Some say your life will be over when you have kids. And while life as you know it may be, we’re here to tell you that you CAN do all the same things you used to do. In this post:
Camping with Kids!
If you have a camper, trailer, RV or tent trailer, that’s cool, but we say, that’s glamping! Although tenting it is not easy, it’s our preferred method for really getting into the camping life. Camping for us is about the feeling of biophilia: connecting with nature, the fresh air, the dirt, the bugs, hiking, swimming and everything in between. It’s all about that real camping experience.
Some of our must haves for camping with multi age kids and babies are:
- playpen or play enclosure with camp mat
- camp highchair and/or folding excersaucer
- stroller or carrier
- toys: books, bubbles, balls, sidewalk chalk, buckets, shovels
- tablet / solar charger
- lifejackets if you’re near any water
Our playpen doubles as a change table, so that’s a no brainer for non-back breaking diaper changes, but also great for once baby is on the move! But if you have an older babe or toddler, we’d suggest the camping mat and play enclosure vs. the playpen.
Camping High Chair
The camping highchair is great for babies and toddlers alike, to restrain them around the fire or during mealtimes, if nothing else. These can be pricey new. We bought ours second hand from another Mom! The excersaucer truly is a bonus item. It’s great for 6 month + babes, so they don’t have to spend the whole camping trip in the playpen.
Stroller or Carrier?
If you’re trying to decide between the stroller or carrier, it’s really up to the extent of hiking trail you’re up for, as well as how much baby wearing you plan to do while camping. We like to bring both as sometimes the double stroller is effective in getting both kids to nap at the same time, but if you’re packing light, the carrier is usually all you’ll need. And in our experience, naps are rare on camping trips.
We chose these specific toys for camping because of their versatility and sharability. We keep these items in the vehicle toy bin year round, just for emergencies. Make sure you have enough balls, buckets and bubble wands for everyone…or else it’s meltdown city. And if your child has a favourite bedtime book or lovey, make sure it makes the trip. Because camping is exciting and change is hard, so having a little something familiar from home really makes camping bedtime routine easier.
Bucket Seat Trick
If your babe still fits in a bucket seat, you might want to hold off on switching to a standard car seat until after summer, as we’ve found the bucket seat doubles as a bouncy chair if you rock the seat with your foot, which is also a sneaky way to get babe to sleep with minimal effort.
When we say, “Bring the tablet,” it’s as a last resort. Make sure you pack it fully charged and with enough shows downloaded for your trip, especially if you’ll be out of cell/wifi service. We have used this in the past to diffuse siblings that are past the point of no return. Like we said, naps are rare while camping, so sometimes it’s nice to have the tablet in your back pocket to get some quiet time for the kids and for yourself!
Life jackets are an absolute must, if you’re camping anywhere near water. An accident can happen in a split second, so why risk it? The majority of drowning deaths in children do not occur while participating in a water activity. Accidents happen when Mom and Dad are distracted. Camping is a LOT of work, and we understand no Mom or Dad can watch their kids 24/7, so we think it’s best to keep the kids in their jackets throughout the day.
Before you head out, make sure you’re up to date on the current wildfire situation and any updates on CAMPFIRE BANS. For more information and handy tips, check out this GOVERNMENT OF BC blog post on campfire safety!
Provincial campgrounds will already have campfire areas set up for you, but if you’re setting up your own campsite and spot for the fire, use these helpful tips:
- Be informed: on any campfire restrictions and rules
- Look up: for how close the canopy is to your fire
- Look down: and clear any combustible material from your campfire area
- Size matters: campfires must always be under ½ a metre by ½ a metre
- Be prepared: always have at least 8 litres of water on hand
- Keep it company: don’t ever leave a campfire unattended
- Put it out: pour water, stir and repeat. Make sure coals are cool
We highly suggest taking your camping location into serious consideration before booking a site or heading out with the car packed. We would suggest a provincial campground for your first camping trip, as these locations generally include beach and/or water access, playgrounds, washrooms (sometimes even with running water, but don’t count on anything more than an outhouse). If you have a potty trained toddler, bring your potty or toilet toddler seat also, because outhouse toilet holes can be scary, and do post a risk of littles falling in.
For our camping cooler/dry box checklist, we like to keep it simple, because hey, we’re camping! These are my must haves for the easiest camping meals ever:
- coffee or tea
- sugar or sweetener
- baileys, cream and milk
- water, juice and soda
- fruit and veggie trays
- eggs: raw and hard boiled
- granola bars
- cereal or oatmeal
- veggie straws, chips or crackers
- hot dogs, burgers and buns
- corn on the cob
- foil wrapped potatoes
- raisins, dried fruit or trail mix
- peanut butter or Nutella
- bread and buns
- noodles, KD or canned pasta
- cheese: brick and slices
- bannock mix
- butter and oil
- salt, pepper or other seasonings
- marshmallows, chocolate + graham crackers
Looking for more? Need a general camping supply list?
- tents / tarps
- sleeping bags / blankets
- air mattresses / foamy
- camping mat
- ropes / duct tape
- campfire grate / wiener sticks
- flashlights / lanterns
- leather man / bush knife
- bear spray / bells / air horn / bangers
- cooler / ice
- potable water
- dishes / cutlery / wash bin
- stock pot / strainer / coffee filters
- sunscreen / bug spray
- wood / paper / lighter / axe
- clothes / jammies / swim stuff / towels
- toiletry bag
Don’t know what you’re going to do with the kids all day? Here’s a little rundown of how the days have gone for us:
Make the drive out to the site just before nap time and get lunch on the road or pack snacks. This will buy you some time before nap time so when you arrive, hopefully you have time to set up while the kids are asleep #carnapsforthewin
Once the kids are up, let them explore your campsite, and leave wandering further to a little later, so there’s more to explore the rest of your trip. And remember it’s light out late in Northern BC, so don’t expect a regular bedtime routine, especially on day 1.
We guarantee the kids will be up with the sun, so if you wake before them, get the coffee on, then start breakfast, and fast! Once breakfast is over and done with, it’s time to explore more of the campground! Get hiking or hit the beach. It’s operation “Tire the Kids Out!” especially if you’re hoping for a nap time break. Don’t sweat it if your kids won’t nap while camping. No naps equals early to bed right?
Hopefully the kids are getting used to this camping thing by now and are on more of a regular schedule. I suggest a hike or walk in the stroller to make sure nap time is a go today. And if the swimming wasn’t enough to clean the kids and/or there’s no shower facility, your empty cooler can double as a child sized bathtub <3
Biophilia. The urge to seek connection with nature and other forms of life.
If you have any questions about our experiences camping or have a story to share, please feel free to contact us on our socials or leave a comment below. And with this we wish you the best of luck this camping season, whether you’re a first timer or a camping expert. Be safe and have fun!