|Do not forget the baby carrier!|
As a generally unorganized 20-something, being unprepared was something I avoided - radical self reliance, my friends! - but missing small details seemed generally unavoidable. Until I had a baby. Then I realized that he needed us, really needed us, to completely draw the line between roughing it, making do - and the much more horrible disaster that awaits those who are... gasp... UNPREPARED.
We have been camping three times already this summer. The first trip was ideal. The second trip was soggy, windy, fun, but soggy. And the third trip was beautiful, but a long drive and very hot. All three times I freaked out before we left - What do I pack?! - and all three times I did not feel unprepared - at all!
So I am going to share my secrets to preparing and packing for a camping trip with a baby. Number one? Bins! Bins work really well, especially for car camping, because you can leave it stocked and ready to go into the car - and making a "must have" list for each bin simplifies the last check and re-stocking the bins before you venture into the wilderness.
|Tent naps are the best naps.|
These bins are wide and square but not too tall and have lids that snap and lock closed. Lids that lock closed are a gift from the universe. Exploit it! What I like most about this setup? These bins stack nicely inside our tent beside the bed as a night table, providing easy access to the diapers and wipes for quick changes, and a spot to put the baby monitor if we so choose to bring and use one - which we most certainly do for events where we are camping with friends.
We also have larger bins that hold gear like our tent, mattress, and air pump, our propane stove, extra tarps and pegs, kitchen pots and pans, and hot dog weiner pokey stick things. You know the ones.
There are a few tips and tricks to making a complete camping trip into a completely successful camping trip:
- Bring an extra tarp to throw over large toys and items at night to avoid rain and dew.
- Toys that can go right into the dishwasher or washing machine are the best to bring (a tip I collected from Jule Ann!), and try to save some as surprise toys for the car ride, especially if you have a long way to go.
- We like evening baths, but the dishwashing basin gets double use as a bathtub while Baby D is still small.
- Plan for cold nights and bring layers for baby to wear. We bed-share so we get pretty warm snuggled together, but before we crawl into bed, Baby D can be pretty cold. We have a Polar Fleece sleeper with a hood that we use to double-up on warmth before we come in for cuddles.
- If you have a mobile baby - or even if you don't - it is nice to have somewhere safe to put him or her for set up and take down. We have brought a jumperoo and used it a lot when it was there - but we get along without it, too.
- Another great item? Mosquito netting. It can be hung from a tree and then Baby can chill out underneath while you set up a tent or cook nearby.
|Lap baby, iced coffee, and bacon over the fire. Camping win.|
In case you are still feeling frazzled, I have compiled my full list of must have items for camping and tenting with a baby, even though we tend to pick and choose based on our destination, we more or less bring everything on that list. And so far it seems pretty perfect to me!
What are your experiences camping with a baby? Do you have any must-haves when you go camping with your babies?