Having recently come back from a camping weekend and a week-long holiday in my parents’ touring caravan with a six-month-old baby, the key to a successful trip under tin and canvas is to be prepared. If you’re prepared for every eventuality then you’ll be absolutely fine.
I’m one of those mothers who likes to plan ahead and write lists. Lists full of essentials, desirables and ‘if we can fit it in the car’. If you’ve got a small 3 door car, I’d say book a hotel but if you’ve got a decent-sized family vehicle, a camping trip to the coast or in the countryside is perfect.
This year, with baby in tow, I followed my own favourite mantra which is ‘just in case’. I packed pretty much everything. I packed three huge bags full of clothes; ‘just in case’ it was wet, dry, cold, warm, you get the picture.
I filled our car to the brim with essentials ‘just in case’. As we hadn’t camped with a baby before I wanted to make sure we had everything we needed to survive the break away. Luckily for us, the weekend under the stars was a roaring success. We had amazing British sunshine all weekend, the baby slept through all night and we only came home with half a dozen insect bites.
So here’s my top tips for enjoying the great British weather under canvas with a six- month-old baby and the husband.
1. A grouchy overtired baby is no fun so replicate their bedtime routine whilst you’re away; bath them in the washing up bowl on the grass, read them a book and let them sleep in their own sleeping bag or blanket.
2. Take lots of blankets to snuggle into when the sun goes down. We used a blanket underneath Little Mr in his travel cot and to place on top of him when it got a bit chilly. Just be careful that they can’t snuggle underneath them.
3. Pack a hat and scratch mitts too. Little Mr wore sleepsuits with the foldover cuffs but his hands were still cold on the morning we didn’t pop the mitts on.
4. If you’re formula feeding, leave the electric steriliser at home and take sterilising tablets instead. Clean bottles and teats only need fifteen minutes submerged in the water.
5. Don’t forget the tea spoons. A brew first thing in the morning is an absolute must but stirring your hot cup of tea with a pen found at the bottom of your handbag is a bit grim and will set your mood for the rest of the day.
6. If you’ve got room, take the pushchair. He might not be heavy but taking down a tent with a baby strapped to your back is hard (and can be dangerous) work.
7. Don’t let your matches get wet. Listening to the rain falling on top of your tent is brilliant, but not so brilliant if you leave the matches on the floor next to the door.
8. Take a good torch. Should you get woken up in the middle of the night you will most certainly want the toilet after dealing with the baby. A torch will help you navigate away from the guy ropes of your tent avoiding a face plant to the wet grass!
9. Pack plenty of snacks. Your husband will not be content on just a variety pack of cereal.
10. You will get wet grass everywhere, sand will get in their nappies and there will be huge bugs in the toilets but it’s camping, it’s fun. Enjoy it!
Emma isn’t the only one to have been on an adventure recently. Read about the incredible journey that is Weavers Bear on tour.