Yep. I went camping. I love it. My husband hates it. Win/win, no?
Would I do it again? Hell yes! Would hubby to it again? Under duress (and he will.) But I loved it and Noah was a star and I can’t wait until he’s able to explore and enjoy more of what different camp and caravan sites have to offer.
So, what might you need to know for your first camping adventure with an infant?
- SPACE. You need LOTS of car space. We only went for a weekend but gosh, the car was packed. Our tent is fab- a 2 room dome tent with a little foyer in the middle. We set the table up so we could put all the bottles and feeding apparatus out- I just need to get myself a little kettle for the boiled water (but I was able to use my brother’s and parent’s kettle this time round). Babies take up sooooo much room. As do prams. If you can avoid taking a pram this will be a HUGE space saver, if not, pack efficiently (and not 5 mins before you need to go… like I did…)
- WHERE TO STAY. Choose your accommodation and position wisely. We stayed at the Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola Caravan Park. Apart from the atrocious check in (they had no idea what they were doing) we had an amazing grassy spot overlooking a little man-made lake. Unfortunately it wasn’t a scenic caravan park and we didn’t see a whole lot of Lake Conjola itself, but it did have a fabulous water park for my 2 year old nephew, and lots of grass on our site for Noah to roll around on with his cousin who is 8 weeks younger than him. The grandparents loved having their three grandsons there all together. The amenities were good and reasonably close as well.
- WHAT TO PACK. Make sure you have everything you need- for the baby and you. As I said, we were missing a kettle, but took his little Bumbo for feeding solids, a mat, picnic blanket, some toys, the pram and the ergo carrier. We had an amazing first night- Noah slept 10 hours straight for the first time ever! Unfortunately for us, in my haste to pack I apparently picked the wrong air mattress, which sadly deflated at 4am. My husband- who hates camping anyway, was furious and threatened to make the 4 hour return trip home, just to get the ‘right’ mattress. Sadly, despite Noah sleeping well, we weren’t able to capitalise on this, and had to purchase a new mattress, for the one night Noah woke several times. Ahhh… parenting. And camping. We probably didn’t need the pram, or the capsule, and I wish I’d packed more warm clothes for Noah instead of half his summer wardrobe. Pack for all weather.
- DISTANCE. Be mindful of how far away your camping destination is, in case it’s a horrid experience and you need to leave. Thankfully my husband tolerated the 2nd night, but in terms of car naps and driving, I was grateful it was only 2 hours from home. I’m not sure I could have coped with endless screaming and being squished on the back seat next to Noah for half the leg there and back, to keep him entertained, meant the drive was just long enough.
- TRAVEL TOGETHER. I enjoy camping with others. You can share the load (and palm off the baby) and enjoy the extra company. I know for my husband’s sanity having extra people makes it easier on him. I could happily camp with just us, but there is something lovely about ‘holidaying’ with others, especially family, if you can.