We took our first camping trip last week, to Yosemite National Forest, and had the best time. We had been camping there once before, and I was really, really nervous about going this year with a baby in tow. In fact, I almost backed out of the trip just a couple of days before we were supposed to leave! But after some gentle cajoling from a friend, and a day spent prepping, packing and shopping for supplies, we were ready to go and ended up having a great time.
Here are some of the absolute essentials we were glad we brought along on our camping adventure with baby. (Oh, and one thing I don’t mention in the slideshow, but cannot stress enough, is to bring PLENTY of baby wipes! The whole family used them all throughout the trip and they saved the day many times!)
So You Want To Camp With Baby?
You can’t just wing it when camping with a baby, you have to be a little prepared and bring some essentials. Here’s a list of things we’re glad we brought along on our first camping trip with Hayden in tow.
Bring Some Sort Of Carrier
Whether it’s a backpack, frontpack, wrap style, or actual hiking carrier, bring something along to carry baby in when you go on long walks and hikes with no stroller access. Your arms, and a baby who might be able to catch a nap or two, will thank you.
Bring An Outdoor Rug
Our campsite, as most do, had dirt everywhere. To help keep baby somewhat clean, and give him somewhere soft and clean to play, we brought a small outdoor rug we picked up at Target for $15. It literally saved the day so many times!
Bring Some Toys
Of course there’s plenty of things for baby to see and hear when camping, the fact of the matter is that at this stage, babies are still very tactile and want to grab and touch everything. So if you don’t want baby going after sticks and dirt all the time, bring along just a few small toys to keep his hands and mouth busy.
Bring A Stroller
Where we camped, Yosemite, it was quite bike and stroller friendly, so we were able to push Hayden around quite easily. I’m so glad we brought our stroller along, even though we didn’t think we would need it much, because we ended up using it almost the whole time! And he took quite a few naps in it too!
Bring A Hat
Maybe your baby will cooperate more than ours did, but at any rate, bring along a hat, or two, or three, so you always have one available for hiking and playing in the sun. I don’t have a single picture of Hayden wearing a hat, but we were constantly putting one on him!
Bring Warm, Long Pajamas
Most areas where you would likely camp get chilly at night, and bugs are out in full force during the summer months. So protect baby’s skin and keep him warm by packing plenty of long, footed pajamas. It was especially nice to have them when we went on a couple of late evening walks.
Bring Plenty Of Socks
Socks, socks and more socks saved the day! They kept baby’s feet warm at night and in the chilly mornings, and kept his cute tootsies dry and clean when out on lake adventures.
Bring Sunscreen (and plenty of it!)
You’re out in the elements almost all day when camping and hiking, so don’t scrimp on sunscreen. We packed at least 5 cans and went through 4 of them. This is especially important if you’re going to be camping along the water where the sun’s rays are multiplied, and if your baby refuses to wear a hat.
Bring Something Warm To Bundle Up In
It gets chilly at the campground, even when sitting by the fire. So don’t forget hats, a hooded sweatshirt or jacket, and again, plenty of socks!
Bring A Camera
Even if it’s just your camera phone, don’t forget a camera, and always have it handy, to catch memorable shots of your camping experience.
Bring A Sense Of Adventure
Camping with young children, espeically babies, may not always go smoothly and as planned. So approach it with a flexible set of expectations and an open mind, and you’ll have the most fun. Hayden woke up quite a few times at night, we had to bring him into our cot with us, he didn’t nap that often, but we all survived and had a memorable trip. I’m so glad we tackled our first, but not last, camping trip with our baby!