Camping Hacks for Camping with Toddlers

camping hacks for camping with toddlers
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When most people find out we go camping with toddlers, the response is, “Are you crazy?” Maybe, but we do have some camping hacks to make our trips easier, survivable and even fun! I’ll get right to it.

Solar Shower for Hand Washing

Toddlers are messy. And camping is messy. My kids are often digging for worms or who knows what. Get a solar shower, hang it on a tree, add a little hand soap, and now you have a hand washing station.

Pull-ups at Night

You have made it camping with your toddlers. And they are even potty trained. Hooray! But then they have an accident in their sleeping bag. What are you going to do?

Or

You have your kids wear pull-ups at night to prevent the above scenario. I’m not sure when I will stop having my kids do this camping, but I haven’t made it there yet.

Outdoor Rug to Wipe Feet

Did I mention that toddlers are messy? By placing a rug outside your tent or camper, you can eliminate tons of dirt and mud from getting inside. Better yet, just leave all shoes on the rug. I also think it makes your site look a little homier, like a home away from home. Here is one of my favorites:

Portable Clothes Storage

We hang a fabric shoe rack in our camper to keep the kids’ clothes organized and readily accessible. In the past, when I would pack, I would be digging through everything just to find that sock, or shoe or that that thing one of the kids needs right this second. This really helps keep everything easy to find, and if the kids are old enough, they can even get it for themselves!

Dollar Store Games and Books Just for Camping

We have learned the hard way that bringing your kids everyday toys, turn into ruined toys. Now we have specific camping toys from the dollar store. It doesn’t matter as much if they get torn apart or demolished during the trip. Most dollar stores have a pretty good selection of books, toys, games, puzzles, coloring books and even stuffed animals. Let me know what you find!

First Aid Kit

Bringing a first aid kit is a good idea whether you are camping with toddlers or not. But toddlers tend to scrap their knees and get random fevers out of no where. We are also an EpiPen carrying family so there are a few items we have to have on hand at all times. Bring a few kid band-aids for the scrapped knees too.

Laundry Basket

Bringing a portable laundry basket with you is just another way to stay a little more organized, and keep all the smelly clothes separate from any clean clothes. I might even suggest a separate laundry basket for your kids’ clothes if they are prone to accidents.

Simple Meals

One of my best camping hacks for camping with toddlers is to bring simple meals. Don’t over think it! Think peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers, and s’mores. Heck, when we set up in the evenings, we have even brought a pizza with us. And it is usually better the next day warmed up on the fire.

Your kids won’t notice if you make a Martha Stewart inspired meal. But they will notice if you are cranky, because your dinner is taking too long or too complicated with your limited camping supplies. Keep it easy.

Please send over any camping hacks for camping with toddlers. We could all use all the tips we can get!

Happy camping!

Download the PDF of the Camping Hacks for Camping with Toddlers graphic here.

Camping hacks for camping with toddlers

Outdoorsy Mommy Linkup

Welcome to the Outdoorsy Mommy linkup, where all family friendly posts are welcome. I’ve participated in a few linkup’s in the past, and I think it is a great way to connect to this community of bloggers. I’m not sure yet the frequency I will host this, but stay tuned! Also, I will pick one post to feature as a guest blogger. Anyone that links up, I will share on your post on social media, and I encourage you to share information about this linkup. I’m looking forward to reading all your posts!

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My Outdoor Family: When three-nagers meet intentional parenting

Article originally posted on Outdoor Families Magazine in May 2018.

adventure family

In 2005, my husband and I moved to Colorado from Florida. We moved across the country for a change, a sense of adventure, and the Rocky Mountains. Our 480-foot studio apartment was only $500 a month. Our jobs were not serious, and with limited responsibilities, we explored this great state together. We hiked over 12 hours to summit and descent Long’s Peak. As fit and competitive people, we ran the Bolder Boulder, competed in multiple triathlons, and finished, albeit slowly, a century bike ride (100 miles). Additionally, we came to appreciate the outdoor music scene Colorado has to offer be attending shows at Red Rocks, Mishawaka, Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, and Jazz in the Park in Denver. Camping, mountain biking, snowboarding, four wheeling, rafting-you name it-we did it. Basically, we soaked up everything Colorado has to offer.

Our marriage was built on this framework of adventure and the outdoors. Now in 2018, we have two little boys, a dog, a house and careers. It sure would be easy to get caught up in the rat race, and say we’ve checked those items off our bucket list. After all, there is laundry to be done and a house to be cleaned. But, what kind of childhood memories would we be creating staying indoors and just watching movies? Sure, we all love a lazy day, but where is the sense of adventure? Some of my best childhood memories are running barefoot in the rain and riding my bike to the ice-cream store. I want that for my kids too.

As brand new parents we were in survival mode, but now we are establishing more of a groove and are finding time to get outside. Last year, we bought a pop-up camper. On our first camping trip as a family of four, our youngest was five months old and our oldest was three. There were challenges and fears. Our three-nager was going through a tantrum phase over the traumatic event of having a baby brother. I kept worrying the youngest would be too cold in his pack ‘n play. Also, packing for a trip with a baby and a toddler is no joke. How can people so small require so many things? We dealt with cleaning bottles and managing sleep schedules. But, we got outside together. Our kids know what a s’more tastes like and have seen the Milky Way in all its glory. They have been on hikes to waterfalls and fished in ponds with Dad. The awe they experience when they see a deer or even a frog is worth the effort to get outside.

Overall, we feel we are being intentional in our efforts to spend time together as family and instill values of appreciating experiences more than things. Of course, our kids will be their own people, but we hope they have a zest for life, and a love of nature. We want to experience things as a family and make memories together.

As a family, we have been on eight camping trips and have four more planned this summer. When we are not camping, we play outside and ride bikes around the neighborhood. We still watch tv and occasionally play video games, but we think there is more to childhood and life than screen-time. Our house could always cleaner and laundry is an infinite problem. It is not always easy, but we choose to go outside, spend time together and make lasting memories together.