Summer is here and for me, that means camping time.
I love camping! My hubby and I used to camp together for years before we had our LO. We decided that we would keep this tradition when we had kids and would continue to enjoy the outdoor life as much as we could. We started to go camping with a baby very soon after we became parents.
Every year, when people start planning their summertime, I get a ton of questions from my friends and family about my camping experience with my LO. This year, I decided to write it down so you all can enjoy this info.
So far, my experience includes 5 long weekends of camping. This includes our first camping trips with a 9-month-old baby and our trip a year later with a 20-month-old toddler.
Is camping a good fit for a baby or a toddler? Yes, it is and it is so much fun.
My family doctor told me that spending time outside, especially in a forest, is very important for your health. The sun, the foliage, and the clean fresh air are like therapy for your body.
It is very important for both the health of us as parents and for the health of our kids to stay outside as much as we can. Canada’s summer is so short that you have to make the most of it by going camping.
How you go camping with a baby?
First, if you haven’t ever camped in your life, I wouldn’t recommend you camp for your first time ever with a baby.
It can be a bit challenging to go camping for the first time with a baby, so if you’ve never slept outside before, you might want to stop and reconsider this trip.
However, if you’re someone with a long history of being outdoorsy and you’ve enjoyed your experiences camping, go for it and have fun with your all family including your baby.
To go camping with a baby you will need more preparation time. You have to plan your trip and your camping spot carefully as well as do more packing. I will write everything you need to pack in my notes below.
What about my car? Do I need to rent a van?
I know that most people like to pack everything they own when going camping. When my family goes camping, we drive in our Nissan Versa, which is very small and compact. Despite how small our car is, we have room for everything we need. So don’t worry if you don’t have an SUV or a big van.
Camping With a Baby: Planning your trip
First, you need to choose the park that you would like to visit.
We usually go camping in one of the Ontario provincial parks. These parks are close to Toronto and there are so many to choose from.
Because you are travelling with a baby, I would recommend choosing a park that is located no more than a 3 to 4 hours drive from your place. You don’t want to spend more time than that of driving.
You can book your campsite in one of the Ontario’s provincial parks here: https://www.ontarioparks.com/en
There are also many private campgrounds in Ontario. You can use Google Maps to locate one, or this site: https://www.campinginontario.ca/campgrounds.
Ontario’s parks are usually fully booked for the long weekend months in advance. If you plan to go camping on any other weekend or on weekdays, you will find plenty of campsites to choose from.
What to look for when you order your campsite
- The walking distance from Water/Washrooms.
- A campsite that has at least partial shade, so your LO won’t be out in the sun all-day
- The distance of your campsite from the main road to the park. You want it to be quiet and safe (especially if your LO is a good runner).
Family Packing List for Camping with a Baby:
My list contains affiliate links to Amazon.ca
- Tent. We use Coleman 5-Person Tent, which is just the right size for us.
- Tarp. we take two, one to place under the tent and one above in case of rain.
- Sleeping bags
- Camping mattress pads or air bed (including pump) if needed
- Blankets and pillows
- Outdoor mat or picnic blanket
- Camping Chairs
- Clothes including bathing suits
- Warm clothes for night time
- Mosquito Protection: Spray, Candles, Clip-On, and others
- Shower utilities
- Toilet paper
- Stove or Barbecue for cooking
- Cooking utilities like pans and cutting board
- Cooler. We use Coleman 20 Can. We don’t use a big one. We only keep meat and dairy at the cooler.
- Portable water tank
- Dining utensils: Forks, Spoons, Knives, Plates, Cups
- Kitchen paper towels
- Table Map
- Food: Fruits, Veggies, Meat, Eggs, Bread, Drinks, Spices and more.
- Soap and sponge to clean your dishes
- Flashlight and Headlamps
- Lighters or matches
- Books if you like to read
- Phone charger
- First aid kit
- Umbrella and raincoat
- Garbage bags
Baby’s packing list:
- Pack n’ Play Playard, Playpen or a travel bassinet for sleeping
If you camp with an Infant I would recommend taking a Pack and Play anyway. This way you LO’ can stay there while you busy cooking, assemble your tent and etc.
- Baby Carrier and/or backpack baby carrier.
If you plan to do some trekking or some walking in the park, it will be better to use a backpack baby carrier. For all other times, you can use your regular carrier.
- Bedding and warm blanket for night time.
- Net for the bed and the stroller.
- Receiving blankets for changing time
- Extra clothes and extra shoes
Take more clothes than you would think you will use.
- Warm clothes for night time.
It can be very cold at night time, so you should bring warm slippers and a jacket for early morning time.
- Baby Formula if needed
- Baby food
- Food utilities
- Booster for feeding time
If you have a small one that you can place on any chair or camping table it will be ideal.
- Diapers and Wipes
Bring as many as you can, you don’t want to be left without diapers.
- Small bags for dirty diapers.
- Sunscreen and hat.
- Mosquito protection for babies
- First aid kit including thermostat, medications to treat fever and after-bite cream.
- Shower utilities and towels
- Hand sanitizer Gel
To clean your hands before feeding and after changing diapers.
- Bathing suit and Swim Pants
If you planning to go swimming every day, bring more than one bathing suit.
- Beach Shelter Tent or Sun Block Beach Umbrella
If you plan to go to the beach or if you have a sunny campsite, you will need to provide some shade for your LO’.
- Beach kids gear like baby float and sand toy set
- Toys, games, balls, books
If you camp with a toddler:
- Toddler camping bed or air bed.
we use the Regalo Baby camping bed. My LO’ really likes this bed.
- Sleeping bag
- Toddler camping chair
- Potty chairs
- Many extra clothes.
What not to pack?
When you go camping with a baby you don’t need a stroller. From my experience, it only takes up space in your car. Take your stroller only if you really think that you are going to use it.
I know some babies will only sleep in their strollers- so this would be the only case you would need to bring it with you.
Also, you don’t need all of your baby’s gear such as their high chair, baby swing, and others. Try to keep it simple.
Food ideas for Camping with a baby
If you go camping with an infant or a baby, you can still feed him with fresh food. Here are some simple ideas that you can make while camping outside.
- Potato and sweet potato mash.
- Cereal like oatmeal, cooked with water or milk.
- Avocado, banana, other fruits you can bring with you
- Boiled eggs or scrambled eggs.
I hope you found this helpful and you will have lots of fun!!
If you have any questions about my experience or if you would like to get advice, just leave me a comment below and I would be happy to help.
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