In this series I will be talking about some tips and tricks to getting outside with your little critters. Traveling with kids can be challenging and in this series I will discuss: equipment, sleeping arrangements, entertainment and helping around the camp.
The trick about camping with cubs this age is quite simply having the right equipment.
Part 1 – Littlest cubs: ages 0-1
With my kids we took them camping for the first time at around 4 months old. This might sound overwhelming for new parents, but rest assured, this is much easier before they start walking! The trick about camping with cubs this age is quite simply having the right equipment.
Equipment and Considerations:
1. Carrying your cub
You will NEED a baby carrier of some type, preferably a soft pack and not the metal frame hiking type. While not really an endorsement the Ergo Baby Performance (http://store.ergobaby.com/baby-carrier/performance-collection/charcoal-black) is my go-to carrier while out in the woods. It is sturdy and easily adjustable and cleans up easily. It isn’t cheap at $140 but I will say that I have gotten almost 4 years use out of mine and it is still going strong. It isn’t the hippest carrier, but it does the job reliably and it fits all sizes of babes. For babies over 6 months I prefer the back carry, especially around the camp and one of the benefits of this pack if you can choose front, back or hip carry.
So, why do you need a carrier with infants? Two words – hands free…also, nap time…also warmth provider. Carriers allow you to work around your camp without worrying what sort of trouble your little guy or gal is getting into and also allows you to actually, well, get work done. I don’t know about your kids, but mine would NEVER tolerate a playpen…and who wants to hear constant crying while you are trying to enjoy the silence of nature? No one, that’s who! Toodling around on your back like a baby gorilla provides your child with a special type of entertainment and they get snuggles in at the same time.
In addition, I cannot tell you the number of times my little guys have just zonked out whilst in the pack, it’s magic! And thirdly, often times the great outdoors is chilly and having your little bug snug as a rug on your back will provide peace of mind and miniature back heater for you!
2. A well-thought out sleeping situation.
Chances are you will want your baby to sleep right next to you. I have yet to find a bassinet or basket that I felt was warm or secure enough for my babes. Dropping night time temperatures plus the added terror of your little cherub jumping ship and somehow crawling out of the tent and lost in the woods will be probably haunt you…oh, is that just me?? I digress. A NOTE ON CO-SLEEPING: I am assuming that since you have your child with you while camping that you aren’t going to get so intoxicated that it will be unsafe to your children. This being said, do your research on co-sleeping first before you attempt this if you are at all nervous. I have co-slept with all of my boys at one point or another and it has always been safe because I am educated on how to do it safely. This article is not a rant about the benefits of co-sleeping but in my opinion, if done safely and sanely, it will make camping a much more enjoyable situation for everyone. Again, I digress. Here are two set ups I prefer: two sleeping bags zipped together with sleeping pads or a blow up mattress with down comforter…posh, I know. With either of these options make sure you bring extra towels that you can roll up to place either between the sleeping pads or the outside of the blow up mattress. Kids roll all over the place and there is nothing sadder than waking up on the cold floor of a tent!
**I do want to also note that I don’t recommend sleeping in a single sleeping bag with the babes, both for comfort and for safety reasons.**
3.Lots of easy to grab snacks.
I will cover how to make camping food easy for kids in a future episode, but the short list is: peanut butter sandwiches, pre-made and cut into pre-portioned pieces, fresh fruit or veggies, again cut and pre-portioned is the way to go, cheese and salami slices. You will want things that are easy to hand over your shoulder to the critter on your back to keep them occupied while you are setting up the tent or cooking breakfast. One other note on snacks…you can never have too many pre-prepared snacks so bring way more than you think is necessary.
This is just the first in our series on camping with kids and I hope this will encourage you to brave camping with your babes! Do you have any tried and true camping with babies’ recommendations? Send them to: [email protected]