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Camping with babies – how do you do it?

Yes, it is possible to go camping with babies. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun and lets the whole family enjoy the great outdoors. The first trip is always the most challenging, it feels like you’ve packed everything except the kitchen sink! But I promise, the next trip is easier and it gets better from there.

Our kids started camping as babies, from 4 months old. In fact, Priya took her first steps on a camping trip. Yes, they get dirty and shower time can be slippery…but they have a ball. Here are some tips to make it easier – before you leave on your trip around Oz.

Yes, it's possible to go camping with babies

Get the first camping trip out of the way, the younger the better.

Once you’ve done this, you’ve overcome the big unknown. The younger the baby, the easier your first camping trip will be. Why? Because they are less mobile, less complicated to feed, and sleep more. Plus, camping with babies gets easier with practice – so the sooner you start the better.

Only pack the bare essentials.

Start with a simple set-up.

Whether you are in a caravan, camper trailer or tent – keep your set-up simple. We started with tent camping, before we decided to buy a camper trailer. Tent camping can be really simple, if you stick to the basics. We had a six-man dome tent, sleeping mats and sleeping bags.  We didn’t even need a portacot, because there was no danger inside the tent for our babies, just floor space. We used a picnic rug as our table and chairs, and an esky as our fridge.

The more stuff you have to set-up, the longer it takes to get your baby settled, especially if they are unhappy, or hungry, or tired. It just makes everyone more stressed than they need to be, and camping is meant to be relaxing!

Get in early.

Camping with babies is much easier when they are content. Plan to get into camp early enough to give you time to get organised before ‘witching hour’ starts. This gives your baby a chance to check out their new environment and sleeping arrangement. Not to mention that it’s easier to prepare feeds and meals while it’s still daylight.

Give them freedom, if it’s safe.

Everyone will have a miserable time if your baby is not allowed to explore. We once went camping with some friends whose young daughter was strapped into the stroller the entire time. She just sat there, watching James crawl all over the place. I felt sad for her, but I guess she stayed clean.

Let your baby touch and feel their camping environment. It helps them learn, keeps them happy, and wears them out. Of course you’ll need to keep a close eye on them, and grab things before they go in their mouths…but that’s all part of the fun.

Keep routines as much as possible.

Babies thrive on routine. If they usually have dinner…then bath, book, and bed – keep it that way. It probably doesn’t matter if bedtime is an hour earlier or later. Your baby will be reassured that the same process happens whether they are at home or away.

Get the hang of camping with babies...before you trip around Oz with them!

Start camping with your babies as early as you can, and go often. That way you’ll all know what to expect. By the time they are toddlers, they’ll be begging for more.

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