How to actually make it past breakfast when camping with a baby

A month ago, we made the grave mistake of trying to go camping. Sure, we’ve done it before and everyone always has a smashing good time. But this was the first time with a baby.

In case you’ve forgotten, babies like to crawl. And stick things in their mouths. And the woods have dirt all over the ground (!!!! fo shizzle!!!!)

Neither one of Declan’s parents thought this through real well. So Declan’s parents were miserable while camping and attempting to keep Declan from eating bugs and pine needles and rabbit poop.

And it didn’t stop once we went to bed. The fun just kept on keeping on.

all

night

long

Needless to say, we packed it up quickly the next morning and decided we would not even consider camping again until we researched it more and had a better plan.

Some of the tips I learned:

+ Bring a playpen – this seems obvious. But, hello?! We are two college-educated grownups and didn’t consider it (maybe because we don’t even own one anymore)

+ Bring a baby carrier/backpack – this we did do. But since it was our only option, my back was screaming for mercy 1/2 way through setting up camp.

+ Bring a 180 count baby wipes package. Seriously – you will need each and every one of those wipes.

+ Bring something for baby to sit in while eating. I had to hold Declan through our entire meal. I had his car seat, but I didn’t have a good place to sit it while I fed him.

+ Clothing to layer – it always ends up being much cooler at night.

Camping is so much fun. But just like everything else, you have to think ahead to make it successful.

Next time we will be prepared. And we will, hopefully, make it past breakfast.

What are your ideas for making a camping trip successful?

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Comments

  1. Laurel Wreath says:

    ” (!!!! fo shizzle!!!!)” and I thought only my 12 year said that, hehehe.

    Hey as parents we are always learning on the fly! Great advice.

  2. mah-meee says:

    great post. it’s never bad to overpack eh?

  3. Anonymous says:

    we camp year round and did so even when we had babies. One of the things that was helpful was to bring an exersaucer or walker too. And of course the playpen. We really always ahd a good time if we brought those 2 things. Good luck next time-if you do bring the right things next time I bet you will have a FABULOUS time!

    To me there is nothing better than getting away from the modern distractions (tv, game systems and phone) and being with your family. :)

  4. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

    My recommendation? Camp out at the Ritz Carlton. If the rest of the family wants to rough it, the grounds and parking lot are usually quite scenic, and Mama can look down at the family from the 16th floor window, snuggled in her fluffy robe, and maybe even catch a few notes of Kum Ba Ya. Maybe somebody’d be willing to escape the heat and mosquitos long enough bring up a s’more or two on the elevator at some point.

    That’s enough of the outdoor livin’ for me!

  5. Your thoughts are all things that we use, (learned to use). I really like bringing a mid-size stroller. They can eat in it, sit around the fire in it, etc. And early walkers and beyond always need several pairs of shoes!

  6. World's Greatest Mommy says:

    I’m not brave enough to try, and our baby is two. She managed to burn much of our kitchen while I went to the bathroom. I’m afraid she’s destroy a forest, or river, or something.

  7. Michelle Smiles says:

    Tips for camping with a baby?

    1. Find a hotel near nature.
    2. Admire nature from the window of said clean hotel.

  8. Domestic Spaz says:

    Oh you poor poor thing. I like Michelle’s suggestions. Perfect.

  9. Lisa@BlessedwithGrace says:

    It was so nice of you to figure out what not to do, and then share it with us. My husband and I are wanting to go camping with our daughter. It is too hot, right now. So, we will probably go in the fall. I will remember your tips. Thanks.

  10. toddlertimes says:

    dh wnts to go camoing. i have a 3 yr old son and 4 month old dd. i’m already dreading the idea. but thanks for the tips.

  11. Western Warmth says:

    Thanks for the tips. We love camping but haven’t since having kids. We’re considering attempting it soon…

  12. Momma Mary says:

    DEFINITELY bring the exer-saucer.

    Get a BIG outdoor carpet from the Big-Box hardware store to put toys, etc. on.

    Like zachori said, the stroller is a necessity. They can eat, sleep, walk, nap in it.

    And yeah, the playpen? Definitely bring that. If you can, spring for the smaller sized one!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    very cute story!

  14. Anonymous says:

    WE USED AN UMBRELLA STROLLER WHEN WE CAMPED.IT ENTERTAINED THEM EVEN WHEN BABY WASN'T IN IT. WE ALSO LEFT THE 2 & 4 YR OLD IN THEIR CARSEATS ALSEEP WHILE WE SET UP CAMP. THEY STILL HOWEVER CAME HOME FILTHY!OH, WELL,THAT'S CAMPING.

  15. I’m feeling your pain!!! We went camping with our 17 month old a few weeks ago and my husband vows NEVER AGAIN!!! I do too sort of but through my rosey little glasses I think (in my insanity) that next time will be better… yeah right. Anyway, we ran into a couple (on a separate trip before this trip) who have established a 3 year old rule (and we didn’t listen to their wisdom much to our chagrin). No grandchild (they’re an older couple) is allowed to go camping with them until they turn 3 years old. We thought that sounded grand until we had to coordinate babysitters for the baby while we went camping with our older two and so we thought we’d give it a go to see if we could do this with all three kids on our own…. my husband and I have never been so crabby (lack of sleep. all. night. long.) So, I would offer the 3 year old rule. If you find a happy way around it pleeeease let me know!!! Good luck!

  16. Holy cow you are insane.

  17. We took our babies camping – I distinctly remember Mandy’s first camping trip – she was five weeks old! I wouldn’t have even considered not taking the playpen AND the biggest quilt I owned to spread on the ground.

    No matter how well prepared you are, it’s hard to take babies and toddlers camping. If it’s any comfort, it gets much easier as they get older and camping trips with our girls are some of our very best family memories.

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