Are you crazy like us and daring to take your baby (or babies, in our case) camping this summer?
If so, we should have a conversation about the essentials for camping with a baby. Camping with a baby for the first time is so different than camping as a couple.
Though it was far from our first time camping it WAS our first time camping with a baby (or two), thus making it feel like our first time camping all over again!
My husband was nervous while I was stoked for the grand adventure. My thought process went like this: we love camping, hiking, challenges, and nature. Why not share this love with our babies?
Sure, it was much more work. It took a great deal more preparation, and it created a new idea for what camping will look like for us as a family…but isn’t that how life-with-babies is in general?
To ease his fears, I read and researched various important details regarding camping with a baby. As we prepared to take our two infants (both under one) on a three-day camping trip, I took notes and assembled some information to share with you pertaining to essentials for camping with a baby.
BEST TENT FOR CAMPING WITH YOUR BABY
We recommend the Coleman Sundome 6 person tent for ample room, a basic design allowing a quick and simple setup, and great ventilation.
IDEAS FOR CAMPING WITH YOUR BABY
Depending on the age of your baby, there are quite a few things you can do while camping. Essentially, if he/she isn’t crawling yet you can strap him into a carrier and do about anything you would have done before bringing a baby camping. Exploring, hikes, board games, fishing from land, etc. Your baby will love experiencing these new adventures, activities, and scenery.
If your baby is walking, there are toddler life-vests they can wear and you can certainly take them out into a raft, canoe, or boat. Swimming in shallow water is also fun. Bring a strider bike or tricycle to begin that adventure around the campground. You can do simple arts and crafts with leaves and sticks, star gaze, and attend Junior Ranger programs put on by the campground.
WHEN TO START CAMPING WITH YOUR BABY
You can start as early as you’d like. In reality, it is you as the parents that will do all the adapting. You are home to your baby so wherever he goes, as long as you are present, he feels at home. Simply be sure you bring the essentials.
ACCESSORIES/NECESSITIES FOR CAMPING WITH YOUR BABY
Disposable Diapers: And more than you think you need! At home, we are a cloth diaper family, but we didn’t want to cart around diapers and allow the soiled diapers to soak. Talk about a rough car ride home!
Hats: If it’s cold, keep baby’s head covered!
Gloves: Little hands and fingers get a lot colder than your adult hands, especially since you are moving around a lot more than baby.
Socks: Be sure to keep those toes covered on those cool mornings!
Swaddles: Keep baby warm and cozy, especially at night.
Excess wet wipes: You are going to need many more wet wipes than your average day at home.
Books and toys: Great for early mornings in the tent, throughout the day, and around the evening campfire.
Pack-n-play: This is the greatest invention to take camping if you have crawlers or walkers! Not only can you use it for naps near the lake or around the campsite, but you can also stick your little one inside to watch the busyness of all that is happening. If the carrier is not working out while setting up or tearing down camp, try the pack-n-play! My babies are 2 and 7 months and still find trees intriguing, so staring up at the moving leaves captivates their attention unlike much else.
Baby carrier: This is quite possibly one of the most important essentials for camping with a baby. It’s the easiest way to get anything done! Camping without a carrier seems silly. You can strap that baby on your front or back and do a world of things.
First Aid Kit: Bandages, Curel or other alcohol-based cleansing product, sunscreen (for children more than 6 months old), bug spray with 10% DEET (read 8 Tips for Keeping Baby Safe from Mosquitos).
CO-SLEEPING + SLEEPING WHILE CAMPING WITH A BABY
Keeping baby warm while sleeping: First, don’t be so afraid of your little one freezing that you do the opposite and overheat him. Bring extra layers and a good amount of blankets so you have the option of bundling more. Zip-up fleece sleepers are your best option. A fleece blanket is also a great addition to your pile of blankets. Tie-hats and Smart Wool socks are recommended for optimal warmth.
Co-sleeping with baby: You have a couple of options. If you already co-sleep with your baby at home, this won’t be much different. If using an air mattress (which we used for the very first time) you can either bring separate sleeping bags for the three of you, sticking baby in the middle, OR bring sheets and warm heavy blankets. Put a fleece blanket between you and the ground/pad/mattress! If you prefer to avoid co-sleeping, use the pack-n-play and stick baby’s fleece blanket underneath him to prevent the warmth from escaping. Be sure your tent has enough space for this.
We had a BLAST as a family venturing out to camp with our babies for the first time. Who doesn’t love percolator coffee, the great outdoors, and hot dogs over a campfire? All while snuggling two sweet little humans we call ours.
Lastly, remember to change your expectations. It may start pouring rain with no sign of clear skies. It’s okay to change your plans and head home. The point is to enjoy your family, so whatever that looks like for YOU, do it!
Some people will call you brave while others will snicker thinking you are outright stupid. Either way, it doesn’t matter what people think. You do you, pack your baby up, and go camping! Just don’t forget these essentials for camping with a baby.
What essentials do you recommend?
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