In my previous post “Camping with toddlers – The ultimate packing list” I shared with you what we decided to pack for our first camping trip. Now that we’re back, I can tell you how it is to go on camping with a baby and what this experience taught us.
So if you’re thinking about going on camping with your baby, stay with me because there are a couple of things that you might want to know.
So that you can make your trip memorable.
Camping with a baby – the doubts
About a month ago my husband and I have been invited to go on camping for a weekend at the lake and, since it’s also our anniversary, we killed two birds with one stone.
Our son though is only 19 months old so we were wondering if it was really possible.
Technically he’s not a baby anymore, he’s officially a toddler, but for such an adventurous experience, he’s still very little and requires lots of attention.
If you’re in the same situation and it’s your first camping experience since your child was born, I suggest to read the above mentioned article, in order to make sure you bring everything you need and leave home what’s not necessary.
Reading the article you’ll also learn that car-camping is the best type of camping with a baby because it allows to bring everything you need for the family.
When I wrote that post I still had some important questions and now that we came back I can answer them all.
Did we have to call Bear Grylls to save us?
No! Thank God it wasn’t necessary 🙂
The location, a piece of land on Lake Hartwell here in Georgia, was absolutely stunning and we had more than what we thought at our disposal:
- potable water
- a toilet
- and even a grill to cook
So I’d say that after all, it was a pretty spoiled camping trip 🙂
Obviously, among all the thing, we forgot toilet paper, but there was enough for everyone. The little one had his diapers and wipes so he was good.
Bear Grylls would laugh in our face for our luxury camping.
On the other side though we’re talking about going on camping with a baby, so it’s not that we could go climb Mount Everest in bikini, right?
First lesson = don’t be too anxious, it’s definitely possible.
Did we survive the night in the tent?
I’m here telling the story so we definitely survived. My son and I got a little bit of a cold, but in the end we got back home alive and happy.
We played cool thinking that the weather was warm enough, but it wasn’t quiet like that. Despite the mats to isolate us from the cold ground and the sleeping bags, the night in the tent was pretty devastating. I slept with heavy sweat pants, socks and hoodie inside the sleeping bag.
My son Ethan is too young to wrap him up in blankets without risking to suffocate him so, when I noticed it was colder that what we expected, I dressed him up with everything I had. On his pajamas I added sweat pants, socks, sweatshirt and thankfully I also had a beany. Basically a Michelin baby.
Unfortunately it still wasn’t enough and the poor little monster woke up many times, until I decided to bring him with me in the sleeping bag.
Result: he slept like a rock, I didn’t at all!
Super uncomfortable because he would take all the space and I couldn’t move, I made peace with a good ‘ol sleepless (and quiet painful) night.
Second lesson = don’t underestimate temperatures, as nights are the trickiest thing
Was it a pleasant experience?
So far it might seem it was not fun at all, instead you’ll be surprised to know that after all it was wonderful.
The day at the lake was restoring.
The little elf ran everywhere super happy to explore new things and it was the first real sunny day after a weird spring.
Usually here in Georgia is warmer during this time, but this year was slightly different. Despite the nice weather though, the water was still too cold and we couldn’t enjoy a swim without hibernating. However, sitting on the dock with our feet in the water and sun on our heads, with no thoughts whatsoever was great.
The car trip wasn’t so bad either. No traffic and in an hour we were at destination. Ethan had fun watching us bickering while putting up the tent and tried to cooperate as he could (which means watching and blabbering unintelligible things).
At dinner time he started to be a little tired, which means cranky, but our friend’s dog Charlie, literally saved us.
Ethan looooves dogs and he basically shared his dinner with Charlie (a bite to you and one to me), but at least he ate instead of saying no to everything just because he was fussy.
Third lesson = when fussiness comes, a good distraction is the best way to go
Sleeping routine in the tent
Harry Potter projection book was as MAGICAL as I thought it would be!
And not just because I a huge fan (I’m not even paid to sponsor this thing, I promise), but because projecting a story in the tent was spectacular!
At the beginning, it took some contortion to find the best position. I didn’t want him to touch the cold ground or he wouldn’t be able to relax while I was holding the book and the flashlight.
But eventually adjusted and it was like seeing fireworks for the first time. He was totally mesmerized and then fell asleep. I was so happy. He showed me he could adjust outside his usual routine, which is a lot. Too bad the cold night ruined what it could have been a great night of sleep.
Lesson #4= babies can adjust better than what you think
Lesson #5= If you go on camping with a baby, bring a projection book with you. It’s absolutely fantastic.
Did we pack everything we needed to go on camping with a baby?
Yes and no. If on one side we had too much, on the other we definitely underestimated night temperature.
I would have gladly exchanged everything we had to go swimming (bathing suites, towels, etc) for 3 or 4 extra blankets. Rookie mistake that won’t happen again.
Other than that, I’d say we did great. Although our list was really limited to the necessary, we didn’t need anything else.
Can you really go on camping with a baby under age 2?
Yes, yes and YES!
Besides a little tiredness in the morning due to the tough night, I won’t hesitate to say that going on camping with a baby not only is possible, but it’s also a wonderful experience for us and for the child.
I do suggest you try it, hoping that our rookie mistakes will help you avoid colds or bad nights.
My husband Scott and I also made it to enjoy some relax time in front of the fire, after the little monster fell asleep. And we both know that in our mama-life, this kind of things are a real treat.
The awakening in the sleeping bag
When Ethan woke up it was the sweetest thing in the world.
I was awake but I was keeping my eyes closed hoping to rest as long as possible. I immediately realized that he wasn’t sleeping anymore, even though he didn’t make a sound, so I opened one eye.
He was there, few inches from my face happily staring at me.
I closed my eye out of tiredness and after few second I felt his hand sweetly caressing my cheek. Well… Despite the exhaustion, I melt down and I couldn’t help but smiling and reopen my eye, only to see him arriving with one of his drooling but super sweet kiss. My little Shrek! lol
If you’re planning a family vacation on camping
- Make a priority list about what is really necessary and don’t make our mistake to underestimate temperature changes
- find out as much as you can about what you’ll actually have at your disposal in order to avoid packing what you don’t need
- don’t worry about bringing too many entertaining for your baby because the novelty of the adventure and the nature to explore will do their big part (unless you think it’ll rain)
- If you want to keep up with your child’s schedule, keep in mind that it takes a little longer to accomplish everything (cook, putting her down to sleep, etc)
- Go with an adventurous heart and ENJOY IT!
Will we go back camping with our son?
We’re planning on doing it again, learning from our first experience. Next time it’ll be probably too hot, but hey.. Every experience is a lesson, right?
Also there will be other factors to keep in consideration since Ethan will be a little older, but the beauty of camping with little ones is that each experience is never equal another.
P.S.= If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it 🙂