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Camping with Baby: A Photo Essay

We took BabyC camping for the first time a few days ago.  We hadn’t been camping since I was 20 weeks pregnant, at which point I was already too uncomfortable to be sleeping on the hard ground.  Before my pregnancy though, Husband and I did a lot of outdoor exploration together – hiking, camping, climbing, backpacking.  Being outdoors together grew our relationship in the early days and strengthened it as the years went by.  There is nothing like being out together on a multi-pitch climb up a rock face, just the two of you, to erase any doubt that you trust the other person wholly and completely.  And nothing quite like tackling all the tasks of setting up a camp and getting a one-pot dinner cooked after a long day of backpacking to make you glad you are on the same team.  These experiences have shaped who we are as friends and as husband and wife.
But now we have a baby in the mix.  There are no more multi-pitch climbing expeditions or long backpacking trips in our near future.  That’s the way it is, we thought.  We’ll make do with car-camping.  I was excited about the trip.
It was not the same.  We were too tired to stay up late around the fire and share a bottle of wine.  I was so nervous about BabyC waking up the neighboring campers that I jumped to soothe her every time she made a peep, which she took as a signal that I wanted to play in the middle of the night.  Husband was grumpy because it wasn’t the same.  I was grumpy because Husband was grumpy and bummed because camping used to be our thing.
Looking back, though, I think BabyC had a great time, and that makes me happy.

Out here, I can explore the world and see what choking hazards it has to offer.

We can play in the tent - all night long if you want!

We'll go walking on the chilly beach, but I have my dad to snuggle me.

Oh yeah, and the dog had a great time, too!

Happy dog, typcial evening on the Oregon coast.

In action.

Nice catch!

This is one of the reasons we take pictures.  We don’t usually try to capture grumpiness in photos, and that sometimes lets us drop it from the memory.  The exploring kid and the happy dog are what stay.

Do you have any advice on camping with kids that might help make our next trip more enjoyable?

 

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12 Comments
  1. All so true . Having baby along sure does change things.Of course you and hubby will have to go by yourselves again when you can bear to leave your little sweetie with a trusted person. The Oregon Coast is a "Happy Place". And something to explore further.

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    September 18, 2011
  2. Wow Alice you are so amazing! My girls wanted to go camping this summer and I told them they had to wait one more year and they are 3 and 5!! I think that just having this adventure for you and "husband" is amazing! Before you know it you will be able to go on solo camping trips and long hikes! Just think how fast this past year has gone! It is so hard to believe that CJ is almost 1!!!!

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    September 18, 2011
  3. Camping with kids is a totally different experience. It can be very discouraging at first but you will find your new groove with it. I've been camping with both of my kids, alone, for years and we have such a great rhythm down that all the hiccups are overlooked. I love camping with my kids and it is rad to experience everything through their eyes.. makes me feel like a kid again 😉

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    September 18, 2011
  4. I'm not really that discouraged or surprised by the experience. I think sometimes you just have to get out and try it, and then you've gotten over the first-time barrier. We probably won't camp again until next summer, and BabyC will be a totally different creature by then. In fact, she'll probably be WAY into it, and I'm looking forward to experiencing the outdoors through her eyes, like you said Leila. Kirky reminded me today of how we used to camp on our farm when we were kids – alone by the time we were tweens. We have a lot to look forward to as BabyC grows up! In the meantime, we may consider renting a cabin instead of tenting it while she's this little. Some of our friends with a baby have a little Westie camper that has allowed them to get out a lot. We just have to come prepared and adapt our expectations a bit, I think.

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    September 18, 2011
  5. I love this! I'm so very impressed that you tackled camping with a baby! Your photos are gorgeous and the sentiment- about going for it, the changes, the smiles- is so, so very relatable!

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    September 19, 2011
  6. Thanks for your comment Galit. I just found your blog and love your writing! Happy to have found you, and I'm happy you found me:)

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    September 20, 2011
  7. Sweet pictures! When she gets older, it will get easier 🙂 And also, maybe sometimes you can leave her at home and still have "your thing" with husband — that's really key. For my husband and me, camping is "his thing" more than "our thing" — but finding those weekends away together is just as important as building memories in camping trips as a family.

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    September 20, 2011
  8. So true, Convertible Girl! We aren't there yet (ready to leave our baby overnight) – at least I'm not. But that time will come.

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    September 21, 2011
  9. We’re tackling camping for the first time this coming summer (she’ll be 15 mos). Like you guys, we were big into the outdoors. We were supposed to do a long backpack trip this summer, but…yeah…it didn’t happen. Logistical nightmare, especially with cloth diapers.

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    October 3, 2011
    • Yeah, we use cloth diapers too but generally switch to disposables when we travel, especially now that we have the big poops to deal with. But diapers while backpacking are a logistical nightmare no matter how you do it. My husband is rooting for a backpacking trip soon. I think he’d prefer to be out in the wilderness where we don’t have to worry about bothering other people quite so much. I get caught up in the logistics and thinking about the extra weight. Maybe a short backpacking trip.

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      October 3, 2011
  10. cheryl #

    Wow, this is really nice Alice, I really enjoyed this photo essay with your family 🙂
    keep it up

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    October 5, 2011
    • Thanks for your kind words and thanks for reading!

      Like

      October 6, 2011

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