Growing up I never went camping so when my husband and I started our adventure together, camping was a whole new experience for me. I must admit I was very overwhelmed by the prospect of sleeping outdoors in a tent but ever so thankful to have friends that are very outdoorsy and patient. The patience was for me, who was learning step by step how to go camping. And for a “city” girl this was a bit of a challenge. I always teased that I was the “princess” in our group and that’s because I would pack everything plus the kitchen sink!
Now add to this adventure, camping with kids, more specifically, babies!! The thought was terrifying! We had taken the boys camping but they were toddler age and older when we started, never had we done this adventure with babies. I was assured by my good friends that it was simple to do. I feel though I probably would not have gotten through it without there support but I also learned some tricks along the way that I thought I would share with you.
- Plan and make your lists! Planning ahead will decrease your stress on the day you are packing up your vehicle about to embark on your adventure.
- Stay close to home. I really appreciated this one. It meant that the drive to and from the camp site wasn’t long, making it more tolerable for the little ones. It also meant it could be done during nap time (if you little one sleeps in the car). It also meant that in case of an emergency, we were not too far away from a local hospital. Cause you just never know.
- Bring their favourite blanket! Both the twins received a special blanket from Aunt Francis when they were born and they grew attached to them, taking the blankets along where ever they went. So it made perfect sense to pack them along on our camping trip. It also provided a piece of comfort for the little ones as they were experiencing camping for the first time. *** Also don’t forget to bring along a small bag of toys to keep the little one entertained!
- Rubbermaid Bin Baths. I learned a smart way of packing my camping gear was in Rubbermaid bins. These bins came in handy when the little ones got all dirty. All I did was empty out a bin, fill it with warm water and bathed the kids!
- Baby sleep sacks and mittens. My kids were famous for kicking off the covers during the night. At home we would keep the house warm overnight so that the little ones wouldn’t get cold. But when you are out camping … not so easy. I used sleep sacks for the babies and found them very useful! The little ones stayed nice and warm overnight. I did find that their little hands would get cold. A suggestion I found was after they have fallen asleep, put mittens on.
- Pack extra clothes and diapers. Camping is meant to take you outdoors and getting a bit dirty is part for the course. Also, accidents will happen so it’s good to be prepared. It is also not a bad idea to take some extra plastic shopping bags along for those really dirty clothes to be wrapped up in to take home for the laundry. And remember, Keep the baby warm! They will get cold fast so keep a close eye on them and put another layer of clothes on them then you would normally. A warm baby will be a happier baby.
- Bring a portable playpen/ pack-and-play. I loved my playpen!! I took it everywhere! When I went visiting to my parents house or their shop and camping too. They fold together nice and compact making it easy to transport and when you are at your site, you can move it around, either inside or out making a nice “play” area for your baby and sleep spot.
- Got room for an exer-saucer? Remember I am the “princess” when it comes to camping so taking everything along was second nature. I am also really good at packing the vehicles with everything I want to take along, which included the baby’s exer-causer. I had one that folded together flat. Making it easy to transport. It was so nice to take along camping as it provided a safe place for the baby to play and entertain itself while also keeping the baby in one place. I thought it was brilliant!
- Umbrella stroller. If you plan on taking a stroller with you, consider an umbrella stroller. They are light weight and fold really compact for easier packing in your vehicle.
- Play-yard. I purchased a Play-yard when the twins started to crawl. There were two of them on the move and always in different directions! So having a safe area where I could keep them contained and still let them explore and play was ideal. I would put a blanket on the ground first before unfolding the Play-yard. You could also use those square foam pads that link together. This would make a nice soft play space too!
- Keep things simple. This goes for meals, location and what you plan on bringing along with you. Remember, what ever you take along has to go home with you again.
I hope you find these tips helpful!