Baby’s First Camping Trip

How to feel prepared and do your best..

If you have been following our business on social media, you’ve probably have heard this message once or twice.. have no expectations.

If you want to feel prepared and do your best at the end of any adventure with a toddler, this needs to be your mantra. Why? Well, the less pressure you put on yourself and your kid while out on an adventure, the happier everyone will be. Kids will be kids at whatever stage they are at. They will get wet, muddy, sticky, sleepy, all the things at the least opportune moment. Just like at home.. but now out in the wild with a little less resources.

However, don’t let that deter you from taking your baby out camping. Remember the mantra, have no expectations. Though, we do have some tips that helped us through our first camping experience with our, at the time, 17-month old that might help you feel better prepared.

Backyard Trial Run

Hands down the best thing we did to prepare for our first camping trip with Liam was a trial run in the backyard. We learned so much about his sleeping habits that helped us better prepare for an actual camp trip that we found it the most important step in this journey.

We were planning our camping trip in the middle of an NC summer (during a pandemic I might add). We only had a few weeks available before heading out to our trip so we did our trial run the weekend before leaving. I had read a lot of blogs and scoured the internet for tips and tricks leading up to our trial camp. I had read that sticking to your baby’s routine really helps. So, we brushed his teeth, got into pajamas, grabbed a bottle and some favorites like blanket, book, stuffed animal all before heading to the yard.

He was so excited we had the worst time trying to settle him. He wanted to explore the tent and play around although he was exhausted. Reading to him seemed impossible until we whipped out the Crazy Creek (camp chair that sits on the ground). This allowed us to rock him a little easier in the tent while reading to him. With that and a bottle, kiddo was out within minutes.

After easing him onto the sleeping pad between my husband and I, we quickly realized how hot it was. Liam sleeps pretty hot already so, another run back inside to grab his stroller fan. This thing was awesome because it easily clips wherever you need it (like near the vents of the tent). Once the fan cooled the tent off just right, Liam curled up with his favorite blanket and we all fell asleep.

My husband and I tossed and turned all night long checking on the fan and seeing how he was doing. Since Liam sleeps in a crib, we never realized how much he’s a wiggler. Throughout the night, I’d often find him off the sleeping pads above my head. Then, we would move him back down beside us, to find him off the pads in an hour.

Early in the morning, we woke to a babbling baby crawling all over us. Us groggy parents were definitely ready for a strong cup of coffee as we clearly didn’t sleep the best. However, Liam seemed ready to adventure for the day even after a night like that.

In and out of sleep during our trial run backyard camp

What We’ve Learned

The trial run became a spring board to our family camping adventures. Here are some things we’ve learned from then to now:

  1. Again.. Have No Expectations
  2. Stick to their night routine as best as possible
  3. Fans for the tent in the summer are a huge lifesaver
  4. A Crazy Creek works wonders as a tent rocking chair
  5. Bring all the favorites (blanket, stuffed animals, toys, book, etc.)
  6. Go with favorite foods for meals (foil meals are great for sweet potatoes meals but there’s nothing wrong with the classic Mac & Cheese)
  7. Bring a lot of layers and extra clothes
  8. Patience
  9. Go to places where your kiddo will shine (example, Liam loves throwing rocks in creeks. We plan to go places where he can do that so everyone is happy)
  10. Let them lead the way, get messy, and explore

See y’all out there!


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