This past weekend, hubby and I took baby girl for her first tent camping and mountain hiking experience. There were a couple of big things I wanted to do with her during her first year of life and these two were still on the list. We’d had plans to cross off camping during the summer but an ear infection and ridiculously hot temperatures had us deciding to postpone. Before long, weekends kept booking up quickly. So, in lieu of a big birthday party, we made a plan to take a family trip to the mountains! The hubs and I aren’t new to camping so the only element I needed to prepare for was making sure I had everything I needed to make things run smoothly with A. All in all it wasn’t all that much more than what normally goes into preparing for a camping trip or traveling with a baby. The biggest thing that I spent the most time preparing for was the cold/night routine. Temperatures were expected to range from 60’s during the day down into the 40’s overnight (which they did). I needed to make sure I’d be able to keep her warm otherwise I knew we were going to have a very unhappy baby on our hands. After months and months of warm weather, it was hard to remember what 40 degrees would feel like so I researched what other camping moms had done with their kiddos in low temps. There was also a little prep that went into keeping her fed and that we were prepared to take her out hiking.
But first, sleeeeep…
I am happy to say that everything went pretty smoothly!! We had taken the Pack N’ Play for her to sleep in with the thought that if all else failed she could just sleep with us if she got too cold and I had a pretty good stash of cold weather gear for her to layer up in. I packed short and long sleeved onesies to wear under her fleece footie jams as a base core layer. I wanted there to be something there to keep her from being completely exposed to the cold if I had to do a middle of the night diaper change (which, thankfully, I did not). Since a lot of heat is lost through the head, a fitted hat that fastened was important, along with mittens to keep as much covered as possible. I also brought along a thicker one-piece fleece hooded suit with built in mittens as an additional layer in case she needed it as well as a cold weather sleep sack and several pairs of thick socks.
She ended up sleeping between us the first night and the second night she started out in the Pack N’ Play but then ended up waking up just before midnight and stayed with us for the remainder of the night. Admittedly the first night we did not sleep very well, more because she was tossing and turning for most of the night. I think this was less due to the cold and more due to the fact that she couldn’t get comfortable (she is used to sleeping by herself in a crib). She slept in fleece footie jams with a short-sleeved onesie and a hat. The second night since we tried out her sleeping in the Pack N’ Play, she slept with a long sleeved onesie under her footie jams, in a sleep sack wearing a hat and mittens. When she woke up around 11pm or so to eat, I simply kept her between us in her sleep sack in case part of her waking was related to the cold. She didn’t feel super cold or clammy but this seemed like a better option at the time than testing out another layer in the Pack N’ Play.
Both nights she woke up several times to eat, however this was par for her usual course as she had just come off of fighting a cold, which tends to screw up her nighttime sleep schedule. I kept a cooler at my bedside with pre-made bottles, making for quick and easy feedings when she needed it. One of the tips I had read was to make sure to layer slowly because you don’t want the baby to be overdressed and sweat because this will just result in them being colder later. I think the way we approached the layering was good and while we didn’t use all of the layers, I was happy that we were adequately prepared. We brought several blankets in case we needed them and foam squares (you know like those used in playrooms or gyms) to create a layer of insulation under our sleeping pads as well as under her Pack N’ Play. Since this year we upgraded to a larger tent to give us a little more room with our expanding family, we had thought about really glamping it and taking an air mattress to sleep on. But research (and a little intuition) told me that this was not the best way to stay warm as it sucks away heat (a much better option for summer). I had also read the gap underneath the Pack N’ Play can create the same issue, so we put a blanket in the space between the floor and the mattress for added insulation.
I prepped food ahead of time so mealtime was a breeze. This included making sure Aubrey had plenty of finger foods to eat throughout the day. I am super cautious when it comes to food sanitation with baby girl so all of her food went into this RTIC cooler (like a Yeti in that it keeps ice for days but more affordable) for most reliable cooling. While it did do a great job keeping things cold, the size we have only fit about half of the food shown below. Several of our meals I prepped ahead of time, wrapped in foil, then froze. This made for meals that stayed at a safe temperature until it was time to cook them and helped to keep the remaining non-frozen items cold. Teenie ate her meals while sitting in her portable high chair. This thing got a lot of use over the summer as we bounced between home and the river so often. I actually keep it in my car (it takes up minimal space) in case we go to a friend’s house for dinner or something and she needs a place to sit to eat.
The Ants Go Marching (aka my hiking ballad for keeping bears away)…
I used A’s Ergo carrier for our hike since she still fits in it and it has a rear wear option. Eventually I would like to find a used hiking carrier, but for this occasion the Ergo worked out well. She wasn’t exactly a fan of being on my back so it wasn’t too long before we had to flip the carrier around so I could wear her facing me (not exactly the best way to hike but at least the terrain we were hiking wasn’t anything too difficult). The backpack was packed with bottles on the ready which as you can see below came in handy!
The whole weekend was the perfect way to celebrate our first year as a family. 🙂