Destination Unknown: Five Tips for Camping with a Toddler

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Camping with Toddler, feature I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown

I thought we would be camping with our baby pretty soon after her arrival, but it took a 1,5 years to get to this point.

This is how our recent camping adventure in Ireland began, the very first one with our toddler. Granted, she was born in the winter, but as we spent most of my generous one-year maternity leave in the warmer southern European climates, I would’ve imagined the tent to come out earlier than just recently.

When it comes to the first impressions of camping with toddler, based on this trip, I would have to say it is easy. Even though we were in Ireland, famous for its unpredictable and moody weather, we soaked in the sun day after day as we camped by the beach and with sea views at the Clifden Eco Beach Camping and Caravanning Park in the west of Ireland.

Equipped with only our own sleeping bags when arriving in Ireland, our friends generously provided us with a tent, propers mattresses to accommodate my pregnancy belly and pillows. We purchased a bucket and shovel for the little one from Clifden’s main strip, but that ended up being the only “toddler specific” item we had with us, besides couple of books and a teddy for the two nights we slept outdoors.

Despite our easy experiences on this camping trip, there are few things I would consider on future outings, especially if we were to stay outside the dedicated camping areas. Here are my tips for a successful camping trip with a toddler.

Five Tips for Camping with Toddler

Camping with toddler in Ireland I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
1. Choose your site with care. There are those campsites that gather for the party crowd, and those that are more family friendly. As much as at times I would still like to sit by a fire and gaze to the sea with a cold beer in my hand until early hours in the morning, when camping with kids it is more convenient if there are certain “silent hours” at the campsite. At the Clifden Eco Beach Camping there was no such thing, but in order to preserve the site in as ecologically good condition as possible, campers are placed at specific spots with lots of room around each camp. Once the campsite is full, it is full, even if you could easily fit another 10-15 tents in the are if your only goal was to make money.

2. Staying warm. Not really a problem on this camping trip, but choose what your toddler is going to wear at night with care. Woolly layers and thin hat are good choices for early spring and late summer camping trips, when the night time temperatures can be chilly.

3. Sleeping bag or not? When camping in warm climates individual sleeping bag for your little one is really not needed. We had two sleeping bags between three of us and that was already too much. But I will invest in a good quality sleeping bag for the colder camping seasons.

4. Toys. I personally don’t think that large selection of toys is needed, for us the sandy beach and cold sea water splashing at our feet provided most of the entertainment. A book, favorite teddy and some games can come in handy if boredom or rain showers hit.

5. Sun protection and first aid. Whether it is winter or summer, sun protection is vital at least in the form of sun lotion and sun glasses. In the summer months sunhat, light but protecting beach wear and water bottle are also important. And needless to say, first aid kit is an absolute essential and should cover anything from plasters to children’s fever medication and antihistamine.

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I love to explore the world to new destinations. If you love traveling as much as I do, please subscribe to Skimbaco Travel weekly email and never miss a travel post.

About Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

Satu Vänskä-Westgarth decided to take a year off from her nine to five marketing executive life in Finland early 2009 to travel with her kayak, bike or skis and sometimes without. "One year" turned into a new lifestyle as a travel writer, accompanied with a not-so-British entrepreneur husband from Britain, who seems to spend more time outside the borders of his homeland than within, and their baby, who has already spent more months outside Norway than at their home in Norway, where the family resides at the moment. For more stories from the road, visit Satu’s blog Destination Unknown and connect with Satu on Twitter @SatuVW.

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