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The s’mores. The wonder on little faces tromping through the forest. The sheer glee of getting filthy. These are the joys of camping with little ones. Camping with small kids is guaranteed to make lifelong memories. The very first time camping with kids can be a little intimidating—even for seasoned campers. You’ll have to plan for certain things if you’re camping with a baby or camping with toddlers and some things you’ll need to do differently than normal. But trust us, with a little extra planning and following these tips for camping with kids, it’ll all be worth it.
Location, location, location. When you’re camping with your kids, be choosy about finding the right campsite. Campsites can vary a lot, with some individual sites packed close together and others fairly far apart. Some camping areas feature showers and playgrounds, while others provide a small fire pit and a rustic shared outhouse. There are hike-in only campsites and campsites made for car camping or RVs. Think about what kind of experience you want while camping with small kids, from noise to amenities to landscape, and what camping items for kids you’ll need to bring will help you choose your campsite.
If you’re camping with a baby, you’ll need a place to dispose of dirty diapers, and you’ll probably want access to running, potable water. If you’re camping with toddlers, think about the many trips to the potty you’re likely to make, and take the toilet situation into account. You might also want to look for a campsite with picnic tables for snack and activity time without an elaborate setup process. (A travel organizer can make this extra easy.) It can also be helpful to camp closer to home on your first time camping with toddlers in case someone ends up feeling ill. Think about your goals for the experience when you choose your campsite to set yourself up for a successful camping trip.
Camping with small kids is a little different because you’ll need some more specialized gear. That doesn’t mean you have to disassemble your entire nursery and bring it with you. Trust us when we tell you that certain camping items for kids will make the entire experience a whole lot easier. If you’ll be camping with a baby, think about where the baby will sleep and eat, a clean place for diaper changes, and easy ways to keep Baby safe and contained. If you’ll be camping with toddlers, you can get away with fewer specialized items. Here’s what we suggest considering for camping with small kids. (Luckily, most items can be reused for travel ,too).
It’s helpful to practice your camping routines before you get to figure out what you’ll need (and what you won’t). Set up your tent ahead of time and make sure you can fit everything inside, including the portable crib and the air mattress that’ll save your back. Teach older kids how to climb in and out of the tent, and teach them any camping etiquette (like leaving shoes by the tent flap). Rehearse making meals the way you will while camping, with minimal water access and just one pot and cutting board. Practice cleaning your cooking and eating supplies with a small tub of water and a single sponge. Get your kids used to sleeping in a new place by having a living room or backyard campout.
Life happens everywhere®, and at Prince Lionheart, we know the importance of being open to the best moments in life, wherever they appear. Embrace the chaos of nature while camping with small kids. Even camping with a baby is totally doable as long as you prepare ahead of time and remember that getting a little messy is okay. Whether this is your first time camping with toddlers or going camping for the very first time, remember: Bravery is inside all of us.® Just follow these tips for camping with kids and have a blast.