We enjoy the outdoors, we enjoy hiking, we love nature, we like getting away from it all. When Hubby and I first met, we were apart of a larger social circle that did the camping and hiking bit. I found I just loved it. We had a lot of fun and we’ve got some fun stories.
When we got married, we continued in the camping, hiking and backpacking activities. We were living in southern California, so getting to Yosemite was a *mere* 6 hour drive, and it was worth it.
When we moved to Waco, Texas, the rate of backpacking dropped because now the nearest National Parks were much further away. But after Little Man was born, we knew we wanted the camping bit to be something we just did as a family. So we had to figure out how to camp with Littles.
4 Things We’ve Learned Camping With Littles
Little Man was about 19 months old the first time we took him backpacking. And we still don’t do it as much as we’d like; we are working on that. We have learned a few things along the way. So, here is my summary of 4 things we’v learned about camping with littles.
1. Falling asleep in a tent is hard.
Mom and Dad are exhausted from the hiking, making camp, getting everyone fed, while the little one is still full of energy and excitement. Figuring out sleeping arrangements can be difficult. The little one might not want to sleep in his own sleeping bag, and it’s hard to fit a second person in a mummy bag. Some little ones just don’t like the new surroundings, don’t like the closeness a mummy bag gives, and is in the habit of fighting sleep. So, you gotta be ready to roll with the punches when it comes to sleep.
2. Car camping counts, too.
We were backpackers in our MNKY days (Married, No Kids Yet). And when it was toddler-age Little Man, backpacking was still an option. The last time we went backpacking was in August 2015 in Rocky Mountain National Park. Little Man hiked much of the 7 miles in and much of the 7 miles out, but we realized this was his limit and our limit. The Professor was carrying 95% of the stuff (tent, sleeping bags, food, bear can, etc), while I had a few clothes and I carried Little Man when he needed a break. And Little Man was at the limit of my carrying capacity. Now, with 2, unless we find a sherpa in the form of friends who can help carry stuff, it’s car camping until Little Man is well into his teens. True, you don’t escape All. The. People. when you car camp (that means drive up to your site and unpack the car), but we are finding how to still have fun.
3. Pack toys.
But don’t be too surprised when no one plays with them. Seriously. The best camp games have been the simplest, requiring only elements you’ve already got because you are camping. For example, “Poke Nature With a Stick”. Yes, hand your child a stick and tell them to go poke some nature. It helps that they are surrounded by nature so there are abundant options. Other fun but simple games: poke the air bubble in the water bag and build your own sand dunes.
But consider things like a single toy car that can handle dirt. A shove and a bucket can provide all a child needs. Got older kids… well, you might need a ball of some sort. Above all else, keep it simple!
4. If food is an issue at home, its gonna be an issue camping.
Its frustrating when your child refuses to eat even the M&Ms in the trail mix (because they are peanut M&Ms), but there it is. Though you might find some new favorites (who knew he would love summer sausage that much?)
I’m sure there is more than these 4 things we’ve learned about camping with littles that we’ve learned, but I think much of that is specific to our family. Like the meals we like to eat, how much food to pack, and what things will we do while camping. I’ll see about sharing these in a later post.
What tips do you have about camping with Littles? Please share in the comments!