This weekend (Labour day weekend) we are going camping for the third time this summer. Neither Jeff or I were big campers before this summer, but we caught the bug. I always found camping “hard”. It felt like a lot of work, but somehow it has become easier. We love being outdoors all day, sleeping in the fresh air, showing Ryder various sites and beaches, and connecting with friends while sharing stories by the campfire.
Camping with an infant can be daunting, and it definitely was for us when we first went. Here are some tips that have worked well for Jeff, Ryder and I. I am my no means an expert camper but these small tips have come in handy for our camping trips.
1. Have a larger than you think you need tent. We bought a 6 man tent and yes, there are only 3 of us. It has made camping much more comfortable. We are able to fit Ryder’s playpen in the tent as well as our two mattresses. We have space to stand and to have a small changing area. The vestibule is perfect for putting all of your bags and shoes, etc.
2. Have a portable highchair. We have a Lobster seat. It attaches directly on to the picnic table and is perfect for meal time.
3. Don’t fuss about dirt. Might as well get over this one. The kids are outside all day and are going to get dirty. Try to not get too worked up about it. Bring lots of baby wipes. In fact, bring more baby wipes than you think you will need. They are amazing.
4. Bring a playpen. Make sure you have a playpen for sleeping and/or containing the kids while you are busy making meals, etc. Throw toys in there to keep them occupied.
5. Bring EXTRA sheets and clothes. Pack more clothes and sheets than you think you will need. They will either go through a bunch or you will be surprised at the weather changes.
6. Don’t worry about bedtime. If, your kid is like Ryder you might as well just let them stay up. Ryder is interested in being a part of the action, especially without his blackout blinds.
7. Have a plan for when they wake up early. When Ryder wakes at 5:30 or 6:00 am with the sun, we have gotten into the habit of either going for an early hike or heading out for a drive. It is way easier than trying to keep a child quiet in a tent where everyone can hear your every move.
8. Have FUN! Enjoy the outdoors all together. Not everything is going to be perfect. You may have some rough nights, but enjoy the time away from the “norm”. If you find your rhythm camping, you will be ready to head out again in no time.