For many people the thought of camping with a baby is craziness. Many of my friends have questioned my sanity when I've told them I'm off for a week's camping. Having coped for a solid two weeks last September when my daughter was 10 months old I can confidently say that its an amazing experience. The key is to prepare and do your homework and remember that its a whole different ball game to camping with just you and your partner.
Don't get me wrong, it can be very hard work. I'm afraid to bring out the cliches, but its definitely the case of – the more you put in the more you get out.
From my own personal experience of my trip last September and one night away last June, these are my top five tips:
1) Choose your campsite carefully
Select family friendly sites with baby changing facilities and a microwave if you've got bottle sterilising to consider.
2) Get daddy used to single handedly putting up the tent
If you are taking care of babe, make sure daddy is capable of putting the tent up on his own – or with minimal help from you. I managed to help a bit by putting my babe in a Baby Bjorn carrier, but I might have been more of a hindrance than help – lol 😉
3) Don't expect to follow the same routines as at home
Everything takes longer when you're camping, simply making a cuppa is a whole job in its self. Babe may want to stay up later because of all the action going on around them and the excitement of the change of scene. So plan your day carefully. We personally found that going out for shorter days was more sustainable than staying out for long days. We usually went out from about 10am – 3pm - this gave us a leisurely start to the day and the early return meant we could bath late afternoon, cook tea, wash dishes and be ready for bedtime milk at about 7-8pm. While away last September we did make friends with a family with a baby of one year old and a toddler and they would go out first thing and come back around between 6-8pm. They did seem a bit fraught though…but I got the impression that they weren't that organised – but lovely people.
4) Be prepared for the rain and cold
Don't under estimate how cold it can get at night, take lots of blankets and layers of clothes. Even when we went camping for a night in June when babe was 6 months old, it was cold enough for hats and gloves – in fact I had no gloves, so she wore socks on her hands.
Be prepared for rainy weather anytime, if babe is on the move consider getting an all-in-one waterproof suit. We got a great one from Muddy Puddles, that babe would happily craw around outside the tent in while it was raining – rather her than me. We also got some thermal waterproof bootees to put over her feet.
5) Prepare for baby bathing
Not many babies like showers and its often not practical, and a good old soaking is often what is needed (particuarly with pooy sandy bums). I guess if you were going away for just a night or two a shower would do. If the campsite does not have a baby bath, take along a big flexible garden trug and fill it up with water (from the showers if needed) and then add lots of empty cartons and shampoo bottles to act as toys. My babe didn't like this at the start, but as soon as I found some temp toys she was a proper happy little bunny. I also found that it was best for me to put her in the bath while I had a shower.
Above I've just covered a few pointers, if you have specific questions about any aspect of camping with a baby, I'm happy to share my experience…(as limited as it is) 🙂
What about you? What are your top tips?