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Seasoned campers - help! What does your baby/toddler sleep in when camping: travel cot? pop up cot? sim? etc

(24 Posts)
Kingsroadie Wed 03-Aug-11 09:07:15

Morning morning: me again again again again!

I know this has been asked over and over and I have read through lots of past threads I promise. But: Going camping in 10 days with 20 month old. She sleeps in a cot at home and needs rather a dark bedroom in which to sleep. She certainly isn't one of those who will just fall asleep when tired. She has never done that in her life. Even in the buggy she usually takes ages to fall asleep. <vainly hoping that this is the holiday when she starts to do this>

So we have an Emperor Bell tent and it's obv all open plan, and I assume there will be some lights in there at night so we can see (although actually suppose could just have lamps under the tarp and have belltent dark (once it gets dark which won't be until late anyway). I was planning on taking her travel cot and possibly trying to fashion some sort of curtains out of throws etc in the hope that she might go to bed a bit before us. It would also work as a pen in which to contain her (she won't be happy) while we put the tent up etc. Maybe...

I have seen a cot cover thing which might work but could feel a bit claustrophobic as she is obv now able to stand in her cot etc, although she doesn't usually, just sits. cot canopy

Or there are the pop up travel cots like Little Life Arc 2 or 3 or the Bushbaby one which also have a sunshade, which would act as blackout fabric. But she has never slept in one like that before and I imagine she would try and escape or cry when she discovered she was totally enclosed?! Obv would introduce it in the day etc. And it could be taken to the beach as a sun shade....

So - anyone have any recommendations? If you have one of the pop ups, how do you keep your kids in it - zip them in? Do they not then protest when they are trying to go to sleep (mine does not just drop off - she rocks herself and makes odd noises - yes weird I know)

I am not terribly bothered about when she goes to bed tbh (ie this isn't stressing me out, just trying to think if I an make my life easier grin <drunkard>). She has been to bed recently at 9ish and been fine. It will be a pain in the arse if she gets really overtired and is just miserable but we'll just deal with that if/when it happens. I had visions of me being able to drink wine with a friend with her asleep but I may just have to forget that one until she's older and can go off playing! She may just have to stay up and go to sleep when we do.

Thanks for the millionth time!

oranges123 Wed 03-Aug-11 10:09:25

Hi Kingsroadie. My experience recently of camping with a now 20 month old is that the first night can be a bit difficult but after that she is so exhausted by all the running around and fresh air that she drops off really quite quickly and sleeps very well (although sometimes she comes in with us during the night but then, she does that at home too. Once with us though, we are all back to sleep really quickly).

I can't really comment on the light unfortunately as, because I was too lazy busy to make her blackout curtains she has always slept with some light coming in so the bell tent fabric is no worse or better than anything else really.

However, she does sleep in a Littlelife Arc 2 and we have found it great, particularly with the side zip as we can get to her in the night without having to get out from under the warm duvet. Because of its wedge shape, it has a biggish footprint and is quite stable. I think it would be difficult for her to overturn. We leave her to fall asleep with the sides and top open and then zip it all up when we go outside once she is asleep in case she wakes up and thinks of wandering (never happened so far).

We have the sunshade and as far as I can recall it only covers one side of the cot, so she shouldn't feel completely trapped by it if she does wake up. Unfortunately, we have only ever used it in the day so I don't know for sure.

Another option which we have used when we REALLY need a drink sit down round the fire is to dress her up in her bed clothes including fleecy all in one and just have her with us by the fire. Provided she is tired, she will drop off in our arms (or even in the buggy) and we can then put her in the tent even though it might take a while. I guess if your DD isn't likely to relax like that, it might not be an option though.


pjwilliams Wed 03-Aug-11 12:06:05

have a look at the Kampa Junior airbed they come in pink or blue, we got one for my daughter (18 months old) and it was great. it's got sides on so she couldnt roll out and was a perfect size

Kingsroadie Wed 03-Aug-11 12:51:32

Thanks Oranges and Pj!

The problem I have is that she has never been in a cot on the floor or junior airbed etc and I just can see her climbing out.. So am just not sure it will work?! How do you get yours not to try and escape? (or do you have miracle children who drop straight off to sleep? Jealous if so) She won't sleep with me - she never has at home - she gets too excited and will climb all over me/play. So that's not even an option <bloody difficult child> grin

She is a very very good sleeper when she is asleep though but I think the airbed would excite her and she would climb out of it. The cot I am not sure about either tbh. But another bonus is that they pack up v small unlike proper travel cots.

Part of me just thinks try it out this time and buy a pop up if it's really bad for the next time (sept), and if she has to stay up with us then she has to. We can even sit inside tent surrounded by all my fairy lights and drink wine while she plays if need be.

Thank you!

oranges123 Wed 03-Aug-11 13:10:21

TBH we have never tried to put DD into the Littlelife, zip her in and leave her to it. She won't go to sleep on her own at home and she sure as hell isn't going to in a tent (we have been told numerous times about the rod for our back we are creating with this approach, but hey ho). The first time we took her in the bell tent (as opposed to a Quechua pop up with a small bedroom) she was so excited by the space she ran all around our bed and hers bouncing off the walls for about half an hour and then just got into her cot, lay down and passed out - it was quite funny. Since then, she has been a bit calmer but we still stay with her while she roams and then falls asleep. Once asleep, she can be zipped up and we can leave her and go outside, near enough so that we can hear her if she wakes (we assume - not been tested yet).

However, I have to say, this running around business usually only happens on the first night - subsequent nights she drops off much quicker and I would be amazed if your DD doesn't too [fingers crossed emoticon]

oranges123 Wed 03-Aug-11 13:11:31

Actually, looking at your post again, your idea of just seeing how things go this time is probably the best one. Your tent is so huge you can enjoy yourselves on one side with her on the other anyway.

Kingsroadie Wed 03-Aug-11 13:16:30

grin they are funny aren't they? That's amazing that she ran around, then lay down and slept by herself. My bloody firecracker won't do that. She's great at sleeping and going to bed by herself in her cot but think if allowed to roam then she would just keep roaming forever!

The only thing that is tempting me at the mo is the pack size and the sun shade for the beach aspect. We will need one as apparently where we are going hasn't got any/much shelter. However, it could make more sense to use the normal travel cot and buy a sunshade for £10 or something rather than spend a fortune on a cot in which she may not sleep!

Can always get one for september. The bushbaby looks pretty big - apparently up to 5years. Thanks a lot Oranges!

oranges123 Wed 03-Aug-11 13:31:23

Sounds sensible Kingsroadie. We have only used the sunshade once actually and DD was a lot younger then. I don't think she would tolerate sitting in a travel cot during the day any more so if your DD was the same it could be an expensive waste as a day time tent only. We have an ELC pop up beach tent which is quite good but she doesn't play in that either really so we have given up and just try to find a shady area/big beach umbrella or use suncream and cross our fingers.

Kingsroadie Wed 03-Aug-11 13:51:50

Oh no mine definitely wouldn't! Yes they are pretty hot aren't they during the day...

Hmm am now slightly leaning towards buying a little life one now! Am so silly. Dither dither.

oranges123 Wed 03-Aug-11 15:00:41

Kingsroadie - I love our Littlelife and wouldn't be without it. BUT we have had it since DD was tiny so she has had loads of use from it and is very used to sleeping in it. Your DD is 20 months now and I think the Littlelife is really only good up to 3 years so already that is only just over a year's use left (although I guess you could ebay it as it would still be in good condition no doubt).

Also, once she is out of a cot at home it will be harder to get her to go in a cot camping and I know quite a few people whose children are in beds by 2 1/2 or thereabouts so it could be even less use.

Obviously it is none of my business but I think I would be tempted not to get the Littlelife yet and see how the first trip goes and maybe then reconsider.

Kingsroadie Wed 03-Aug-11 17:12:44

Thanks Oranges - that is exactly what I wanted to hear! Will see how it goes and decide after the first trip.

Although she is my first and hopefully not my last so we would be able to use it again if we did get one...

Rhian82 Wed 03-Aug-11 17:15:29

We've used a ReadyBed, which was great. DS complained about sleeping in his real bed when we got back home!

TheEndlessArete Wed 03-Aug-11 19:18:49

We used a travel cot for our 18mth old last month - she is also a baby that won't just fall asleep snuggled next to you (shame). I bought a cheap dark shower curtain and pegged it to the ceiling (wasn't too heavy). And made sure she couldn't pull it round - didn't want her working out that we were sleeping next to her.

Can't remember who said it earlier, but the first night is often tricky but after that it is easier than you think.

It's easier for you as she's your first, so even if you're in the tent, you can be quiet while she settles - harder when you have two hyper sisters racing around !!

Hope you enjoy it.

Tonksforthememories Wed 03-Aug-11 19:27:29

We took our then 20mo ds to Italy in june and he slept in a Kampa airbed + grobag without any trouble at all. He's an awful sleeper at home! You may find that the novelty suits her and she settles really well.

The one time we camped with ds in a travel cot was a nightmare! Fresh air works wonders but you may have to be prepared for hell on the first night regardless. grin

Kingsroadie Wed 03-Aug-11 20:27:43

Thanks guys - more good tips! I think I am going to try constructing a curtain thing around her to pen her in, using the tent poles and edge of tent... hmm

If all goes horribly wrong with travel cot (think it should be the best place for her) then will reconsider for our next trip.

And yes, am prepared for carnage on first night! grin

SallyM12 Thu 04-Aug-11 11:15:46

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Kingsroadie Thu 04-Aug-11 11:31:02

Sally - thanks! How old is your baby? Am only worried she might feel claustrophobic in it as she often sits in her cot and sometimes stands? Any experience of that?

Freezingmyarseoff Thu 04-Aug-11 14:45:35

Just picking up on the pop up cot ideas.

We have a nomad travel cot, similar to a littlelife arc. I think because of the dimensions it would last longer than an arc (but I could be wrong)- DD is almost 3 and there is lots of room for her so I think it would last longer. She currently sleeps in a bed but we will still use the cot for camping. Right now she's having a nap in it, so seems to be happy to be in a cot even though she's out of her cot at home. THe excitement of camping is enough to persuade her I think.
We're off tomorrow so I may be well a bit premature in thinking it will all be fine grin. However, we are "glamping" in a pod rather then under canvas (still need to get our tent, but you've seen my other thread!).

Anyway just another option thought if you decide to go down the camping cot route after this trip. Either way Ebay is your friend.

Kingsroadie Thu 04-Aug-11 15:19:33

Thank you Freezing! V helpful 0 I had looked at those too actually but hadn't actually managed to look at the dimensions - interesting your daughter sleeps in that one at nearly 3. My main concern with thos etypes is that she wouldn't settle as she has never used one before and might just try to escape/succeed in escaping and not sleep at all!? (Have sort of given up hope of lunchtime naps anyway unless we are out with buggy and have miles to walk).

Have a lovely time glamping and good luck choosing the tent!

Kingsroadie Thu 04-Aug-11 15:56:58

I have actually just looked and the Nomad is 118 x 68 x 75, the Little Life 2 is 133 x 85 (w) x 75 (h) and the Little Life 3 is 125 x 125 x 75 (h), which seems to make them bigger than the Nomad <loser cot geek> so perhaps they would last even longer!

Freezingmyarseoff Thu 04-Aug-11 20:59:55

Even better then. Glad I'm not the only one who gets a bit er, "into" researching new kit!

SingOut Thu 04-Aug-11 21:15:59

I have a regular 4m bell tent and I have the Soulpad Bijou Inner Tent which takes up about a third to a quarter of the tent. I then hang thin hippy style dark cotton throws/drapes and stuff to make it nice and dark for him. When he was smaller the travel cot fitted in there nicely. It's also warmer than the rest of the bell tent which helps.
Just throwing that out there grin

It came into its own at 5am around the solstice when it was REALLY light. As he tended to go down happiest when it was dark as everything was just too noisy and exciting until about 8 or 9pm!

AnnaMolly Thu 04-Aug-11 21:19:18

Following on from other posts. I hadn't previously thought of using it as a bed inside the tent, but we have the Ncessity delux UV travel centre (bought from mothercare). Comes with its own SIM and very lightweight sleeping bag. Up until now we have mostly used it at the beach, park, or for DDs to play camping in the garden. I think I may use it for DD2 when we go. DD1 (age 3) still fits in it to sit up or lie down.

Kingsroadie Thu 04-Aug-11 23:52:05

Thanks slingout - probably should have mentioned at the start that there are no inners for the emperor and it can't use any of the others as it is too tall... That's what I had originally planed to do... !

Yes get a little bit into my kit research... blush

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