I was for sure nervous about bringing the kids camping. I worried if they would sleep good, would someone fall in the fire (it’s like my biggest fear in life), eat good, or just all around hate it? All in all though, we had a pretty successful and super fun weekend away in Lake Placid. We booked 3 nights but because it was suppose to rain all night the first night and we weren’t going to get up there till late anyway, we decided to just head up early Friday morning instead. 2 nights ended up being a good amount for a first time camping with the girls. I will admit they were beat by the 3rd day. I think we could have gone another night if we had planned for that 3rd day being super chill and relaxed, with some actual naps and downtime for the both of them. The other days there were go, go, go. Lots of hiking, friends, swimming, late nights, early mornings and no naps for Miss Finley except in the stroller, car seat or backpack. Our kids are really go with the flow and are used to mixed up schedules and late nights so it wasn’t too big of a deal. They were generally in good spirits having so much fun.
On the second night as I was putting Rowan to bed, she told me she didn’t want to sleep outside anymore. I said that was ok and that we would be going home in the morning. Then she started crying because she didn’t want to go home. hahaha. Go figure. Both kids slept really well for the most part. Both slept through the night and woke up around the normal time they get up at home. Maybe just a tad bit earlier. Once one is up though, everyone is up. Our tent is a larger tent that you can put up 2 dividers in to create 3 tiny rooms. This was super helpful. We used one of them to create a little room for Finley. She was the one I was worried about not going to sleep if she could see everyone else. It was always well past their bedtimes each night so that was helpful. Everyone was very tired and ready to sleep. We would put Finley to bed first. Let her fall asleep while we quietly got Rowan ready and brought her down to bathrooms to brush her teeth and go potty. Once Finley was asleep, in Rowan would go. Her and I shared the air mattress because she can not keep a sleeping bag on her and would wake up balled up in the corner of the tent with no blankets. Kev or I would just lie with her till she fell asleep and then it was campfire, drinks, and late night chats for Kev and I (my favorite part). When the fire would die out off to bed we would go. We brought our trusty 4moms Breeze playard for Finley to sleep in. Man, I love that thing. So easy to set up and travel with. The only thing that was a bit difficult was keeping Finley covered up. I should have brought a heavy sleep sack for her so I didn’t have to worry about her all night. The first night it got down below 50. I kept waking in a panic that she was freezing. She moves around all night, so it’s impossible to keep her covered. Lots of layers that is all I can say.
We didn’t cook all our meals because there are some awesome restaurants around Lake Placid, but we did bring a cooler with some food. We cooked breakfast, brought items for lunch, and food for one campfire dinner. Our cooler had milk, eggs, cheese sticks, yogurt, a bag of cut up veggies, apples, cherries, hummus, veggie burgers (and a real burger for Kev), ketchup and sweet potatoes. We also brought paper plates, bowls, utensils, cups, cereal, honey, bread, peanut butter, olive oil, grater, knives, apple sauce, 1 frying pan.
Breakfast: Cereal & milk, scrambled eggs, sweet potato hash.
Lunch: Packed for hiking. pb&honey sandwiches, veggies and fruit
Dinner: Veggie burgers, chips, veggies and hummus
I think anyone can do it! It really is a lot of fun and your kids will think it’s pretty dang cool. The girls thought it was awesome to cook the food over the fire. They loved all the exploring and I loved building family memories together. I just kept thinking about being able to show them these pictures when they get older and tell them stories of our first camping trip together. It felt really special to me. I think if you go with no expectations you will be better prepared. You really do have to just roll with the punches and have fun. And be prepared for all the laundry when you get home. Oooooh the laundry.
Here are my take away tips….
1. Like I just said… Try to just roll with the punches. Nature, kids and camping can all be unpredictable. You will have more fun if you don’t set up expectations of how it will all go. Just have fun, enjoy your kids, let them get dirty, stay up late, really live the experience.
2. Pack lots of layers for everyone. If you are camping up north like us, the weather can be unpredictable. Hot during the day, super cool during the night. Lots of blankets and light layers to wear.
3. Pack simple but healthy food. Things that are easy to prepare, cook and clean up. Prep as much as you can before hand. Cut up veggies and bring them in a ziplock bag, etc… I found lots of great options of things to bring at Trader Joes. Lots of great snacks and packaged food (veggies burgers, salads) for meals.
4. Start small. If you are feeling nervous don’t dive in head first. Try a night in your back yard first, or even one night close by. It will give you the confidence you need to take a longer trip. It will also help you figure out exactly what you might need to bring.
5. This light up ladybug was an AWESOME addition to our tent. It was the perfect night light for the girls when they fell asleep but also it was a great light to turn on when kev and I got into the tent. Not too bright, didn’t wake up the girls but also let us see what we needed to get.
6. Be prepared for everything. I MEAN EVERYTHING! to smell like campfire. I just threw in another load of laundry and it was like a campfire punched me in the face. hahhaha. Man, that smell is strong. It’s great when you are beside one but at home, ugh! You will have to pretty much wash everything that you bring camping with you. So… because you now know that, just let your kids re-wear clothes. If they aren’t terribly dirty than I just let them wear items again the next day. Why make something else dirty? They don’t care. Neither do the woods.
7. Bug Spray. Sun Screen. Socks. First Aid kit. Tylenol. Matches. Wipes. You may not need it but at least you will have it.
8. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Really! If it doesn’t go smooth the first time around, don’t give up. Try again another year. Maybe the next time it will be better.