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Baby Matters

Camping with Baby

June 20th, 2014

By Janelle Martel

Whether you have fond memories of camping trips from your childhood or simply enjoy the outdoors, taking your child camping can be a great summer activity.  However, taking a baby camping can seem overwhelming.  Follow these tips to help ensure a successful trip.

Do a Trial Run

Hiking into the backcountry on your first camping trip with a baby would likely head for disaster.  Instead, try to start with a camping trip at a well-maintained campsite. You’ll also want to ensure that your first trip is a short one and is close to home.  If heading straight into an overnight trip seems too overwhelming, try a day trip at a nearby provincial park. Remember to keep a list of items you needed – and cross out items you didn’t need – to make packing easier in the future.

Braving the Outdoors

Many places throughout Canada experience extreme temperatures during the summer, which means precautions need to be taken to keep baby safe. Health Canada advises that children under 1 year of age remain out of direct sunlight and avoid sleeping or playing in the sun.  Keep your child under the shade of a tree, and be sure to bring along an umbrella or canopy to create your own shade as necessary.  A sunshade for your playpen or a cover for your stroller will keep baby safe while sleeping.  Be sure that your baby is also receiving plenty of liquids.  If your campground is near a body of water, taking a quick dip with your baby is another way to cool off.  One mom even brings an inflatable kiddie pool to help her baby cool off at the campsite.

Though the days can be warm, temperatures can drop at night. Babies lose heat more quickly than older children and adults, so it’s important to ensure your baby is warm enough at night. Bringing lots of different layers is the best way to make sure your baby is comfortable during the night.  Check your baby for cool, clammy skin, which means it’s time to add another layer of clothing.

Be Safe

Allowing your baby to explore the campsite is a great way to keep busy, but it’s important to double check things are safe.  When you arrive, check the campsite over for potential hazards like leftover matches or garbage. You’ll also want to check for any nearby poison ivy or other unsafe plants so you’re prepared to avoid those areas.  Make sure that you bring along a baby seat or playpen so you have somewhere safe for your baby to be when you’re not able to devote your complete attention to watching her.  Another option is to bring a baby wrap or carrier, depending on your baby’s age, which will also come in handy when exploring the surrounding area or taking walks through the campground

Be Prepared

Before leaving for your camping trip, it’s best to prepare yourself that camping with a baby is going to be a bit different.  If your child has a set nap schedule, try to arrange any activities around this.  Be sure to also think about things to keep your baby busy, including bringing along their favourites toys.  Taking time to explore the surrounding area will also keep your baby – and you – occupied.  Try asking the park ranger for suggestions of places to visit. Make sure that you bring extra diapers and wipes, and pack clothes you don’t mind getting dirty so your baby is free to explore.

 Baby Camping Gear You Might Not Think Of

  • Headlamp (for night time changes)

  • Inflatable kiddie pool

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Camera

  • Bug repellent and sunscreen (if your child is old enough)

  • Mosquito net

  • White noise (in case your child is kept awake by the sounds of nighttime critters)

  • Baby seat

  • Battery powered fan

  • Baby jumper (to hang from a tree)

Janelle Martel is a freelance writer located in British Columbia.  Find her online at

Tags: Babies, camping

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