I may not have a newborn anymore, but that doesn’t mean things get any easier when camping with two toddlers.
Not that we’ve done it this year yet. We’ve pitched a tent in the backyard and are going to a glammed-up cottage at the end of the month, but no camping. Not because we don’t want to. It’s more of a scheduling thing. The summer has been jam-packed with touring for the mister, so weekends to plan a camping trip are hard to come by.
Or it could be because we are still scarred from last year’s events. Except not really. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, or perhaps I really love camping — when done right. Oh yes, there are supreme ways to do this camping thing.
There are definitely some things I’ve learned along the way — like what to do, what not do do. This knowledge, all yours, for the taking. There are some of you who entertain doing these sorts of things with littles, right? Tell me I’m not the only crazy one.
Here are 10 dos and don’ts for camping with a baby and a toddler. Learn from our mistakes. Take note of what we did right.
Set Up Camp During the Light of Day
Don’t: Leave your house shortly before nightfall. This means you are setting up camp in the dark. Or as luck would have it in our case, in the dark, during a thunderstorm. That’s catastrophic without babies. Just imagine. (So yes, don’t forget flashlights, matches and lanterns.)
Do: Set up a shade tent for your makeshift kitchen (yes, you should set up one of those, too.) This will serve as a reprieve from the hot (Oh my WORD it was so hot that weekend) sun.
Actually Have Fun
Don’t: Wallow in all of the atrocities that have befallen you (ridiculous heat, thunderstorms, etc.).
Do: For us, we were at a festival. So we slathered up in sunscreen, had the mini cooler packed with plenty of water on ice and some snacks and ventured out to hit the shaded stages to listen to our friends play music and cuddle.
Don’t: Forget all the baby & toddler necessities. Fresh fruit and veggies, pureed foods, formula, pumped milk – whatever it is you’ve got going on, come fully loaded with a big ‘ole cooler packed to the brim. Don’t forget yourselves. (Yourselves = beer)
Do: Remember rain gear for yourselves and your littles. Bring LOTS of wipes. Those will serve to clean just about everything that needs cleaning. Not just baby bums. Have all IDs (in case of emergency) and some cash (artisan vendors, hello) on hand.
Let Them Run Wild and Get Into All of the Things
Don’t: Forget anything. Just don’t.
Do: Take lots of cute pictures. Let your toddler tailgate. Let go of your inhibitions and let them get dirty, run around like wild banshees with other kids, eat all of the treats and generally do what they aren’t always allowed to do at home.
Pack Like a Pro
Don’t: Overpack. I am known for doing this, for myself and especially with the kids. I just can’t seem to rock the fine line between being prepared and going over-board.
Do: Keep it simple. All you really needs are a bunch of bodysuits, t-shirts, shorts, maybe a couple of sundresses, a few items for layering if the evenings get chilly (which, oh, no they didn’t). Diapers, sunscreen, wipes, a few paci’s if you’re babe is smitten with those, and shoes for feet that walk and run. Nubes don’t need them.
Let Dad Take Over
Don’t: Forget to admire your partner’s amazing parenting skills. Forget to take in the little moments.
Do: Relax like a boss and let your partner run around with them for a while.
Glamp It Up
Don’t: Forget a few favourite toys and books. Oh, and don’t forget everyone’s sun-hats.
Do: Spend money on a quality, double air-mattress bed (size Queen or King if you’re feeling extra saucy or are giants like us). Totally bring your light feather duvet and favourite pillows.
Set Up a Kitchen
Don’t: Forget your camping stove, propane, your kettle, your coffee, your bottles, some pots, and stuff for a washing station.
Do: Bring a folding card table to set up on, lots of fresh drinking water, and water for boiling and washing dishes. Remember your first-aid kit, dish soap, towels, cutting board, a pot and a frying pan, a pair of scissors, and a good knife. Also – cutlery, plates, cups, and bottles.
Keep to Your Nap Schedule
Don’t: Let them get so wild that you drop naps. That has meltdown city written all over it. Related: don’t forget a playpen.
Do: Bring your child(s) favourite lovie(s) and keep at it. They may not go down as easy at home, but if you put them in a shaded, quiet spot, it’ll happen. They’re tired these babies and toddlers. No matter how much they fight it.
Keep Your Newborn Cool and Out of the Sun
Don’t: Forget light swaddles (bamboo ones are great for this as they are a cool, breathable fabric which naturally acts as a UV filter).
Do: Bring your stroller and baby wrap or carrier. Whatever your preference, you’ll use them lots!