Camping with Babies

Congratulations! You’ve got a baby. Does that mean you can’t go camping again till the kid grows up? No way. Start now and your little one will be a happy camper in no time.

Here are the big issues for camping with baby:

  • Diapers aren’t really a problem if you use disposable diapers and baby wipes. Get a good, large dry bag that seals tightly and keep the diapers in it until you get back to someplace where you can dispose of all the didies properly. We hear that dirty diapers attract bears, so be rigorous about getting the diapers into the bag.
  • Carrying the kid requires a specialized backpack. All the other ways you usually carry your baby will affect how sure footed you are and how far you can hike without back strain. Kelty, one of our favorite suppliers at Uncle Sam’s, makes good ones. If you’re car camping and someone is willing to hang out around the camp site fishing, reading, or otherwise relaxing, your baby will be okay with that, too. Take turns so everyone gets a chance to enjoy some outdoor sports.
  • Food for babies is easy to carry. Buy the kind that comes in pouches, or mash up some of what you’re having if baby is old enough. Breastfeeding moms have the easiest time with campsite feedings, but bottle babies can manage with disposable bottle liners and premixed formula. You have to be more careful about water quality with infants that with big people whose bodies have had a chance to get used to bacteria, so carry extra water and use it for washing baby as well as for drinking.
  • Safety is a primary issue for babies. A folding playpen is great if you’re car camping, since it keeps the baby in a safe place and you don’t have to worry about your child’s crawling into the woods. Sunscreen is a must, as are hats and weather-appropriate clothing. Dehydration and overheating are more likely for babies than for older kids or adults, so pay attention and keep plenty of clean water on hand. Let your baby get dirty, though, and help him or her explore nature by holding harmless things close enough for touching and staring but far enough away to keep it out of baby’s mouth.

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