Saturday, April 27, 2013

First Camping Trip with Baby

Daniel and I just got home from our first overnight camping trip with our 1.5 year old. How did it go, you might ask. Well, here is an update that pertains specifically to camping. I will have a follow up post later about our hike.

Since becoming a parent, I have really had to learn how to adjust my expectations for any major event. Typically Daniel and I choose to continue to do things we love, but we find ways to incorporate Jack. We have also learned that the best thing for us is to have a general game plan and then just go with the flow.

In another life, Daniel and I would go on overnight backpacking trips and avoid campgrounds like the plague. On this camping trip, we decided to compromise. We went to a campground that had "semi-primitive" sites {i.e. they had water, but no electricity} but we could still drive to the site.

Additionally, we decided to make things simple by not cooking at camp. We grabbed Chick-fil-a on our way to camp and then ate breakfast at the park restaurant – a brief walk from where we camped {this was a first for us}.

We had life group on Thursday night so Jack was already worn out from being out past bedtime the night before. This worked to our advantage in that he was pretty tired for camping.

Daniel set up camp while I wrangled Jack and made sure he didn't get into anything or do something dangerous like walk off of a cliff – we were camping on top of a ridge on the highest mountain in Alabama.

Daniel tried to build a fire but it was really windy on top of the mountain and in our rush to leave our house, we forgot to bring any kind of kindling. With a toddler, it was probably best safest that we skipped on the fire.

I brought a remote control car {currently Jack's favorite toy} and a little shovel and bucket for Jack to play with as well as a book for bedtime. Jack did not play with the toys AT ALL. Why would he when there were so many other things for him to explore. We did read his book at bedtime and we also gave him his paci for sleeping.

At bedtime, I changed Jack's diaper and put him in his footed, fleece pajamas. Then we read him a book and sang to him. I think the fact that we have a consistent bedtime routine helped with going to bed.

For sleeping arrangements, we set up our two inflatable Thermarest ground pads like we normally would. Then we zipped together our sleeping bags and put Jack between us. He had his own pillow and blanket. Sophie had a bed on the other side of Daniel. Night-time temps were probably in the mid 50s with a strong wind all night and Jack was plenty warm in his fleece pajamas and blanket, nestled between us.

Jack loved, loved, loved the tent. That being said, there were a lot of things inside the tent for him to look at... pulls, zippers and pockets to explore.

We have only co-slept on a few occasions {when traveling or sick} so it took Jack a little while to get used to the idea of sleeping with us. It was probably an hour {after lights out} before he settled down and fell asleep. He slept like a rock.

Saturday morning we took a walk and did a short hike. Jack was really into exploring everything and saying "hi" to all of the other campers. Taking Jack camping was a success and I think we can begin planning our next trip where we actually bring food, plan on a fire and possibly even backpack to a more remote campsite.

I did want to add that our back-up plan if Jack screamed all night {which we were not anticipating, but you never know} was to pack up and go home. Also, we used disposable diapers on this trip. We still use cloth diapers 98% of the time, but we just didn't want to deal with carter around cloth diapers.



  1. You seem like you had contingencies planned around and had low enough expectations to be able to enjoy whatever happened. And it looks like it was a very successful first venture out camping with Jack.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Wanda! I have learned that having a contingency plan (or plans) and low expectations goes a long way in insuring that 1) I have a good attitude about the experience - regardless of how it goes and 2) everyone has a good time!


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