A few weeks ago my sisters and I decided super last minute that it would be fun to go camping. Kind of like a sisters retreat, except not really because we had to bring our kids. We brought our brothers to help so I guess it was nothing like a sisters retreat. We decided to invite our close Aunt and her kids as well. Between all of us we had 6 children, between the ages of 4 months and 4 years old. We all packed up our minivans and drove up the mountain. Staying in a tent didn't seem very appealing to us due to the fact that it still got really cold at night. There was no way I'd be able to get my toddler to stay in a sleeping bag, let alone get used to the idea of sleeping anywhere other than his crib. So we borrowed our parents tear drop camper for my kids and I to sleep in. The other kids slept in their vans, with the possibility of turning up the heat in the middle of the night if it got too cold. My younger sister and two brothers decided to sleep in their Madera Hammocks. This is the funny part.
My brothers have somehow misplaced their straps. If I would have known this, I would have packed mine. They were forced into getting creative if they where going to sleep in them. Nothing is worse than having a hammock without anything to hang it up with. We found some old tow straps that didn't look like they were in the greatest condition, but it seemed to work, at first. The straps ended up breaking after my brother was in the hammock and he fell on his butt. He was nervous to try again but he did not want to set up the tent so another attempt was made. Next they tried using the one pair of Madera straps to hang up all three hammocks. I don't know how they did it but it worked. The same brother that fell the first time fell AGAIN! He was very sore. They managed to rearrange the straps again for a third attempt and everything stayed. The one pair of Medera straps helped keep everyone off the ground for the rest of the night.
So learn from my brothers mistakes and ALWAYS pack an extra pair, or two, of straps in your camping gear. Here is a direct link so you don't forget to grab yourself an extra pair!
I have two kids, a 2 year old boy and a 4 month old girl. Camping with them brings it's challenges. There were a few items we brought that made camping with babies and toddlers just a little easier. I wore my daughter in a ring sling for a good chunk of the time. She can sleep in it and I can hold her while I'm occupied cutting watermelon or something. She doesn't roll around or crawl yet but if I did want to put her down, the pack and play was perfect for that. It kept my baby off the ground and away from any creepy crawlers. Another thing you can do is throw a blanket or sheet over the top to keep mosquitoes from getting to your baby. I also recommend the pack and play for naps and night time if you plan on sleeping in a tent. You can drape a blanket over the pack and play to help them stay warm at night.My sisters boy had a really difficult time going to sleep, he finally fell asleep when we strapped him in the stroller and rocked him back and forth. If you baby is picky about his sleeping arrangements, make sure to bring several different items that you can try to help them fall asleep.
My toddler was so messy the whole time. I only brought his sandals so his feet were black and his face had dirt all over it! After the sticky watermelon drippings and running through the dirt, wipes were a true life saver! A High Chair will help keep your toddlers nice and clean as well. I wish we brought more than one!
One huge thing that made camping with kids just a little simpler was bringing food that was already prepped. We put together tin foil dinners before we left for this adventure so all we had to do was start the fire and place them on the coals when they were ready. Everything was chopped up, seasoned, and wrapped in tin foil so when they were done cooking it was ready to be eaten! For breakfast we had oatmeal cups that only needed hot water added to them. So make sure you have a kettle or pot to heat up water over a fire with and you are all set. Also bring any food that doesn't need any preparation for those hungry kiddos that don't know what patience means yet.
Items to bring:
- Baby Carrier
- Pack and Play
- High Chair
- Bumbo/Baby Seat
With younger children, not a lot needs to be done to keep them from getting bored. The camping grounds is a new place for them and not what they are used to so there is plenty to be done that will keep their attention for hours. My son LOVES gathering rocks. We also had everyone gather sticks throughout the day so we could keep the fire going. The two oldest kids went on a long hike with my sister and had the best time. My brothers are known for playing with the kids in the hammocks so that's where my son spent most of his time. Give them a little snack and they will be happy campers.
- Pick up sticks
- Gather rocks
- Swing in Hammocks
- Go explore
When people with children say they are going camping, all I can think is... "GOOD LUCK." It's definitely challenging but oh so fun. Next time I'll bring my husband along for that extra help and we will have a blast.
Comment below where you are from and where you like to go camping!