One of the things I’m MOST excited for this summer is CAMPING!! I love sleeping under the stars, and I’ve been itching to get outside (wonder why, hah) and take my babies camping for their first time ever. Like anything with children, though, a certain amount of prayer and preparation (classic P&P) goes into getting ready for a sleepover in the great outdoors. If you’re camping with kids anytime soon, here are a few things I’m doing to get ready and suggest considering for your fam. Foolproof? Mayyybe. Maybe not. Memory-making and totally worth the prep?! ABSOLUTELY.
Step 1: Get the Gear
It probably goes without saying that proper camping gear is KEY to having a successful adventure. You’ll need to hit up Bass Pro’s Ascend gear for everything from camp chairs to sleeping bags to tents. If you plan to be extra adventurous (hats off to you!!) then you can find some solid options for backpacking packs, too!! We got their 6-person tent and I honestly think we could have gone with a 4-person one…but anyone who’s ever napped with a baby or toddler can attest that a liiiiittle extra wiggle room isn’t the worst thing to have. The tent seems really spacious and it was super easy to set up for our test run. Speaking of which…
Do a Practice Run
We set up a little camping preview in our yard with our camping gear and I’m SO glad we did. When you have kids with you, streamlining any processes you can BEFOREHAND is kind of a necessity. When you do a practice run, especially with something like camping out, you’re not stressing over not knowing what to do or how to set up the equipment and worrying you’re going to tarnish the memory of their first camp-out. Instead, take out alllll the guess work somewhere where the stakes are low–like, for example, your backyard (or living room if you don’t have a yard)!! Even though the tent we bought was fairly easy to set up, it’s always good to iron out the kinks before we’re deep into the woods somewhere. We’re thinking of doing living room camp-outs when the weather’s bad so we can keep it fun and get the kids used to it as much as possible!!
Kids can be a SERIOUS wildcard when it comes to the outdoors and travel plans. Some days, Leni is happiest playing in dirt and counting random nature items she’s found, which I LOVE. Other days, though, she definitely shows her princess side and needs a bit more entertainment than that. I’ll bring a few small things she hasn’t played with in awhile that are light and easy to pack—this will definitely give me some extra peace of mind so we can live our best, peaceful camp lives. Tim and I tend to dress in layers to camp, and extra socks and shoes just in case are a MUST. In addition to the major list of necessary camping items (I’ll have to do another blog on this soon!), we always pack extra sets of clothes for both kids, ample bug spray, headlamps (with spare batteries!), a lantern, a tarp for under the tent, sunscreen and made the most of our cooler space by freezing water bottles and lining everything within the cooler that way. This way, we get both ice AND water when we want it and everything will stay cold for our mini adventure! That brings me to my next point…
Snacks & Drinks on Deck
Snacks. Are. Non. Negotiable. When you go ANYWHERE with kids, not having snacks is a major party foul. It’s obvious why you’d bring tons of snacks for an adult, but snacks for a toddler are multi-faceted: they can be anything from a negotiation tool to a happy treat to keep their little souls feeling loved and full. Some of my favorite memories growing up are of going out to camp with my family and the food we’d eat by the fire in the evenings. Pack something easy for the mornings (pre-baked protein muffins, bacon, etc.!) and spend your energies on good snacks and solid dinners followed by s’mores–another non-negotiable, hah!
The longer I’m in the parenting game, the more I realize that bringing kids along shouldn’t feel so impossible. With the right gear, planning, and a positive mindset, your babies should be able to come almost anywhere you go. Otherwise, how will they get used to it and learn about the world around them?! How will you make those family memories? I’m ready to get our babies back to nature; and besides, our best night has never been spent on the couch.
Do you like camping?! Is it something you see as a family excursion? Drop your thoughts in the comments below! I can’t wait to share even more as we ease into summer and make tons of memories along the way.