When we got married, it was a conscious decision that we were not going into debt for our wedding (Ok, let’s be honest – It was Jordan’s decision. I wanted ethically sourced elephants and a swag bags for everyone). Even with the generous contribution of family, it was decided that if we were to get married at the venue we wanted, we’d have to forgo a tropical honeymoon and stick closer to home. Also, seeing as all my husband’s family had to travel from out east and don’t get out to the best..I mean west coast very often, we’d really like to spend some more time with them. And just like that – the Baker Family Honeymoon Camping Trip tradition was born. (I know what you’re thinking, relax, we went away for a few days in the mountains first). Anyways, all that to say, this summer marks our first summer with a baby and Jordan’s brother Josh got married – and you know what that means? That’s right! Another family honeymoon tent camping trip! WITH a baby. (You are all wishing you were me at this point right? Just kidding, we all love one another.)
Truthfully, I knew this trip was coming for months ahead of time and I was actually really nervous. “What if she’s crawling? What if she’s into everything? What if she eats rocks and dies?” Thankfully, over the couple weeks leading up to our big happy family trip, we had some opportunities to travel and camp a little bit with our girl. The best part -with the safety of a trailer in tow – you know, just as a fail-safe (AKA sound blocker if she’d suddenly take up crying for hours or something). And guess what? It was a roaring success! I thought I’d share a few of my baby camping tools that have definitely saved my sanity and made camping enjoyable for the whole family (Possibly the whole camp ground really…depending on how loud your baby is). And the best part is, you really don’t need these exact things, you can use any brand of these things.
- Jolly Jumper – now the only specification is, obviously this has to be the one on the stand. Seriously, this has been such a sanity saver. Trying to set up camp? Plop them in there. Trying to start dinner? Strap her in! Playing Settlers and everyone is way too competitive to hold a baby safely during the game? Let them bounce!
- Graco Travel Lite Pack’n’Play – This has been fantastic for many of our travels, but specifically for camping because it’s so multi purpose! It’s got the bassinet piece for nighttime, her playpen for daytime and perhaps the most ingenious invention – the perfect mosquito net! She can hang out with us around the campfire, dinnertime, whatever and if you just throw a swaddling blanket over the top and voila! Mosquito proof. And bonus, it folds pretty compactly (is that even a word?).
- A laundry basket – ok this seems odd, but hear me out. Also, I should mention this works best if baby’s not mobile yet. Given her girth, Finn has yet to pull herself up on anything or try to move from a sitting position, so we’re all good in the paperweight department. First of all, it’s super handy to keep all the baby stuff in; toys, extra diapers, wipes, clothes or whatnot. But it also an excellent play pen, a) If you don’t have a real one/ don’t bring the real one camping, just throw a blanket in the bottom, throw the baby in there and pile in the toys. It’s also fantastic at home if babe’s not quite steady to sit up on their own and play. I cart it all around the house when I’m home! b.) THE BEACH. Most of the places we’ve been have sloped, uneven beaches and our little humpty dumpty has a hard time staying upright, I put it in her little sun-cover thing and presto – a non-sandy, sturdy baby! It’s also great in the water, if they’re just gonna splash in a little bit of shallow water with a toy or two to cool down. (PS I use it in the tub at home too!)
- Coppertone Sun Shelter – This was one of those things I always thought was silly..until I actually had a child. Especially since she’s a child that has a vampire complexion. This tacky little frog has been the best thing! We can be on a shadeless beach, hot soccer field or other places – and she’s got some SPF sun protection. Pasty-people win!
- Relax Melodies App – In my opinion, this is the best white noise app because you can layer as many different kinds of sounds as you’d like, and it’s all offline. I love putting on the white noise and layering it with some subtle thunder or whale noises. It drowns the rest of us yahoos around the campfire and random noises throughout the night. Example – last night’s crazy windstorm straight out of a tornado movie, clanging all sorts of things around the campground – she slept like an oblivious champ.
Those are a few of my sanity saving items I’ve brought out camping with us, we’ve been out again this weekend with my family and having a few things figured out has made a world of difference stress level wise. We’ve had a blast camping with Finn this summer. I’ve loved cozying up around the campfire with her all snuggled in, paddling around at the lake with her has been so fun and watching half the camp ground watch her in her jolly jumper is an excellent networking strategy. Kids definitely bring almost as much joy as they do gear. (Seriously, so. much. STUFF.)
Any other tips and tricks you have to keep camping enjoyable for everyone? Let me know!
PS: In an effort to keep this site you know…honest. I have to come clean with you. I forgot to get pictures at the actual beach, so I had to set up the beach in our campsite! And let me tell you, it was a full team effort! By the time I turned around to look – this was my view!
It was a full team effort to keep Finn happy! Everyone was on the bench making noises and flapping their arms like crazy people! Hahaha
PPS – the new Harry Potter book – I’m only one chapter in , er act I suppose in this case (Babies, seriously, don’t they know it’s time to have a verrrry long nap with JK Rowling releases a new HP book?), anywho, I think I like it! Definitely different, but good!
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