We all remember the times we could plan a trip, pack for the trip, and be at the camp site the same weekend! Well, with a one year old, those days are long gone! However, your fun shouldn’t stop just because you have a kid! Making sure that you have the right toys, sleeping gear, “transportation” for the little one and protection to keep them comfortable is all key in this situation. Because we all know the saying should go, “Happy baby, Happy life!” Here are some tips for making camping with a one year old… a success to brag about:
If you’re thinking of planning a camping trip with kids, you absolutely need to make a list of things to bring. The first time I decided to try camping with my baby, everyone told me I was crazy. Sleep deprived, yes, but crazy…no. Just stubborn enough not to let a little one stop me from doing what I love so much. I searched in the closet for my favorite Infantino Baby Carrier and started making a list of things I thought I would need.
Now mind you, the first time I went camping with our one year old, I forgot so many things. I forgot the sunscreen face stick and our little one’s hat (she had to wear her daddy’s hat most of the trip). Which is why I thought being able to help others by compiling a few of my favorites will take the guess work out of this process and give you less stress and more fun!
Camping With Your Baby Doesn’t Have to be Stressful
If you are prepared and equipped with the right things to make that little one comfy, the trip can be just as fun and enjoyable as ever. Everyone knows that for an all day play date, we parents can be a little excessive in planning for the worst or bringing a million things that we never use, so for larger trips the thought of this could be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
We’re all aware that the babies that play hard, sleep hard. The key is wearing them out!
Don’t get me wrong, packing up the “exersaucers” and bouncers are not very practical, but traveling toys are a must! The blanket or stuffed bear they love must be in the mix as well. If it can be washed, it can come!
Just as a rule, there are toys that I only bring out for traveling or going to “unfamiliar territory.” That way it’s a new toy and something new for them to explore and when you get back home, back in the closet they go… until the next adventure!
Keep it simple. Let’s be honest, grab a cardboard box, stick everything you’ll need to keep the camp food in and when you’ve emptied this at the campsite…Voila…the best toy ever. Once again, “happy baby, happy life.”
Now, this is one of the most important pointers I can give another parent. Make sleeping comfortable for all! To do this, we must once again have a “happy baby, happy life” which involves good sleep.
Now, this pointer has some variables to it for the simple fact of size. What size is your tent? What size is your baby? And let me just put this out there, that no, it is not ever a good idea to give your baby their own tent, no matter how tiny the tent might be! You may laugh…but you never know…
All of these, are things that I’ve used and as typical, I used not for long because these babies grow like weeds! So, I get most of them in good to excellent condition from second hand stores or craigslist/ mom swap events, because again, they’re used very little before they are passed on.
Here are a few suggestions to the things I have used while tent camping with our baby.
- The BRICA Fold n Go Travel Bassinet was great for me because baby was at eye level with me. It was super light and convenient it holds up to around 15lb and was only $35.
- However, if you want something higher off the ground and a little bigger (longer) I had an old version of the Fisher Price Rock n Play which holds up to 26 lbs is about $54ish. It folds up well too and mine had a carrying bag!
- Of course there’s everyone’s favorite a Pack n Play!It’s exactly that. Easy to pack, fits babies up to 40” long. They can sleep or play. You can find these for pretty cheap at second hand stores for around $35, although for as much as this will get used, the rate of $60 new at most stores is a great buy! If you have a child, a Pack n Play is a must for any reason!
Carrying vs. Strolling on a Hike, You Choose
If you plan on exploring more than just the restroom/shower area while camping you will find that a way to tote that baby is going to be pretty important to your comfort and enjoyment.
If the grounds are pretty rural and you plan on exploring and hiking unpaved paths, you may want to ditch the idea of a jogger or stroller type. Instead, depending on the baby’s size and the length of this excursion you are deciding to embark on, you may want to think about carrying option.
Some babies are just tiny! My little girl was born 3 mos early and was a bit behind developmentally, so even though she was chronologically 6 months old, she only weighed 10 lbs! So, it’s best to go by weight and length, not age when choosing a wrap or carrier.
Ok, so the Boba type wrap is all the rage and most people love this (if you can figure it out…watch those tutorials!!). Although it is my go to for inside, I almost sweat to death using it while carrying my baby outside for a walk around the block.
My favorite way to transport my youngin from point a to point b is with the Infantino Baby Carriers Carry! I love this brand for these carriers, because they are inexpensive and versatile.
It has everything on my check off list:
- It grows with your baby (8-40lbs).
- Baby can face out or face your chest (for when they are sleepy).
- It has head/neck support for little ones, yet the support folds down for a bigger baby that wants to turn around and look out.
The two most important things for anyone carrying a baby with a carrier on an adventure are making sure you have a great hip and shoulder support. The hip support is a must in my book (and after birthing this little one all the mamas would agree)! Second, are the shoulder straps being comfy. This brand is quite affordable and dependable. I have had 2 (one without hip support…and the keeper which had the hip support!) and the cost was from $20-$70. My favorite listed above was $50.
***Super cool feature on this one which very few other carriers have is their zip pockets! Which is perfect for keeping a few small things like a pacifier, teething ring, wipes with a diaper (although hiking with the smell of a dirty diaper strapped to you may even keep the skunks away…but I wouldn’t recommend it!)***
Burns and Bites
I speak from experience when I say that there is nothing worse than seeing your babies burnt or bitten up because you didn’t get a good product on their perfect skin! Always use sunscreen even if it’s overcast or not, don’t take that chance!
A less natural approach, but always popular Coppertone is a great price and comes in a variety of types of sunscreen which I love, because I love having options.
My husband likes their spray, so he doesn’t have to touch it and then risk it rubbing off on his fishing bait (so it apparently repels not only sun, but fish…). My oldest loves their foam because,well… she’s 9 and foam and slime are all the rage!
I love the face stick and cream for the baby because they’re both easy to apply and let’s face it (no pun intended) if I can’t see it…is it really there? Just sayin’
All of these types can be found in 50 spf and are in 6 oz containers for about $11, except for the face stick which is like ½ oz for $7.
If you are looking for something more natural, yet affordable for it’s natural contents, Babyganics is a great way to go. It is mineral based and their tear free 50 spf will do the trick for up to 80 minutes.
So even though it is often found in only 6oz tubes, it will last quite a while, making that $10 all worth it.
Tom’s, which is a popular brand and a great all natural product, is perfect for those little ones that suffer from bouts of allergies and skin reactions. It is fragrance free and only contains 5 ingredients making it’s 3 oz worth all $12 you spent. For it’s 30spf, your little one can play for 80 minutes and stays on through sweat or swim!
Now, I’m pretty sure that if the question: “what’s the number one reason why people don’t like to camp?” was a question on Family Feud, those 100 people surveyed would have all said, “BUGS!”
I was too one of those people, but after being persuaded, coaxed, begged and possibly blackmailed into agreeing to go tent camping with my husband, I got honest with myself and said “what is the main reason I don’t want to do this?” I answered myself (quite literally) “BUGS!” So, I broke out all of the stops when it came to repelling these creatures!
Once again, if you are looking for a natural way to repel insects, there are several options.
Babyganics has a great Deet free natural mineral based insect repellent as does California baby. I find that they both work well (I personally like the smell of the California baby best, but that’s just me).
If you aren’t going into the forest to live off the land, I prefer to use the “Off!” spray. I’m also a little crazy and hate mosquitoes more than bears, so I use an “Off!” clip on inside the tent opposite the door and an “Off!” clip on clipped to the door of the tent.
And because I’m obsessive, I make my husband light 2 of the “OFF!” torches at night next to our chairs when we’re sitting around. (Just be sure to put those out before retiring in for the evening…there’s something about unattended fire in a campsite that rangers don’t like…)
The main thing is to just chill. I mean, that is why you’re retreating to the outdoors anyway. Look, I’ve proven that you can be a bit obsessive about things and yes generally I’m a planner so just letting go can be a bit tough for my personality.
However, my best kept secret I can give people for any camping trip, but especially camping with a one year old, is make a list! You can add or take away from it as you go and as they grow. Keep this list in the same spot and it will make life less stressful for sure! Have fun and don’t forget to capture the moments with your little one!