Camping with Little Ones

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Over the last year I have been doing mama campouts every 6 weeks or so, and I’ve found it’s inspiring other women to also host mama campouts and to get out there on their own once they see that they can do it. Here’s the thing about being a mom, especially if you have young kids: camping can seem daunting. If you are planning on doing it solo, that makes it even more overwhelming to consider.

If you are reading this and you are kid-free, great, pass it on to that girlfriend who you used to love to do things with, but she now has kids and never seems to get out there. If you are expecting or considering kids, my hope is this will help you take that first step to get out there and go camping. If you are a mom who just needs that push, here are a few tips to make sure you have a successful adventure. 

  1. Plan your first campout relatively close to home. Whether backpacking in or car camping, make sure you can bail for home if it’s a total bust.
  2. Don’t worry if the first time isn’t successful. Do it again! Eventually you will figure out your camping systems.
  3. Don’t get discouraged and bail if you can’t get any other friends excited and interested. Go for it anyway as you will feel much better and pretty proud of yourself once you are sleeping under the stars with your kids.
  4. To help ensure success, pick a good weekend for a camp out. While you can’t guarantee the weather will rock (especially if you are in a place like Alaska), you can plan your trip during the better months. Look at past years of weather during the time you plan to camp.
  5. Pick campgrounds with amenities or backpacking trips that have some kind of support like a cabin, fire rings, or outhouses once you get into the woods. The less variables you have to manage the better.
  6. Do a test run with all of the gear you are bringing in your home, backyard and garage. Don’t open a tent for the first time when you roll in to a campsite at 6pm with hungry kids.
  7. Bring simple to cook foods (like Heather’s Choice) that are tasty and easy to whip up fast when you get back late from a hike. Packaroons are an awesome quick hit of energy and kids will never say no to these.
  8. Pack light and simple. Easier said than done with kids, but think about what you really need and can get away without. The faster you can break down a camp and get out, the happier you will be when it’s time to get home.
  9. Make a camp event on Facebook and invite all of your friends with kids so that you’ll have others join you, and then if you forgot anything, you’re covered.
  10. Bring toys! I have a box of camp toys that we always bring. I don’t care if they get dirty or lost and they are always a smash hit and keep our kiddo and others busy for hours.
Find a community! Join Hike it Baby, Adventure Mamas, Women Who Hike, Trailmothers, Wild Outsiders Club, 52 Hike Challenge or one of the many other hike groups popping up to find your adventure buddies.
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