spread it looks rather beautiful too.
Space to unwind
The key to a relaxed and comfortable base camp is space – space to cook, eat, dry wet gear, and retire for a bit of alone time if the rest of the family are driving you up the canvas walls. A big tent is a good start (the Utgard 13.2 allows you to add extra compartments, which is handy for storage and drying gear), but base camps shouldn’t end with the tent. Think about packing a tarp, such as the Kari Diamond 10, for creating an all-weather chillout space – and don’t forget the kitchen. A storage unit, sink and two-hob gas stove are the lynchpins of a good camp kitchen, all ideally protected by a wind break and tarp. Add the Nordisk Aluminium Kettle for the most stylish morning brew you’ve ever had.
Build it to last
It’s becoming worrying common to see cheap nylon tents and plastic camping gear discarded around British beauty spots. Don’t fall into the ‘buy it cheap, use it once’ trap. Nordisk has been making products with an emphasis on durability, sustainability and quality for more than 100 years. Its family camping range uses natural, durable materials that are designed to be repaired rather than replaced – better for the world and better for you.
Nordisk family camping gear: four top picks
Many hikers and backpackers known Nordisk for their excellent lightweight gear, but the company also makes superb family-friendly ‘glamping’ kit with a classic, Scandinavian feel – including their hallmark cotton tents. Here are some of the best picks.