Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Camping with Kids

Briana asked me about camping with babies. I have a few moments and thought I'd address it (I'm so on top of things today! It IS a better day than yesterday!).

First, camping with babies and (small) kids is completely different from camping without kids. There are no leisurely hikes in complete silence, or late-night chats, or clean tents.

On the other hand, you are passing on the joys of the outdoors to the kids, so that's a good thing.

We first took Emlyn when she was 9 mos old. She cried the whole time and wanted me to hold her. We brought along a playpen and booster seat high chair and walking toy and they were completely unnecessary. It rained a lot, and I was frazzled. She and I only lasted one night. We carted all that junk back home, never to bring it again on a camping trip.

The next time we took her it was a different story. We didn't have all that other stuff, we just had a tent and food and the outdoors. She was about 18 mos old and she loved it. She wore a cute hat and climbed everywhere and it was great.

There is not much sleeping. My children sleep worse in a tent because it is a very different environment. It takes about an hour of me in the tent with them helping them fall asleep. They want to wander around and explore the tent, not sleep in it. Eventually they will go to sleep, though it might be after you have fallen asleep. After you wake up you can go back out by the campfire and talk with the other adults or you can just stay asleep. One of mine wakes up at the crack of dawn and the other one sleeps much later with daddy in the tent.

The tent is not clean. There are dirty diapers (hopefully in a trash bag [ you need lots of trash bags] ) and dirty shoes and dirty clothes and they insist on crawling on your neat clean sleeping bag. We have strict rules about no shoes in the tent but there is always dirt.

We always try to have a rest time in the middle of the day but it never works very well. If you have a small baby you will likely be hanging out a lot while they nap. Not as many hikes unless they like being carried in a Kelty backpack. When you do hike, and the kids are walking, they will be tired, hot, cranky, and fall down a lot. You will end up carrying even 4 year olds back to the campground.

But they love it! They really do! They love the lack of rules and restrictions, they love the bugs and the plants and the water and the trees and the animals! They love the smores and the snacks and the ice from the ice chest. They will remember all their lives how fun it was. I believe if you start early enough it will be more natural for them.

We first took Denali when he was 4 mos old. It was hard, but great. And we have never regretted taking our kids camping.

Baby stuff to bring:
sunscreen
hats
2-3 big quilts to sit on
food
20-30 trash bags, big and small
2-3 towels
lots of baby wipes
sling or bjorn or carrying device

Briana, I hope that helped a little bit. Let me know if you have more questions.

2 comments:

headless chicken said...

Good info! We haven't tried it yet, but we are getting up the nerve (with 6,3 and 10 mos., maybe wait til the baby is walking. Less dirt on the hands and bugs in the mouth).

Stopped by because I laughed until tears came from reading your comment on OTJ about Nat'l Geo. women nursing children on their backs. I had to read it to my husband, and he wants me to google it. So now I'll do that!

Thanks for the laugh! Also love your following post about E.E. So much anxiety can be eliminated when we obey the biblical mandate to only focus on today!!

Virginia aka Ginny said...

I've been camping a lot lately and have some pics up of Ben at our last camp out with him if you are interested. You can just click on my name and it will take you to my blog. :)

Hope all is well! We haven't talked to you all in so long...