It’s 11:40am. We’ve officially been camping for almost an entire day. Not a huge deal, normally, but this is the first time we’ve attempted to camp – in a tent – with a 1 year old.
I brought my laptop camping with me (…WHO EVEN DOES THAT…) because I knew there would be random times where the rest of my family was out riding bikes and doing things while I stayed back with Tommie.
For the past two-ish hours, it’s been just the two of us here at the campsite. And it’s been freaking challenging. He’s been really damn whiny. I’ve given him a billion snacks. We’ve gone on some walks in his wagon. He’s obviously really sleepy but is fighting it so bad. I just changed what was quite possibly the grossest diaper of our combined lives. Right now, I’m sitting outside of the tent, typing this while Tommie is inside of the tent attempting to take a nap. I’m faintly hear birds chirping and all of these lovely nature sounds but they’re being drowned out by the worlds most annoying moaning or groaning noise of all time. A thing Tommie always does when he’s super-tired but refuses to sleep.
It’s time for a beer. A concealed beer in a discrete cup because, technically, it’s against the rules. But I like bending the rules from time-to-time.
Good lord, this is an entirely different experience than adults-only camping. Not in a bad way, just way different. I’ve heard so many other parents mutter the old cliche phrases about kids and vacations, things along the lines of “when you have kids, a vacation isn’t really a vacation anymore”. I honestly believe that people really do mean well when they say things like this out of habit or personal experience, but I think the idea of a vacation not being a vacation anymore after kids is, well, silly.
A vacation is a vacation is a vacation. Any opportunity to get away and experience something different for a few days is always a good thing in my book. Sure, the lounging and relaxing aspect of certain vacations may not exist for the next, oh, 18 years or so of my life, but heck it’s still a vacation.
I prefer to make the most out of any and all situations because the alternative is to be miserable.
And I aint about that life.
We went camping with 4 other adults and 2 other kids, none of whom are shown in these photos, so you wouldn’t know it because I didn’t manage to take a ton of pictures on this trip. We’ve gone on a camping trip for the past 5-ish years with my dad + sisters + other special guests who make appearances from time to time. It is really dang helpful to have other people around to entertain Tommie on this particular trip. Trey and I have talked about going camping with just the three of us, but that seems a little daunting. People do it all the time, and we could probably handle it, but we might not all make it out unscathed – and I’m not talking physically. I mean emotionally. Like, it’s really damn stressful to set up a campsite, I think we would possibly hate each other before the tent was set up if we didn’t have some helping hands around.
Speaking of setting up tents, Trey’s sister let us borrow their amazing baby-fence to pin Tommie in so he didn’t take an adventure out into the woods on his own. Thank god. That thing was a life saver. If you are ever going camping with a baby, you need this in your life. This was an extremely important preventative tool that allowed Trey and I to set up camp without hating each other by the end of it.
Don’t worry – even though he looks freaking terrified in this picture, he had the time of his life in that baby jail.
Tommie has a (pretty) consistent nap time when we’re at home, but that was basically nonexistent when we were camping. He slept some, randomly for a few minutes here and there throughout the day. Whenever we got in the car to go somewhere, he’d fall asleep within about 3 minutes of being strapped into his carseat. I think I was most scared, though, of WTF would happen at night, in the dark, in a tent, with a baby-really-almost-toddler, but nights were actually pretty amazing. He was so dang tired from the day that he slept really great at night.
He’s always done well in his travel crib when we’ve gone places. Maybe it’s because when he was really little, he slept in this thing in our bedroom, I’m not really sure. But you know how when you have a baby you get SO MUCH GEAR that you never really even use? This travel crib is not the case at all. We’ve all loved this thing will continue to get some great use out of it. It fit in our tent along with our new camping addition: an air mattress. Yep. We had to break down and buy one. Never used one for tent camping in the past, but this mom-bod can’t handle that hard ground anymore. My back hurts just thinking about it.
Because it’s been so hot, I didn’t even think about packing pants…for myself or for Tommie.
The first night, it got pretty cold, so we had to make a target run the next day for some sweat pants. Oops. Mom fail #32349921. Oh well, we survived.
I like to think that we don’t require a lot of “stuff” as a family, but we wound up bringing two vehicles on this camping trip to haul all of our necessities. TBH, we used pretty much everything we brought, so that effort wasn’t wasted. One thing I actually do regret not brining was a high chair. Seems a little excessive, but we really missed it and will bring it along next time if we go camping again while he’s still using it so we can all actually sit down and eat at one time. For the most part, he ate pretty similarly to how he eats at home…with a few added convenience items. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the snacks and meals Tommie ate, because I know when I was obsessively googling “camping with a 1 year old” these types of things were helpful for me, so maybe they’ll help you too.
- fresh fruit: strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, bananas
- wraps with spreads: hummus, avocado or peanut butter
- freeze dried fruits and veggies (Kind of expensive but worth it when away from home. You can find some at Aldi if you look hard enough!)
- string cheese
- boiled eggs
- lots of water and whole milk because it was effing hot and I tried to keep him really hydrated
Bathing was a challenge. The campground we stayed at had single-stall showers, so we wound up all three taking a family shower one time so that Trey and I could tag-team attempting to clean the kid. Convenient, yes, but still really damn challenging. For the rest of the trip, we just wiped Tommie down with wet washcloths and baby wipes because: camping.
He was gonna get/stay dirty regardless of what we did. It’s fine.
Camping with a 1-year old overall verdict: challenging but fun. We made the right choice by going somewhere only about 30 minutes away from home because we had a pretty solid back-up plan if it was a complete disaster: we’d just leave and go home 🙂
We’ll definitely give it another shot, hopefully in the near future, but next time I’ll remember to pack pants.