Tod­dlers and tents … Is camp­ing with a tod­dler a ge­nius idea? Or a ghastly one?

Out & About with Kids - - TODDLER TRAVEL WITH SUE WHITE -

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ince my son was born, I’ve been firmly on the “We can do this!” side of the fence when it comes to travel. We’ve do done long-haul flights and short-haul flights; r road trips and train jour­neys; homey house s sits and five-star ho­tels. But I con­fess, ev­ery time I’ve con­sid­ered a camp­ing trip with my tod­dler, a lit­tle voice kept say­ing in my head: ““Is this re­ally a good idea?” Ad­mit­tedly, camp­ing in­volves a raft of log lo­gis­tics. There’s stuff to sleep on, stuff to sit on a and stuff to eat off. You need meth­ods to keep food cool while the hu­mans stay warm: no wond won­der my mind bog­gled ev­ery time I thought aboutbo it. But I kept com­ing back to the idea be­cause there’s so much that’s great about camp­ing: it’s nat­u­ral, it’s en­ter­tain­ing, it’s so­cial and, frankly, it’s cheap. What’s not to love? So: I buck up. We em­brace it, it rains, and we have an ab­so­lute ball. I - by no means - nail it first go, but I DO learn what to do next time. And yes, there’ll be a next time: sooner rather than later: I’ve de­cided that camp­ing with a tod­dler is su­perb fun, once you get the ba­sics right.

Sue’s 7 tips for a suc­cess­ful camp­ing trip with a tod­dler Tip 1: Take other kids (the more the mer­rier!)

Mid way through day one of our first camp­ing trip, I quickly re­alise the se­cret sauce for camp­ing with a tod­dler: kids en­ter­tain other kids. Take a bunch with you and the pres­sure on the adults to be ‘cruise director for one’ is vastly di­min­ished. If you’re camp­ing in a hol­i­day park ver­sus a more rus­tic na­tional park camp­ground, the vol­umes of chil­dren mul­ti­ply and, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, the trip gets even eas­ier.

Tip 2: Don’t for­get the kids’ par­ents!

Not only is camp­ing with other fam­i­lies more pleas­ant for the adults (there’s plenty of down­time, even with an in­quis­i­tive tod­dler around), but for new campers, friends hedge against the very real like­li­hood that, as a new cam­per, odds are you will for­get stuff. I for­get the fold­ing chairs (de­spite hav­ing two in my shed) and, of course, it rains, so sit­ting on damp ground is far from ap­peal­ing. Hap­pily, my ex­pe­ri­enced camp­ing bud­dies have spares. I for­get tongs, and oil – both es­sen­tials for a good bbq (I’m so fo­cused on plates and cups I bring an over­sup­ply of each in­stead). Again, friends to the res­cue.

Suss­ing out their setup over the week­end, I re­mem­ber the trick from my own child­hood: big plas­tic tubs with lids, pur­pose-packed with camp­ing uten­sils, salt, pep­per, the works. I make a note to cre­ate one be­fore my next trip – not only will it save pack­ing time but it will mean less chance of for­get­ting the tomato sauce, salt, sil­ver foil or chop­ping board (yes, I for­got all of the above!).

Tip 3. A travel cot in­side a tent isn’t a silly idea.

While I’ve heard of one friend sleep­ing their tod­dler in a one-per­son tent just next to his, I wanted my son at arm’s reach. But what to sleep him in? At home, he’s still in a cot, so I take my Phil and Ted’s cot and set that up in­side our tent. It’s a good choice for the job, as it has a zip up top to guard against mos­qui­tos, as well as a prized side zip (this gets opened in the mid­dle of the night so my son can snug­gle up if need be, but avoids him rolling around the tent when it’s adult-free).

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