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:
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.