Taking your little one along on your outdoor adventures can be very daunting. But, despite what you might think, camping with a baby is entirely within your reach.
We went on our first family camping trip when Koby was just 2 months old! We took him to Coral Bay, a good 12 hour drive north of our home in Western Australia. It was a lot of learning on the go and working out what we actually need for camping with a baby. We have gone camping many times since our first trip and have learnt what items are essential to make the outdoor life easier, the best ways to provide for your babies needs and how to manage your babies sleep while camping.
Have a Simplicity Mindset When Camping
First of all, don’t bring too much gear! While it might be tempting to take everything your baby is familiar with – that bouncer you use to calm him down, your nice and soft change mat, his box of toys and all those cute clothes – it is best to take as little as possible. The more stuff you have, the fuller your car will be. This makes travel more difficult and your campsite busy.
Don’t bring too much gear!
Camping is all about simplicity and experiencing the outdoors. You will be surprised by how much your baby will love just watching the wind blow in the trees!
Focus on embracing the outdoors!
What to Pack for Camping with Your Baby
While it is good to limit how much you take, there are still a few essential items that will help make camping with a baby an easier experience!
A tent you can stand up in: Using a tent that you can stand up in is essential. Especially when they need a change in the middle of the night! It also means that you have a comfortable place to be if the weather turns bad.
A table to use for changing: Being able to set up a table for changing your baby can make the whole process much easier for you!
A Pram with a bassinet or one that lays flat: This will help make napping on the go much more manageable. Everyone knows that babies sleep a lot, but you don’t want to let nap time stop you from adventuring! Having a pram that you can take along to areas you visit will mean you don’t have to wait for you baby to finish a nap before leaving! You can also use a pram bassinet for night sleeps so that you can take your baby wherever you are. Simply transfer the bassinet into the tent when you go to bed.
A baby carrier: These are an excellent alternative for naps when it isn’t possible to take a pram along. Your baby can take a nap in the carrier while you are out hiking or enjoying some time at the beach!
White noise: White noise is a clever little baby hack that helps settle your baby. It is great for when they are trying to sleep in new places, as it masks other noises. You don’t need a fancy white noise machine, just use an app on your phone!
A portable play mat: A portable play mat is great for camping, especially when the ground is dirty, sandy or full of sticks. It doesn’t take up room in your car and you can easily take it along with you on day trips. You can use it to have your hands free and put your baby down for some tummy time.
Getting There & Setting Up for Success
Going camping generally means taking a bit of a road trip to get there. Long drives can mean a cranky baby, so make sure you are prepared for your road trip! It helps to take your babies nap schedule into consideration and plan your arrival time so that you don’t have to rush to set up camp. When you arrive, make sure your baby is well fed and in a good mood before you start setting up. This will help make everything run much smoother, even if it takes a little more time to get things together.
Managing Your Babies Naps
With all the excitement of camping, it is important to keep track of naps. This helps to make sure your baby is getting enough sleep. Use a bassinet pram for naps as you can move them without having to wake them up. You can also set up the bassinet where you are for the day. This way you won’t have to go back to the tent for naps.
A baby carrier could also be used if you were heading out on a hike or even a walk. That way your baby can take a nap while you are on the move.
Bath Time for Your Baby While Camping
Most campgrounds will have a baby’s bath or sink in the ablution block. This is generally located in the female’s bathroom, the disabled toilets or the family bathroom. You will have to check with your campground to see if they provide a bath for your baby. Alternatively, you can take your baby with you in the shower. However, it is best to use the family bathroom if you need help getting them dressed while you shower.
Consider taking your baby for a shower when baths are not available.
Keep bath time quick and simple when camping, as you are using public facilities that need to be shared. If you don’t want to be in a crowded bathroom for bath time, consider bathing your baby earlier!
Wash up your baby a little earlier to avoid crowded public bathrooms!
If you are camping in a National Park where showers are not provided keeping your baby clean can become difficult. You can take older babies for a swim, especially if you are near fresh water! Otherwise, simply use a wet wipe or wash cloth to clean them down when needed.
Clean your baby with a fresh water swim or a wash cloth when shower facilities are not available.
Night Feeds & Sleeping
Getting a good nights sleep in a tent can be challenging, especially with a baby. There are lots of different noises, close quarters and early sunlight. If you have a baby who sleeps through the night, be prepared for sleep to be effected by the new environment. It is quite likely that they will wake up earlier as the sun lights up the tent.
Your babies sleep may be effected by the new environment.
It is also important to be considerate of your fellow campers when camping with a baby. Have a light readily available for if your baby wakes up in the night. It will make it easier to find them so that you can quickly quiet them down.
Be prepared to wake up early! Sleeping in a tent the morning light will likely wake your baby, especially if they usually sleep in the dark. This means that you may be rising with the sun. With campers set up next to you, you probably don’t want to let your baby wake up fellow campers. If you have to get up early, make the most of this time and head out for a morning walk or relax with a coffee while your baby has some play time!
Make the most of early mornings to enjoy your location before everyone else is awake!
While it may seem challenging to spend so much time outdoors, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Babies can often handle a lot more than we think. Just make sure to bring the essential items to help make your trip easier for both you and your baby. Then relax and enjoy your time in nature!
Bonus Tip: A little tip from our own experience, accept the help of the friends and family you are camping with! Ask them to watch your baby while you go for a swim, take a shower or spend some time with others!
Read More: Easy & Healthy Meals for Your Camping Trip