Living in BC I have always loved exploring the beautiful outdoors. Whether it be hiking, biking, ski touring, or camping. But now I have a little sidekick that makes heading out on some of these adventures a little more challenging.
I decided this year I was going to try camping with my little guy for the first time. I turned to my Squamish Mom Hive for the best tips and tricks ahead of the trip and also learned a lot while we were there that I wanted to share with you in case you are thinking of planning a camping trip with a toddler.
Tip #1 Think about logistics
This is something completely new and different and it could of been a total disaster – I mean toddlers barely like going to sleep a half hour later than usual – how about going to sleep in a completely different environment, outside, without any comforts of home. So wit this in mind I decided our first camping trip would be short and sweet – just one night as a sort of test drive. I also decide to keep it close to home in case it was a disaster and we had to abort the mission.
Also, something I learned the hard way is really check the weather ahead of time. We were having a heat wave in BC but of course the day we went camping it was cooler and raining and not something we prepared for.
Tip #2 Make sure you have the right gear
You know how when you are packing for vacation with your baby and somehow you have 3 extra suitcases somehow – well camping is no different it seems. There is so much extra gear that you need to think of brining for someone who is a quarter your size. Here is the gear that was a must have for us on our trip.
- Pack and Play:If you are car camping I would suggest bringing a tent big enough that you could fit your pack and play. It creates a sleep space separate for your baby. Another great tip was to bring a blackout cover. Lot’s of people suggested the slumber pod but we just went with a blackout cover from amazon and it worked great and was half the price
- Find the perfect toddler sleeping bag: I did a lot of research, and I mean hours worth of research trying to find the perfect sleeping bag and I landed on the Deuter Littlestar. Firstly I loved how cute it was with the little ears, but the material was also so soft. Then it had so many additional bonuses. It had zippers on both sides so easy to transfer Max. I loved that it was expandable and so it could grow with Max – since he is such a big kid and grows out of everything so quickly. I also loved that it was quick dry – which was a bonus on our first camping trip since it did indeed rain.
- Bring the comfort items: One of the biggest tips I got was to make it as close to home as possible. So we brought along his sound machine and bunny.
- Bring a carrier:We didn’t have any hikes planned but everyone kept telling me to bring a carrier and I am so glad we brought our Deuter Kid Comfort. We used it to help out with nap time (Max always falls asleep on walks) but also if there were any areas I didn’t want him running around or wasn’t safe I would leave him strapped in
- Bring the basics: You are camping, you are outdoors, you are in nature – you need to bring the essential – extra clothes, kid sunscreen, baby safe bug spray , a first aid kid, and all of the snacks
You are stepping out of your comfort zone and into a new environment and so all those baby and toddler proofing that you have done at home don’t exist out here so it is important to follow some safety tips.
- Book with your toddler in mind: Check out the campsite’s location before checking. Is it near a busy road or a fast moving body of water? Maybe better to save it for an adults only trip.
- Baby-proof the campsite: Before setting up your tent take a walk around your campsite looking for any dangerous items like sharp sticks or broken glass.
- Keep child away from fire: I mean this one is pretty obvious ( I hope) but don’t leave your child unsupervised near the campfire
- Write your campsite on your child’s hand: In case your toddler gets separate write down your campsite so it is easy for them to find you.
Have fun with it
Listen, this is a completely new experience – it isn’t going to be perfect but I promise it will be fun. Being outside in nature will be such an amazing time and enough to tire a toddler out but if you still need some activities why not try a scavenger hunt with items you find in nature, or better yet get your toddler to help you with tasks – Max loved trying to bang the pegs into the tent.
Happy camping my friends,