Camping With Infants: It Takes a Village

Okay, not really, but it certainly helps to camp with amazing friends who like your kids. And by like, I mean are willing to change a poop-loaded diaper in the middle of the night on a sleeping bag, whilst getting poop on their hands. Or to gently rock one of your kids in a hammock until said kid projectile vomits into their crotch. That is a true friend.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Our dear friend Sarah just moments before Kate puked all over her.

We took the twins on their first camping trip this past weekend to one of our favorite campgrounds – Dolly Copp, nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire just outside the town of Gorham. It was awesome – they slept like rock stars at night. Sadly, the same could not be said for Addison. She apparently awakes with the sun… and the sun was up around 5am each day. This made for long days, but because we were camping with two other awesome couples – Kate and Sara, and Kate and Amy – there were plenty of willing hands to help take care of the kids.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Kate and Kate with Kate and Evan. (That’s a lot of Kate’s!)

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Kate and Amy and baby Kate.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Sara and Evan.

Aside from the occasional rain shower, it was an awesome weekend. Because of the spotty forecast, we didn’t go hiking. Instead, we explored the campground, played with all three kids, hung out by the campfire, and had a lot of laughs and good food.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Addie loved moving between our two sites.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Addie and I played some card games while we waited for everyone else to arrive.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Kendra and Addie.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Jen and Evan.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

The Imp Face as seen from the campground.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Culhane Brook at the campground.

Tips for Camping With Infants

So aside from amazingly patient friends, how did we manage to take all three kids camping? Lot of planning, and using what we learned from camping with Addie when she was an infant. Not to mention, we have an embarrassingly large tent – an REI Kingdom 6. That is not to say we don’t love said tent. We do. But oh my goodness it is big. Our friends like to joke about our portable palace. We bought it in 2011 when we took a then 11 month old Addie on a five-week cross-country road trip. Kendra had one ultimatum before we left – buy a tent she could stand up in, or she was not camping. The next day we were at REI, and brought home our gianormous tent.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Our portable palace – the REI Kingdom 6.

Though the tent seemed silly when we had one kid, now that we have infant twins, it’s perfect! This weekend we put each twin in a pack and play, with Addie sandwiched between on a cot. We took the other side, and used the space under the pack and plays to store clothing and gear.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

The kids sleeping in the tent – two pack and plays and a cot.

Sleeping

So this is always a tough one – like I wrote earlier, Addie was up at the crack of dawn last weekend. Unfortunately tents don’t come with blackout shades, so the minute the sun is up, the entire tent is bright. With the twins, it’s easy to put a blanket across the top of the pack and play to block out light, but we haven’t come up with a solution for Addie now that she’s in a sleeping bag.

We also bring a portable sound machine – the gentle rain sound calms the babies, and helps block out the sounds of other campers while they sleeping.

Because the twins aren’t in sleeping bags yet, we bundled them up in their Patagonia buntings, which work really well to keep them warm. Fleece Halo Sleep Sacks are also a great option when the weather is warmer. Addie has a Marmot Kid’s Trestles 30, which she loves because it’s pink. We love it because it keeps her toasty warm. When she went camping with me in April, and the temperature dropped into the 30’s, she was warm and cozy.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Addie awake bright and early!

Eating

Both the twins are bottle fed, so before leaving we filled enough bottles for the weekend with just water, and added the formula as we needed each bottle. Rather than trying to clean them at the campsite, we brought a giant ziploc bag and tossed the dirties in to be cleaned at home. For food, we really love squeeze pouches because they pack well, are easy to carry on the go, and make great hiking snacks for Addison. (Happy Family, Sprout, and Ella’s Kitchen are our favorites)

For mealtimes, we use a clip on booster seat that we attach to the picnic table. The twins love it because they get to sit right at the table with us. We love it because it’s a lot easier to feed a baby when they are not in your lap. If you don’t have a seat, strollers can also double as high chairs.

Addie in her chair at the picnic table.

Throwback – Addie in her chair at the picnic table.

Playing and Exploring

The best thing to do is bring along an incredible dog that has infinite patience and gentleness, like Kate and Amy’s beautiful dog Bella. Even if you don’t have a dog at the campsite, make sure you bring along some small toys from home and a blanket to spread out on the ground. The twins loved being able to roll around and tug on the grass.

For walks around the campground we put the twins in our Bob Revolution Pro Duallie stroller, or strap them into their Ergobaby carriers. We use the Ergos for hiking too, as well as our Deuter Kid Comfort III carrier.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

If possible, always go camping with a sweet dog like Kate and Amy’s Bella.

Camping at Dolly Copp Campground in Gorham, NH

Evan loved playing with Bella’s toys.

Be Flexible and Have Fun!

Camping with babies is not easy. They are in an unfamiliar environment with new sights and sounds. It is not the same as camping with your friends – hiking plans may have to be scrapped, the babies will inevitably eat dirt, nap schedules might get thrown off. The trick is to just stay relaxed and adapt to the situation.

For more great tips about camping with babies, check out these posts from my fellow Outdoor Family Bloggers:

About Jen

Outdoor adventurer & traveler. Writer. Photographer. Blogger gayfamilytrips.com. Com Professor. Wife. Mom of twins plus one.

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4 Responses to Camping With Infants: It Takes a Village

  1. brian May 31, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    What a memorable trip for everyone AGAIN!!!
    The pictures are amazing.
    Kids are so lucky.

  2. Mommy Hiker June 1, 2014 at 2:25 am #

    Ok, Jen….I’m gonna make you ladies feel a bit less embarrassed about your ridiculously large tent. Ready? Our first camping trip when V was 4 months old, we traded in our 2-person ultralight for the Ozark Trail 10 Person Tent 3 Rooms 20 X 11!!! Seriously. It was not only embarrassing, it was laughable and thankfully, after that trip, we immediately traded down to the Coleman Evanston 6 with the screened in porch :) Anyway, looks like an amazing time! :)

  3. The GypsyNesters June 11, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    We did a coast to coast van and ten camping trip with our three when they were 5, 4 & 1… many years ago. There most certainly are some challenges, like making sure no one goes over the edge of the Grand Canyon, but it was great. Some fond memories.

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