The Boy was 9 months old when we first took him camping. It was just for a couple of nights, and in hindsight it was a lot less stressful than I expected. OK, so we didn’t get a huge amount of sleep. And we also got pretty wet. But we were at a music festival, in a leaky tent, so I guess these things are to be expected.
Back then he was crawling but not yet walking (which was a godsend), and I’d started weaning him onto formula milk and solids. If you’re heading off on a camping trip with a baby of a similar age and stage, here are 10 things that might just make your life a bit easier. Bear in mind we only camped for a couple of nights in the UK summer, so these might not apply if you’re going further afield, for a longer trip, or to a colder climate. Maybe I’ll write another post when we do that 2-week camping trip to the Swiss Alps…or something.
10 Essential Items For Camping With A Baby
1. A fleece sleepsuit.
I was surprised how cold it got at night, even in summer. We had our little boy in a vest, babygrow, fleece sleepsuit and sleeping bag. I ended up putting socks over his hands, too, and lots of friends recommended we put a little hat on him, although I was too scared he’d overheat. The fleece onesie over his PJs meant we could get him ready for bed while we were out and about with the hope that he’d fall asleep and we could put him to bed more easily later on. He didn’t, of course. But it was a nice idea.
2. A travel cot.
A travel cot that’s raised off the ground has two big benefits. 1) It creates a pocket of air between the floor and the cot, so it’ll keep them warmer at night, and 2) you can chuck a load of toys in it and use it as a playpen to keep baby from crawling off while you’re putting up/taking down the tent etc. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – we got ours for a tenner from an NCT sale.
3. Milton sterilising tablets.
These things are genius if you need to sterilise bottles and teats and don’t have an electric hook-up. Just fill a big pot or washing up bowl with cold water, add the required dose and leave your bottles in for 15 minutes to sterilise. Or, check if your microwaveable steriliser doubles-up as a cold-water one and take that.
4. Hot water thermos.
Our Tommee Tippee travel bottle warmer has served us well over the years, and it’s great for camping, when boiling water isn’t as simple as flicking the kettle on. The flask itself keeps water hot for 6 hours, and there’s an outer container to pour the water into. As well as warming bottles you can heat up food pouches (see point 5), or just make a nice cup of tea…
5. Food pouches.
If your baby’s weaning (and assuming they will actually eat them), these pouches are brilliant. You don’t need a bowl – or even a spoon if you’ve forgotten it – so they’re ideal when you need to travel light or have limited washing-up facilities. My son has always been a fan of Ella’s Kitchen, but there are loads of different ones. Bring some disposable bibs, and pre-mixed formula milk cartons, and you’re winning.
6. A paddling pool.
Not something we packed for this particular trip as it was so short, but a little paddling pool has been a lifesaver on other holidays. Perfect for bathing, playing and cooling off in – you can put it inside the awning of the tent if you need a bit of shade.
7. Antibacterial hand gel.
Because, let’s face it, campsite toilets can be pretty gross. Plus, taking a crawling baby into a field inevitably means they’re going to get their hands on some cow poo. Be ready.
8. A baby carrier.
A baby carrier is really useful for walks over less-than buggy-friendly terrain. Try Ergobaby – they’re expensive, but well worth the extra money for the sake of your back. Plus, they have a little built-in hood that’s great as a wind-break or sun-shade for your little one’s head.
9. A waterproof picnic blanket.
If you’ve got a crawler you’re going to be constantly looking for somewhere to put them down for exploring, eating, nappy changing etc. And if it rains you’re going to be really glad of a plastic-backed blanket that you don’t mind getting muddy. A splashsuit or pair of waterproof dungarees (for them, not you) will come in handy if they’re unlikely to stay in one place – you’ll get through less clothes that way.
10. A bottle of wine.
Or two. You’re camping with a baby, after all. You deserve it.
Have you got any essential camping items to add to the list?