last summer we went on a month long camping trip with 8 month old suki. while preparing for the trip we did not find much information on camping with babies, so since we just returned home from another fun camping trip with toddler suki, i thought i would put together a post to help any of you who might be camping with babies and toddlers in the future.
we have only done car camping in state and national parks, since it is the most practical with young children. not only do the little ones add weight but the extra things you need really add up as well- a portable high chair and the potty chair are probably the biggest of the extras needed.
we brought along two kinds of carriers- a kelty kids carrier for longer day hikes and an ergo for hanging out by the fire. we did not end up using the ergo this year but last summer it was a necessity. we did not feel comfortable leaving suki to sleep alone in the tent so i would have her fall asleep in the ergo then transfer her to the tent when we were ready to sleep. we also brought a peapod hoping she would take naps in it, but she never did. we ended up using the peapod in addition to a waterproof blanket as a play space so it was still nice to have. we also utilized the air pad that comes with the peapod for sleeping. suki sleeps on that with a regular youth sized sleeping bag. they do make toddler sleeping bags but all of the ones we found were not designed to withstand cold temperatures so it was not ideal for high altitudes. we stuff an old sleeping bag in the bottom to fill up the extra space and to keep it nice and toasty for her. babies sleep very well outdoors. last summer on our trip was the best suki has slept thus far, better than in her own bed. this year was not as good, because she was waking herself up itching her bug bites. poor thing!
last year, before suki was walking, it was easy to set everything up while she entertained herself with her toys on a blanket. it was nice not to worry that she would run off somewhere. this year was completely different, much more work but a lot more fun in return. adam wore her in the kelty carrier while we were unpacking and setting up and that worked well. we were camping with some family friends who have a toddler, and it was great to have a companion for her. they had a blast running around and playing together, marveling at the plethora of bugs and creatures all around. they got to see a frog, which was a very exciting moment. it is a good idea to bring along extra snacks, juice boxes and a filtered water bottle as well as some durable toys, books, and a few art supplies. water toys and a washable doll are nice entertainers when need be. suki has a subscription to babybug, and those are great for camping because they are a nice size for packing and are durable.
when packing your child's clothes, it is always better to be over prepared, especially since their clothes are so small. you will want one pair of waterproof multi purpose shoes and a pair of cosy slippers. it is best to use a layering system since it can go from being very hot during the day and cold at night. even in michigan it gets cold at night in the summer, so be prepared! bring a base layer, sweatshirt, jacket, socks and a hat to be sure your little one is toasty even on the coolest nights. it's a good idea to camp near a river in order to bathe the little one- the cold water is so refreshing after days of playing in the dirt.