There is nothing more satisfying to me than watching a fire burn at night, hearing the birds chirping early in the morning, and the crisp mountain air inviting me to sleep in a little longer. This is camping. Being in the mountains is where my soul feels at ease. Not only do I get away from the rush of real life, but I get to turn off my mind and phone for a few days and enjoy being truly present.
Some people may find it crazy, and ask why I would choose to spend time sleeping and playing in the outdoors with a baby? Well to be completely honest, it was a scary challenge for me to take on. I had to be willing to give up control, loosen the reigns on a schedule and be okay with a little dirt under my baby’s fingernails. So, if you enjoy creating memorable, challenging and adventurous experiences, read on and see how to be prepare yourself for this endeavor!
Feel prepared but give up control
Millie is 11 months old now. She is becoming quite the independent, on the go, sassy pants that I always hoped she would be. However, this can make the day-to-day overwhelming and exhausting. When naps don’t happen and the mundane of life gets to me, a break from the four walls of a schedule is vital for everyone’s sanity and survival. This is exactly why camping is the best. Believe me, I appreciate knowing what to expect next but I have realized that parenting does not work that way. Getting out of my comfort zone and giving up control is how I truly survive the mundane days of motherhood. So, if I haven’t already lost you, check out my list of essentials that I found most helpful for our first camping adventure!
- Outfits: Two outfits per day. If you are worried about ruining your baby’s nice clothes, head to the closest Goodwill or baby consignment store for some cheap used clothes you can use for camping.
- PJ’s: fleece pj’s with a blanket and hat
- Jacket: Fleece jacket and a synthetic/waterproof jacket.
- Socks and Shoes: Wool socks are the best. We only brought one pair of shoes, which Mils could wear with or without socks.
2. Toiletry Essentials
- Diapers and wipes: Bring more than you think you’ll need. Wipes are lifesavers for many things in the outdoors.
- Washcloths: nothing feels better than to wipe down with a warm washcloth at the end of the day.
- Plenty of baby snacks: fruit, pouches, puffs, PB&J
- Do meals that are baby friendly: hamburgers, pigs in a blanket, roasted veggies, or soups. The easier and more baby friendly you can make the meals, the better you will feel!
4. Baby Camping Gear
- Pack and Play: Although Millie hates to sleep in her pack and play, we found it helpful to have it outside to wrangler her while we prepared meals.
- Baby Highchair: for $60 you can buy this awesome portable highchair that can be used even when you aren’t camping. We love this one, but you can bring any highchair you have.
- Backpack for hiking: This could be an ergo or an actual hiking backpack. Bringing a backpack opens opportunities for you to take a hike and go adventure around, this is a must!
This list of essentials may be overwhelming or completely different for you if you have already mastered camping with a baby. This list does not include the obvious camping gear that you will need ie: tent, sleeping bags, camp chairs, camp stove, ect. I am writing this assuming you already have the basic camping gear. The items above made camping with a baby more comfortable for me and allowed me to truly enjoy the experience.
A few things I would do differently...
1. Wait until it gets dark to go to bed
We tried to put Millie down in the pack and play around 7:30 (her usual bedtime) and this was an epic fail. She could still hear us and knew we were awake outside the tent which resulted in a really mad baby. Oops.
2. Sleep with your baby
Oh no! Not Co-sleeping!? This advice may not be for you, and that’s fine! But for us, it made the most sense. Sure, I didn’t sleep great but I knew Millie was warm and protected and that made me feel great!
3. Bring more snacks
I thought we had brought enough snacks, but I was wrong. Bring plenty of applesauce, fruit, crackers and puffs. And when you think you have enough bring a little more! You don’t want to have to worry about whether you have enough food on hand.
Camping with a baby can be an intimidating challenge to take on! You don’t have your typical comforts of home and you are outside with lots of dirt and bugs but you are also in an environment that builds imagination and adventure; and that far outweighs a little dirt and bugs. With enough courage and preparation, I know you can take on camping with your baby!
Adventure on, Mama’s!
Abby is a Mom and an amazing team member of Baja Baby. She lives in Colorado with her husband Alex, their beautiful daughter Amelia Grace, baby boy Amos Lee and Maple the dog. You can find Abby on Instagram by clicking here.
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