These are our tips for camping with a baby or toddler. Or maybe a better title would be, "Things We Wish Someone Would Have Told Us" before we had to get a hotel the first time! 😉
When you consider camping with a baby or toddler there are a few things you can do that will make the trip a little less stressful.
Tips For Camping With A Baby Or Toddler:
- Pack N Play: This item is a life saver. Getting a baby to sleep on the ground (even in a sleeping bag with you) can be tricky. If you travel often your child has probably spent a few nights in a portable crib like this, and that can make a world of difference when your in unfamiliar places. It may also be a good idea to toss in one of your shirts or a blanket you use at home, because your perfume can be enough to calm your baby.
- Don't Stay Away Too Long: The first time you take your baby camping you, may want to go over a three-day weekend. On our most recent, trip the weather was beautiful and the low was in the high, 50's but it proved to be too cold and damp for our daughter. She woke up the first morning at 3 am and didn't go back to sleep until noon. Needless to say she was pretty cranky until she got that second nap. A week of that would have been unbearable, and some campsites still charge even if you check out early, so keep it short.
- Pack Warm: Even if it's 90 during the day it can get very cold at night, and cold babies don't sleep! Make sure you bring thick blankets to keep your baby warm (of course with an infant you would want to use a warm sleep bag and a light blanket to prevent suffocation.
- Choose A Camp Site Wisely: If your baby is a light sleeper, it is probably not a good idea to set up camp near 5 college kids on spring break. Try to find a location that you think will be peaceful, and that isn't too far from the restrooms. This is especially important for toddlers who are potty trained.
- Baby Gear: If you have room bring it all! Making the trip as much like home as possible is your goal. If you have a portable high chair, a comfy stroller, a baby carrier or backpack, bring them. Not only will they give your baby a sense of security they will also make your life a little easier!
- Plan Ahead: If you don't want to pack up and head home (especially important when the baby isn't the only child on the trip) make other arrangements for lodging... just in case. I told you that our daughter was cranky and didn't get much sleep, so we had to make a minor change in plans. After she woke up the from nap the rest of the day went beautifully, we went fishing, spent time at the park, and played together until bed time. When we noticed that it was getting colder than it had the previous night we started considering a change in plans. We knew the area well, and decided to get a hotel room so that we could all get some, rest and the baby could sleep through the night. We didn't have to check out of the site until, 11am so we just left everything and headed to the closest hotel, and we had a blast! Know the area, and find a few places you wouldn't mind spending the night if it gets too cold, or rains.
- Make It Comfortable: Make sure to pack some of your baby's favorite toys and snacks. My daughter didn't eat as much when we were camping, but she loved getting snacks she doesn't normally eat like yogurt, and pop tarts! If your baby likes to listen to music at bedtime, put lullabies on your MP3 player. Also bring along a battery powered night light for the tent or a lantern that has a low setting.
- Protect Baby: Don't forget to pack baby-safe bug repellent and sun block. Not only can insect bites, and sunburn make a baby cranky they can be very dangerous, so don't leave home without these items. You can also purchase mosquito nets for the stroller and pack n play at most Babies R Us stores.
Have some tips for camping with a baby that you'd like to share? Leave 'em in the comment section of email me using the contact button! Have a great trip!
Need a packing list? Print our Printable Camping Checklist
We hope these tips for camping with a baby or a toddler were helpful to you. I know they would have helped us out tremdously during our younger camping years!