During the summer of 2016 we went on a couple of camping trips with Zeph – he was between 4 and 6 months old. Although excited, we were a bit nervous that everything would be ok, but actually it was easy enough.
After a Facebook post asking for advice, we were given lots of great pointers to help make it as easy as possible. Hopefully I can now pass on some of my own tips to you!
My first tip is: if you are buying a new family tent ready to go away with your family the way to go is inflatable. Seriously. When I mentioned this to Jen, my wife, for ages she thought I was mean some kind of bouncy castle type inflatable. But no, they are great, not much more expensive, just as strudy and so easy to put up and take down. The days of spending half your weekend erecting and taking down your tent are no more! You can even let your partner do it on her own whilst you sit in the car giving guidance.
However, with all the advances in technology, one thing is still certain with tents and the British weather:
- 30 minutes of sunlight directly on the fabric will make a tent literally hotter than the sun.
- The middle of the night during the British summer is colder than the Arctic Circle.
This makes it tricky knowing what to put baby to sleep in! We decided that, although Zeph was using a full size cot at home by this point, we would use the carry cot from his pram rather than the travel cot. This way we could put him down with not much on and gradually layer him up during the evening easily, without him rolling away from the blankets, and remove them again in the morning.
The carry cot also meant we used the shade and draped another blanket over the it to ensure he didn’t wake up from the sun light. Zeph slept brilliantly the first night, awfully the second, and averagely for time for the rest.
Zeph was only being breastfed at the time (which was fun for Jen during the cold nights!), although we were using dummies at the time. My tip for sterilising would simply be a bucket of Milton that you change every day.
Layers were the key for the week. When we were packing we tried to think of every possibility. We certainly didn’t pack light. Zeph was going through a stage of having a poonami very often so we packed approximately 5 million vests and baby grows.
The first trip was taking a youth group we help with to a Christian festival. Full of young people. We were a bit worried about how Zeph would cope with the noise, not only during the main meetings (ear defenders worked a treat for the loud music), but trying to sleep at night with teenagers running around screaming at the top of their voices. He, as usual, surprised us with this though, and it wasn’t an issue at all.
On the second trip, we went to the Forest of Dean with the In-laws. They stayed in their motorhome, we camped next to them. It rain a lot. Because of this once Zeph was asleep in the tent, we went in to the motor home next door. We realised we had no monitor to check on him though, and we couldn’t hear as the rain was so loud. Frustratingly there was no mobile phone signal, so I had to go on a little walk in the pouring rain to find signal and see what I could download on my phone. Luckily I found something, and so you don’t have to I’ll share it with you. Dormi. I’m not going to write a fully review on this now, as I’m sure I will do soon. But was a lifesaver and great for travelling. Use 2 phones, no phone signal needed and can even be a video monitor. Download it.
There was one tip we were given that I thought was brilliant, that we didn’t get around to using, although we went prepared for it. A small inflatable paddling pool for bath time. Cheap and takes up minimal room when packing.
Basically, go camping with your kids. It’s great. So longs as you pack well with layers and spares you have nothing to worry about. I can’t wait for more trips this year.