Camping with infants and toddlers: Bathing and staying (somewhat) clean

In our first few camping trips with Stone, he was pretty much immobile and couldn’t get into too much dirt. He didn’t really get any dirtier than normal.

By the time we did our major trip to Yosemite and several other national parks out west, we were crawling up a storm and loving the dirt.

Of course, all the outdoorsy mom sites I read say “outside dirt is clean dirt!” and “just let the kids be dirty”! That’s well and good if you’re never leaving the campground/park. However a lot of the time we’d spend part of the day in the park, part out. So, some attempt at cleanliness was in order. Here are a few tips / supplies that you might consider.

Dirtbaby clothes

This is especially important if you have a crawler. Because, 10 minutes after you get to the campsite, your baby is going to look like this:
So, just have a set of clothes that are set aside as “crawling around in the dirt clothes” – if you have to go out somewhere, just change into a clean(er) set of clothing.
I definitely recommend pants for a crawler, even if it’s kind of hot out, to protect their knees and try to keep some of the dirt on their clothing instead of getting ground into their skin. :)

Baths at the campsite

If you have a kid that doesn’t mind a shower – by all means go ahead and take them in the shower with you at the campground. While we have done this, Stone pretty much screams the entire time because he hates the shower. So, unless he’s really dirty we just avoid baths if we can. We typically don’t camp more than 3 nights at a time so we can squeak by with some spot-cleaning (see below).
You can prepare a bath at the campsite if you have a stove to heat the water up and some kind of tub. As you can see this is a really fun thing to do.. haha :)
This was the only time we did it, decided it basically wasn’t worth the trouble. We did baths the nights we stayed in hotels instead.

Water play

Playing in the ocean, lake, river.. any body of water counts as getting clean when you’re camping. ’nuff said.

Wipes and washcloths for spot-cleaning

Bring industrial amounts of wipes with you camping, or if you have to be eco-friendly, some washcloths. Before we left the campsite to go to the public, we strip off the dirtbaby clothes, do a quick wipe-down and put on clean clothes. Good enough!
We also did the spot-cleans before bedtime, in interest of keeping the tent and bedding clean.

In summary

When you’re camping, you just have to let go of your cleanliness standards for your kids. Even if you can keep yourself fairly clean – kids relish in nature and all that goes with it. Let it go! :)

Camping with infants and toddlers – sleeping

OK, so I’m back with a great new travel series. We’ve done a bunch of traveling with Stone over the past year and a half, and I would like to think we have figured a few things out along the way.

First off, I knew we’d be camping before we had the baby so I registered for this book:


It’s a great resource! Lots of discussion not just about camping but other outdoor activities that you can do with your kids (kayaking, rock climbing, etc.) Check it out if you can.

Stone went on his first camping trip at about 6 months old. We went a few times that summer and on a 3 week trip to California and the Pacific Northwest, where we camped about half the time (Mommy needs a night with a nearby toilet and hot showers every once in awhile..). He’s loved it the entire time! I’d say, if camping was part of your lifestyle before having children, don’t hesitate at all in taking them with you!

Let’s start off with the first thing you’re probably thinking about – the sleeping situation!


If you cosleep, this is a no-brainer; your baby can still sleep with you. However, we are definitely not cosleepers; and Stone has been a very active sleeper since about 5 months old. I’ve heard lots of people use their pack and play for camping. If your kid sleeps well in the pack and play and you’re in fairly warm weather, use what you have! In our case, we knew we had a flight to contend with on our western trip so we were looking for something that packed down smaller and also gave an insulation layer against the ground. We ended up scoring a Phil and Ted’s travel cot on craigslist. And, as you can see, Stone is quite the fan:
We love it because it gives you an thermarest-like pad that goes inside, keeping baby warm and toasty but still on the ground. My concern with the pack and play is that the air can circulate under it and therefore it’s much colder to sleep in.

Sleeping bags

On our trip to California we also knew we’d need a warm sleeping bag. Well, pretty much the only sleeping bag made for babies and toddlers when I was looking (shown above) was the Kelty Woobie. We found ours for about $35 so track Amazon closely. It was so warm, we simply laid Stone in it most nights and zipped just the bottom. Because it has two zippers, you can easily put baby in with it unzipped and then zip it later as the temperature drops. The only night Stone got completely zipped in tight was at Crater Lake (Oregon in late September). Oak and I froze our butts off that night, but Stone was totally toasty!

If you’re not camping in greater than 50 degree weather, I recommend a sleep sack. Stone loved his, we even used our lightweight knit sleep sack with the open sleeping bag. You could combine fleece pajamas with a fleece sleep sack and not worry about the woobie at all. I think this would work fine for around 50 degree weather.


Bedtime is such a controversial subject in baby-land. We were sleep trainers, and I think that worked in our favor while camping. If you are also, try to put your baby to bed before quiet time at the campground (usually 10 or 11pm). We pretty much stuck to our normal sleep schedule we had at the time, which was bed around 7:30pm. This worked great to not bother anyone when the entire campground is trying to sleep.

Night wakening

It’s probably all the fresh air, but we felt like the nighttime sleep was even better than normal while camping. The first time we went camping, Stone woke up at about 4am but it was probably because he was cold. It was before we had the woobie and it had dropped to about 40 degrees. Sometimes a snuggle and some feeding can do the trick. (I’ll be covering feeding in another post).

Stone wakes way earlier in the morning than normal during travel. I believe that was because of the natural light, being in a different place, and of course rolling over and seeing mommy and papa right way. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about that? No way we’re going back to sleep! We pretty much have learned to expect early waking whenever we’re sleeping somewhere not at home! :)

Generally, I think that infants are happy to know mom and dad are there; as long as you are, they are secure in any situation! If you’re a happy camper (ha!) your little one will be too!

Hat 47 – The zebra of defiance







Papa this isn’t the open plains. Zebras need to be on the open plains so they may frolic and graze. Zebra Stone really likes to graze and frolic.







DSCN2567Papa take me to the plains. I’m wasting away and must graze NOW!












So hungry. So very hungry.













DSCN2571┬áThis fauna is not adequate for Zebra Stone! Bring me to the plains. I don’t like to frolic in the concrete jungle.

Hat 46 – Da guy wit da hair on his jaws




It’s Santa Clause and his favorite jester Stone! Merry Christmas to all of my meeples.








Santa I don’t see Rudolph. You pointed to your right and told me to smile and Rudolph but I can’t find him. Who knows why Mommy decided that was a good time to take a picture.





Merry Christmas to all of my buddies and remember to track my Santa as he races all over the world.

Hat 45 – Don’t eat me!



Talk about a case of mistaken identity. I was just hanging out shaking my turkey booty to my indie kids channel on Pandora and bam it happened!













How could Papa could mistaken me for our Thanksgiving turkey? I know my roast turkey topper is quite a delectable brown but come on guys!






Papa I’m cute but I’m not really a turkey.








Papa please don’t carve me up. I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat my giblets!











Look I don’t have any stuffing. I can’t be the turkey since I don’t have any stuffing.



DSCN2319Phew I live another day. I’ve convinced Papa that the turkey he roasted is tasty then me. Now I just need to get him to carve it up because I’m starving. :)