Camping With A Baby
Summer is here and that means you’ll find us in the woods! We loved camping before having Finn, shit we spent a month camping for our honeymoon. We didn’t want to stop doing it because we had a mini man in our arms. It wasn’t easy and we didn’t do it as much as I would have liked but we did do it and learned a little.
Finns first actual camping trip was when he was nine months, as you would expect, it wasn’t easy but not for the reasons you probably think. It was over a year ago and I cannot believe I’ve never written about it! Brad and I decided to take a road trip back to one of our favorite places, Montana! I booked the campground (without reading much description) and off we went on our nine hour drive to our beautiful spot. The drive went REALLY well. You can read about how we road trip with Finn here, because there’s a whole other list of requirements there!
Camping went really well, we were prepared, it was one of the cleanest campgrounds we have ever been to, had a spot close to the restrooms, a dream… besides the active railroad that was DIRECTLY next to us & ran ALL NIGHT. I’s serious. Every thirty minutes, all night long, the ground would shake and a looong train would come right by our site- scaring Finn awake. We ended up camping one night and spent the entire next day running through a rain storm searching for another place to sleep. It didn’t go exactly how we had hoped but we learned a lot!
First, to prepare for our big Montana road/camping trip we experimented in my in laws backyard and that was where we learned the most.
Stay close: Make your very first time sleeping outdoors somewhere close to home, ie: a backyard. This is where we learned what is best for him to sleep in. We were in my in laws backyard and ended up going inside with Finn since he wouldn’t settle. He was too bundled in layers and having a hard time getting comfortable, I panicked a bit since I didn’t want to bother anyone so late and ended up taking him inside where we could settle in a bed.
Stay organized: Lay everything out before baby goes to bed. Keep water or milk close by, next to the bottle you plan to use, have a headlamp within reach, know where your diapers are. Just be prepared.
Stay Calm: Nights with a baby can be rough in the comfort of your own home let alone outside, just try to stay calm and comfortable. Finn spent his first full night outside sleeping on my chest. I got little to no sleep but he was happy.
1: Warm up the milk or water you’ll need for middle of the night feeding before bed and keep it in a thermos. Having warm milk is always helpful for comfort.
2: A larger tent is nice to have. Room for a pack and play, storage, better organization, and your baby can crawl around without you having to worry about them eating too much dirt!
3: Layer, layer, layer! Check out the temperature before leaving and see how off it is from your room temp. Add a layer or two, sleep sacks are awesome but try not to over dress them. It’s a mistake I made our first time and poor Finn couldn’t even move… picture A Christmas Story snow get up
Sterelite 3 drawer storage container: Sometimes life is messy… actually… a lot of the time, but if I can control and organize something then I will. This was such an easy way to keep all of Finns needs easily accessible and in one spot. One drawer was designated for diaper needs, another was for all his baby food, snacks, silverware, bibs, etc., & finally top one was for bottle storage. We were gone for a little over a week but used this method for two road trips and it worked wonders both times.
Chair: If your kiddo hasn’t mastered sitting at the table and eating I highly recommend a camping high chair. We loved ours but found that with his feet able to touch he was climbing out of it a lot.
Sleep Sack: This is the one we use and it turned to his very special Bebe’, he doesn’t leave the house without it, but there are some thicker ones and thinner ones out there to fit your needs. Sleep sacks worked wonders for Finni and are safer than blankets in cribs.
And my final piece of advice: have a stash of cash designated for a hotel just in case. You never know what could happen and if you are 9+ hours away from home, being able to crash in something a little more steady is always comforting.
Hope to find you out there friends. It’s not always easy being outdoors with a baby under a year but I found it to be worth it. Feed that wonder!