What I learned from our first camping trip with a baby

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When our son was six months old, my husband and I packed up our new/old Westfalia (aka The Vantasy) and headed to Washington’s Deception Pass for our first family camping trip. Granted, this wasn’t backpacking (just car camping) but I still learned a few things:


Picnik changing table

  1. Cloth diapers are great for the great outdoors, as long as you bring some really big wet sacks. I have a couple laundry-sized wet sacks, and they made dealing with cloth diapers in the great outdoors pretty easy. We set up a changing station on the picnic table, and had a big laundry bag for dirty diapers, and then another one for stuff like burp rags and dirty baby clothes.
  2. A wrap sling worked best for little hikes. We didn’t do any big long hikes as part of this trip, but Dre used our wrap to carry Tavi and reported it as much more comfortable than the Ergo or Baby Bjorn. He used the Torstein Technique.
  3. Co-sleeping while camping didn’t work for us. Our first night, we tried having Tavi in bed with us so that we could keep him warm and secure. The result was a rough night of sleep for all three of us, since the Westie’s bed just wasn’t quiiiite big enough, and the rustle-rustle of our zip-together sleeping bag was bothersome with a squirmy baby. The second night we decided to let him sleep in his infant carrier, but I was worried about Tavi getting cold … which leads me to my most awesome new mama camping moment:
  4. A zipped-up down vest makes the most awesome baby sleeping bag EVAR. I put my vest into the infant carrier, bundled the baby up and settled him in on top of it, and then zipped the vest up. VOILA! He was comfortably encased in super warm down that I knew he couldn’t kick off, with his little head peeking out. He slept better, we slept better, and I was all pleased with my amazing go-go gadget ingenuity.

Enjoying the sunset

We’re planning a big family camping road trip to the Southwest next month, and while we’ve still got some figuring to do (I’m not comfortable with the baby sleeping in an infant carrier for that long — so we’ll have to figure out a safe little bed for him) I’m super excited and feeling more confident about camping with a baby.

But I’m guessing lots of you have done this tons of times before — what are your best tips for camping with babies?

Comments on What I learned from our first camping trip with a baby

  1. For the diapers I take a 5 gallon bucket with lid. That way when it gets hot the smell stays contained:)

  2. Wow Ariel! First of all congrats on the little one! Secondly – you’re pretty brave to attempt camping w/the baby! Any kind of travel seems be be a big hurdle for us!

  3. We camped almost up til i had mini munchkin, and then the following summer last year when she was between 9 and 13 months, and admittedly she’s an incredibly chilled out and easy going baby, but it was super easy! we used public transport (great in the UK!) and walked; and lived in a tent with 2 rooms, one was her sleeping room, one was ours (she HATES co-sleeping with a vengeance lol) and we mainly lived outside 🙂 we bought a travel cot secondhand and took plenty of layers to put on her as well as a gro-bag type sleeping bag, cos nights here are pretty cold even in August! on the whole, I think that bfing and the fact that she eats what we do definately made it all easier,as well as having a majorly laid back munchkin! We found a backpack carrier was good for short walks,(again with the dislike of being strapped too close to anyone!) but there are alot of good walks with good paths for a foldy buggy thing, handy for heavy munchkin moments/longer trips out! Also we stayed on a working farm, so we didn’t need to go far to find things to see/do! This has got me so excited about camping this year with a walking talking munchkin! 🙂

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