Camping with Kids.

Because I am so very girly, a lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I love camping. I do! I love everything about it! The smells. The sounds. Sleeping in sleeping bags. The stars. The campfire food. I'm a big fan. I grew up camping and really want to continue the tradition with my own family.

This was the first year that we've tried. Our trip to Southern Utah was such fun...except for the whole camping in a tent part. We went into it knowing our kids wouldn't sleep a lot, and we were okay with that. But, we didn't expect the baby to be up ALL NIGHT LONG. And he was. Luckily, I am married to the sweetest man on earth. He took Baby D into the car around 11:00pm and drove him to sleep all night. Poor boys! (The older kids and I slept like babies after they left. I felt a tad guilty about it once I heard about Jason's horrible night with the babe.)

We did some things right, and we did some things wrong. I hope some of these tips help you:

• Have a backyard campout before you go. We wish we would have done a trial run! We would have reserved a hotel room instead!

• If you are camping with really little kids, I highly recommend camping somewhere with running water and indoor pluming. We were so grateful we did. Sleeping outside is "roughing it" enough for munchkins. (Especially if one of them is sporting diapers.)

• Make sure you pick a location with kid-friendly activities and hikes. Arches & Goblin Valley were perfect for my 1-6 year olds.

• Buy a cheap flashlight for each child. Not only are they fun, but having a light at hand helps with nighttime scares.

• Make a checklist before you head out! You don't want to forget anything...especially the sunscreen and bugspray.

• Bring plenty of treats. I don't know why, but my kids ate about 3x's the amount of food that they do at home. I brought homemade granola bars, trail mix, Craisins, fruit leather, string cheese, Goldfish crackers, cold cereal, carrot & celery sticks and fruit.

• Pack warm jammies for your little ones. I am always shocked at how cold it gets at night...even after a super hot day in the sun.

• For your first trip, don't go too far from home. We were so exhausted that we went home a day early. We were so grateful that we were only 3 hours away from our cozy beds at home.

• We didn't buy special kid-sized bags for our kids. Having a sleeping bag that is too huge can keep you from staying warm at night, so we folded their sleeping bags in half. This gave them extra padding to sleep on and kept them nice and warm.

• Let your kiddos help! Our kids helped with putting up the tent, building the fire, and cooking the meals. They loved every minute!

• Make rubbings. We collected lots of interesting leaves and plants from around the campground and, using a crayon, made rubbings. Very fun!

• Don't unpack the car. We left everything but the sleeping gear in the car. It became our changing station, food center and home base. It helped things stay nice and organized.

• Let them get dirty! By the time we got home, every inch of our kids' bodies were covered in dirt. I didn't let it get to me, and they loved having total freedom to be kids.

Hope you all have fun on your camping adventures this year. We plan on trying a year.


  1. These are great tips. I don't have kids yet, but I remember when my parents took us camping as kids. I don't know how difficult it was for my parents, but I remember how much fun my sis and I had and all the cool memories. There's nothing like it, especially the "total freedom" part. :)

  2. What the... for some reason google reader is only showing me half of your blogs. I just scanned through your blog and I missed over half of what's been going on. Sheesh!

    Camping with a baby is an adventure! Kudos to you for trying it. I'm thinking we should get some good camping in before we add another baby to the mix.

  3. I am so glad you posted this. I am about to brave my yearly fundraiser music festival camping trip with my 21 month old. Last year they paid for us to stay in a hotel and commute, but this year we decided to stay on site, and need all the tips we can get! Although there is running water and bathrooms and showers, that is about it so i need any advice I can get!

  4. Oh man... we are considering trying to go camping this summer with the kids...and am just not sure how this is going to go! Thanks for all the tips!

  5. I'll have to send this post to my friend - she has a two year old and will have a second child in September. Her family loves to camp and she is wondering how it will all work out.

  6. This makes me WANT to camp! You're amazing ... love these tips!

  7. How GIANT is your youngest! I guess I haven't checked in for awhile.

    I had the unfortunate lack of camping as a young kid, and now that I'm older, I love camping and will definitely be taking my own on camping trips later. Good for you!

  8. We've been thinking about camping soon with our 2 year old this summer, and these are awesome tips! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Thank you for the tips Hannah. I am not a camping fan but I think it will be a fun experience to do it with seeems that you did had a lot of good family and time together.

  10. What a great husband + dad to drive the little one around all night for him to get some sleep! :)


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