My husband and I love to go camping. He’s an Eagle Scout. I’ve been a happy camper since I was a kid, back when my little brother would “steamroll” with his sleeping bag over the entire family in our little green tent, making us all laugh loud enough to wake up the entire campground.
So we decided to introduce our girls to camping early. We took our oldest when she was 13 months, and took our youngest even earlier – at 9 months. Since moving to Minneapolis last September, we’ve camped on Madeline Island and in Itasca State Park. A great time was had by all, but camping with a baby (and a toddler, for that matter!) isn’t the easiest.
Here are a few ways we make it work:
First of all, use a huge tent! I guess I should be clear that I’m talking car (or at least cart-in) camping here. A six person tent even if you are just two adults and a baby is what we found works best. We have the Big Agnes Big House 6 and like it, but the Eureka Copper Canyon 6 is also a popular choice. This type of tent is tall enough for you to stand up in – and can even fit a small travel crib inside.
Which brings me to my next suggestion: A travel crib is your friend. It can go inside the tent so you can put baby to bed and stay out by the fire or stargaze. It also can be used outside, as a spot for baby to take an open-air nap. And perhaps most importantly, it can be used as a place to put baby and keep her from eating sticks and dirt while you do things like put up a tent or start a fire. We like the Guava Lotus Travel Crib but there are also other similar options.
A tip if your campsite is far from the showers: Baby powder cleans up a sandy kid, no water needed. Just sprinkle it on and wipe off both powder and sand.
One more thing to bring: A screen tent. If you put it up over your campsite’s picnic table, you have a place to sit and eat – even if mosquitos attack or it pours all day.
What else? Make a list of all the camping basics (first aid kit, sleeping bags, mats, etc) and check it carefully, because you’ll likely be distracted by baby duties more than a few times when loading up the car. Bring more snacks and baby supplies (and coffee!!) than you think you’ll need.
Have a favorite place to camp near the Twin Cities? Let me know in the comments.