Your Outdoor Packing List: Camping With Babies

camping with babyMany parents believe that the camping trips they used to love are impossible with a baby in tow. However, when parents are properly prepared and pack the right items, camping with an infant can be not only easy, but enjoyable for everyone around.

Pack a baby carrier that can be worn on the front or back. These carriers make it simple to tote a child through a campsite or on a hike. They leave a parent’s hands free, so camp chores can be done without leaving the infant unattended. Many babies are soothed by the motion of being carried during hiking excursions and will be lulled to sleep, which can give you a little time to enjoy the hike.

This will not be breaking news to parents, but extra sets of clothes are mandatory for camping with babies. Infants love to explore the world around them, and when camping, this can mean getting into some dirty situations — several times a day. Packing more clothes than you think you’ll need can help to ensure that your baby stays as clean and dry as possible. A large, lightweight plastic tub or bin can make it easier to give baby a bath while camping if needed.

Premixed formula or jarred baby foods are a requisite for going anywhere with a baby, but you can save space and time at camp if you’re able to transfer baby’s foods into soft-sided containers. These items are easy to carry and simple to use, making it a flash to feed a hungry infant. In addition, bring along a toy or two that you can throw in the washing machine, as well as a teething accessory, if necessary. A play area made of a folding pen or a waterproof tarp and a blanket is perfect for letting a baby play and enjoy the outdoors under your supervision.

Babies’ soft skin is more vulnerable to the elements than that of adults, so don’t forget to pack sunscreen! A hat will keep the sun off of an infant’s delicate skin, or an umbrella you can stake into the ground. Babies will also need some kind of bug protection, but be sure not to apply it on hands and fingers, where babies like to put their mouths. For younger kids, a soft netting can be draped over the infant’s play area or carrier for protection, or you can pre-treat the baby’s clothing with repellent before you put it on them.

baby in tentPack a first aid kit full of useful items in case of accidents. An antiseptic ointment and a small thermometer are essential. Also, bring along infant-safe medications in case of a cold or congestion. Carrying a teething gel can also sooth children who are at this stage. For bedtime, use a soft air mattress or double up on sleeping bags next to your bed, if you will not keep the baby inside your own. Although adults may not mind, babies will not enjoy sleeping on the hard ground. And if baby can’t sleep, chances are very good that you and your campmates will not be sleeping either! Paying special attention to the needs of a baby while packing for a camping trip will go a long way in ensuring the whole family has a wonderful time in the great outdoors.

Images via ccreitzMatthew Routley

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