We’ve not long returned from Heidi’s first camping trip at the Big Church Day Out (BCDO), a Christian music festival based in the stunning grounds of Wiston House, Worthing. The name suggests it’s a day event, but it’s actually over a weekend. I’ve not got my head round that one either!
Looking around the house, the bags are still packed and there’s stuff everywhere, but we are taking things slow in our traditional post-holiday style; pancakes, pyjamas and enjoying time lounging around the house. I’m so thankful for the bank holiday, which gives us chance to reflect and relax after a busy but exciting weekend!
So what can I share from our first, short camping trip with Heidi? I’ve summarised our top 8 tips for camping with a toddler below – I hope they encourage you to take the plunge and head outdoors with your little one!
8 Tips for Camping with a Toddler
- Space to play – An extra groundsheet to peg outside is really handy for crawling, reading and keeping toys on a dry surface. It’s also really worth having something for shade or if it rains, like a gazebo or a parasol. If you don’t have access to an outdoor space which is suitable when it rains, you may want to allow extra space in your tent, if you’re camping in England it is pretty likely to rain at some point!
- Bedding – Heidi still wakes up to feed in the night, so to make it as easy as possible whilst camping and to prevent the inevitable noise when wriggling about to get comfortable, we decided to pack our duvet and camping mats instead of sleeping bags and airbed. It worked really well, although we forgot to actually put all our bedding in the car and begrudgingly ended up buying a whole new set on the way, but that’s a whole other story!
- Floor seat – We love our little red floor seat and tray (photo below). It’s so handy for trips like these and is the only way to keep Heidi still whilst eating when out and about! If you’re interested in getting one, the 2-in-1 Ingenuity seat is amazing, it is both a floor and booster seat with a tray and removable baby insert, so you can use it at home and whilst you’re away from the start of weaning up into toddlerhood!
- Ditch the pushchair! – Carriers are such amazing inventions, especially when you’re camping. We love using ours whilst going away, because it means not having to lug the pushchair around. You may be surprised to know though that the conventional carriers are not the only alternative out there! During our trip we were inspired to turn the trolley we transported all our gear in (from the car park to our pitch) into a toddler trolley that also converts into a bed. Not necessarily essential for your standard camping trip but for festivals – AMAZING!
- Toys – It’s definitely worth packing a few toys and books, but depending on the length of your trip, crockery and other everyday items can work just as well if not better, which means less stuff and more space. Whilst we packed down our pitch, Heidi enjoyed taking bowls and plates out of a box, banging them together and putting them back in – not necessarily in that order though!
- Fruit pouches & easy snacks – It’s really worth having a stock of fruit pouches and easy snacks (like breadsticks or crackers) ready to take with you. We found them incredibly handy when dinner or breakfast wasn’t ready at the usual time. Especially if you’re staying with other people and adjusting your usual routine. There’s a lot to think about when you go camping, but it’s definitely worth being prepared with some of these.
- Tent – This is towards the end because it may be incredibly obvious, but if you’re borrowing a tent or if you’re thinking about investing one, make sure you think through the sleeping arrangements. Will you use a travel cot? If not and you’re planning for your little one to sleep in the same compartment as you, is there space for all the extra luggage you need? Is there space to play? You may try and keep the cost down by opting for a smaller tent, but if you want something that will last you a while, have a think about the number of compartments you might need now as well as in the not too distant future. You may outgrow it quicker than you think!
- Relax & enjoy! – Just like our trip, things don’t always go to plan and if you’re used to a structured routine or strict bedtime, you may be nervous about how your little one will cope. Don’t fret though you will get back into your usual rhythm again. Like us, you may be very surprised how well they cope and hopefully how well they sleep!