Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Camping Tips

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My family loves to camp. Camping can be difficult with little babies and young children. We took Brayden camping the first time when he was two months old. He loves it.

Camping can be hard for many reasons. One is the temperature. If you camp in the mountains, it is ridiculously cold and night and then gets really hot in a tent in the day. You don't really know where to have the children sleep. You feel the need to pack everything under the sun because you never know what needs will come up while you are there. There is no doubt that it is challenging. But if your family loves to camp, don't let the difficulties keep you away from camping. I have fond memories of camping with my family as a child.

While you don't have to cut it out, you might need to modify your pre-children practices. For example, my version of camping does not involve a camp trailer. I think camping should be in a tent. However, after camping with Brayden as a baby and having him freeze, we thought we should get something for climate control with the kids. They just don't keep blankets on them. Even Brayden at 3 doesn't really stay in his sleeping bag. So for now, we have a camp trailer. No big deal, and I will most likely change my mind after enjoying the trailer :).

Here are some camping tips:

  • Dress appropriately. Keep in mind the temperature variation. Layer. Layer at night. Bring blankets. Try to keep your child at a comfortable temperature. Bring clothes from every temperature extreme, especially if you are camping in the mountains. Remember good, sturdy shoes also.
  • Timing. Certain times of the year have warmer nights than others. Try to plan your vacation so that you can have better sleeping conditions.
  • Sleeping arrangements. We have always brought our pack and play along. It fits in the tent just fine, and in the camp trailer, we just remove the mattress and put the pack and play on the wood bed frame. A really nice thing about the pack and play is that you can put blankets hanging off the side and over the top to help trap heat inside. When Kaitlyn was small enough, we brought the bassinet.
  • Keep it short. Keep your vacation length at whatever length you think will be good for your family. We tend to go shorter amounts of time right now. Remember that it is only for a season. You can of course go longer if you want to. If you do, be prepared for more adjustment when you get home.
  • Bring sun hats and sun shades, especially if you have a baby who is too young for sunblock.
  • Bring medication you might want. Bring that Tylenol. Bring the diaper rash ointment. Be prepared.
  • Bring a potty chair. If you have a child who is using the potty, a potty chair might be a nice thing to bring. I know my son would not poop in the wilderness, and he is even resistant to peeing in the wilderness.
  • Vinegar. I have read that you can apply vinegar to your skin to keep mosquitoes and bugs away. This is great for children and for avoiding chemicals.
  • Expect the early waketime. Kids often don't sleep as well when camping. It is cold at night and hot in the day. It is worth the effort to get those naps in, even if they are short. Don't be discouraged if your children wake up early. The sun is usually much brighter. This past weekend we camped with the youth of our church, ages 14-18. They went to bed around 1:30 AM and woke up around 6 AM. If the sun is going to wake up a bunch of sleep-loving teenagers who were up late, it will certain wake your little children.

Have fun! As always, please add your tips if you have them!

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Reader Questions:

  • Emily said...
    We're going to be at an outdoor event this weekend where there will be tons of mosquitoes! I really don't want to use any products containing DEET. How does the vinegar work? Do you apply it to clothes?If anyone else has any tips I would really appreciate it. (It's going to be very hot, so I don't think I could cover her completely with clothing)
    June 24, 2008 2:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    You apply the vinegar to skin. I haven't tried it, but the source I read it from has been "spot on" with everything else I have tried. You could also try one of those candles that is supposed to deter the bugs.
    June 24, 2008 2:29 PM
  • Rachel Stellaaa said...
    Where do you have the kids sleep when it is really hot during the day (especially in the tent/camper)? Thanks!
    June 25, 2008 1:49 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Rachel,I just try to have the tent in a place where there is shade for the day. I would open all the windows as soon as everyone is up so there can be some good air in there. And, I remember that with Brayden we would leave some windows open while he napped so there would be some cross breeze. It isn't an ideal sleeping place, and naps will likely be shorter than usual, but it is better than nothing.
    June 28, 2008 11:19 AM

4 comments:

Lisa Middleton said...

Just so you know, instead of vinegar? You can mix vanilla extract and water and repel bugs, too. AND you get to smell like a cupcake! Delicious!

My husband can't wait til our little one (who is six weeks old) can come backpacking with us. Just gotta wait til he's big enough to carry his own gear! Hubby had his first backpack around the age of 5, but his little brother went a little younger than that. Can't wait to hit the trails with my little boy!

Plowmanators said...

Lisa, Thanks for that tip! I will have to remember that.

Kelly said...

I am taking my seven month camping this weekend and am worried about him getting too cold! What did you dress your baby in? We are bringing his pack and play and I will dress him in lots of layers but I get worried about using blankets. My husband thinks we should just swaddle him, but this also makes me nervous because he rolls over and when he is swaddled, he won't have his arms to roll back.

thanks! Love your blog!

Plowmanators said...

Kelly dO you have a sleep sack?

I would do socks. Possible onesie. Then a zipped sleeper (footed pajamas). Then a sleep sack. Carters makes them. There are other brands too. They are micro fleece and zip up. I would do a blanket too at that age, but only do it if you feel comfortable with it.

Maybe you could do blankets on the side of the pack and play to help keep air in the bed. Good luck!

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