Camping with Toddlers

by Emily on May 19, 2011

Much to our dismay, we didn’t make it camping during Pip’s first year.  We were swamped being new homeowners and loving our life in our new yard with a crawler/early stages of walking little one.  This year we’re not letting another year slip without taking a break!  We’ve decided to kick-start the summer by booking out Memorial Day weekend as our first camping trip with Pip!  We’re going to a very fond place where my family raised me camping, Sol Duc Hot Springs on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.  It really does have fun for all!  Hiking, hot spring tubs/pools to soak/play, a large campground, a nearby river and lake and last but certainly premature for Pip…the Junior Ranger Program (YES I spent several years gaining my credentials to maintain my status of Jr. Ranger)!

We’re all thrilled and getting excited but the amount of “stuff” we need to bring seems to be growing!  I’ve started to do some research and have been pleased with some results.

Squidoo’s section on Activities for Toddlers had a great list of fun things to do while camping.  I hadn’t even thought about making a trail mix in advance! Pip would love to do that!  I also really liked the suggestion to pack bubbles & a bucket for treasures.

Babyzone has a full checklist of camping items!  A couple of items I hadn’t given much or any thought to:  camping first aid-tailored to kids, extra plastic bags and containers for collecting treasures.

Disney’s Family Fun website had quite a few suggestions from food to crafts.  I know I don’t have time to make this one but I think it’s a great idea!  I can’t tell you how many times my brother and I would fight over the roasting stick!

Do you have recommendations for the toddler gear?  Luckily we have 2 tents already-one for just the two of us that is super lightweight and the second is larger one that sleeps 4.  My big question though, do I pack a pack ‘n play crib to put in the tent or buy an inflatable mattress for Pip to sleep next to us?  Pip has, sadly, never been a snuggler so she NEVER settles down sleeping next to us. I fear having a mattress that she’ll think is just a jumping pad for her.   Also, do I bring stroller + hiking backpack?  I’m assuming you should overestimate the amount of clothes for little ones as they will probably get really dirty, very quickly being in the woods.  Not to mention that we always risk a rainy trip here in the Pacific Northwest.

We can hardly wait another week but glad that it will give us time to get the car organized!  So long to this being Pip’s only memory of “camping”!

I’ll bring an update soon!



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