Thursday, July 21, 2011

•camping with a toddler•

This is not a "how to camp with a toddler" post, I swear. Rather, a list of suggestions. Our recent car-camping trip with the toddler to Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows was full of discoveries. It was about 80 degrees in the sun, and just above freezing at night. (See above for pajamas worn all day.) At 8000 feet in the mountains, things tend to get hinky if you've not brought the right gear.

List after jump!

This list doesn't include the basic requirements for tent camping. Please consult guidebooks, official-er lists than mine, and rangers at the park you plan to visit, before heading off into the woods. Make sure you pack proper, site-specific stuff and take as many precautions as necessary. Yes, you must wash your kids' car-seat cover before entering bear country. Yes, it is absolutely necessary to leave even lip balm (and marshmallow-stained t-shirts) in the bear box. My list is just a handful of additional items that might make life easier if you're taking your toddler to a higher elevation or a campground that gets frigid at night.

*kid carrier*
Because it (your child) will make you carry it. Backpack, ergo, whatever. Essential.

*small special box*
Because it will find treasures and wish to keep them forever. In your pocket.

*pine pitch*
Because one bit of pitch plus one match equals nearly instant fire-lighting success. Enlist your toddler's help to collect it throughout the year. Keep in a little paper bag on your mantle, and don't forget to bring it with you!

*kid books*
Actually helps in the car, before bed, and when you are trying to cook a meal.

*sand toys*
Because it will dig anywhere, if given the opportunity.

*wipes or several dozen washcloths & Dr. Bronner's*
Because showering may not be possible. A nice clean wipe-down is so welcome. Alright; welcome for you. It will probably prefer to go stinky.

*hot cocoa*
Because it will get cold. And refuse fluids.

*powdered coconut water*
Because, even when it isn't cold, the child will refuse to drink enough water to counteract the altitude. (Or attitude. Ahem.)

*larger shoes than your kid wears*
Because you will cease to dress it in the morning, preferring instead a morning of peace and manky, footie pajamas. ("Sensible layers" is not yet in the child's lexicon.)

*multiple pairs of footie pajamas*
Because even though you've brought larger-than-your-child-requires shoes to go over, you will not be fast enough.

*wet suit*
Not necessary, but luxurious for creek-splashing.

*soothing ointment for bug bites*
It can learn to count its wounds! Mine loved putting on his own balm.

*as much fresh, whole fruit as you can carry*
That will be what it subsists on.

*multiple flashlights*
Inevitably, a headlamp or torch will disappear. Down the pit toilet, or worse.

*giant bucket*
To schlep water. And dirty dishes and wet things on the last day. Because you'll want to throw everthing in the car and bolt. Giant buckets are good for that. (I don't recommend throwing the toddler in, tempting though that may be.)


  1. Way to go! That list of things to bring is very useful, especially if one camps with a toddler. Many parents would benefit from your list! Thanks!

  2. haha. Got to remember to bring sand toys for next weeks campout with 2 year old.

  3. haha. Got to remember to bring sand toys for next weeks campout with 2 year old.