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the mommyhood memos: tips and tricks for camping with a baby

Friday, July 2, 2010

tips and tricks for camping with a baby


Babies love to be outside. Babies love a change of scenery. Babies love quality and quantity time with the ones they love… So, why wouldn’t babies love camping?!

We just got back from our first camping trip in the Aussie bush with Levi and it was a big success. I wanted to share what we learned, as well as some of the great tips that I got from other mommies, in hopes that your next camping trip with bubs will be fabulous too!


Now... here are my top tips for camping with a baby:

1. Baby jogger. We brought our jogging stroller (my husband calls it Levi’s 4-wheel-drive) and it was probably the single best thing we had with us. We put Levi to sleep in it for naptimes enabling us to wheel it wherever we were, which was great if we were moving between our tent area and the campfire area or the kitchen area. (It was a really big, spread out campsite!)

(one of many afternoon naps in the jogger)

We also put him to bed in it in the evenings so we could hang around the campfire or stay up playing cards as late as we wanted to without worrying about him being in the tent alone on the other side of the campsite. (Then transferred him to bed when we went to bed.) It was also great because we kept all our essentials in the basket and cup holders, meaning less trips back and forth to the tent for little things we needed throughout the day – sunscreen, bug spray, diapers and wipes, toys, water bottle, extra layers for bub, books, etc.

2. Layered clothing. Especially if you are camping in a place or season where there’s a big spectrum of temperatures, laying is a must!!! We had days warm enough for a onsie and shorts, and nights where we needed fleece and beanies! Layer up those babies so you can just peel off the layers as the sun gets stronger and put them back on as it disappears again. (And another little tip that we discovered: we used baby socks pulled up to the elbows for “mittens” on Levi during the cold nights.)

3. Emergency kit. Baby Tylenol, teething gel, fingernail clippers, butt paste, Vaseline, etc… Hopefully you don’t need any of it, but better to have a small stash on hand just in case.

4. Diapers galore. I took way more diapers than I thought we’d need… and only came back with five! For whatever reason, our little guy was a champion pooper while we were camping… much more than usual! Needless to say I was very glad I had a bigger than usual supply, so things didn’t get too messy *ahem* or desperate.

5. Wet wipes. Most mommies would instinctively bring a ton of wipes without really thinking, but just for the sake of being thorough I can’t go without adding these to the list! Bring a package for the tent, one for the car, one to keep near the kitchen or campfire, and one for the basket in your jogger. Use them for dirty bums, dirty faces, “sponge baths”, and for mommy and daddy’s sticky marshmallow fingers after those late night s’mores.

6. Travel cot. Many of the moms who left comments on my post asking for advice on camping mentioned bringing a porta-cot (pack-n-play). We brought one and actually didn’t end up using it. BUT, that is mostly because our little five-month-old isn’t yet crawling. Since he is still only a scooter we let him play on a blanket or a piece of carpet… but I think when we go camping in August we will definitely use the porta-cot since he’ll most likely be all over the place by then. (Also, it wouldn’t fit in our tent so we brought his moses basket—which he barely fit into—for him to sleep in at night. We’ll need to upgrade to a bigger tent with space for the porta-cot very soon!)

7. Plastic bucket. Throw the toys in… dump them out… fill up with water… and wallah – a portable toy box turned baby bath. Little bub will love the chance to sit in a funny little bath and hold the edges while he gets a wash. (And what a great photo op!)

8. Bath rug. We brought a large old bath mat to put under the moses basket (or portacot). The rubber base and cotton overlay made a perfect barrier from the cold air seeping in from the ground through the bottom of the tent. If you don’t have an old rug to use, then a blanket will work too.

9. Front carrier. Many moms also recommended taking a front (or back) carrier. We took ours along, but this is another item we didn’t end up using. However I’m keeping it on the list because I can see how invaluable it would be if you were in a place where you planned to do some hiking… or if you were camping without a bunch of friends who were just “waiting in line” for a chance to hold and play with bubs (which was the case for us – lucky little Levi! *grin*).

10. The car. We parked our car right next to our tent in case bubby had a meltdown in the middle of the night and we needed to take him somewhere where the crying was at least muffed a little bit from the other campers. Thankfully we didn’t need to use it for this reason! We did use it a lot though… for diaper changes. Since we have a hatchback I set up the trunk as a changing station with an old towel, the wipes, diapers, hand sanitiser, and toy for baby to hold onto for quick diaper changes. Of course you can change a diaper anywhere, but we just found this helpful and easier than always doing it on the ground.

11. Washable toys. This is pretty much just common sense, but ditch the stuffed animals and bring a couple of wooden or plastic toys that can easily be rinsed off after they’ve had a roll around in the dirt.


12. Portable shade. Bring a shade tent, a marquee, a spare tarp, or even a beach or patio umbrella to set up a spot of shade for baby to play under (or for over the portacot) unless there is ample tree covering. Also bring a good hat and sunscreen so those precious little cheeks don’t get too rosy.

13. Mozzie net. We have a mosquito net with elastic around the edges that fits over a stroller (and it would also fit over a portacot), which is perfect to keep those pesky mozzies away. We didn’t use it for this trip since it’s not mosquito season here in the Aussie winter… but no doubt this is a camping must-have for most camp-outs.

14. Other families. Part of the fun of camping is not just where you go, but who you go with. If you’re able to go with other families—especially other families with babies—then your whole trip will be more fun. The babies can play together, you can share supplies, and you won’t be as nervous about waking the others up since all the parents are in the same boat… hoping their babies will sleep through the night and not wake the forest! We had a bunch of singles, families, young children, and babies on this trip – a huge mixture. It was so fun to camp together with people who love our entire family, baby included.


As I expected, camping with a baby was a whole lot of fun. Yes, our car was a little more packed-out than it used to be… but it was so worth it! Babies are incredibly adaptable and our little guy did great. As long as mommy and daddy are flexible too, then the whole family will have a blast.

Hope these tips help prepare you for your next adventure in the great outdoors! And special thanks to all the mommies who gave me great tips before we left. Did I forget something that worked for you? Leave your advice in a comment below!


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7 Comments:

At July 2, 2010 at 8:12 AM , Blogger Sarah said...

This is a great list! I'm bookmarking it so I can check it out when we need it - we'll be camping with our daughter in September. She'll be 11 months by then but I think these tips will still apply!

 
At July 2, 2010 at 12:49 PM , Blogger adriel, from the mommyhood memos said...

Also... I tried to add a bunch of links at the end of this post to the mommies that gave some good feedback... but for whatever reason (that I can't seem to figure out) it kept messing up my formatting for the entire post! So... I'm going to list them here. Check these fabulous ladies out when you get the chance:
Brooke @ All About Landon
Ana @ The Lyman Trio
Mrs. Mother @ Motherhood The Sequel
Kimberly @ The Stinker Pinker
Christy @ Skinned Knees
Mama Hen @ Mama's Little Chick

 
At July 2, 2010 at 1:08 PM , Blogger Ana said...

I was so curious on how your camping trip turned out! Loved your pictures. The picture of Levi's little feet melted my heart. I'm glad it was such a success :) Wishing you many more happy camping trips with your adorable little dude!

 
At July 2, 2010 at 3:54 PM , Blogger kate maggie said...

I almost wish that I was a mom so that I could take my baby camping with all of your tips. You're the coolest, Adriel..and im in love with little Levi. x

 
At July 2, 2010 at 11:15 PM , Blogger Cameron said...

These are great tips!! We aren't big campers, but if we ever decide to venture out for something like this, I'm pulling this back up!!

 
At July 3, 2010 at 12:54 AM , Blogger Liz said...

Great ideas - thanks! Love reading your blog :)

 
At August 15, 2010 at 2:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was referred to this post by the little hen house. Excellent read and great tips. Thanks for sharing.

 

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