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Camping With Little Kids

Camping With Little KidsSummer has come to a close and fall is in full swing.  Even with the days and nights getting colder, it is a perfect time to go camping before winter brings her cold blanket to much of the country.  Camping might seem intimidating to those with young babies and children, but it is very doable with some extra thought and packing.  My little family actually just returned from four days of camping without any sort of facilities near Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.  The nights were cold and the days warm, we had no running water, or pit toilets, but we made it work with our 11 month old in tow.

Here are 10 tips to getting outside with your little:

  1. Start local and close to home.  Our first camping adventure was thirty minutes from our house and close a grocery store.  This helped us come up with a packing system and an idea of what we would need on a longer trip.  If all went up in flames, we could jump ship and head home.
  2. Please do not think you need a camper or an RV to be successful, a tent is very workable.  My family has spent equal time between tents and campers.   We have actually had more luck getting a pack and play in tent versus camper.  Due to limited space, we typically cosleep in a camper. We learned the hard way on our last camping trip that forgetting the pack and play is not an option.  Even if it’s not going to be used for sleeping, it is a safe place to put the baby down, period. 
  3. Bring lots of layers for rapid temperature changes.  Even if it looks like you are over packing, you likely are not.  I took baby long underwear and fleece jammies and layered them for the bed time, plus a hat and warm socks. If baby is sleeping solo in a pack and play, make sure you have a warm bunting to act as a sleeping bag.  In the evenings, we used lined jeans, long sleeved onesie, flannel, fleece jacket, and a vest.  Do not go light on blankets and sleeping bags, the more the merrier.   I found when cosleeping in a camper that making a real bed with blankets and sheets easier than fighting a baby and sleeping bag.  On the flip side don’t forget a sunhat, sunscreen, and baby safe bug repellent.
  4. Babywear, babywear, babywear.  Our Lillebaby and Tula are lifesavers around the campfire and while cooking meals.  This is the best way to know your baby is safe and warm.  Bring an oversized jacket or sweat shirt for babywearing, it will keep you and your little warm at the same time. 
  5. Toys, I am actually surprised with how little we are able to get away with.  There are too many other novel things to watch and play with. 
  6. If you are nursing remember warm clothes that you can easily nurse in at night.  I spent a night with half my body outside the covers with my arms and chest freezing because I lacked foresight in this area.
  7. Cloth wipes are the jam for everything while camping.  Running noses, dirty bums, dirty hands, essentially dirty everything. We love our GroVia wipes.
  8. Never underestimate the morale boost of a warm car ride on a cold morning, especially if it is to some place with coffee! 
  9. Look up easy hikes nearby.  It’s fun to get your toddlers exploring and little babies love looking around from a carrier view.  We found an amazing waterfall that was only a mile round trip, and we were able to leave our backpack/diaper bag at the car.
  10. If you are looking for inspiration and a reminder of why it’s important to get your littles outside read, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  Seriously, this book rocks my world and gets me amped to get out!

Whispered By: Nicole is the daily entertainer, nourisher, and 24/7 domestic in training to a spirited toddler.  When not attached at the hip (or boob) to said daughter, Nicole enjoys running, actually let’s be real, sleeping.

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