I just read a blog post on camping with toddlers that I enjoyed, especially her description of chasing her toddler down the road repeatedly~ah yes, fond memories. Lots of work, lots of fun. Especially this time when I went camping alone with two toddlers! But I had to laugh when at the end of her post she recommends not going camping until your kids are two years old. HA! The first time Ayden went camping with us he was 3 months old. The first time Matthew went camping with us he was 21 months old. The first time Riley went camping with us he was 10 months old (being born in August ensured he didn't camp the first summer he was alive). And the first time Amarys went camping she was 4 months old. I love camping with babies! The fresh air wears them out so the sleep well, the entertainment is free, and the housework is all sitting at home out of my reach.
I think, though, it's all in how you approach camping with babies. Someone recently was asking us whether we bring our playpen when we go camping, and she was so confused as to how exactly we sleep in a tent without a playpen. Like, sleeping separately is so fundamentally important as to cause you major inconvenience and stress (and perhaps not going camping at all) trying to figure out how to make it possible in a tent in the woods? The solution is cosleeping. I will readily admit that tent cosleeping makes me nervous, because there are siblings and blankets and sleeping bags with strings in them everywhere, but there are ways to make it safe and comfortable for everyone, and then if they wake up in the night it is easy for them to feel that you are right there. I don't recommend sleeping separately from your kids when camping at all, because any night wakings inevitably involve fear and screaming, several zippers and some stumbling around in the dark to settle them.
I mean, when they're teenagers you can get them their own tent. But small kids, not so much.
Infants are prone to losing body heat quickly, so sleeping under the crook of your arm is the perfect spot for them to stay warm and be subconsciously monitored through the night. And if they wake up? Whip out a breast. Perhaps this is the key to successful camping with babies under the age of two; if you have to get up at night and warm up a bottle it would be pretty frickin not worth the work. [The woman who posted don't camp til your kids are two bottle fed because she adopted so you can see how it would make things seem impossibly hard]. Seriously, camping with my babies is easier than camping with my three year old because the baby needs revolve around close contact with my body.
Glow sticks help, too, illuminating the tent just enough to stave off midnight freakouts but not enough to keep anyone awake. And definitely not dangerous or expensive.
If we can camp in one tent with six people ages 35, 33, 8, 6, 3, and 5 months, you can camp, too. And even have fun.
Last week we went camping with our young families group at church. It was supposed to be two nights, and Sunday was gorgeous and HOT, and we had a good time cooking hot dogs and marshmallows, and talking around the campfire late at night. But at about 3 o'clock in the morning it started to rain, and it rained and it rained and it rained....forget babies being inconvenient, frickin RAIN is inconvenient!! We managed to fit in an hour and a half hike with garbage bag rain jackets and a group of about 15 people (troupers!) before we tossed in the towel and packed our wet gear in the van and went home. Of course the next day dawned clear and hot again. Eyeroll. Humid as a humidifier though. Yikes!
Amarys just scared herself with her own fart. Life is hilarious.