Our last camping trip happened about 3 years ago. That’s long. It’s about time to have another one.
When my schoolmates suggested to go camping, I gladly accepted the invitation. The trip was joined in by four families. The children are between 5 and 16 years old. The objective of the trip is to expose the children to camping and introduce them to wilderness. A short break from urban lifestyle and the connected world.
Some of my friends’ children had not gone camping before, so to give them a taste of what camping was, we decided to go for a one-night trip.
Though J and K had experienced staying in a tent before, I think they would not complain especially when one could have so much fun from camping. If possible, they want more than a trip in 3 years.
If you think camping is intimidating, I have to agree with you: it is. There are so many things to buy, to prepare, and to bring.
But if you follow the tips mentioned here, you can reduce the amount of work and as well as your stress in preparation of a camping trip. Hopefully these will change your mind and make camping less scary for you.
I can assure you that the joy and experience you and your child get from camping outweigh the effort you put in. The experience of camping will be something that you talk about for many years to come in your family.
To share with you how we did it, I take our recent camping trip as the base for our discussion.
Date and Venue
Getting a date that is suitable for all is a challenge. After a few rounds of arm-twisting, we settled for the first Saturday of August. Even that, some of us had to forgo some activities to accommodate this important trip.
Then came the venue.
I didn’t know that there were many options available in and around the Klang Valley when it came to camp sites. These camp sites are privately run and they are safer than public camp sites.
We went through two camp sites before settling at Pasir Puteh Resort. The first one was fully booked on the date we wanted while for the second option, I find the prices are too high.
The management of Pasir Puteh Resort (PPR) also runs Kalumpang Resort and Training Centre which is only 1km away from Pasir Puteh Resort. PPR is just 15 minutes’ drive from Tanjung Malim exit on the North South Expressway, heading south. It has basic facilities such as toilets, bathrooms and canopies.
The prices of PPR are highly affordable. You’ll be charged by camp site (some operators charge by head count) and by tent if you choose to rent one. For camping, the staff recommends PPR over KRTC because the former is more suitable for camping. You can’t make reservation online and phone booking seems to be the only option. A deposit of RM50 should be made when you’re happy with the date and the requirements are met.
If you have your own tent, PPR only charges for camp site (RM15/tent) and entrance fee (adults RM5, children RM3). Besides camping facilities, both PPR and KRTC also provide chalets and team building packages.
After the date and venue had been settled, we needed to arrange which family should bring what. There were common things that we shared and things that were specific to each family. That’s the beauty of going with other families which you can share and distribute some responsibilities among yourselves. It makes camping trip less stressful. However, this is impossible if you are going alone.
Things we shared were food, water toys, hammer, pans, BBQ stove, gas stoves, tables, chairs, and knives. Each family was responsible for its own tent, ropes, toiletries, sleeping gear, clothes, cutleries.
If you don’t have a tent, get one that is affordable. Here’s my advice: Get one size bigger than your family size. For example, we got a 6 man tent for a family of 4. It tends to be more spacious and more comfortable than a 4 man tent.
If you are in a tropical country like Malaysia, get a tent that is full of windows. It could get very stuffy inside a tent on a hot, dry night. The downside is on a rainy day, you’ll have to put a flysheet over the tent to prevent water dripping into your tent through windows.
To make sure you don’t leave out anything you want to bring, use a camping checklist. They are not hard to come by. A quick search on Google yields many excellent results. You don’t need to crack your head coming up with one from scratch. Of course, you don’t need to bring everything on the checklist. Use the checklist to prepare for things that are only relevant to your trip.
When the day arrived, each of the four families reached the camp site at different time. The first to arrive was tasked with choosing a site that is flat and near to the stream. Our family was the last one to be there at 4 pm because J’s tuition only ended at 1 pm.
PPR located in a small village that we need to cut through with small roads. The signs are clear and you won’t get lost.
Our first impression was the resort was clean and well-maintained. We already liked it when we first saw it. We parked our fully loaded car just a few steps from the camp site. We pitched our tents near to each other.
The site is lit sparingly at night and tap water is available. Big canopies are available for rent (cost RM50 each) and each is fixed with a ceiling fan in the middle.
The best part of PPR is the child-friendly stream. You don’t really need to worry about the safety (though you have to watch over younger children) as the stream is shallow in most parts. The water is clean and crystal clear. Even the parents couldn’t resist the temptation and all went in to get a good dip.
In fact, there’s another plus for this resort pointed out by my wife who is sensitive to mosquito bites. She was pleasantly surprised to find out that PPR was free of mosquitoes even though it’s surrounded by a forest.
Any negative feedback on the resort? Yes if you’re a light sleeper. The sound of the stream is magnified by the silence of the night. In the middle of the night, it sounds like tsunami come crashing. It didn’t bother me much as I slept like a log. To overcome this, pitch your tent further from the stream or bring earplugs.
KALUMPANG RESORT & TRAINING CENTRE / PASIR PUTEH RESORT
No. 37A, Jalan Lawan Pedang 13/27, Seksyen 13, 40100 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: (+603) 55109145 / 55111204
Fax: (+603) 55104516
Lot 426 & 427 Jalan Sg Inki, Kg Pasir Putih, Kalumpang, 44100 Kerling, Hulu Selangor, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Telephone: (+603) 6049 1969
Fax: (+603) 6049 1087
Food and Activities
We didn’t really prepare for games except for some simple ones. Besides playing in the stream, catching fish and shrimps, building sand castles, we brought along pails, fishing nets, and frisbees. One of my friends brought some glow sticks that are super nice to play with when the night falls. Kids loved them.
We had an impromptu circle time after dinner. Everyone sat in a circle and introduced themselves to the group. This was done mainly for the children’s sake as they needed to know each other more. It’s also good for parents to know the new generation more closely.
With interesting activities lined up, the kids had forgotten about the gadgets and they replaced screen time with close interaction with friends and nature.
At night, we had BBQ for dinner. We had chicken, sausages, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, mashed potato. I know we went a bit too far as one family prepared a Spanish dish called paella. A pity I didn’t have the chance to taste it as it ran out fast. Also, the kids had a wonderful time toasting marshmallows.
Here’s a tip: It pays to have good cooks on your trip as you won’t starve and you’ll be served with food of Michelin standard.
In the morning next day, we asked the children to prepare breakfast, at least for themselves. Some of them made garlic bread, some cooked instant noodles, some made sandwiches. They seemed to enjoy themselves very much.
Before checking out and making the final payment, we continued the fun at the stream. We soaked in the chilly water. We splashed water on each other. We caught fish, shrimps, and even stick insects.
We had so much fun that one of the children requested to stay longer in the resort and didn’t want to leave so soon. J and K were no exception.
To end the fun-filled camping trip, we had late lunch at one of the restaurants in Kerling town before saying good-bye to everyone.
Here’s the big question: Did we achieve what we set out to achieve? You bet. Not only do the kids want to have another camping trip, the parents have started to plan for the next one even before the current trip had ended! Talk about excitement.