No surprise here - my son went on his first hike at 3 weeks,
his first camping trip at 3 months, and his first backpacking
trip at 6 months :) He's since been camping and hiking more
than most people.
Here are my tips for taking babies out into the woods:
Take your baby out young - get them used to a front carrier
and backpack. Get them used to wearing hats/sunglasses.
Get them used to getting their diaper changed in
areas/temps/situations less than ideal. Then they will
likely be happy campers as they get older.
Bring extra socks and mittens. Find shoes that will stay on
their feet - if they're in a backpack and they kick off their
shoes, you won't know unless someone is hiking behind you!
Attach a small hand-held mirror to the shoulder strap of
your baby backpack - that way you can see your baby.
Your baby needs a pacifier? Then be sure to have a pacifier
leash - and take an extra one or two. Needless to say, they
get lost/dirty easy.
They make wipes especially to clean pacifiers - don't need
to worry about any residue.
Leashes are also good for small lightweight toys that you
can attach to the backpack to give them something to
hold/play with as you're hiking. My son has a set of plastic
"keys" that he likes to rattle as we're walking. Who needs
a bear bell? lol
Bring a tarp/poncho - that way you can have a bigger surface
for them to sit/roll/crawl in camp.
Travel Boppy pillows are great - for nursing, propping,
The first few times I took my son camping I used my down
quilt around him at night, but found that once he started to
roll he would roll out of it and get cold during the night - so
I got him his own sleeping bag - a Kelty Woobie. It was the
only bag I could find that was small enough for a baby. He
loves his Woobie - it's soft inside and the perfect size for
him to fit now but also grow into. He stays snuggled all
He's slept on both a Thermarest ultralight and a Ridgerest
- doesn't seem to have a preference.
The best toy in camp? A headlamp. Get them their own
because you'll never get yours back, lol
I have all sorts of ideas for nursing while hiking/camping,
having done so, so if any new moms want some advice, email
me carol at tarol dot com Nursing is so much easier than
bottles - especially in bear country where you'd have to lock
up your formula in a canister, or hang it, at night.
I have a small lightweight changing pad that came with my
diaper bag. It is nice to have something easy to wipe down
if there is any sort of blow-out. I use ziplocs to contain the
diaper, and then place all the used ziplocs in a plastic
grocery type bag (Target bags are stronger/bigger than
others), then I use a nylon re-usable grocery bag to contain
it. The nylon bag is opaque so no one will know what's inside,
and has handles so it's easy to attach to the outside of my
pack when hiking out. The one thing I would say is always
take more than you think you need - diapers, wipes, onesies,
and ziplocs ;)
Let your kid have time to explore. Do not set up a rigid
schedule - leave plenty of time for looking at rocks,
splashing in water, playing with bugs and wandering off trail.
When my son started to walk I found it a little more
difficult to go camping with him by myself - because he was
so adventurous it was all I could just to keep up with him!
But I soon learned a few tricks. #1 Jeep Stroller - it came
in so handy! It was a place to put him while I set up camp,
used the restroom, cooked, etc. It was mobile and easier
to set up and took up less room than a playpen. And it goes
where most strollers won't. I highly recommend every
parent get one.
#2 Honda Pilot - When we bought this bigger vehicle it
really opened up options for us - because we could
comfortably sleep in the back and that meant no having to
set up and take down a tent! So easy and fun and we now go
car camping all the time :)
#3 Kid-friendly campgrounds - Research kid-friendly
campgrounds - ones that not only afford access to beautiful
outdoor locales but also have playgrounds, easy nature
trails, nature centers, etc.
Anyway, hope these tips are helpful and the photos inspire
you to get your kids outside! We truly feel that there's no
better way to raise a happy healthy kid!