You may have seen that Johanna went on her first camping trip recently! Her, me and my bestest friend headed up to Shenandoah National Park for 3 days and 2 nights of camping, hiking and exploring. I must say that Johanna did much better than I thought she would. I didn't have too many expectations or thoughts on how this should or would go but I did learn some things throughout the trip. The first thing I learned is that Johanna gets car sick going up mountains... yep... you read that right! We were headed up the mountain and she started whimpering. I thought her ears were popping because mine were. Next thing I know, she was throwing up. I thought for a split second, "oh no, is this setting the tone for the trip?" But my sweet girl was okay and bounced right back! Aside from that and a few melt downs (to be expected from a 2 year old), it was a fun trip and we'll definitely go again soon!
I honestly don't recommend that you go camping for the first time at the same time your babe does. You'll want to get a little experience first so you know what to expect and what to bring. Although, I am an experienced camper I still wasn't quite sure of everything to bring for a toddler so I did a little bit of research first. There were some things I wish brought for her but didn't and that's okay. Here is a list of suggestions for you guys. This list does not include things for yourself.
I recommend bringing things that your babes like to do at home. Whether it's a ton of toys, arts and crafts, games, etc., bring it! Even though we love being outside and are able to appreciate the nature around us, kid's get bored especially toddlers. Johanna likes to be entertained 24/7 so I brought all of her favorites toys and a few that keep her busy for more than 10 minutes at a time. Now of course the tablet and phone are always an option too but make sure you will have service. We didn't have service but I didn't plan on giving her too much screen time anyway. I wanted her to enjoy nature and not be locked in on a screen for 3 days. We brought books, bubbles, a soccer ball, a picnic set that she really loves, baby dolls, stuffed animals, dinosaur puppets, cards, buckle block, and some other goodies.
2. Extra clothes and blankets!
Obviously, if you are camping in the middle of the summer you probably won't need layers but if you're going in the fall through the spring, I highly recommend extras of everything. We went in the beginning of October but it still got down to 40 degrees in the night time and also rained through the night. Mornings were very chilly but the afternoons weren't too bad. Remember, if you're up in a mountain the weather will be different. We brought sleeping bags, inserts for the sleeping bags, tons of blankets, jackets and layers for clothes. Two things I forgot were long sleeve shirts for myself, pillows and hats/gloves. It ended up being fine but I won't forget them next time!
3. Snack, snacks and more snacks!
There is NO such thing as bringing too many snacks camping. If your babe is like mine, they are going to want copious amounts of goodies throughout the day. Plus, being outside all day can make you really hungry. Aside from your normal meals, make sure to bring extra snacks! You'll also want to bring lots of water and juice! We brought her hydro flask so she would always have it near.
4. Extra wipes and a potty seat!
Of course we always bring extra wipes everywhere we go, right? Ha! Don't forget to bring a few packs because they will certainly come in handy! You'll likely be cleaning everything with them. When we went, Johanna was in the midst of being potty trained. The bathroom was somewhat close but not close enough to walk down to every 30 minutes. I brought the potty seat and set it up right in the tent. It worked out great and she only had 1 1/2 accidents!
5. Laundry materials!
Honestly, I didn't think this would be one I would definitely need but I'm so so glad I brought it. Luckily, the campground had a laundry room but if it didn't we would have been hand washing a lot. Take it with you even if the campground doesn't have a laundry mat. I ended up doing laundry two times. Once because she got sick all over herself and the other time she had an accident in her pants when she was in her car seat. Bring it, you won't regret it!
All in all, everything worked out and it ended up being awesome. In fact, I probably packed way too much but I'd rather that then the other way around. I'll do a blog later on about the hiking part of our trip but for now I hope the list helps if you are planning a camping trip!