Tents and Toddlers… How to survive your first camping trip with a baby

It’s been summer for awhile now, yet we haven’t done our favorite summer activity… CAMPING! Before having Evie, Aaron and I would camp every chance we got. Whether it was a music festival or just some time away in the woods, it was a summertime staple in our lives. We always said “once we have kids we are going to do the same stuff we always did” and that having a baby wasn’t going to make us “lame”… Now that I am a parent I realize there are caveats to that statement. I’m learning that I can still do the fun stuff we did before kids, it just looks a little different and takes WAY more planning! So, we finally got to take Everly camping and expose her to the simple joy of spending time outside.

Here’s some pointers for taking your little one camping:

  1. Prepare food ahead of time! Cooking over the open fire may be the only thing you do once you set up camp, and waiting a few hours for the meal to be ready is part of the fun… but that’s not the case with a toddler. Cook your mac N cheese in the comfort of your kitchen and have it ready to go when hunger strikes at the campsite!
  2. Pack warm clothes and then pack some more– we live in Colorado and summetime here in Denver is hot. Nighttime attire is usually pretty sparse in our household. But when you head up into the elevation it can get super cold at night! We brought some warm stuff but definitely not enough… Next time I am bringing everly’s full body warm suit for sleeping plus lots of warm fleece blankets. If you don’t, you’ll end up shivering together awake all night like we did.
  3. Bring bubbles. When in doubt bring bubbles, it’s a game changer when you are trying to corral a 15 month old away from the road, ditches, sharp rocks, hot fire, sharp camping gear etc. Just bust out the bubbles and enjoy a few minutes of peace
  4. Have a sleep plan. I thought going to bed would be just like at home, say “night night” to all the people in the house, pictures and to Piper then lay Ev in the crib, shut the door, pop open the bottle of red and relax. Not in the great outdoors. Sleeping outside in a tent is SO much fun and Everly spent more time jumping on all the sleeping bags and shining the head lamp in her eyes then settling down for a good nights sleep. Aaron had to put her in a “hold” and lull her to a deep relaxed state before depositing her into the tent for night night. Highly recommended to have an exit strategy for your kiddo.
  5. Bring some sort of device to immobilize your kiddo. This is essential for important tasks like setting up the tent or getting the fire started. Aaron and I needed all 4 hands to set up our monster tent and it took forever because Everly was buzzing around exploring the campsite. We finally realized we had the stroller and could buckle her in that for 5 min to get camp set up. Definite must have!
  6. Don’t count on sleeping past sunrise. Get ready for some awesome morning giggles and snuggles, there is nothing better than waking up with your sweet baby in your tent with the whole day ahead of you : )

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