01 May, 2009

Camping with children – Tips and Tricks Part 1

We have been taking Spotty Chop camping since he was 4 months old. Before we took him the first time I tried to Google the subject, and while I found some stuff, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So I thought before the camping season started up that I would try to pull together a list of things we have found useful.

These tips assume that you are planning on sleeping in a tent and have been camping before. If you have not and would like some “general camping tips” feel free to email or leave a comment.

Even if you have never camped before that shouldn’t deter you from going with your kids. You can all learn together.


A family friendly campground is a must as most folks will understand if they hear a crying kid. However if you have a holler on your hands you may want to ask for a site that is more secluded.

SLEEPING: Where the heck should the kid sleep/What do we need to bring?

  • Infant car seat – This is where you child can sleep, it’s convenient because you have to pack it anyways.
  • Hat – the cute cloth ones will do
  • Onesie
  • Feety pj’s
  • A couple of baby blankets (perhaps a heavier blanket/sleeping bag if you camp in the north.) With your body heat warming the tent you should all be toasty warm.

FOOD: Bottle? Breast? Do I give a rat’s ass which is best?

Night Time:

Again the infant car seat comes in handy. By now you can whip the kid in and out of the car seat in your sleep.

You can easily grab the handle and swing your baby over to you, bring him into your sleeping bag to feed and snuggle, then toss him back in. You are good to go.

Nursing -. I really enjoyed night time feedings camping. I never found it difficult or stressful.

Powdered formula - Pre-package the powder in the bottle. Put the water in a water bottle and bring it to bed with you. Your body temperature should warm it enough. If your baby likes it warmer than body temperature,they have bottle warmer thingy’s that should warm it up enough. I never did the powdered formula camping, but this seems like a no brainer to me.

Liquid formula. – I don’t have much experience with this. I think this would depend on your baby’s feeding schedule. You could bring a lunch cooler with ice and have the bottles prepared before hand. Again you could bring a bottle in with you while you slept etc. My only concern with the liquid formula is that we camp in the northeast, generally in bear country. You NEVER want to have food in the tent. It’s a good habit to get into. I would need someone else to chime in to see if anyone has ever experienced an issue with this. I am not saying you shouldn’t or couldn’t do it. I just have never done it.

Day Time:

This depends on what your baby is eating.

Nursing - You are in your campsite feed away. I never had a huge hang up about nursing in public. Perhaps it’s because my first “public” nursing experience was when we were camping. We were in Littleton, NH shopping on the main drag. We were in a shop that I like to call hippy dippy. Lots of tie dye, mystical and goddess related suff. They also have a basement which they call the broom closet. They do body piercing, tattoos and sell adult entertainment/only for tobacco use items. So we were down stairs poking around (only children small enough to be a parent’s arms are allowed down there). Spotty Chop starting fussing because he was hungry. I told Boy Toy that we would have to split so I could feed him and the owner said. “I have never turned a nursing mom out; you sit right down and feed your baby.” So Spotty’s first public feed was next to fuck me boots and dominatrix gear and behind the bowls and pipes. GOOD TIMES.

Solid food – Lots of baby food doesn’t need to be heated it can be eaten right out of the jar. As long as you have a burner you can always heat up a pan of water to warm stuff up.
Just remember to put food in your car or up in a tree to prevent the critters to getting into it.

PACKING: Or what would we have died without?

  • Diaper Bag – We used two.
    The first one was small, the one you probably have in your car right now will work. It has 3 or 4 diapers, a travel pack of wipes, swaddling blanket/changing pad and a change of clothes. This went everywhere with us. More items could be added depending on how long we were away from the campground.
  • The second bag stayed in the tent with us and was placed near my head so I could grab it at a moments notice. There is nothing like trying to search through a pitch blank tent at 3 am with a screaming baby when it’s 30 degrees out and you are wearing a tank top. In this bag should be all of your diapers. How many to bring? How many diapers does your baby go through in a day? Times it by the number of days you are away from home. Then add 3 or 4 extra days worth. I never ran out.
  • New container of wipes. If you shop at a warehouse just bring a full sleeve. You really can never have enough wipes. They are not just for baby bums any more.
  • Baby Carrier – LOVED this. We were able to hike and explore with no issues whatsoever.
  • Bike trailer – We didn’t use this, but if my ass was more in shape we would have. Looks like fun.
  • Pack and Play – The only time I really used this was camping
  • Stroller – when your baby wakes up at 5:00 it’s good to have something to lean against as you walk around and around…
  • Picture Books – reading good
  • Toys you won’t mind getting dirty/lost. We never had to deal with a “lovey” but if you have one I am sure you have a spare just in case. Keep that one in the car under your seat.

Clothes – This again may depend on where and when you camp. We camp in the White Mountains of NH. When Spotty was 4 months our first camping trip with him was over the 4th of July. The temperatures at night went down to 30 degrees F. All I can say is know where you are going and pack for all contingencies.

  • Raincoat
  • Winter Coat with hat and mittens
  • Fleece
  • 3 outfits per day, then include 2-3 extra days worth. Bring both shorts/t-shirts as well as pants and long sleeves (I will admit I probably brought 4-5 outfits for hot/cold then added an extra few days worth. )
  • Summer hat
  • PJ’s – warm feety things
  • Shoes/foot covers
  • 2 pairs of sox a day, then include 2-3 extra days worth

First Aid:

  • Diaper cream/powder etc.
  • Infant Motrin
  • Bugger bulb
  • Teething soothing stuff
  • Extra pacifiers
  • Netting for over the infant car seat
  • Sunscreen - depending on the age of the baby
  • Insect repellant – I used nature based and they seemed to work pretty well
  • Tweezers – ticks

Do I really need?

Bathing – Depends on how long you are gone for.

  • A night or two - Use baby wipes
  • Longer – bring the washcloths that have the soap already in it. J&J has one that is nice.

You will probably want to do this as a group as showering while camping is often tricky. One of you can hold the baby under the water then pass him out to be soaped then pass back for the rinse. Don’t forget extra quarters if you have to pay for the hot water. And be prepared to jump out of the shower if someone flushes.


Outdoor Blog said...

Camping outdoors is a great way for families to spend quality time together, but it can sometimes get stressful for parents, especially those with small children. Planning and preparation are the keys to success in any event, so take a little time before your outing to plan some fun camping activities for the kids as well as the whole family.

Outdoor Blog