in Roofnest Tips & Features / by Nick Jaynes

There are few things that can change your life as dramatically as having a child. While the little ones need a lot of work and care, there is no reason you can’t enjoy camping, even with a mini-sized human to look after. A lot of the info here may seem like common sense to experienced parents, but we want to make sure all our bases are covered and everyone is having a fun and safe camping trip with the whole family.

Here are our top ten tips to make camping with your baby or toddler a lot easier on everyone.

Keep to Your Schedule

One of the first things you learn about taking care of small children is they need a consistent schedule. This need for routine doesn’t change when you’re camping. In fact, replicating the same schedule you have at home while at the campsite can be a game-changer, ensuring your child remains comfortable and less fussy.

Get a Tent with Blackout Material

What’s a major factor in keeping that schedule? Maintaining nap times and bedtimes. In the middle of summer, when the days are long, it can be a lot harder to get the kiddo down to sleep. Thankfully, some tents, like the new Roofnest Condor 2, feature blackout material, which allows you to easily control the level of light for your little one.

If you don’t have a tent with blackout material, you can buy small blackout tents designed specifically to help toddlers sleep.

White Noise for the Win

Remember that campsites can amplify sound more than the insulated walls of your home. While your little one might retire earlier than you, any nearby chatter can easily keep them from falling or staying asleep.

This is where a battery-operated white noise machine can be a lifesaver. By providing a consistent background sound, it ensures your child stays asleep, allowing you and your co-parent to enjoy your evening without tiptoeing around verbal exchanges, fearing you’ll disturb your little one’s sleep.

Be Careful of the Temperature

This is one of those “parenting basics” but it can be easy to forget about when you’re out camping. Children don’t have all the proper biological functions to properly regulate their body temperature. This means that they get colder quicker, and hotter a lot easier, too. Make sure you’re mindful of the outside air temp, and try to stay close to shade or water whenever possible.

Typically, being out on a new adventure means your kid is playing harder than usual, and all that extra activity makes them much more susceptible to overheating. Don’t let play time at the beach turn into a medical emergency. Keep that kid cool and hydrated. Which brings us neatly to our next tip…

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

Baby skin is very soft and fragile. A baby can turn into a lobster in mere minutes on a sunny, summer day.

To prevent this, make sure your little one is wearing clothing that provides some level of UV protection, and cover all exposed skin with a good sunscreen.

A mineral-based sunscreen is going to be your best option. And don’t forget to reapply regularly!

Get That Kid Some Adventure Pants

Keeping your child clean during outdoor activities can seem like an impossible task. But what if you could limit the laundry and still let them revel in nature? Enter the ‘Adventure Pants’ strategy. Invest in a pair of durable overalls for your little explorer—brands like Carhartt are renowned for their toughness.

Before your child heads out to play, slip them into these rugged overalls. They can climb, crawl, and tumble to their heart’s content without getting their inner clothes messy. Once they’re done, simply remove the overalls to reveal relatively clean attire underneath. A quick wipe down of their hands, and perhaps a shirt change, should suffice for cleanup.

As for the overalls, give them a shake to get rid of loose dirt and hang them up, ready for the next adventure. When your trip concludes, you’ll mostly have just the overalls to tackle in a thorough wash, saving you from mountains of dirty laundry.

Shower Wipes

Shower wipes are useful for all campers, but they’re especially helpful with the little ones. There are multiple companies out there that sell “shower wipes.” Basically, massive wet wipes that can be used to keep yourself a lot cleaner and fresher when you don’t have quick access to a shower.

Unlike most moist towelettes, these shower wipes are unscented. They are also made from thicker and tougher material, so you can really scrub to get things clean without having them fall apart in your fingers.

We recommend a hypoallergenic wipe, and even testing them out at home before the trip. You don’t know what your baby is allergic to until they have an allergic reaction. Don’t make that gamble while you’re out in the middle of the wilderness.

Bring All the Snacks

Nothing can send a kid into a rage quicker than hunger, so keep lots of extra snacks on hand. Again, your little one is likely playing a lot more than normal, and that means burning more calories than normal. All that equates to blood sugar crashes and screaming conniptions.

A small bag of fruit snacks can mean the difference between a great day and a ruined afternoon. Don’t forget, parents can eat these snacks too. We don’t need you getting hangry either.

Got a Roofnest? Safety First!

Rooftop tents are excellent for camping with kids because they’re easy to set up, more comfortable, and better protected from the elements. However, when camping with kids, elevated camping does have a few extra safety concerns. Here are the big three: always secure your ladder, keep doors and windows closed while children are inside the tent, and make sure your camping area is well lit. For more details and extra tips, check out our full post on Roofnesting with kids.

Prepare for a Rocky First Night

I won’t sugarcoat this: your first night camping might be a little tough.

It’s a new experience for the kid, it’s a lot of stress for parents, and all that is going to culminate into a first day that is hectic and tiring. With the practicality and ease of setup that comes with a Roofnest tent, it can be really tempting to just pack up and go home, but give it a few days. You really need to see how things pan out on night two or three to really see what works and what doesn’t for your camping family.

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