Be Prepared: Baby's First Night Camping


How We Prepared


We were itching. Itching to be outside, to explore, and to camp for the first time with our 17-month old. As much as our little dude loves being outdoors, we never had the opportunity to take him on his first camping trip at all last year. With COVID restrictions lifting at campsites, we decided to jump on the opportunity and try it out.

We’ve traveled quite a bit with Liam, our 17-month old. We took him on a family trip to Disney World when he was 3 months old, he’s been to the mountains, and to the coast a few times. We know that there’s a lot of stuff to bring to keep him comfortable while we travel. Even though we decided to stick to the cooler side of the state for our first trip, the Appalachian Mountains, we wanted to be fully prepared for exploring in the summer of North Carolina during a pandemic. I read all the blogs about camping with babies from Pinterest, brainstormed, made lists, searched for accommodations, and made a plan.

The best thing we did was a trial run in the backyard. Without this night, we would’ve missed some crucial information about Liam’s nighttime habits otherwise. From all the blogs I read, it’s imperative that you stick to your child’s routine as best as possible. So, we brushed his teeth like normal in the house, we changed him into his pajamas, and then went to the backyard. 

He immediately was trying to figure out what the heck we were doing in a tent in the backyard. He wanted to explore around but was so tired, he wanted to be in our arms. We tried to rock him to sleep just in the tent, but that did not go over well. We eventually got our Crazy Creek (camping chair that sits on the ground) and was able to rock him to sleep while reading him one of his favorite books. Then, we were able to gently place him on the sleeping pad between my husband and I.

We live in the Piedmont of NC and we did our trial run just days before our actual trip in June. So, it was a hot, humid, and sticky night. We quickly realized that he was getting warm and were able to run inside, grab a stroller fan (it has a big clip on it so you can use wherever you can clip it), and placed it on one of the stash pockets above him. He immediately cooled down, wrapped up in his favorite blanket, and was completely asleep in just moments. 

I definitely wouldn’t say it was a perfect night under the stars. My husband and I both were constantly waking up throughout the night to make sure the stroller fan was still running and to check on Liam. As the night went on, our little explorer squirmed and rolled his way above my head and off of the sleeping pads. He’s always been contained in his crib that we never realized how active he was while he sleeps. As much as we pulled him down, he would just wiggle right back off the sleeping pad. 

Thomas and I woke with a little voice babbling away and crawling all over us. As groggy as we were, Liam woke up like he woke up in his crib. However, he immediately wanted breakfast!

 If you’re looking to take your little adventurer out on their first camping trip, we recommend the following to help them through the night:

  1. Set up a tent in the house or backyard and play around. Have your little one get used to the tent and that it’s fun to be in
  2. Trial Run! Again, it’s THE BEST thing we did to prepare Liam, but also for us
  3. A Stroller Fan saves the night to keep cool
  4. A Crazy Creek Camp Chair to rock little one to sleep
  5. Try to stick to their normal schedule as best as you can 

Our trial run made our actual camping trip more familiar for our little adventurer. We could hike, play, and enjoy the outdoors a little better knowing that he’ll do just fine throughout the night. Get outside as a whole family and make wonderful, lasting memories!

If there’s something that you did or thought of for your baby’s first night camping, leave a comment.

See y’all out there!


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