Maybe you’re a camping newbie looking for a little advice. Or possibly an outdoorsy backpacker who has been thrown for a loop with this new addition to the family. Either way, make sure to check off these must-have items before your embark on your next adventure with your little one!
Pack n Play
Our pack n play has been one of the best investments we’ve made since having our son. They’re great for indoors, outdoors, sleeping, and playing. When camping in our 4-person sized tent, Josh and I sleep in one half of the tent and the pack n play is set up on the opposite end with a covering on the wall facing us so baby doesn’t wake up jealous that he’s not cuddling with mom and pop. We tucked fuzzy blankets in the bottom for extra warmth and comfort for babe.
For outdoor use, pack n plays are great especially for babies that are in the pre-walking stage giving them a safe place to play out of the dust and bugs. We’ve also discovered that a fitted crib sheet fits perfectly over the top of our pack n play which keeps baby boy out of direct sunlight and keeps icky bugs out!
Ok this one is obvious but oh so easily overlooked. So many bug sprays have awful chemicals and toxins that you do NOT want to be putting on baby’s sensitive skin. We use a coriander and lemon body mist from Arbonne which acts as a natural bug repellant. It not only smells GREAT but keeps the nasty blood suckers at bay as well.
The same goes for sunscreens! ESPECIALLY sprays. Never ever ever use a spray sunscreen especially on lil babe’s skin. No kidding, they can actually be worse for you than getting a sunburn. Take a look at this link to see a list of the most dangerous sunscreens and then suggestions for safer alternatives. Again, Arbonne also has great smelling and most importantly SAFE sunscreens for babies and adults.
Hook-on High Chair for picnic tables
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s a great example of a hook-on high chair. We have loved using one of these as it frees us up during meal times and again this keeps baby right where you want him. I’ve seen these on Amazon for as low as $25 but they can get pretty expensive depending on the brand. Honestly, NO need to get fancy with these clip-on chairs. We started out using a sassy seat for babe that my mom had used when WE were babies and it still worked great for our son!
Easy, ready-to-eat foods (little to no prep)
Now if you’re still breastfeeding at this point, GREAT! Free and portable is the way to go! Formula will be pretty easy to mix up too, just more to remember to pack and pre-portion. We started baby led weaning with baby boy when he was about 6 months (another thing I am a HUGE advocate for). Check out my post on baby-led weaning here. We feed babe mostly fruits and veggies with some beans and meat mixed in here and there for additional protein. Canned foods are great for camping with babies! We look for peas, carrots, green beans, kidney beans. And all of these are usually soft enough for a baby to munch on even without teeth. We also pack blueberries, bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, and other fruits and veggies that are quick and easy to serve to a hungry, still-learning-the-whole-patience-thing baby.
Wipes, wipes, and more wipes!
This one really needs no explanation. Between diaper changes, meals, falling in the dirt 100 times, you’re going to need wipes when there’s no sink around. And you don’t want to be caught without them during a diaper change in middle of the woods! So pack more than you think you’ll need. (Here’s another tip- baby wipes aren’t just for babies! I use these to take off my makeup and clean up when no sink is available. Just be sure to get unscented to avoid skin irritation).
If you have a baby, chances are you have one of these in some shape or form. While hiking and camping in the woods, however, you’re going to want something a bit more structured than a boba wrap. Now if camping is something you do for fun a couple times a year, having a simple back carrier would be the way to go to free up for hands and relieve back pressure. BUT if you’re a hardcore camper/hiker who wants to bring the kids along and you’re looking for a great investment, I’ve started to see baby carrier/backpack combos that are great for freeing up your hands, storing the essentials, and for getting a great thigh workout on that hike.
Ok so you may think that this is a given but don’t underestimate temperature changes! Whether it’s from day to night or sunny to pouring rain, temperatures can drop majorly and you want to be prepared. We were just camping in upstate NY where the days were sunny and in the 80s and the nights dropped as low as in the 40s! Nothing is worse than worrying that your baby is too cold at night. We packed soft wool pajamas, fleece booties, and extra blankets for baby boy on our last trip and a couple nights we used all 3! This is another time where it’s better safe than sorry.
Sleep Association Toy
I don’t know about you but our baby boy has a special toy that, when he sees it, he knows it’s time for nap or bedtime. His thumb goes immediately in his mouth and he leans his head on my chest when that toy is in sight. Now, he doesn’t NEED this toy on order to fall asleep, but it lets him know, “Hey baby, it’s time to sleep now” even if we’re in a new environment that he’s not used to. This has been a huge blessing when we travel to new places and Babe is out of his sleeping routine. I recommend having a sleep association toy for any traveler.
Before little boy was born, someone gifted these to us and I thought they looked pretty nifty, but when we started baby-led weaning I thought, “Well I guess we’ll never really need these now.” I was so wrong! I re-found these right before we flew across the country to visit my husband’s family and they were a miracle worker on the plane! And all I had to do was stuff some blueberries and/or strawberries in them before we left. Since then we take these little food pacifiers on every lengthy trip we take, and even some sort ones too if I remember.