We survived! Our first camping trip with a toddler was fairly successful, I think. We all certainly had a memorable time and despite the Welsh weather doing it’s best to dampen our spirits, we powered through and made the most of the sunshine when we had it. Camping with a toddler wasn’t as stressful as I though it might be, and I think that’s partly down to some clever packing and remembering these handy items that helped us out. If you’re thinking of taking your toddler camping, I can’t recommend these five things enough.
1. A Baby/Toddler Floor Seat
I genuinely don’t know what we’d have done without this seat. It was perfect for strapping Pickle in and keeping him safe and contained, leaving us better able to take the tent down. We’d have used it when we were erecting the tent too but thankfully, my parents took him off our hands for that part!
It was perfect to feed him in for each of his meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great for sitting in the tent, outside the tent and on the beach too! Our seat is a Winnie the Pooh one with a tray that can be attached or taken off – perfect for picnics, but it is quite bulky and took up a lot of space in the car. I’ve just spotted this one on Amazon* which looks like it might fold down quite small which would be much better for camping (and suitable for toddlers up to three years old), also… it looks like our camping chairs so it’s super cute.
2. Warm Sleeping Set-Up
Now this may be one you need to think about in advance… but I really recommend getting your hands on some fleece sleepsuits, or even a nice quilted one like this navy blue stars one I found in H&M so that you can be sure your little one is kept wonderfully warm at night. We put Pickle to sleep in this travel cot, making sure I added a few extra blankets on top of the mattress to keep out any draft from the floor. I think it did the trick.
Finding the warm sleepsuits in the middle of summer was pretty difficult though – so I’ll be making sure I keep an eye out in the Winter sales next year and buy a size up to make sure he’s got lots of nice warm things for next summer. I’m already looking forward to next wrapping him up in the quilted sleepsuit – it’ll be perfect for Bonfire Night in a couple of months’ time!
Let’s be honest, even if you’re camping in the UK in the height of summer – it’s going to rain. So be prepared and pack some wellies.
Not only are they super easy to slip on and off as you go in and out of the tent, but even if it is by some miracle nice and sunny – you’ll still be grateful for the waterproof protection for the morning dew first thing when you’re traipsing to the shower block for a wee at the crack of dawn. They’re also pretty useful down on the beach. These Thomas the Tank ones were a present for Pickle from his Nanny Pol, and they’re just lovely – even if it took a while for him to get used to walking in them!
4. Floor Mats
Before we went camping, I thought this might have been a bit of an extravagant purchase, but actually, they made SUCH a difference. We picked up a couple of packs of these puzzle floor mats from Aldi to help cushion the floor and they were brilliant.
We had a block of six in our sleeping compartment (which perfectly covered the floor beside the airbed and cotbed) and another six in a L shape in the living area – although, I’d have used more in the living space if we had them.
It made it a much warmer floor, and meant that it didn’t matter if Pickle wandered around without shoes or socks on. It also helped to level out the floor once it turned into a big of a bog (all the rain we had whilst camping made the ground so water-logged that we joked we had a memory-foam floor – when you stepped on it, you could see the imprint your foot made in the ground! So squelchy). It’s definitely the one thing you might not think of that makes the biggest difference to your tent feeling more like a home.
5. A warm, dry place to run around in
Our tent was a fairly decent size, but it wasn’t really that suitable for letting Pickle just have a bit of a run around. He could have some freedom in the sleeping compartment – but in our living space, the kitchen unit and a few leaky puddles meant it wasn’t great to let him roam free. When it was dry outside, it wasn’t a problem as we could wander round the camping field with him and have a play on the park, but that wasn’t much of an option when it was chucking it down (or, I wasn’t brave enough to embrace the rain!). We were lucky though as my parents had their touring caravan pitched only 100m away from us – and that was a much better space to let Pickle have a little run around.
They also tended to have a good supply of tea and cake which meant it was a lovely treat for LPD and I to be there too. Having some kind of space that you can retreat to in case of bad weather is a must in my opinion. If you’re going camping on your own, check to see if your campsite has a games room or even a big laundry room that might provide some shelter. And it’s always worth checking to see if there’s a local soft play! (And yes, that’s a Merry Christmas bib. In August. Guilty as charged).
Do you agree?
If you’re a seasoned family camper, would you agree with this list? Or am I missing something glaringly obvious? I’d love to know what are your family essentials or if you’ll be taking some of this advice on your next trip.