Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Toddler Camping 101

It was a week ago today that Ted was driving bleary-eyed down from Mt. Hood from our camping trip while Abe and I slept in the car. That morning, while cooking our breakfast as Abe "drunken sailer walked" around the campsite, we realized the reason we go camping: breakfast outside. It's all about that moment for us--waking up outside and cooking in the midst of trees, hopefully with a mountain or two in sight. It makes me feel like a kid again.

Here's our list of suggestions for camping with a toddler:

1. In the dark, restraining devices are your friends. I was constantly terrified of Abe wandering off into the dark of the woods and getting carried off by that pack of coyotes that was wailing most of the night.

2. Arrive early enough to get things set up before it gets dark. See above note.

Abe helping Ted set up the tent.

3. Before going to bed, make sure every scrap of food is put away (in the car) or raccoons will scamper about and steal your freshly-baked brownies. Or bears may show up and maul you to death.

4. Dress your wee one in lots of layers to go to sleep. I had Abe in long-sleeved, one-piece footed pajamas with another layer of a henley onesie and wool pants. Oh, and with socks under the footed pajamas.

5. Sleep in a pop-up camper or the car/van rather than a tent if possible. Abe slept fine but moves around a lot so neither of us slept well at all. If you're determined to tent-camp, bring a pack-n-play for the kid to sleep in so he doesn't roll around. The pack-n-play is also a handy spot for putting the toddler while you're trying to set up camp in the pitch black.

Abe discovering the fun of rolling around in a tent, which he proceeded to do for the next 10 hours or so.

6. Have a flashlight on hand for reading once you're snug in your sleeping bag. I started Twilight this way and couldn't imagine a more perfect way to start this book (thanks, Stacie!). The flashlights are also handy for late night trips to the bathroom and for shining light in the faces of raccoons.

7. On the subject of breakfast: those little cans of espresso with cream are the way to have your morning coffee. They fit perfectly on top of a small burner and get warm within a few seconds. And they're so much better than instant and save you the trouble of trying to use a french press or percolator ("There was a fish! In the percolator!" Anyone?)

9. First thing in the morning, only allow photos taken like this one:
Notice the can of coffee getting warmed up on the burner.

10. If you're camping at Timothy Lake, go on and jump in, even if it is September.
For me, one of the best things about camping is the renewed appreciation of the comforts of home. I think Ted could live the rest of his days on an air mattress in a tent in the woods, but I like a warm bed and shower now and then.
This photo has nothing to do with anything. I just find it funny that Abe, a certified member of the Thumbsucker Club, discovers his "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" bink every now and then.

15 comments:

Heather said...

Great toddler camping advice!! We cannot wait to take M camping. Perhaps a family outing with all of us next spring?! Big Sur??

Lori said...

What a fun post! Are you done with Twilight yet?? I read it in three days and am onto the next - I swear I have a life! :)

Amy B. said...

This was a great post. I loved all the camping pictures. It looked so fun...even though I am a "hot shower" kinda girl too :)

amy

courtney rose said...

Hey- I have that Trader Joe's bag!

Jocelyn said...

Great tips...I'll remember them when I take Pacey camping in about 50 years:-) I like ammenities!!! I am so happy that Pacey and Abe are members of the thumbsucker club together:-)

Nicole said...

I love camping!! It's so much fun. And I love, love, love your tip for heating up canned espresso drinks! I'm going to remember that one.

It looks like you guys had a fun time.

Blog Shmog said...

I have that Trader Joe's bag too! Love all the toddler camping advice. You guys are so brave. I'm totally a cozy bed, hot shower, no bugs type of girl but have been a bit curious about camping with our kids. Maybe next year. And I totally need to get our library to order these books. I keep hearing about them and just need to read them.

emily and mike said...

Go Cooper!!!

And thanks for that camping coffee tip.

Sam said...

Thanks for the tips. i prefer beds and showers too so its unlikely that i will use this advise but it was amusing nonetheless

Jennifer said...

you ALMOST make me want to camp. ok, not really. while i love nature, i prefer to sleep indoors. with showers and kitchens and beds. i am sooo glad you didn't get mauled by bears ;)

Caroline said...

Ach! Camping is hard enough on our own, can't imagine what it must be like with a wriggly boy. The breakfast outside thing is great, and waking up and peering out through the door of your tent to a beautiful view thing is great, but the long hike to the bathroom thing... not so great. But. Also very cheap! That's great. WE didn't camp at all this year because it rained non-stop from June to September. Maybe next year...

Los Cazadores said...

Looks like tons o' fun!

Cindy

jen said...

I love to camp and that looks like an awesome place to stay! we weren't brave enough to camp with Sam and the two dogs this year. Maybe next.

DrewCareyShow said...

Okay, not a big fan of camping, BUT I do love the binky!

Jana said...

Love that you went camping. I enjoy it, but last time I was like: "Never again without a cot. NEVER AGAIN." I am just too old.