Before I begin my post, I should preface with my definition of ‘camping.’
I hate tenting.
My husband and I have been a few times, and I despised it. The bugs. The dirt in the bottom of the tent and sleeping bags. The cold nights, and sweaty days. I told him a few years ago that the only way I would go camping again was if we bought a camper.
Fast forward three years, and we began looking at used campers. We went to go see one in person, and I got distracted by the fancy new campers with their nice kitchens, and new smell. We drove off the lot two days later with a 2017 Starcraft Autumn Ridge. At 17 feet long, it’s the perfect introductory camper for our family of three.
My husband and I both grew up camping on the weekends. I remember looking forward to helping my grandfather build campfires, collecting wood with my grandmother, and cooking hot dogs and hamburgers on the fire. My husband and I both agreed that we wanted to create our own memories with our son Harvey. We’ve planned to camp at least two weekends a month until the end of October, when most camp grounds close.
My son just turned one, and needless to say, camping is not easy with a toddler.
Before our first trip, I researched what I would need to occupy my son and keep him safe from bug bites and sun burns. Despite our rookie status as campers and the struggles of entertaining a small child who only wants to crawl all around the campsite and play in the dirt, our two trips so far have been pretty relaxing.
I am by no means an expert when it comes to camping, or the gear needed to camp. However, I wanted to share my experience with certain items that have helped make our camping trips smoother. I have compiled a list of our five must-have items, and included links to where I purchased the items.
Radio Flyer Deluxe 4-in-1 Stroll’n Trike
My son LOVES his trike. He’d ride in it everywhere if he had his way. It was great to have at the campground because it’s lightweight, travels easily, and it goes over dirt and rocks pretty smoothly. It has a small cup holder for his drinks, a pocket up top to hold a phone or bug spray, and a little compartment in the back to hold toys or snacks. It even has a sun shade to help protect him on those really sunny days. We purchased it at Toys ‘R Us a few months ago, and Harvey has loved it since his first time in it. The best part is that it will grow with him, and we can continue to take it with us on future trips.
Babyganics Natural DEET Free Insect Repellant
We had great success with this bug spray. Just a few pumps and it kept the bugs away from Harvey for hours. It smells great, too! It leaves you feeling a little oily, but it’s worth it to avoid all those pesky little bugs.
Johnson’s Head to Toe Cleansing Cloths
Let’s be real, giving a one-year-old a bath while camping doesn’t sound enjoyable. Our first weekend camping, as soon as we arrived, Harvey had a massive blow out diaper. We didn’t have access to running water to give him a bath in the camper, and it was starting to get dark and we still needed to set up our campsite. So we used these to wipe him down. Their size, almost 8 by 12 inches, made it easy to clean him up, and left him smelling like he had just taken a bath.
Boppy Baby Chair
This chair is awesome when camping. It easily attaches to anything, mainly picnic tables. The tray detaches easily so its super quick to clean. It folds down, and is lightweight and easy to carry if you decide to take it on a hike or to another campsite.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone Suncare Baby
We have the full size version of this in Harvey’s backpack, and I carry the travel size in my purse. You never know when you’re going to need it. So far, we’ve had great luck. No sunburns, and no skin breakouts or rashes. Harvey’s skin feels so smooth after we use it too, which will be great in these hot summer months.
So those are my five must-haves for camping. Some people might say we are crazy for packing up and spending our weekends in such a small space. But we say, let’s have an adventure!!