I’m pretty sure I said in my post last summer that I would never camp with a child under the age of two again. So I surprised myself when I realized that I really wanted to go camping again this summer, despite having a 23 month old and a 7 week old.
My husbands family were coming to visit for a week from Ontario and had never experienced camping in our beautiful province, so we thought It’d be fun. Though my favorite place to camp is Manning Park a few hours away, with two young children we planned to stick close to home and go to Cultus Lake. And we were only going for three days.
Getting ready was slightly overwhelming. I was trying to balance shopping, laundry and packing all while rotating between nursing the baby, diaper changes and entertaining the toddler.
And I’m a planner. I like to be organized, stick to schedules and be prepared for all circumstances; especially with two young children. My husbands family is a lot more ‘take it as it comes’ which is great for some people, but hard for me as the mom. I’m just not free to drop everything and do whatever whenever.
We ended up using my parents ancient trailer for our family of four and my in laws and sister in law took our six person tent. It worked out great, because it gave me a quiet place to nurse the baby day and night. It also made things like diaper changes and storage a whole lot easier! Having the family around was a huge benefit. My sister in law took charge of most of the meals and my mother in law helped with the children. Even with all that help I only had maybe one or two hours the entire trip where I was able to sit and read a book or play a game. Very different from camping in the past! But I know this won’t always be the case.
Our nearly two year old son loved it. I’m pretty sure he could have lived at the campground. He spent his days wandering around picking up sticks, rocks and munching on snacks. I brought a bunch of toys and books for him but he barely touched them. The first night was a little rough with him for sleep, but he eventually gave in to his tiredness and slept. I was originally worried about him being around a campfire, but he understood pretty quick that it’d give him an ‘owwie’ and was actually concerned if anyone else got too close to it. We did have to watch him constantly but he had such a wonderful time that it was totally worth it. He ended up going to bed later every night and his naps were unpredictable as to when and where they would happen, but he came out just fine.
The baby did great too. I’m not even sure he realized that we left home! He did what he always did. He ended up being held a lot more that usual, but I’m pretty sure his Grandmama visiting from far away didn’t mind! There was one night where he was up every two hours to nurse, but that occasionally happens at home anyway. So besides me being exhausted the next day it was nothing new. Whenever people in the campground saw me with little Asher they always said the same thing. “He’s how old!? You are a brave woman!” But honestly, he was easy! A toddler is way more work!
What are my tips for camping with two under two?
1. Don’t worry about how dirty they and their clothes will get. Both are washable!
2. Try to make their bed as comfortable and similar to home as possible. We brought a pack n play for Noah and filled it with his normal bedding and stuffies and kept Asher in his moses basket.
3. Bring a ton of snacks so that if they don’t eat meals they still have some healthy options like veggies and fruit.
4. Try to keep some what of a normal schedule so that the kids don’t get over tired or hungry. That brings on meltdowns!
5. Don’t go too far from home the first time around in case things go sour. And keep it short.
I’d say the hardest thing about going camping with two under two is coming home and unpacking! We had tons of stuff to unpack, dirty kids to scrub down and a mountain of laundry that has yet to be finished. Camping is not your usual vacation, but it’s worth it.
So the big question. Would I do it again? Absolutely! In fact, next year we are planning to go for five days 🙂