Friday, June 6, 2014

Packing + Planning for Camping with Kids

I am so excited - I'm taking my boy collection camping super soon! It might sound crazy, coming from a girl that hates bugs and gross things, but I adore camping. It's becoming a tradition to camp at the same place with my Dad every year, and as the boys get older, I see it getting more and more fun!

Isn't there something wonderful about spending time outdoors with family? It's on the tippy-top of my list of favorite things to do.

Packing and Planning for Camping with Babies and Toddlers!

Last year, our weekend was damp and cool - there was a light drizzle the entire time, and we were stuck at around 59 degrees. We still spent almost the entire time outdoors, but it was a wet, muddy mess! We packed quite differently than we expected to (for a Summer weekend), and even had to rely on my Dad for some help (for example, we packed a fan in case our cabin was hot, and we ended up borrowing his space heater instead!) We also ended up going through about 5 pairs of muddy pants each in 2 and a half days! Eeek!

Right now, it looks like we're facing a nicer forecast. We've moved into the 70 & 80 degree days already, and we're crossing our fingers that it sticks around!

Planning for camping (well, for anything) is almost as exciting to me as actually going. Just like Christmas Eve is almost better than the day of - the anticipation and imagination of what's to come is just so thrilling! I've been working on my packing list, with experience from last year's trip, and getting ideas from other people's shared lists as well. So I thought it would be fun to share my list, too! I'm basing my list on a 2.5 day stay in a cabin with a small bathroom, and preparing for any weather from rainy and 50 to sunny and 80!

OH - - and, some people think we're crazy for camping with a baby as little as Jake is (especially since he wants to be on the move ALL. THE. TIME.), and for willingly putting our family of 5 into a one room sleeping situation. But it's totally do-able, and I certainly don't want to miss out on it this summer just because the logistics are a little more difficult. So I've included a baby things list that I think will make our camping weekend with Jake much easier.

Am I forgetting anything??

5 Outfits/person (half shorts, half pants)
3 Pj's/person
4 Pairs socks/person
2 Hoodies/person
Bathing Suits
Sneakers + Sandals for each person
Underwear + Diapers

3 Fitted Sheets
Sleeping bag/person
1-2 Pillows/person
Kids' Pillow Pets
Pack & Play sheets
2 Bathroom Towels
2 Washcloths
2 Beach Towels

Cooler with Ice
Paper Plates
Plastic Utensils
Coffee Mugs
K Cups (our cabin has a Keurig!)
Cleaning Wipes
Outdoor table cloth + Clips
Garbage + Tops Bags (plastic grocery bags)
Bottle Opener
Bottled Water
Juice Boxes/Pouches
S'more Stuff
Snacks for the kids
(The rest of the food is TBD!)

Toothbrushes + Toothpaste
Shampoo + Conditioner
Hand Soap
Brush + Comb
Blow Dryer
Razor + Shaving Cream
Face Wash + Moisturizer
Toilet Paper
Band Aids
Bug Spray
Hair Ties + Bobby Pins

Pack & Play (for sleep & playing)
2-3 Picnic Blankets (to lay out for playing on)
Exersaucer (to play in outside - it folds up really well)
A tote of small baby toys
Our Boba Carrier
Nursing Cover
Wipes + Desitin
Gerber Puffs
Baby Food + Spoons
The Bumbo (for meals, instead of a high chair)
Sun hat or two

Lawn Chairs
Clothes Pins
Newspaper (kindling)
Outdoor Toys for the kids
- Sports equipment + squirt guns
Paints + Brushes for rock painting
Fireside Blanket
Glow Necklaces
Cell Chargers

Aside from the menu, I think that mostly covers it! We'll also bring some change for the arcade (the boys love it), and we'll need to buy some firewood when we arrive (they don't allow you to bring any in).

Here are some tips based on last year's experience, and also planning for Baby:

♥ When it comes to packing kids' clothes, I always pack 2 outfits per day no matter what sort of trip it is. Kids can get into anything and completely destroy an outfit. While camping is one place it's okay to be dirty, if they need to nap or are covered in something unpleasant, you want to have a back up! So don't be afraid to pack double outfits. For pj's, always pack 1 more set than you need - just in case!

♥ Some of the things we're hoping will help with Jake's constant need to be busy these days: the pack and play full of toys and the exersaucer set up outside, blankets and toys to set out for him to crawl around, the stroller for walks, and our Boba baby carrier for mini-hikes.

♥ Don't forget these safety essentials, especially for the littlest ones: baby-safe sunscreen, sun hats, deet-free bug spray and band-aids.

♥ Feeding a baby while you're camping can get messy and complicated, and as I just explained the other day, I usually make my own baby food and defrost frozen cubes of it at meal times. While our cabin does have a freezer, and even a microwave for defrosting the cubes, traveling with them to the camp site may not work out so well, and spending the extra time getting meals ready may not be as feasible. So for our camping trip, I will buy a few organic jars to travel with, and pack our Bumbo seat to use in place of a high chair.

♥ Pack a lot of sports toys - a soccer ball, a frisbee, toy golf set, wiffle balls, kick balls, a football - last year my kids ran around our lot kicking a ball and throwing things all day long. They had so much fun, and it's so good for them!

♥ Make the evening fires fun by adding a few "extras". I packed some glow in the dark necklaces and toys that I got from the dollar store, and the kids loved them! I also packed some different fillings to make s'mores with - so instead of just chocolate inside, they could also chose peanut butter cups or peppermint patties (THAT was a hit! With my Dad, too! haha). My Dad bought them some light up foam swords at the camp store, and they had a mini-battle in the yard while we sat at the fire and watched - so fun! (And maybe also be a bit lax about bedtime! They'll be so tired after a day of play and sitting by a relaxing fire that they will likely sleep better than normal, anyway - which is important if you're all sleeping in the same room!)

♥  DO make fun fireside foods like hobo pies and spider dogs. The kids LOVE getting involved in these things - picking filling ingredients, and watching the spider dogs curl up. They're not the most nutritious things in the world, but if there's ever a time to eat them, it's when you're camping!

- - -

I can't wait!! I found this great list of ideas for games to play with kids while camping - I think the kids will love doing some of these things! There's plenty at the campground to keep them entertained (including 5 playgrounds, a massive jumping pillow, and firetruck rides), and we all just love sitting around a fire most of the time, anyway, but I think they'll love this!

What makes your camping weekends with little guys more enjoyable?


  1. Wow! You are one organized lady! I'm glad you've got those itemized. Often times, people approach packing with their instincts and for the things they immediately identify with, not being able to distinguish between wants and the necessities. With those camping trips, one's got to prioritize, or at least have a running list in their heads of what is to be pertinent and should be within reach. So, it's cool you've got that covered, with hopefully the packaging that will have those necessities in one piece for instant access. Take care!

    Clay Delgado @ World Packaging Inc.

  2. You seem to have planned well for the camping trip. I'm sure everything turned out really precious and great. It's how the little things that add up to the completeness of an experience, such as having the essentials, like bottled water and other provisions on standby. Take care!

    Paul Franken @ American Pure Spring Water

  3. I know I'm at risk for having people wrinkle their nose at this, but I pack 2 outfits for every 2 - 3 days, adults and children alike. This is NOT our usual at home but camping is dirty and we've washed things out, thrown it on the dry line and worn it the next day. We also are careful to ONLY put on pjs right before bed and take them off as soon as we wake up and potty. Sweat and dirt can make them not as warming and this way, they last longer. Yes we've been camping in muddy muddy conditions, 50 degree nights, 80 degree nights and our children are currently 4, 1.5 and 5 mo old. That's how we do it bc I was falling apart trying to get all the clothes together. God made dirt and dirt don't hurt.