We love camping and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. Having 7 children, there have been many times we’ve been camping with a baby with us. No matter how your first few camping trips go, they will be filled with life long memories and hopefully some cute pictures.
Camping With A Baby Tips and Tricks
Even for veteran campers, going with a baby presents unique challenges, and it helps to be prepared and have the right attitude. Introduce a baby to camping early, and the family will enjoy years of outdoor fun and togetherness.
New parents need to recognize that each experience will change. And be ready to roll with the punches. Remember these times will all make for great family stories in the years to come!
Stick Close to Home for First Campout
Many camping parents recommend starting with an overnight trip to a park that is relatively close to home, even if that home is a friend’s or relatives. This way, if something critical gets left behind, it can be retrieved without canceling the entire trip. And if your baby is miserable or gets sick, bailing out isn’t such a big deal.
Parents should pick a time and place to camp that will avoid temperature extremes, and plan to arrive well before dark. That allows for setting up camp and having the evening to adjust and relax.
Combining that first outing with another family of like interests, with or without their own baby, can give parents a little extra support and spread the work out to everyone. A couple of parents can take care of the babies while the other cook or set up, for example.
Grandparents can be a great resource as well, and camping offers wonderful grandparent and grandchild bonding opportunities.
Baby Gear for Camping
The right gear and supplies, essential for any outdoor activity, prove even more so with an infant along. Select a tent that one parent can set up quickly, leaving the other parent free to hold the baby (or, later on, chase a toddler). A pop-up shelter for the picnic table is a good idea for campsites without covered tables, providing extra shade and shelter from the rain.
Pack extra clothes for baby those first few trips to allow for unexpected mishaps. Light layers can be added or removed as temperatures fluctuate. Snap-crotch clothes make changing diapers possible without completely undressing the baby.
Pack baby’s hats, for shelter from the sun or warmth depending on the season, and warm socks. Long denim pants or overalls are a must if a little one will be crawling around the campsite.
Take along extras of diapers, wipes, formula, sunscreen, bug repellent, and anything else likely to be needed, at least the first few times. More experienced parents will figure out the right items and amount to pack with experience and with trial and error. Extra wipes always prove useful, though, for many purposes. I’ve learned my best lessons from forgetting to pack things.
A front carrier for younger infants or a backpack for older ones makes it easy to take the baby along on hikes or walks. Strollers will be useful only in campgrounds with paved roads or sidewalks, or wheel-friendly trails.
A travel crib or bassinet provides a secure, contained a place for baby to sleep on the campout. Parents might want to let their baby get used to sleeping in the travel crib or bassinet while still at home before using it on a campout. Travel cribs are also useful for keeping baby safe and clean while parents cook or clean up at the campsite. And they are easily moved around to a shady spot for afternoon naps.
Often, gear such as tents, travel cribs, and baby backpacks can be borrowed or even rented. This allows parents to try out both the gear and the camping experience before making purchases.
Breast Feeding Versus Bottles on Campouts
Breastfeeding likely will be easier than bottle feeding on a campout – no worries about the availability of water or washing bottles. But mom will need a comfortable camp chair that fits in the tent for support while nursing.
Moms also need to be sure to drink plenty of water to stay adequately hydrated for nursing in the great outdoors.
For bottle-feeding, the pre-mixed formula may be easier for camping than the powdered kind. Those who prefer to use powdered formula might want to bring a jug of water from home, rather than use an unknown and unfamiliar water supply.
Once your baby is sitting up, high chairs that hook to the side of a picnic table take up less space in the car than the stand-alone kind.
Like our family, you’ll learn as you go, and each camping trip with kids will get easier. If you’re worried about camping with your baby for the first time, take it slow and remember life with our kids is all about making memories!
The Most Important Tip When Camping With Baby
I have little ones that are very allergic to mosquitos. Young infants are even more susceptible. Think in advance of natural ways you can protect your little ones. Netting on their carriers and cribs helps. I love this pop up mosquito net since it covers a large area. There are also lots of natural things you can hang around the camping site to keep everyone protected from bites.
Have FUN and don’t forget you will have a fantastic time camping with your baby! My mom and dad always said growing up spend your time collecting memories instead of things!