we went camping and we survived

Last weekend we went camping. In a tent. With a 3 1/2 month old. AND SURVIVED.

Prior to leaving I was concerned about exactly three things:

  1. the drive there
  2. camping (in a tent, no less)
  3. the drive back

Reasonable, no?

We had to drive to a ferry that would take us to the mainland. Drive and drive and drive… and then set up a tent, WILL it not to rain and then drive and drive and drive back. No problem (check out the bottom of this post for “Tips & Tricks” for camping with a wee one).

Heading out on our trip at God Awful o’clock in the morning.

The dogs were safely taken care of at their daycare. We figured keeping Naomi and ourselves alive this time around was going to be enough of a challenge without two crazy dogs in tow.

Our adventure started early: My alarm went off at 5:30am and after a flurry of flinging bags and blankets and clothes into our truck (I’m not kidding, we crammed a LOT of all kinds of everything into our vehicle… the volume of so-called “Necessary Stuff” we headed out with could only be described as ridiculous) we were off.

Naomi’s first ferry ride. It looks like John is close to the railing but he is actually several feet in front of it because we were both freaked out that she would somehow fall overboard.

The drive there went fairly well. A trip that would have taken us about 7 hours sans baby ended up taking us about 11 hours, but other than that it went okay. There was sleeping and screeching and eating and reading and pooping and talking… all in all what you would expect from a road trip, just with a lot more bathroom breaks and dancing around from Sophie the giraffe.

I was most nervous about our sleeping arrangements. What if Naomi froze to death? What if  spider got into her bedding and ate her? I’m pretty sure we don’t have Baby Eating Spiders here in British Columbia, but no matter. Still on my list of things to be concerned about.

John convinced me that we needed to buy a 6-person tent so after setting up our monstrosity I went about setting up our beds: John had a cot, I had a queen sized air mattress and Naomi had a little bassinet set up between us (Naomi slept between us just in case a hungry bear lumbered into our camp and decided it wanted to eat the inhabitants of a flourescent orange tent, naturally. Pretty sure the scariest creature in the area was a loon. No matter. Still a crazy concern (even if I knew it was crazy)).

Naomi’s first “swim.”

We survived our first night… no evil spiders, no scary bears. All good.

We were with family, which made a huge difference. John and I actually walked to the store to pick up beer and cherries ALL ON OUR OWN. Like, with no baby. We giggled part of the way, walked in stunned silence for another part and practically sprinted on the way back because my brain was having a hard time processing Naomi’s continued existence without John or I somewhere near by. Turned out she was just fine, chatting with her cousins and securely twirling her Grandma right around her baby finger.

This trip was fantastic for a million and one reasons:

  • we were around family and I can’t describe how perfect it is to see the people you love, love the little one you love so much
  • we learned new ways to get Naomi to sleep (we rocked her to sleep rather than me nursing her into slumber and on the second day John sang her into an afternoon nap)
  • like us, Naomi sleeps like a champ after a full day in the fresh air
  • Naomi perfected her yawn/sigh and had everyone in stitches (I sigh when I yawn… did she get that from me, or is that all her?)

And one of the most satisfying things:

  • hi ho, hi ho, we can camp with our wee little one

After making it home in one piece, getting all of our Necessesary Stuff back in the house albeit rumpled and covered in Camp, we cleaned up, got everyone pajamaed… and then John and I practically high-fived each other with a contented sigh of look-at-us-we-can-DO-ANYTHING. I know there are bigger challenges out there than camping with a person who is less than 2 feet high… but right at that moment I couldn’t imagine anything more rewarding.

Tips & Tricks:

  • don’t stay in a tent

If you are hell bent on staying in a tent:

  • get a tent big enough for you to stand in, that way if you have to rock your bub to sleep you won’t have to hunch over for hours on end (we got a 6-person tent, sounds over-the-top, but whatever, I could stand if I needed to)
  • try out whatever you plan on sleeping on before you leave- I didn’t. Turns out my air mattress had a hole in it. Fortunately I’m a big fan of blowing up air matresses in the middle of the night (that was sarcasm).
  • learn how to nurse lying down on your back with your baby lying on top of you- super handy trick (if that doesn’t make sense let me know and I’ll do a better job of describing it)
  • get a sleep sack for your little one- a girlfriend of mine got me a Grobag sleep sack (the Song Bird) and I LOVE it. Even when John and I were FREEZING OUR ASSES OFF in the night Naomi was snug as a bug in a rug… in her bassinet. She was perfect and slept like a champ.
  • bring really good quality sleeping bags for you and your partner- even though it was super hot during the day it was incredibly cold at night… resulted in a very miserable first night (thank GOD my folks had extra gear with them)
  • get a beach tent- I’m not a fan of shopping at Walmart, but that’s where we got our 6-person tent and it came with chairs, 2 crappy sleeping bags (they are really useless sleeping bags) and a decent sized beach tent, perfect to shade a baby bum on the beach
  • we’ve started using cloth diapers at home, but for this trip I went with disposables
  • I brought water resistent pee pads to change Naomi on, that way if (when) she peed while I was changing her I didn’t have to worry about it dirtying more than the pee pad
  • camp with someone who has air conditioning in their trailer, that way if it gets really hot you can escape for some relief (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!)
  • sunscreen- Badger does a no oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, avobenzone, or added Vitamin A sunscreen- we got the SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen (note: check with your care provider on using for little ones under 6 months)
  • if the drive there is a long one, sit in the back with your babe
  • get some sunshades for the windows in the back of your vehicle

Any other suggestions for making tenting with babies go as smoothly as possible?

Age: 3 1/2 months

8 Responses to “we went camping and we survived”

  1. I’m very impressed! Great tips, too! Naomi is just a doll. Way to go, team.

  2. Ursula says:

    Bring duct tape for those unexpected air mattress leaks, or tent rips. Great job, you two!

  3. Trude says:

    So glad it went well! And OMG, a baby in sunglasses. Squee! 🙂

  4. Heather Hal says:

    My parents always took me camping, babies are great when backpacking and camping especially if you’re still breast feeding! Don’t worry about getting dirty, it’s good for immunity. My mom just said to not worry so much and have fun!

  5. Other Mom says:

    What a great story about your adventures camping Shauna. So glad the “man-eating” spiders are now extinct in B.C.
    Loved all the beautiful photos. So good to see you all having such happy times.
    Lots of Love Gramma D