We love to camp. Four years ago our daughter was born in June and by August we were camping. Some people thought we were crazy but it’s something we genuinely enjoy and wanted to introduce our kids young. Even though we’re avid campers, camping with young children (under the age of five) isn’t exactly easy. There is definitely more planning required than before.
Camping with an infant is both super easy and super hard. On one hand they’re pretty easy because they’re small and portable, on the other hand they usually need stuff that we don’t normally bring on a camping trip. At two months old it’s not like we could sit her down on the picnic table or camping chair if we needed a second with free hands.
We didn’t want to lug around a whole pack-and-play or baby chair so instead we opted to hold her or place her on the ground on a blanket when needed. When we were walking around, a stroller wasn’t exactly conducive to the rough terrain of a campground so we carried her in a baby carrier and it worked really well.
Though we don’t always set up a screen tent, when camping with an infant it was a necessity. We needed both shade and bug protection. Since little ones can’t have sunscreen or bug spray on them, the screen tent was a huge help as somewhere to sit without needing to worry about much.
Toddlers and Young Children
The required needs of toddlers and young kids goes down a bit, making it a little easier to camp with them but as the list of needs goes down, the list of safety concerns goes up. They’re now very mobile and curious and there can be a number of safety concerns on a campsite if proper precautions aren’t taken. You now have to be much more careful!
For us, camping in a tent, if a little one has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, there’s a good chance we’re not going to want to walk to the bathroom which is why bringing a portable potty is ideal. Even for well potty trained children, a portable potty (lined with coffee filters for easy cleanup) makes those potential overnight bathroom runs much easier to handle.
You can never bring too many clothes either since they get super dirty. Extra socks and sweaters for sure. Make sure you bring pants and long sleeves for them to wear in the evening, even if it’s hot, to prevent bug bites. I don’t like putting bug spray on their skin so I usually spray the exterior of a sweater and socks instead.
We got stuck somewhere once with a kid having an allergic reaction and no meds to give her. The bottle we thought we had was forgotten and there were no open pharmacies. Especially with little ones, come prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit which includes child-safe meds.
Kids love camping. It’s quite a little adventure for them. Unlike us adults, they don’t care if they have an air mattress or a comfy place to sleep. They’ll curl up on the ground in their little sleeping bag and be happy with the day’s adventures (best part about camping is all the fresh air- bedtime is always a breeze!).
Have you taken young children camping? Any tips?