Camping with a Toddler and Baby

So you're considering taking your 2 kids under the age of 3 and a large dog camping??
Nah, totally kidding!  You absolutely should.....we love to shake things up a bit.  Surprisingly they all behaved (dog whined some and kids whined like normal) and we actually had a blast!  Cliff got off of work early on Friday unexpectedly, so while eating a picnic lunch outside he asked what we wanted to do.  I had a 10k early Saturday morning at Burke Lake Park so I randomly suggested that we look into camping out.  Cliff lives for camping.  I've mentioned before that in his next life he will probably live in the woods like a Neanderthal or something.
Post 10K on Saturday with my biggest supporter

We packed up the truck really quick while Claire napped.  Our neighbors were laughing because we looked like the Clampetts with the amount of stuff jammed in the truck bed.  Fortunately, Cliff has his camping gear organized in our basement so he knew exactly what to grab.  I just had to get the girl's stuff, help pack up the food, and my things.  We got there Friday around 4, unloaded the kids, fed them snacks, then set up camp.  (If the pictures are blurry it's because they were taken with Cliff's phone)

Steps for a successful camping Trip

Step 1-Pack LOTS of snacks!  Like lots!  Better too much food than not enough.  And while you're grabbing all the snacks, do NOT forget Marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers.....the essentials!  We of course forgot but luckily the camp store sold them for double the price they'd be in the store. Naturally.

Step 2-Marry a man!  Haha Cliff told me to say that but for real, having an outdoor/woods expert/Marine/MAN is the quintessential tool!  He knew exactly what we needed and how to use it.  We received a lot of "Ya'll are brave camping with 2 babies!"  However, having Cliff and his expertise made the experience much more enjoyable.  He had all the equipment and thought of things that I never would have.  He actually was nice to have around. hahaha totally being sarcastic!  I love you babe 😉

Step 3-Know your kids!  But for real, know your kids!  If they don't go to bed easy at home then they probably aren't going to go to bed in a tent in the woods.  A couple pulled up beside us with a 2 and 4 year old and ended up packing up in the middle of the night, tent and all, in the pouring rain, because the kids would not stop screaming bloody murder.  With that being said, I would camp close to home!  That way if all hell breaks loose, home isn't too far away.
Luckily, we are finally to the point where Claire sleeps through the night.  She goes down super easy every night between 7 and 730 and lets you know when she is ready.  Therefore, we weren't worried that much about her except that she is cutting 2 teeth.  She cried out a couple of times the first night but only for a minute, long enough to wake me of course.  Charlotte also goes to bed relatively easy but has a lengthy routine.  I knew that she would fall asleep easy if I "tickled" aka rubbed her back so I willingly obliged and then almost fell asleep myself.  If your kid screams and cries themselves to sleep at night, I might hold off on camping until they're a little older. Ya know, for your camping neighbors sake and so they won't call CPS on ya!

Step 3-Take Air Mattresses!  Yea, I know, that's cheating and not "real camping".....But I'm a mom and I had to get some sleep to you know, function, chase kids, and run in the morning so Air Mattress it is! We brought the electric pump and used Cliff's truck to blow it up.  Most campgrounds have power somewhere or you can just buy a power converter.  Oh yeah, don't forget battery operated sound machine too! Read why we love this one here. It helped drown out the camping neighbor's screaming kids at 2 am and the boy scout shin dig during nap time.
We had a legit toddler air mattress but Cliff popped it earlier in the year trying to use it as a sled so Charlotte slept on his camping mattress that he takes on his hiking trips.   
We have to keep our wild woman contained so we brought along the pack and play for her.
Step 4- Get A BIG tent!  Go big or go home am I right? This one is awesome because it's large enough for all 4 of us, pack and play, queen air mattress, Charlotte sized mattress, and our luggage.  I also love that it has a vestibule, screened in porch, or whatever you want to call it, in the front!  It's perfect to let the kids play in while prepping dinner and we let the dog sleep in there at night. It's also like an added protection from bugs...."ewwww Nassssy Bug" as Char would say. 

This is the one we have, I think.  I say go bigger and would prefer the 8 might be more of a pain setting up though.  They are both on sale right now!

Claire in the porch, aka their playroom!

Step 5- Buy, rent, borrow some sort of baby container!  This Go Pod is a life saver and I can't recommend it enough.  This one has been well loved and is extremely stretched out but it still does it's job!
You could even feed them in this but since we had a truck we brought this portable High Chair that stays on our deck at home.  I just removed the cover so that I can just wipe it down before use and leave it outside.

Step ??!!??- Pack appropriately!  Be sure you check the weather beforehand and pack the appropriate clothing for you and your kids.  Be mindful that you WILL be outside and clothes WILL get extremely dirty.  So for kids, pack ample extra outfits, especially if potty training!  Camping is great for potty training btw!  I mean who doesn't want to potty outdoors? 😂
Also, Don't forget hats and sunscreen!

Ok enough with the steps, this post is getting lengthy.  I don't want to get into all of the camping gear because that is Cliff's domain. If you do have any questions though about that, I am happy to answer!
Oh, take at least a single stroller.  We took the Single BOB for Claire because I knew that if Charlotte got tired of walking, she could sit on the front end too.  She has become an expert at this and even lifts up her feet when I turn! 👌

Claire also was giving me a hard time on Saturday going down for a nap.  I just strapped her in the stroller, did a small loop around our campsite and she was out like a light!

This Eno Portable Hammock was a big hit with the girls too!  Cliff took a nap in it and I relaxed in it too once Claire fell asleep in stroller.

Cliff also bought this Water Cooler that came in handy for drinking water, washing hands, rinsing things.

A field behind our campsite!  Little did we know there was a huge boy scout troop there that used this field for activities all day Saturday so it got a little loud!

Don't forget towels or shower flops!  I bathed the girls quickly both nights in the campground showers because the girls were dirty from the day. I am also terrified of ticks so I wanted to be sure to look them over to make sure they did not have any on them.  I am completely soaked in this pic too btw!

I keep remembering things so I am randomly adding them!
If it is going to be hot, I highly recommend this Rechargeable Fan.  I, of course forgot ours but definitely will have it next time!

SkyGenius Battery Operated Clip on Mini Desk Fan, Black
Tons of wipes!  I was constantly wiping off the kids and our feet.  Confession, I'm not a fan of being dirty!
2 Big Coolers!  One for your food, and one for drinks/milk!   At night, we put the food cooler in Cliff's truck bed because it has a cover so animals can't get to the food. Yes, Lions, Tigers, and BEARS!!! Oh my!

Igloo 55-Qt. Sportsman Cooler - Tan 49323
I really hope this helped those considering taking on this feat!  In all seriousness, you should totally try it out.  It is a really fun experience getting to relax in the "wild" and you won't regret the awesome memories made with your sweet loved ones. 


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