By Rita Myers
I’ve enjoyed camping since I was little, and it’s probably one of the few activities that have remained constant in my life, from childhood through adulthood. And now that I have a family of my own, I especially enjoy being able to go camping with all the members of our little household.
Yes, that means I regularly go camping with baby in tow. I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t think it’s possible to do so – it’s not safe enough, there’s too much to worry about, etc.
But it can be an incredibly fun and memorable experience that’s completely safe for your infant or toddler if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to go camping with baby.
A QUICK LOOK: WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WHEN CAMPING WITH BABY (#5 will be your favorite!)
- Bring These 3 Must-Have Baby Items
- Be Mindful of Temperature Changes
- Keep your Baby on the Same Eating and Sleep Schedule
- Choose a Nearby Campsite and Do a Test Run
- Don’t Worry Too Much and Relish in Your Baby’s First Camping Experience!
- Get Your Whole Family Involved
#1 Bring These 3 Must-Have Baby Items
As indicated in the video above, on top of the basic necessities for your baby, this is the trio that will make camping with your baby convenient and worry-free: a baby carrier, a natural insect repellent, and a safe area for your baby at the campsite.
A baby carrier will allow you to hike and move around while keeping your hands free. A natural insect repellent keeps your baby safe from insect bites – it can be used by the whole family too!
And finally, you need to create a spot at the campsite for your baby where he/she can explore and move around safely and under your watchful eye, be it a mat or a small tent.
Important Reminder: Choose an insect repellent with natural ingredients instead of chemicals. Before using it on your baby, you should read the label carefully and follow instructions closely. Only apply the insect repellent on your baby’s exposed skin and the outside of his/her clothes.
#2 Be Mindful of Temperature Changes
Temperatures can greatly fluctuate when you go camping, and it’s easy for grown-ups and kids to adjust to these changes, but you have to be on the lookout when you go camping with baby.
You could have him/her all bundled up because it had gotten cold overnight and into the early morning – thick blankets and a few layers including a hat – but within minutes, it could go from very cold to very hot, making the layers you put on your baby incredibly uncomfortable.
Be particularly mindful of the temperature inside your tent and dress your baby accordingly.
#3 Keep your Baby on the Same Eating and Sleep Schedule
Babies need to regularly eat and take naps – try your best to stay within his/her regular routine even while you’re out camping.
It would be great if your baby is able to fall asleep on a carrier, so you can continue on with your hike while he/she does so. Otherwise, you’ll need to adjust your itinerary to make sure you give your baby enough time to nap.
You should also stick to your baby’s eating schedule as much as you can. If you’re breastfeeding, be sure you’re able to find a spot for you to do so even while you’re en route to your campsite.
#4 Choose a Nearby Campsite and Do a Test Run
Planning for your first camping trip with your infant can be a daunting task, so try to keep things as simple as possible. Start small and eventually work your way towards bigger and better camping trips.
For starters, choose a campsite that’s near your home, so that in case things don’t work out or something goes uncontrollably wrong, you can quickly pack up and go home.
You can also opt for a familiar campsite, one that you’ve already visited previously. This way, you already know what kind of surroundings you’ll have on the trip. That’s one less thing that’s unknown and unexpected for your trip.
And before you go on your camping trip, take time out to do a test run. Go on a simple road trip with your infant and see how you and your partner will handle traveling with your baby.
That way, you’ll have an idea of what to expect when it comes to the real deal. You’ll also get a good idea of the items you’ll need and what items you can live without in order to minimize your packing.
A test run can also be a bit of motivation – when you witness your baby enjoying him/herself and discovering the great outdoors, it might turn out to be the final push you need to go on a camping trip. Which is related to my next and final tip on how to go camping with baby!
#5 Don’t Worry Too Much and Relish in Your Baby’s First Camping Experience!
I believe that a lot of the anxiety that comes with camping with your baby is during the planning stage, when you don’t know what to expect and you want to be prepared for anything. But by the time you actually start the camping trip, you should worry less and enjoy more.
Don’t sweat the small stuff and allow yourself to witness your child discovering the great outdoors. Take your camera out and capture those memories that you’ll want to remember forever. Let your child go a little bit, and don’t be afraid to let him/her explore the immediate surroundings (but under your watchful eye).
Getting your child started on camping early can be the beginning of a lifelong passion for the outdoors and a great bonding experience for you and your family. So don’t worry too much and have a great time with your partner and child!
#6 Get Your Whole Family Involved
Camping with a baby requires team effort, so ask the rest of your family to pitch in. You and your partner should take turns spending time with and taking care of your baby, while the other kids in the family can have smaller responsibilities like bringing some of the baby’s items and the baby’s toys.
If your kids are old enough, you can even ask them to take care of their youngest sibling while you do some chores. Don’t leave your kids unattended, but that doesn’t stop you from giving your older kids a sense of responsibility by asking them to take care of their sibling (still under your watchful eye – always!).
Quick tip: don’t make pitching in to take care of the baby feel like a chore for your older kids – instead, make it fun by presenting it as a mission or a game.This can also be a good lesson on responsibility for them!
Not only is camping a great way to take a break from the stress and pressure of daily city life, it’s also an awesome opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones. It’s a chance to reconnect, reflect and recharge!
So don’t be afraid to go camping with baby! It’s one of the many firsts you’ll want to witness and enjoy for yourself.
The planning and the preparation might take longer than for your usual camping trip, but the extra effort will be worth the joy and satisfaction you’ll feel as a parent. Happy camping!
Was this list helpful? I hope so, because I want to break the notion that you can only go camping with baby when he or she reaches a certain age. Camping is an activity that can and should be enjoyed by everyone! You can even find free checklists to help when camping with your kids (of all ages and stages) by going here.
I would love to hear your thoughts and reactions, so please post them in the comments section! And do share this article if you enjoyed reading it. Wishing you well on your camping adventures!