Taking babies camping
Wednesday, 4 July 2018 | Mummy and Little Me
Camping with young children –
Last weekend we took 9-month-old Etta on her first camping trip. We have previously been camping when Lincoln was about 15 months old, so we felt a little more prepared this time and clued up on the essentials!
This time we researched the campsite well. We weren’t too worried about lots of posh showers but a quiet site with lots of safe walks for the dogs is important for us. We picked out Hemscott Hill Farm in Northumberland. It’s a campsite in the sand dunes and just a 5-minute walk from camp to the beach. The site has gas powered eco showers, composted loos and washing up facilities. It was a great location and we had amazing weather so spent three days playing on the beach! Our 3-year-old loved it.
One of our top tips would be to get to the site as early as you can to check in and pitch your tent. Firstly, you will get a better choice of pitch and secondly, you’ll hopefully get the tent up before the kids get too hungry and tired. Make sure if the weather is dry you have a picnic blanket, snack and something for the kids to play with while you pitch the tent because ultimately pitching with two screaming children is a serious test of the strength of your relationship (we survived!). The first night we go to the chip shop as its quick and easy with very little washing up (don’t forget ketchup if your little one loves chips with dip dip!).
At night we don’t really worry too much about bedtimes and let the kids play until the started to get chilly and tired. Lincoln sleeps on a Readybed with a fleece under it to prevent a draft and a Vango child’s sleeping bag. You can use an adult one and shorten it with an elastic band if you want something that will last long term. We also put a fleece over the top of him. Etta slept in a long-sleeved vest, fleece sleepsuit and her sleeping bag with a fleece blanket over her in the travel cot. We also have a deluxe mattress for the travel cot to keep the chill from her. She slept well all three nights. Lincoln was unsettled, and we established he didn’t like being enclosed in the sleeping bag so on night number 3 we unzipped it like a duvet. We also don’t section of the tent so we all sleep in one big sleeping section.
Food wise we take brioche, fruit pouches and Etta’s porridge for breakfast. We have found they don’t have the patience to wait for cooked breakfasts, so we find that less stressful. Etta is breastfed, but I would take sterilising tablets, a Tupperware box and readymade milk if not as I would think that’s the easiest way of making bottles while camping. For the rest of our food we just buy as we go so we went to a little deli and got sandwiches and drinks which we took to the beach for lunch and then stopped at the local supermarket and bought some BBQ things for dinner. We used a gas stove and disposable BBQ this time which worked well with the kids. For Etta she had a little baby tray meal which she’ll eat room temperature alongside some BBQ food. We also invested in the Summer Infant Pop N Sit Folding Booster for Etta. It’s a little fold up chair which has a removable tray and folds down into a little carry bag and was ideal for camping. Big brother also loved the fact she could sit with him.
Day to day we spent most of the time on the beach and walking. Take a sun safe suit for toddlers because as well as protecting them from the sun they dry quickly and will prevent you from having piles of wet clothing in the tent (Lincoln made it to 9:03am before he fell in the sea fully clothed). Take plenty of jumpers for the kids, camp sites get chilly in the evening and the kids get filthy in our experience so their clothes never last more than a day (or a few minutes!). Shoes wise Crocs (or Poundland copies like we have) are fab for camping. They can put them on themselves and they work well as slippers and shoes. Lincoln lived in his all weekend and we just hosed him down in the shower every night!
I’d also recommend Babywearing whilst camping, it’s much easier than a pushchair and Etta loved looking around and napping in hers this weekend. In that same vain I took my Pink Lining backpack change bag which I carried on my back while she was on my front.
Another thing I found much better this time was to pack separate bags for each child. Ours have Skip Hop pull along cases (monkey and unicorn) so I packed those with a pile of clothes (a mix of trousers/shorts/tops/jumpers), a pile of pjs, pull ups/nappies, waterproofs, a fleece each, socks, sun suit, a couple of sun hats each in those. It made finding spare clothes for them much easier in such a cramped space. Etta tested my packing skills by projectile vomiting over me one night, so I had to find her a fresh sleepsuit in the dark whilst not waking anyone else up.
Finally check that you air beds, Readybeds and travel cots all fit in the sleeping part of your tent before you leave. Ours did but only just so its worth checking before you leave.
Overall, we had a great weekend and made some amazing family memories. Both the kids and the dogs loved it and its such a cheap little break away.