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How to Camp with a Baby

Taking a baby camping is really not hard if you are an experienced camper. First time campers may not agree. But it can be done and it can be quite enjoyable. Here are some of my own tips for camping with an infant. This comes from experience with my own children, who’s first camping trips were at 3 months and 9 months of age and from camping with my infant nephews and nieces as well.

Relax Your Itinerary and Schedule

If before kids you filled the day with hiking, biking, boating, and stayed up late into the night sitting around the campfire, camping with an infant is going to be a major change in your camping style. When camping with kids, especially an infant, go slow and don’t make too many plans, or any plans at all. Just like a day at home, you can easily spend a day right at the campsite feeding and changing diapers and not know where the day went. Consider it a successfully busy day if you made it to the beach or went for a short hike.

baby camping bedBring the Right Baby Camping Gear

You will probably want to buy some baby camping gear. Of most important to us was the travel bed and backpack carrier.

The travel bed keeps your baby contained in a tent safely while you sleep. This was a concern for us because if baby rolled or moved, they could end up rolled up into a sleeping bag.

Baby Carrier

Although we used the Bjorn  carrier most of the time, it was nice to have a backpack carrier, which comes with lots of pockets for carrying baby stuff and even lunch.

stroller mosquito netMosquito nets!

Bring one for the top of the playpen, stroller, and any other baby gear you have. Much better than having to use mosquito repellant on an infant. You may need to buy a couple of different sizes to use on different gear. If you do need mosquito repellent, click here to learn which one is best for babies.

Bring Baby Gear from Home

Think of what you cannot live without and determine if you can pack and take it with you. Some baby things we found were must haves while taking a baby camping were:

Playpen – you really can’t put baby down in the dirt at a campsite. Bring the playpen or someone will have to hold baby at all times.

Baby Carrier – whether it’s a Bjorn or other carrier that you use, bring it. Because once baby is tired of the playpen, you will need to strap baby to you again to keep your hands free.

Soothers – whatever calms baby and helps him sleep, bring that. It may be extra pacifiers (to replace the ones you drop in the dirt on a hike) or his noisemaker. If he’s used to falling asleep to white noise, he will need it while camping as well.

Stroller – You will regret not bringing it. Trust me.

Swing – if the swing is a must have at home, buy a small portable swing to take camping. Those fold up for easier storage and packing.

You Need More Space

Obviously after you’ve just tried to pack your baby’s playpen, carriers, and new camping gear, you will quickly realize you need more space. You may need to rent a trailer, put a cargo hold on the roof, or get a bigger SUV to make it all fit now. Now may be the time to invest in a camping trailer.

Family Sized Tent

Or you may need to invest in a family tent. What seemed large and spacious last year, now with baby will seem cramped and half the size. In that tent you need space for baby’s stuff, maybe the playpen if it’s raining out, and possibly a travel baby bed. Just get a bigger tent – it’s easier that way.

When Taking a Baby Camping is a Bad Idea

If you have a colicky infant who cries for hours at a time, camping is not going to go well. You will be stressed worrying what the “neighbors” think and that’s not good for baby or you. Also, if your baby can’t be soothed easily at night, you may want to wait until he or she is older. You can’t bring every piece of baby gear you own, so if you rely on the rocking chair or swing to get baby to sleep at night, camping won’t be very easy for you.

When Taking a Baby Camping is a Good Idea

If your baby is quiet most of the night, even if awake, and easily soothed, then camping will be doable and even enjoyable. When deciding if you should camp with your baby, consider the other campers and lack of walls between you and them. Other campers won’t mind the occasional crying baby, especially during the day. But at night, campgrounds are eerily quiet and a baby crying for more than 5 to 10 minutes will wake everyone.

Final Tips for How to Camp with a Baby

The key to taking a baby camping is to relax. Don’t expect to pack in all the activities into one day the way you did before you had kids. Take it slow and enjoy the camping experience through your baby’s eyes and you will have fun.

Click here for a Camping with Kids Checklist

More for You  Must Have Camping Gear for Babies

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