Camping with a Toddler
Last weekend, we had a very successful camping trip in Campton, New Hampshire. It was our first camping trip taking Chewbacca, and although wookies are used to the wilderness, I was still nervous about how the trip would go. Thankfully, we went with two expert campers who had EVERYTHING we needed (no seriously, they had an 8 person tent, a camp stove, a remote-controlled lantern, you know, all the necesseties). Plus, thanks to my super smart husband, we devised a way to block light for Chewie so he could take a nap during the day and not wake up at 4am (my biggest fear).
Here's what I learned while camping with a Toddler (skip to the end if you just want to see our awesome pictures, since the post is somewhat detailed in case you do want to go camping with a toddler):
Don't pack light: I've done the "only bring what you can carry" kind of camping. That is NOT what your first outing with a toddler should be. Drive-up, car camping (or frankly glamping) is what you want. It was mildly horrifying how much stuff we brought, but I can say we used almost all of it.
What we packed :
Pack N Play
2 Person Tent for Chewie (one like this for $25 would work)
8 person tent for us (we borrowed this trip but are now eyeing this one to own)
Air Mattress for us (don't judge, I can't afford sleep deprivation with a toddler)
Blankets for sleeping since sleeping bags make me feel like I'm getting eaten by a boa constrictor all night
Dark Blanket to drape over the 2 person tent
White Noise machine (aka, iphone app)
Inverters and chargers for the air mattress and iphones
Hiking Backpack for chewie
Lots of wine
Toddler Sleeping: As you know, normally in a tent the sunrise will wake you up at an inhumane hour. Chewie is light sensitive (and kind of bird sensitive) so we knew we had to block out the sun and drown out the birds (Take that, nature!!) Chewie's dad came up with the great idea of having a 2 person tent inside our 8 person tent, and then throwing a blackout blanket over the 2 person tent to keep it nice and dark. It worked like a charm. Chewie's tent stayed nice and dark and he slept until 7:30 each day.
Activities: At this age, all Chewie wanted to do was throw rocks in bodies of water. We took him to streams, rivers, a pond, and he even got excited to throw rocks in the water faucet at the camp ground. I had planned going to the Hobo Train tour in the white mountains or maybe to Storybook land, but Chewie's rock love-affair made those unnecessary.
Cooking: Yes, plan for the major meals (our friend cooked us pancakes, eggs and bacon for breakfast both days, jealous?) but with a hungry toddler, and let's be real, hungry adults, remember to bring snacks too. We had some pouches for standbys, but bananas, guacamole, and cheese were all big hits for the wookie.
I think that's all the tips I have. If you're nervous, just remember, you can always go find a hotel if it goes terribly, or just go home. The worst that can happen is your toddler pitches a fit and wakes up the campsite (which I did hear going on further away with another family, but could only barely hear them, so see? Not so bad). Overall we had a BLAST and I can't wait to go back and I'm pretty sure neither can Chewie. There's so many rocks to be thrown into water, afterall.
Tent inside the tent with the pack and play inside. Plus, our air mattress. Definitely a necessity.
Raising him to be a hiker early!
My camp cook, doing the important work of counting potatoes.
Notice how when he wakes up with mom, it requires sitting directly on my neck. With dad, it's all snuggles and truck books.
What a helper.