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So What Do You Put On A Family Camping Packing List For An Ordinary Camping In Rwanda

In reality the answer is LOTS of clothes and as little other stuff as possible!  You basically have to pack for a whole fashion house in one weekend or the longer you will stay on the road the more items you will need which means it includes wellies, flip flops, trainers, rain coats and sun hats, but you can’t park your car next to your tent like you can do on an ordinary camping trip so it means carrying everything (sometimes quite a long distance) from the car to the tent!!. On my recent visit to Musanze in Northern Rwanda I met a couple on a road trip camping at Red Rocks Campsite and they taught me a lesson..

Here are some of the lessons I learnt from them:

  • Camping trolley to transport everything to your tent, bedding etc. However depending on the place you are going to, this can be more of a hindrance, particularly if it’s muddy.
  • Large back packs work better for us with clothes in, leaving hands free for other items!
  • Walking and Hiking Shoes – Northern Rwanda is a mountainous place and best place for hiking and all other community walks. Some of the village community walks are muddy so you may need good soled shoes. Others are rocky so you may need good rubber shoes comfortable to walk in the sharp volcanic dry lava stones
  • Trainers – If I can fit them in (and I usually do) I like to take trainers for us all to wear when we get back to the tent and are chilling out.  I hate wearing wellies for longer than I have to and I also detest wearing wet shoes. Extra socks and dry trainers are a luxury for me.
  • Sleeping Bags – worth investing in good quality ones as they pack down small and keep you actually warm.  Musanze has a lot of cold nights and it may be tricky if you land on a very cold night. Some hotels will always give you an extra blanket but then for camping its quiet challenging to rely on their provision
  • Picnic rug – We favour a tent carpet when camping for longer periods of time but a waterproof backed picnic rug is multipurpose for a camping trip as you can take it into the picnic  I still love small and light when am packing.
  • Spare Bag!  – However organised I think I am, I always find myself carrying more things around at every trip, whether it is near or far but I have always found myself with extra luggage. Try an extra small pack pack bag that can save your day.
  • Raincoats for all the family!
  • Sun cream – I’m a black or dark-skinned man as you call it. That means I absorb a lot of sun rays than anyone. One of the things I don’t forget is my sun cream to protect me from the too much sun heat.
  • ID bands with your child’s name and your emergency contact details on them, or you can write your phone number. Children are very funny, they can jump in the neighbourhood while you are away
  • Sun Hats and Sunglasses- I mean you never know.
  • Tent – However don’t let the lack of a tent put you off camping as most camping sites now have ones that are already erected that you can hire for the weekend. If you are going to buy one make sure you buy one for more people than you think, as a tent for 4 is not comfortable for 4 people!
  • Water and Snacks – Once you’ve reached on the site you and you kids will ALWAYS want a drink and will inevitably be be hungry. We take a large box of cereal that they like to eat dry too.
  • Clothes – Basically lots of layers.  They will get mucky, likely to get wet and they will want fresh clothes to change into!
  • Footless Onesies – Thick and warm to put on before bed, but without the feet means they won’t get damp feet.
  • Potty for children if you have – Regardless of the age of your children, I might* have used it myself in the past too.
  • Self inflating sleep mats – much easier to transport than air beds and pretty much as comfortable.
  • Toilet Paper – Essential – enough said.
  • Wet wipes and Hand Sanitiser – Lots. In Africa disease causing germs are many and you will always want to greet people by shaking hands. If you even white its more worse because children touching mzungu-White person.
  • Mini First Aid Kit – Although most camping sites will have this it’s good to have plasters, antiseptic wipes, and aspirin etc with you.

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