Camping with the baby, take 1

We took our String Bean camping for the first time a couple of weeks ago, this article is a short account of what worked and what didn’t.

I combed the web for tips on camping with an infant a couple of weeks before the trip and based on what I found, I put together an infant-specific camping packing list. Since then, I added a couple of extra items to the list, but for the most part it was pretty spot-on.

What worked well

Disposable bottle liners. These things worked extremely well. I couldn’t imagine washing the bottles after each meal even with the bathroom just a few strides away. And in the backcountry, that would be even more problematic. With liners, you just trash the liner, replace the nipple with the fresh one and put the used one in a ziplock. Then at the end of the day, boil used nipples and voila - they are ready to be used again next day.

Pop-up tent. We own a Kidco Peapod and it worked pretty well for us. But we would never leave our child unattended in that tent due to a recent infant death.

What could have worked better

Tent. Crawling on elbows and knees inside our 3-person backpacking tent while holding the Bean was not fun. It’s not terrible, but for car camping outings we bought a proper family size tent immediately after returning from this trip.

What didn’t work at all

Sleeping. Originally, we planned to put a mattress from Bean’s co-sleeper in between us atop our two-person sleeping bag. That did not work at all - there was not enough room left inside the bag for two people. So we had to separate the sleeping bag into two and lay the co-sleeper mattress on a sleeping pad between us. That worked fairly well and we are planning to stick with this method for our next trip.

What we didn’t end up using

Umbrella. We camped in a shady spot and it hasn’t rained, so we did not need to use an umbrella. But I do still believe that it’s a good sun or rain protection for the Bean.

Stroller. I don’t believe we even packed the stroller for this trip. We will, however, bring it on our next trip. It’s one of the B.O.B.’s, with great suspension, an adapter for the infant car seat and excellent all-terrain wheels. It would probably work well on longer approaches with lots of climbing gear in both our packs. But we’ll see if it actually works in a couple of days when we camp in Yosemite.

What we wish we brought along

Battery-operated baby monitor. The first night of camping I rocked the Bean to sleep, put him in the tent, zipped it up, made two steps away and suddenly realized that there’s no way I’m going to hear him cry if he wakes up - went back and picked him up from the tent. A monitor would have been real handy.

May 24, 2012 |

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About Me

George Sudarkoff Climber of rocks, maker of things, husband of wife and father of kids. Manage DevOps @SurveyMonkey. Views are my own, but damn they are good views!