Usually, parents don't use the words "camping" and "toddlers" in the same sentence...but if you are an active family who loves the great outdoors, it IS possible to get out there WITH your little one! With some planning and common sense, you can venture out on a family vacation under the stars that the whole gang will enjoy.
1. Plan Ahead
Unlike going with adults only, if you are bringing infants and toddlers with you on a camping trip, even a day trip, you will need to put in some planning. Reseach your destination ahead of time. The National Parks Service has helpful information on their site and through Reserve America, you can book in advance online.
2. Pack Wisely and Make a Check List
Here are some essentials: extra diapers, small portable playpen or co-sleeper, a baby hiking backpack, winter hat, scissors, garbage bags. A great packing checklist from Parents is a terrific go-to to use.
3. Test Run
Why not plan a test run close to home or even in the backyard to see how your baby does. Set up your tent just as you would at a camp site. If it doesn't work out, you can abandon ship, and go home. Try it as many times as you need until you are feeling confident to take the show on the road!
4. Hiking with Baby
If you will be hiking, it's imperative to have a good baby carrier/backpack. Check out this list of best baby carriers as a helpful reference.
Especially these days, it's important to plan for any kind of weather, and having the right clothing can help create the best experience possible for your little camper. We have lots of layering clothing for toddlers, perfect for getting down and dirty and then falling right off to sleep in the fresh air! Our fabric is breathable, light weight and wicks moisture to keep your baby or tot very comfortable in changing temperatures and conditions.
It sounds so simple, but don't overlook bringing a good light. Especially for night time changes. Take a look at this list of best lanterns/camping lights!
You definitely want to figure out what is going to work best for your family ahead of time. Whether it's bringing a travel bed, pad, small, portable playpen, co-sleeper, or otherwise! Use common sense and safety when figuring out your sleeping arrangements. You also won't want to forget to pack a comfort item (such as your baby's fave blankie or stuffed animal) from home to help with naptime and bedtime.
I don't know about you, but coffee is a must every morning, and camping is no exception. Pack instant or a good french press!
It's crucial to make sure tent is big enough for all of you, and that there is enough room for a portable crib or pack n' play if you are bringing one. Many of the national parks and other campsites have alternative shelters such like basic cabins and yurts that might be a nice option for your family. So much information can be found online before you go.
Bring along a waterproof mat, big blanket or tarp so your baby can crawl around or play in a clean, dirt-free area. It's also a good idea to take along some favorite soft toys and books from home for your infant to play with--especially when you are setting up, cooking, or breaking down your camp.
We hope these tips encourage you to get out there and explore the world with your little adventurers!
"As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself- consciously to the soughing of the trees."
- Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth