Some people really, REALLY like camping. It’s their THING. They live for time in the woods, sleeping on the ground, campfires, and shared bathroom facilities.
Others, well, not so much. In fact, the thought of spending an entire weekend in the great outdoors breaks them out in hives.
If you’re in the second group, this post is not for you. Carry on.
But if you’re in the first group - yay! You’ve probably been camping your whole life but now that you’re a parent (or soon to be), you might be wondering how you can continue camping with a baby in tow.
Pull up your folding chair and let’s have a little chat.
First of all, let’s be completely honest. No matter how much you enjoy camping, it ain’t easy. Camping with your baby compounds that, but if you know it going in you’ll be fine. All in all, it’s mostly about the extra gear you’ll need to take. Your baby’s day-to-day routine doesn’t really change just because you’re living alfresco. Baby needs to eat, sleep and play. Pack accordingly.
If your baby is young and still on breastmilk or formula, then you’ll just need yourself, or formula and bottles. When it comes to formula, bring twice as much as you need. No, really. Just in case. To make life a little easier, use disposable bottle liners for the duration of your trip. You can sterilize the nipples in boiling water on your camp stove. Easy-peasy.
If baby is on solids, take a freestanding portable high chair or one that clamps to the picnic table. And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t forget the vinyl tablecloth.
The bigger the tent, the better. Family of three? Get a tent for 10. Ok - we’re exaggerating. But only a little. You’re going to want the biggest tent you can afford, preferably one you can stand upright in, and one that has room for your bed, baby’s portable crib or bassinet, all your luggage, and a diaper changing station.
A word about baby’s sleeping arrangements and temperature - as in you can’t regulate it in a tent. So given the time of year, pack accordingly. Socks, warm pajamas and sleep sacks are musts, even in the summer. And be sure to take a HUSH hat, to block out sounds from camp so baby can sleep peacefully.
Even though we’re talking about it last, this is what you’ll probably take care of first when you arrive at camp. After all, you’ve gotta unload the car and set up the tent. What in the world are you supposed to do with your kid?
Set up the pack n’ play and put a mosquito net or a sheet across the top to keep the bugs out. You’ll use it all weekend. Other ideas: a small, separate tent that’s just for play, an inflatable baby pool (Boom! It’s also your baby bath tub!), a portable play yard. The choice is yours. Just Do. It. First. You’ll thank us. Promise.
If you have some camping experience under your belt, adding your little one into the mix really isn’t that hard. Just be sure to plan ahead. And maybe rent an extra-large trailer to haul all the extra gear.