March 16, 2012

Babies and Tents

chillin' in the tent / july 2011

As the weather warms up I'm starting to think and plan for some camping trips this summer. I have no idea how it will work out now that Little Smith is older and infinitely more mobile, but we had the most amazing time camping with him last summer and I'm hoping for more of the same.

Camping with a baby-baby is super easy and I recommend it to everyone who has a pre-crawler. We got a lot of "wow you took your baby camping" but honestly at that age they're pretty portable, not eating much, and easily entertained by the breeze rustling in the trees. The hardest part... big surprise here... was sleeping. There wasn't much of that, but that's always the case when we travel anyway so I'll take it.

For our first family camping trip last summer we decided not to go too far and to definitely stick to "car camping" so that we could bring as many supplies as we wanted. We went up to New Hampshire to Franconia Notch State Park. It's one of my favorite places, tons of great hikes and cute towns to explore.

We wanted a short and sweet little hike so we went to the Flume Gorge which has wooden walkways that wind through rocks and waterfalls. It's easy to navigate (I even saw some strollers although there's a bunch of steps so I'm not sure how they handled that) and it's also shaded so we didn't have to worry about too much sun exposure. We lucked out with the bugs and really didn't have many but we did use a natural repellent... which typically doesn't work that great when they're actually are a lot of bugs! Little Smith enjoyed the views and then conked out for a nap on the way back.

The best part about camping with baby is that you aren't trapped in a hotel room once they go to sleep with the TV on mute. You're already planning to sit by the fire and relax so having a baby sleeping nearby just means laughter has to be a little stifled. In our case our baby decided not to sleep despite all that fresh air. We gave his normal 7PM bedtime a try since he loves routine, but it was too light out, too exciting. We let him stay up late and play with us by the fire.

He woke up early anyway (surprise!) but at least with bright eyes and a happy face. I do miss those baby smiles. He loved the campsite and was quite a hit with all the other campers, or if he did keep them up all night they were too polite to be honest with us.

This year I'm expecting it to be a lot more difficult with all the running around and curiosity (fire pit? hmmm). We did splurge on a four person tent when it was on sale last fall so we'll be able to bring a play yard or something to contain him if we need to. I anticipate even more trouble with sleeping and even more fun will be had!


  1. Oh that looks like so much fun!! I don't think we're adventurous enough to try camping with a baby, but I definitely want to take a little road trip or something soon, now that Audrey is more interested in the world and doesn't cry so much. :)

  2. Awww, I miss hiking with my babe in his front carrier, he would always fall asleep on me.

    We are not hardcore campers, but when we have camped with Levi, I found the pack n play to be very convenient. It fits in our tent too! It was also nice to have when he did get mobile. And if he napped during the day we would just position the pack n play under a tree and we would sleep in the shade.

    I am happy to see you venture out and take your baby camping with you! So cool!

  3. Geez, he is way too cute. We go camping with our littles, and the year between 1-2 years old is the hardest. But still doable! Once he's 3, it will be a BLAST! And trust me, he WILL sleep :)

  4. He is about the most adorable thing I've ever seen! :) You guys look like you had so much fun... I will have to remember that for next summer.... seriously! So cute!

  5. Those pictures are all so great!! I especially love the peekaboo through the carrier one.

    We used to camp a lot with Julian when we lived in California and he was small. We went to Jalama beach a lot and it was definitely a huge deal to keep up with a toddler while camping. So many dangerous things! But I think my favorite picture of Julian that has ever been taken was taken inside the tent on one of our camping trips there.

  6. you make it look so easy! i'm just not a camper but your photos make it look fun!

  7. We took the camping plunge last summer when two good friends invited us to join them in Grover Beach, CA. Our boys were just over two years old at the time and I was a little (a lot) anxious about how they would sleep, eat, etc. We had a six person tent that fit two pack-n-plays at one end of it. It turned out to be a really fantastic time once I surrendered to the upset of our routine and of course, the dirt. ;)

    I'm coveting a 10 person tent now that has a separate room that can be zippered off with it's own opening....sounds perfect!


  8. What an adventure! Kudos to you guys for taking W with you. He will certainly appreciate these pictures when he is older... a budding outdoorsman already (but what kid isn't?). I might have to pick your brain someday soon when we decide to take the camping plunge with our posse.

    Have a great weekend!