HOLIDAY TREAT: Ben, Amy and Isaac living it up in the cold outdoors.
HOLIDAY TREAT: Ben, Amy and Isaac living it up in the cold outdoors. Andrew Gale

Is this a camping trip or reality TV drama?

EASTER means different things to different folks.

To some it's an important event on the Christian calendar.

To others it's about Easter eggs, chocolate and seafood. For others it's a time to get away.

The last real chance before winter to get away in the outdoors. Camping and water skiing and all that.

It's a combination of those things to me.

If you've read this column for a while you've probably noticed I have some quirks.

For me, it's the start of my camping season.

Instead of hot, sweaty nights in tents, days spent covered in flies, and evenings swatting mozzies in over-crowded camp sites, I much prefer the onset of the cold and frost for my camping adventures.

I could probably write a few pages reminiscing about the times spent huddled around campfires fighting hypothermia, ice encrusted tents, or the time sissy's hair froze to the side of the tent, but I'll just stick to a few little ditties about generally how fun it is just to camp with 3,4,5 or 6 boys, the long suffering sissy and ever longer suffering wife. I'll stick to a few tips.

Firstly, you don't have to travel a million miles to get a great camping experience. Let's face it, we live in a great part of the world. People come here for holidays.

I don't think I've gone more that 40-50 km from home in the past 15 years or so to sleep under canvas.

Saves massive car trips and is dead handy if you happen to forget to bring the can opener.

Get a tent that's easy to set up. There's nothing worse than having a massive "domestic incident” with the "fam” as soon as you get there trying to decipher some Chinese "tent assembly instructions”.

Careful. Tent poles are dangerous in the hands of a cranky family member that you've just given conflicting "advice” to.

There are actually tents now that are called "instant set-up”. You literally just take them out of the bag and chuck them on the ground and they pop up by themselves.

Sounds great.

But I'm not sure how easy they'd be to jam back in the bag at the end of the trip.

Just delaying that "incident”, perhaps.

Have interesting food for the kids.

One of my favourites, besides damper and toasted marshmallows are mini corn dogs, little Dagwood dogs, Cheerios cooked in batter with lots of sauce. Yum.

A bonus is experimenting with other battered "treats” with the inevitable left over batter.

Battered, deep-fried jelly babies, battered marshmallows and even battered popcorn have all featured in our camp-kitchen.

Most importantly, don't forget why you are there TO HAVE FUN.

Pass on those positive experiences with the kids/family/significant other.

Lighten up. Hey, it's not a reality TV show.

It's camping under the stars, not "camping with the stars!”

If all else fails, a nice drop of red, or a port, whiskey even. Maybe even one of each with your Easter eggs.

Works for me.