A Guide to Camping with a {BABY} under 1

Does camping with a baby under the age of one stress you out? Don’t let it. Here’s the things that we learned our first year of camping. A Guide to Camping with Babies | Chan to Mars Blog

Hanging out
One thing we did a lot with Mars was set up his pack and play outside and used a fitted crib sheet over the top of it to keep bugs out. We put some of his favorite toys in there and just let him play and roll around while we were cooking our meals. It’s helpful to have some sort of high chair (this $15 ikea high chair has removable legs and travels very well) or bumbo seat with the tray, a pop-a-tot, or even just the stroller . . . You’ll need somewhere to sit them down, strap them in, and it’s not like at home where you can lay the baby on the floor . . . I think that was the hardest thing about camping with a baby that young.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Sleeping
As far as sleeping; get a wrap! Mars took most of his day naps in our Moby Wrap the first year we took him. Babies nap a lot and you don’t want to be bound to your campsite every time they need to take a nap. We used nap times as times to go hiking. Mars loved sleeping in the Moby while I was walking around. If we were at the campground, he was sleeping in his bed in the camper, which we equipped with two mesh bed rails, a short one and a long one, which created a make-shift crib.
Don’t forget to bring the baby monitor! Camper doors are loud, so you don’t want to have to keep opening the door to check on the baby when they go to bed for the evening. We always bring the white noise machine too, but if you won’t have electric, you can download an app on your phone. It helps to drown out the noise of the older kids and adults hanging around the fire at night.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Playtime
If your baby takes a pacifier, definitely use one of those clips & clip it to their shirt. We tried to keep Mars’ pacifier in his mouth all the time so he didn’t eat things that he found, like rocks or bugs! They will inevitable get dirty, camping is dirty. So pack more clothes than you’ll need & don’t forget the winter clothes like hats, coats, and mittens. You’ll basically go outside as soon as you wake up in the morning, and it can be awful chilly in the morning.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Diapering & Feeding
We always did diaper changes and outfit changes on the big bed of our camper. I kept diapers and wipes handy in a bag next to our bed. As far as feeding, a high chair or even a stroller works great. Don’t forget a bottle warmer, if you need it. I would nurse Mars in the bed of our camper & when he switched to formula we had 4 formula dispensers pre measured and packed, 12 pre filled bottles with the water from home & then a jug of nursery water for when we ran out. I like prepping all of that stuff in advance because we didn’t always have water at our campsites, so I didn’t always have clean hands when mixing a bottle, if everything was already done it didn’t matter.
A Guide to Camping with a Baby | Chan to Mars Blog

Camping with a baby isn’t scary. Just relax and your baby will be relaxed. One more tip . . . if you’re driving far you will need to make some frequent stops for diaper changes and feedings. If you don’t need anything else, like gas or hot coffee, I’d recommend stopping at rest areas. If you have older kids, they’re usually a great place to get out some energy and grab a snack that you have in your cooler or camper.

 

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines
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Annual {INDEPENDENCE} Weekend

This is the second year that we’ve gotten invited to our friend’s property in the country for the Forth of July weekend . . . and every year it is spectacular! The weather is wonderful, the fireworks are fantastic, the hosts are more than welcoming and the food is delicious. The kids have so much fun because there is so many of them, like seriously, so many! There are always other kids to play with and loads of toys. The kids do a lot of running around, driving power wheels, exploring the creek, swimming in the lake and asking the adults to take them on Ranger rides. We can’t wait to go back next year!

Day One - July 3rd Forth of July - FamilyFireworks

Happy Camping Y’all!

Moon-Man-in-Pines

Camping With Kids {WITHOUT} Other Kids

Last summer we went to visit our friends that travel for a living, since they were a mere six hours away instead of 10-12 hours like normal. You can read about that trip here: Have Camper {WILL} Travel. Well, this summer they moved back to the same campground in IL after spending the winter in TX. The first weekend that we both had available, we packed up our things and made the trip again!

Camping with kids - Chan to Mars Blog Camping with kids - Chan to Mars Blog

Last year, we actually visited on my birthday weekend. This year we happened to visit on mother’s day weekend.  Now, I’m not going to lie . . . this is a hard trip for the boys because there are no other kids to play with. What 4-year-old wants to go camping only to be “stuck” to play with his little brother, who he plays with all the time? Definitely, not my 4-year-old! We only had one day of good weather this trip. Compound bad weather, limited outdoor play, no escaping your baby brother & you have a recipe for a disaster. There is nowhere for the boys to have their own “space” in our camper, so if they’re not playing outside then it seems like they are fighting inside.

Here’s some things we did wrong on this trip:

  1. Forgot multiple toys. Meaning two of a certain type of toy. We {ALWAYS} over-pack in the toy department & the kids barely play with any of it. Well, the time that we probably should have over-packed, the time when we are going without the entertainment of other children, we severely under-packed on toys. We forgot our sports balls, which keep the kids entertained around the campsite while we’re cooking meals. We forgot one of the bikes and we forgot to pack the little brother his own separate toy cars to avoid fights over his big brother’s toy cars.
  2. Didn’t pack rain gear. It rained the entire way there, while we were setting up, and while we were packing up. We forgot rain gear!! Rain coats, boots . . . we didn’t have any of it. We had two options; let the kids get soaked and cold or contain them in the camper. We let them do a little bit of both by alternating them in and out of the camper while we were setting up and packing up.
  3. Did not stick to the kid’s meal schedule. The only nice day we had, we were so excited to get out and about that we totally neglected the kid’s eating schedule, which is breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. Luckily, Mars snacked so much throughout the day that he didn’t even notice that he missed a meal. But, Chan was hanging with dad and frankly dad’s just do not think about those things. It did not end well.

Even though we made mistakes this trip and there were a few meltdowns, myself included. Our drive home was wonderful. It was a splendid Mother’s Day drive. We stopped at a lovely rest area in IL that had a little walking trail, picnic tables & a playground for the kids to run around and burn off some energy. It was my husband’s idea and it was a wonderful one. If you’re traveling with kids, definitely take advantage of rest stops for potty breaks and meal breaks . . . and eat the food you have packed! Way less stressful, healthier and free entertainment.

Rest Stop Trail

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines

Introducing {THE WHITE BEAR}

We’ve owned our camper, also referred to as a travel trailer, for almost a year. This year, after two camping trips, we finally named our travel trailer. I’d like to introduce you to {The White Bear}

Last year I did a few quick updates to the linens to make it a bit more homie. This year, I added a little temporary vinyl wallpaper, new chalkboard knobs, and some light blocking curtains to the boy’s “bedroom”. I have much bigger plans for this little camper, but they’ll have to wait until next year.

Master Suite - Travel Trailer Camper Update

Our “bedroom” is a cozy queen size bed that is surprisingly comfortable. There is a closet on each side of the bed and cabinets above which allow for plenty of storage . . . more than we’ve ever needed. There is also a privacy screen to close off the master “bedroom”. Last year, Mars slept with us in our bed. This year, we knew that wasn’t going to work, so we struggled to come up with a sleeping situation for the boys. They are too young to sleep together in the same bed, but too old to sleep with us. My husband came up with an idea to separate their bed, which is the dinette set folded down, into 2 separate beds by using mesh bed-rails. Somehow, the bed-rails just fit perfectly and it’s working great. But, this sleeping situation isn’t going to work next year, because their toes are almost touching the ends of their beds. So, the plan is to build bunk beds, which scares the crap out of my husband, but I have confidence that he can do it!

Kids Bed - Travel Trailer Camper Update

The kitchen area has a stove top, an oven, a hood, a refrigerator, a pantry, overhead cabinets, and a sink with two cabinets underneath. It’s just enough for us. So far, our longest trip has been four days & most of the time we do not even began to use all of the storage that this little trailer has available. We do generally fill the kitchen though and kept it stocked throughout the camping season with non-perishable items. For easy to access storage, we have some hooks in the “foyer” to hold the boys jackets & hats and a basket to hold our trail maps. I also added a picture of our family with the words “The Wander Years” on it! Almost everything is hung with command hooks, including the moose head & dreamcatcher in the boy’s area. I drew a different image on each chalkboard knob in the camper. Lastly, the vinyl map of the United States is for us to keep track of where {The White Bear} has been. Three states so far, hoping to add many more throughout the years!

Kitchen & BathDetails

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines

9 Reasons Why We {LOVE} to Camp!

Reason #1 – Great sensory play . . . which is an ostentatious way of saying that we let the kids get dirty!

Reason #2 – Time together.

Reason #3 – Fresh air.

Reason #4 – The kids sleep {GREAT} when we’re camping.

Reason #5 – Very little screen time, another pretentious way of saying that we don’t watch TV or play with electronic devices. We generally watch one movie a night & that is solely to encourage Chan to come into the camper and {STOP} playing outside . . . occasionally, he’ll need two movies if he needs some time to cool down (mentally & physically) during the day.

Reason #5 – S’mores. Need I say more?

Reason #6 – Seeing beautiful places fairly cheaply.

Reason #7 – Limited cell service. The e-mails, phone calls & text messages can all wait!

Reason #8 – Campfire pizzas, aaaaannnnddd . . . {BACON}

Reason #9 – Getting away.

Chan-at-CampsiteMars-at-CampsiteRay-Behren's-Campsite-FunChan-&-Mars-at-Mark-Twain-Beach-Chan,-Mars-&-Daddy-at-the-Beach

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines