My family LOVES camping! We love camping ALMOST as much as we love sleep!!
Just our luck, 2017 means that all of Canada's National Parks have free entrance for the entire year!*
The first time we took our son camping he was just a wee 3 month old! (Actually, he did a test run at 9 weeks in our backyard...slept for 10 hours straight, it was amazing!!) Through trial and error we learned some tips and found some items that help keep everyone comfortable while enjoying all the wonderful things about camping!!
1) Don't overschedule!!!
When it was just my husband and I camping, we'd be out of our site all day long. We'd pack picnics and hike, then swim and explore. With a small babe, this wasn't as easy. So, we scaled back our activities and tried to take things a little easier. This meant more time at the camp site (for naps when he was really little) which wasn't really a bad thing. We slowed down, talked more and relaxed in nature.
2) Invest in a baby carrier.
We used and LOVED our Solly baby wrap. It is so lightweight and comfortable to wear. I loved that it was really easy to pack and wear and that our little guy could nap on the go when necessary. Other carriers that I'd recommend for hiking and camping:
the Evenflo Breathable Carrier
or the Baby Bjorn Carrier
3) Be Prepared for Cold or Hot Nights.
Babies have a hard time regulating their body temperature. Bring light layers for baby like a short sleeved onsie, footed pyjamas and a sleep sack. We also used our winter car seat cover as an extra layer of warmth.
4) If you haven't been co-sleeping before, now is NOT the time to start.
Co-sleeping (although not something I am comfortable with) is a personal choice that every parent should make for themselves. If baby has been sleeping in a bassinet or their own crib, a camping trip is NOT the time to start co-sleeping. Sleeping bags tend to be more bulky and less breathable and could pose a dangerous risk to your child's ability to breath. Bring the bassinet or a pack and play. Yes, it will add bulk to your load and take up space in your tent...oh, well. Maybe back country camping isn't the best choice for a child in this stage. Our pack and play folds up quite easily and has served us well for all of our camping trips since our son arrived.
5) If formula feeding, keep your bottled water OUT of the cooler!!!
Ever tried to mix formula with cold water? Good luck!
Because my babe was exclusively formula fed at the time of his first camping trip, we really struggled to make and keep formula on hand. I learned to keep the bottled water out of the cooler and to not make a full bottle. Only as much as I thought he would want/ need. If he wanted more, it was way easier to make more on the spot than it was to store extra and then try and heat up formula with a campfire!
6) Have Fun!!
Camping is such a wonderful experience and a great learning opportunity for EVERYONE! With the state of the world as it is, I love to disconnect and enjoy nature at a slower pace. Don't be a slave to a schedule, but watch your child for cues about eating, sleeping and playing. Make it a calm and fun environment and pass the love of nature on to the next generation. I hope that my son has a strong tie to camping and will enjoy it for many more years to come!!
Also....I have a few of these for when baby goes to bed and mom and dad get to enjoy the campfire... What are some of your best camping tips? Share in the comments!!
*Entrance to the park is free, camping fees still apply.
Side note: Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba is my favourite place to camp! The hiking is AMAZING!