CAMPING WITH A BABY SERIES - Infants
It’s not easy but it's definitely worth it.
Like childbirth, everyone's experience is different when camping with an infant. After camping with our baby in a snowstorm on Wolf Creek Pass, in the hot desert canyons of Indian Creek, and throughout the San Juan mountains - we’ve got some beta to share on this.
Keeping a baby warm in cold weather - tricky but CRUCIAL
We bring a few full-length onesies of varying thicknesses (ones that have flaps for covering the feet specifically), some more insulated than others and this full body Patagnoia down jacket on top of that. Layering as usual is key. Beanies of varying thickness are also crucial too. Wool blankets are great to wrap them up and they cut the wind while snuggling. This Capilene Hoody is a wonderful layer to keep the harsh sun off their sensitive skin.
Keeping Your Baby Warm While Sleeping
There’s no one answer to keeping an infant warm while sleeping as it depends on your setup and comfort level with sleeping with them. If you’re in a camper with a forced air gas or diesel heater then you’re set just bring a pack & play and put them in a warm onesie. We steered away from Mr Buddy-type heaters because of the fire and burn potential.
When Truck camping...
My wife and I would sleep in different sleeping bags and have him in a DockATot in between us or off to one side, wearing a warm full body onesie. Our body heat would keep the bed warm enough (typically). Sometimes we might have to pull him in with one of us to sleep closer.
When Sleeping In a Tent...
This is a tough one and again there's no one solid answer. We use an old 4-season base camp tent as it has window coverings over the mesh to keep the wind and sand out, and it is HUGE so we can stand up in it for his bedtime routine. We have a BLUETTI power station that we connected his sound machine to and an outdoor cat warming pad which we placed below his DockaTot. Honestly though, I'm not really sure the heating pad was that effective. I certainly recommend a sound machine for the added comfort and the eventual loud campfire yelling session you'll need to drown out. We'll be testing out a portable Chinese Diesel heater soon, we'll report back on that.
Baby Gear Suggestions
Portable Shade Tent - this thing is great, fits in a backpack so you can take it up to the crag with you.
Ground Coverings - we're a big fan of utilizing matts like these awesome tarpestry's to make cozy spaces outside. Use yoga mats, an old tent's footprint cloth, and these sand matts are great too.
Portable Changing Pad - likely one of the most utilized pieces of gear in our quiver of baby things. We take this with us everywhere. Combine it with a dry-bag for the old diapers.
Baby Carriers For Hiking - of course the classic baby bajorn. Then once they're old enough we compared both Deuter's Child BackPack vs Ospery's Poco Carrier and found the Deuter to be the most comfortable for our body types. Much more hip padding, slightly less storage than Osprey's but lighter as well.
** Search on Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace and Ebay for all the above and more baby stuff. Those links are just for reference but we've been able to find most everything used online or from friends with the exception of a few speciality items. Babies grow quickly, there's no need to buy new if you can avoid it.
Bring more water and fuel that you usually do for warming up water and cleaning bottles.
Bring more formula / milk than your typical daily use because they might have a hard time and need soothing.
Be prepared for blowouts and muddy clothes- that means extra clothes, wipes, paper towels, and towels
Try to place your tent / sleeping arrangement away from the noisiest part of camp if you have a light sleeper.
DO NOT FORGET DIAPER RASH CREAM - they are way more likely to developing a rash camping than at home because of the sweat, dirt, sand and stress. Seriously don't forget this, we have, it's not fun.
Try to recreate a version of your nightly routine, like reading before bed, warm up some water and wipe them down with a rag like it's a bath. Having something like a teddy bear that they're already attached to and soothes them also helps.
This isn't going to be easy and you may not get a good nights sleep. But you'll notice your baby is likely calmer and happier out here and home will always be there. There will be some beautiful moments that are priceless. Don't be afraid to call it quits and go home, this isn't a competition but the idea is just to get everyone used to the routine of camping as a family. Have fun out there and comment below with any questions!
- Bryant AuCoin