Monday, July 9, 2012

Tips for Camping With a Baby

If you've never taken your baby/toddler camping, do it! It's really fun. I was a little nervous to take Cohen out on his first tent camping trip. We had a practice round when we camped with my parents at their "campsite" but that was close to home and we were in a camper, so this was a little different. I have had a few people ask me for tips and since we've gone once now, we're experts :)

1. Pack a car bag:
Our trip was a 6 hour drive, which is a long time in a carseat. I packed Cohen a bag that I kept in the front seat with me so that it was easily accessible. The car bag had: diaper and wipes, hand wipes, snacks, sippy cup, toys I knew he liked, a disposable place mat and bib (in case we stopped at any restaurants along the way), a bottle with the water in it and formula nearby, squeeze food pouches (SUCH a lifesaver), and a change of clothes just because you never know.

2. Clothes: This will depend on where you live/where you are going, but around here you have to prepare for any kind of weather. Even if the forecast says sun, there could be rain/wind/hail you just don't know. This is probably obvious, but bring clothes you don't care about getting dirty. For a weekend of camping I packed:  
                          Warm weather clothes (shorts, tank tops, t-shirts)
                          Cold weather clothes (sweats, footie pajamas, sleep sack for at night, socks,
                          sweatshirts,stocking hat)
                          Situation dependent (swimsuit, sun hat, sandals, shoes, sunscreen, UV shirt etc)

*While it was warm during the day, Cohen wore almost everything I had brought him at night. Since he is too little and moves around too much for a sleeping bag I just piled clothes on him and tried to put a blanket on him. I packed 2 of everything because I knew he would get dirty and I ended up putting double layers on him at night so it worked out well.

3. Camping:
                          *Rags/washclothes/towels/wipes - babies are messy and even messier when they are
                            camping. We brought old rags that we could use to clean up toys, hands, etc and
                            just toss if needed. We also brought a thing of Lysol wipes and Wet Ones for cleaning
                            Cohen and his things

                          * Blankets - beach blanket, a blanket just for the crib, and one for outside (fire
                             sitting). I also used one of our larger blankets to put over the side of Cohen's crib so
                             he couldn't see us as well, he still could if he stood up, but if he woke up and looked
                             out he wouldn't see us and instantly start crying.
                          * Pack n play - I almost considered not bringing this but I'm so glad I did. Cohen                                   needs comfort of his 4 walls and I need the sleep without him crawling on my                                                face. Also, if your baby has a favorite blanket or sleep toy, bring them. It helps with
                             sleeping in a strange place. 
                          * Carrier - If you have a carrier, bring it. We brought our Ergo and it was wonderful
                             for carrying Cohen down to the beach where his stroller couldn't go. It also worked
                             well to keep him out of the sand and mud when we didn't want him there
                          * Walker - this isn't absolutely necessary, but it sure was nice. Cohen is a mover and
                             doesn't appreciate being strapped in his carseat/stroller. This let him have a little
                             freedom without being on the ground eating bug. Our walker wasn't actually a
                            walker because it didn't have wheels which was an extra bonus.
                           * Bottled water - we brought bottled water to have for making bottles and for sippy
                           * A very large car to hold all of the above and understanding friends who tolerate
                              camping with a baby (thanks Richie and Rachael!)

Also, just be flexible. With a baby, things aren't going to go perfectly, just try to go with it and have fun!

And just as a side note, it's probably best not to work the day before leaving for camping and wait until very last to pack your own bag when the car is running out of room. You might decide you don't really need to pack shoes and you will definitely regret it.

Whew, I think that's it. More pictures coming soon. Would anyone add anything else?


  1. If you have one and have room to pack it the kids play yards/fence things are great. We packed ours along for camping and put Jacob in it with some toys. He gets some freedom, but can't get away which is nice when they are a fast crawler....

  2. I hadn't thought of cleaning wipes. Thanks for the list! I think I might bring one of those high chairs that you can sit on a kitchen chair too, just in case I need a squirmy kid to sit long enough to eat!

    1. We took our bumbo on our last camping trip and definitely would have brought it again if we didn't have the walker thing. A "hold still" piece of equipment is definitely necessary!

  3. Great tips, Cohen looks so happy :)

  4. Good advice on bringing a separate blanket for by the fire. Jeremy and I went camping with some friends in 35 degree weather once, and so we brought out big warm comforter from home. Then I burnt a hole in it by the fire. It was awesome.