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TIPS: 1st time camping - with 2 year old!

(14 Posts)
squizita Mon 25-Apr-16 11:31:17

Basically - I'm an experienced camper (done everything from trailer tent at a 'resort' style site to up a mountain with a 2 man in driving rain to running a Guide weekend away in my time...) but never with a tiny DD.

I've decided to bite the bullet and am camping twice this summer - just short weekend breaks - with my toddler in tow.

Please let me know your 'mumsnet tips' from things to bring to what to watch out for... thanks! smile

She's still in nappies and has a BF at night, but will also happily use beakers and bottles, if any baby logistical advice is out there too. I'm wondering about temperature, and bedtime given it will still be light and likely to be warm at bedtime then cool - we use gro-bags, should I buy something specialist?


Allyoucaneat Mon 25-Apr-16 13:25:33

I posted something similar a month or so ago. We still haven't been camping but I concluded:

- A waterproof all in one suit for crawling about the grass.
- Something to keep them contained whilst you set up (pushchair/play pen/ travel highchair)
- No campfires site, just from a safety point of view that's important to me

Following for anymore suggestions, my ds will be nearly 2 in the summer and I also have a 5yr old.

lightcola Mon 25-Apr-16 13:35:03

Usual bed time routine will go out the window as it will be lighter and lots of noise. I learnt that the hard way the first time went; you just need to be able to go with the flow. We use gro bags with a couple of blankets over the top at bed time. Plenty of wet wipes and changes of clothes. Also I took tins of baked beans etc for a quick hot meal in the evening if needed. Camping with little ones is great fun.

longestpasswordyet Mon 25-Apr-16 14:18:00

Hi, my wife and I went travelling with our daughter when she was about 14 months, until she was 17 months or so. It was fantastic although now she is approaching two and knows her own mind a bit more I can't say with confidence she'd be so manageable.

We were in a motorhome so it was a lot easier to regulate light and temperature etc, it was still difficult to maintain a routine since depending on the vibe at the campsite we frequently had to let her stay up until she was ready for bed just to keep the peace. The other issue was keeping clothes clean and washed although if you're going for shorter periods just pack a lot and obviously avoid whites and anything you're massively precious about.

It's cool and inspiring to see so many people still camp with kids, canvassing opinion on the various benefits and pitfalls was kind of why I came to mumsnet in the first place, with that in mind if anyone's feeling really generous and was willing to take a couple of minutes out to fill in a short survey I'd be super grateful if you head over to

Also if asking that is really not on in these forums then I apologise in retrospect.

AnnPerkins Mon 25-Apr-16 14:24:00

I've posted about this in the tent thread, we had a tent with a large living space and carpet which was much more cosy and comfortable for DS playing on the floor with his trainset and cars.

Yes, go with the flow about bedtime. Although DS was often quite knackered from all the fresh air and exercise so by early evening so would crash out even in daylight. And bear in mind the earlier they go to bed, the earlier they wake up, and it's hard keeping a two year old quiet in a tent at 5am when you don't want to disturb other campers.

In the UK nights are cold, even in August. I can't really remember what we did with DS. I think he slept in his PJs with socks and a fleece onesie, with a duvet over the top. We don't use sleeping bags. In southern France he slept in tshirt and nappy with a duvet.

momb Mon 25-Apr-16 14:27:10

...the fond memories of waking on that first morning at 6.30am to find my 3YO PFB gone.
Couldn't breath I was in such a panic. No zips were open, no way she should have got out.
Found her some 20 minutes later at the other end of the campsite in her PJs and her coat , with a fruit shoot in one hand and a cooked slice of bacon in the other . She was completely lost, completely unfazed, and had been given breakfast by another family. She'd basically dug out under the wall and rolled out rather than undoing any zips (which I'd have heard). Oh how I laughed (and wept with relief).

My advice would be to make sure that there is a loud zip, you and possibly a guard dog between your child and the great outdoors while you are sleeping.

RTKangaMummy Mon 25-Apr-16 14:46:26

Make sure you have enough warm dry clothes for toddler so you can do quick clothes changes when they have been playing in puddles or mud

Also that they are warm enough at 3am

Maybe one of those hot water bottle thingys that don't use hot water inside, not sure how they work but they are warm and safe

Have funfunfun smilesmilesmile

AnnPerkins Mon 25-Apr-16 14:54:03

shock momb!

DS befriended our Dutch neighbours when we were camping in the Dordogne. We still laugh when we remember watching him trip out of the tent each morning and toddle up the slope to the neighbours. DH followed him the first day and found him sitting at their table with a bowl of cereal.

Glitterspy Mon 25-Apr-16 14:56:54

Oh camping with littles is wonderful! My tips:

- Battery operated fairy lights and animal torches
- Travel cot
- Fleece onesies
- Puddle suits and wellies for early morning dewy-grass playing
- Potty even if trained (its a long way to the loo)
- Bubbles
- UHT milk at bedtime (no need for a fridge)
- Establish a golden rule that only you/DP operate tent zips - DD must not touch
- A zillion books/ stickers for quiet 5am playing
- winewinewine

averylongtimeago Mon 25-Apr-16 15:15:12

I have camped with my DD and her children from 13 months (at guide camps in the UK) so if you have also done lots of camping you will know about keeping warm at night, remember your torch, spare socks, wellies, waterproof all in ones and the like.
What I would recommend is the pod sort of travel cot which comes with a built in mozzie net/blackout net. Light mornings are much less of a problem and they can't escape as zipped in.
Also a camping high chair (think go outdoors sells them) then they can sit properly at meals.
Lots of toys for when it rains, plus waterproofs for playing out in the rain.
We take a small pop up tent as a play area/toy storage which works well.
Finally an all terrain type buggy which reclines. When they are tired you can go for a walk (took my DD' s up Welsh mountains) and encourage enforce a nap as bedtime usually goes out of the window.

Have seen lots of littlies at camp, youngest was 6weeks , they soon get into the flow and love it.

Blu Mon 25-Apr-16 16:57:05

Zip the zips up to the top of the tent, out of reach.
Have a sewn in ground sheet (to avoid tunnelling out!)
Consider a DVD in the car while you pitch the tent - will you have another adult with you? Pitching alone while wrangling a toddler would be the hardest part of the whole trip, I think!
Bucket with lid: not just for toddler but for you, if alone: you don't want to traipse to the toilet block in the middle of the night and leave your toddler asleep and alone - probably.

Really easy quick food and drink: porridge in cardboard tubs, brioche rolls, ready made pancakes that you can heat in a pan for 10 seconds. I am not a fan of cereal for small children when camping - the wobbly chairs and tables just seem to result in them spilling it all over themselves, all the time. Dry manageable food and milk in a beaker.
They spill things much more while camping, it is harder to clean up and you want as few milk sodden clothes as possible!

Take millions of wipes - for hands, the table, everything.

I thought bubbles on tent fabric was a no-no?

We once came back to our tent after a day out, unzipped to find a 2 year old happily sitting in our tent looking very long established and 'at home' playing with our pots and pans and her bear, and eating our Penguin biscuits. Her Dad was a few tents down , setting up camp - on a Dad's weekend hmm

northdownmummy Mon 25-Apr-16 17:06:41

A way of insulating from the ground we have those foam mats that all fit together and use them as a floor in the kids sleeping area.
Will they be in a travel cot? If so then stuff the airspace underneath with a fleecy blanket or similar too.

A bag of favourite toys and books for quiet time.

Tights and long sleeve tops to layer up at night time.

squizita Mon 25-Apr-16 18:41:46

Thanks all! grin I might keep the gro bag on simply to prevent escape hahaha! I'll layer her up underneath.

winewolfhowls Sat 30-Apr-16 19:39:48

Nooo to bubbles! Bad for tents

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