I love the outdoors and enjoyed lots of camping trips with my parents growing up. I wanted Katie to enjoy my favourite childhood experiences as soon as possible but I wasn’t sure how long to wait to introduce her to the great outdoors. I decided to give it a go quite early on, because I felt that introducing Katie to camping at an early age would build her confidence, help her bond with me and of course every new experience is an opportunity for learning! Plus, I have always found that camping and being at one with nature is good for the soul.
Here are a few of my top tips for camping with babies and toddlers based on my learnings with Katie. I hope you find them useful!
1. Practice sleeping in a tent before you go
In order to get your little one used to sleeping in a tent and not their usual environment of their bedroom, do a practice camping session in your back garden. I did this with Katie and it was a great way of introducing her to a different sleeping environment. Make it clear that tents are only for sleeping and are not somewhere to wreak havoc! Also make sure their sleeping environment is comfortable. We opted for a single air mattress, but you may wish you buy a toddler sleeping mat.
2. Stay close to home
For your first family camping trip choose a location not far from where you live. This way if things don’t go quite according to plan, you can always head back home.
3. Double-up on diapers and wipes
Make sure you have plenty of nappies and wipes to take with you. This isn’t an issue if you have chosen a camp site close to local amenities, or with an on-site shop, but if you haven’t you don’t want to risk running out! If you have just started potty-training I would highly recommend bringing a potty with you as well.
4. Bring familiar toys
Your baby or toddler will feel more at home if they have familiar toys with them so make sure you pack some of their favourite items. When I took Katie camping for the first time I took her favourite Slumbersac Baby Comforter as I knew this would make her feel safe as she always slept with one at home.
5. Dress correctly
Make sure you have suitable clothing so your child doesn’t get too cold at night but also doesn’t overheat during the day, especially if you are planning on camping in the height of summer. Our Slumbersac sleeping bags are definitely a camping essential! For night time, when the temperature drops, put them in a heavier 3.5 tog sleeping bag with sleeves. These bags are warmly padded and suitable in temperatures below 18 degrees and will ensure your child enjoys a peaceful night’s sleep at a constant temperature. Then during the day, switch to a lighter tog sleeping bag. If you have a toddler, our Slumbersac sleeping bags with feet are ideal for camping as they can tuck in their feet at night and then pop them through the holes when they are awake so they can move around freely and play outside! Read our tog guide for more information. Our Bath Ponchos also provide excellent protection against the sun and are great for drying off after the beach or at the pool.
6. Make sure you’re comfortable too
If you are breast-feeding make sure you are comfortable and take lots of cushions with you so that you can support yourself. Our Adult Sleeping Bag (available to order from Slumbersac UK), is perfect for co-sleeping with your little one and if you need to breastfeed in the night you can simply un-zip the front. Also, because they have feet, they are also very handy if you need to pop-out to the loo!
7. Safety first
Make sure you talk to your child about camping safely, especially when putting up your tent and toasting marshmallows on the bonfire. (Please be aware that food that is very sticky such as marshmallows, or hard can cause your baby to choke). Make them aware of the dangers of the outdoors in a fun and educational way. Pack a first-aid kit, bug spray, sun cream, medicine and all your other baby-bag essentials you wouldn’t leave the house without!
8. Have a plan for night waking
It is highly likely that your baby and/or toddler will wake during the night. If this happens, do all the things you would usually do at home to get them to sleep, from reading them their favourite bedtime story, to singing their favourite lullaby, or giving them some milk.
9. Pack plenty of food
Take lots of food with you (that won’t go off) and plan quick and easy meals. Chicken skewers, hot dogs, pasta and bacon and egg sandwiches are a few ideas that I made when I took Katie camping and luckily she loved! Hot chocolate and brownies for dessert were always well received too! The more you go camping, the more experimental you can be!
10. Have fun
One of the most important things to remember on your first family camping trip is to have fun. Make it a memorable one and they will want to do it again! Choosing a campsite with good facilities for children is highly recommended and also make sure there is plenty to do in the surrounding areas should you wish to venture further afield during the day.
Visit our Slumbersac camping essentials page for our top products perfect for camping!
If you have any questions about our Slumbersac sleeping bags and their suitability for camping, contact us today.