This past summer we took our son camping in a tent when he was just 9 months old. He started walking on July 4th soooo he was walking during these camping trips which we definitely didn’t expect. We did a trial run night at my parents’s camp because it was close to home and then we did two nights with him up at White Lake State Park. Both times we boarded Mizpah because we figured we would have enough to worry about! Here are some things that we learned/necessities that helped us have a good experience camping with the tiny human!
Not all tents are created equal
This sounds like common sense, I know, but having a tent that was large enough for our air mattress, a pack n play, and a chair to sit in to feed him his bottle and snuggle a little before each nap and bed time was clutch. We have the North Face Kaiju tent. It is pricey, but so worth it. When we were looking for a tent a few years back, we wanted it to be tall enough that my husband didn’t have to bend over to change clothes. It also has a vestibule in the front which is great for stowing bins or chairs away….and will also be nice for potty training in the future!
Give your neighbors a heads up!
After we were all set up, we took Cabot over to meet our neighbors and explain that he naps twice a day, goes to bed around 7, and so you MIGHT hear some blood curdling screams around those times hahaha. There can be a great community feel when you are camping if you want. Some people when they camp really keep to themselves on their sites, but it made us feel better to give our neighbors the courtesy of explaining our lovely son’s bedtime behavior!
Some items that helped us through
Summer Infant Portable High Chair– we use this everywhere, not just for camping!
Coleman Tent Fan – this was great for naps in the tent in July!
RestCloud Baby Sleep Bag – there are soooo many options out there for warm sleep sacks, many that are sleeveless, which is why we got this one for the cool nights. Probably one of the toughest challenges we had was that it was still warm at 7 PM when we would put him down BUT by 5 AM the temp could have dropped 20 degrees!
Cutter Bug Repellent Wipes – these were great! Very easy application on baby!
Homedic Portable White Noise Machine – this is another item that we got for camping but now just use it for traveling in general! At the moment it is actually living at my inlaws’s house so they can use it when Cabot sleeps over!
Plastic Grass Mat – I couldn’t tell if this was the exact one we got, but this gave us some “floor” space at our campsite that wasn’t dirt which was nice for baby to play and diaper changes.
Keep it Simple!
The last piece of advice I have for camping with baby is keep it simple! When it was just my husband and I, we would plan these great meals for camping. With Cabot, we were feeding him dinner while simultaneously getting our dinner ready so that we didn’t have to cook in the dark so simple dinners like hamburgers and hotdogs OR cooked chicken from home with a salad was the way to go. We can get back to steak tips and veggie kabobs and all our fancy camping foods soon. Quick and easy might be where we aim for in the these early years with Cabot.
And lastly…cut yourself some slack. Camping with your little ones will present challenges, and camping might be a little less relaxing than it once was. We are so happy to have these memories though, and we love seeing Cabot enjoy the outdoors (he is obsessed with trees/leaves) and do everything for the first time.