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Camping With a Baby. Not So Scary After All

by verdemama on April 5, 2010

This past weekend was a momentous one, indeed—it marked our first-ever camping expedition with Orion. Destination: Joshua Tree National Park. We were avid campers pre-baby, but since his arrival, we’ve (read: I’ve) been nervous about taking the plunge into extended time in the great outdoors. Happily, not only have we lived to tell the tale, but we had a fabulous time and feel confident about our future treks into the wild.

The key to camping with babies is to think like a Boy/Girl Scout and be prepared, i.e. bring a ridiculous amount of stuff with you. Since we were camping in the desert, this meant we had to bring clothes for all types of weather, ranging from light clothes and sun hats for the heat of the day, to super warm clothes and knit caps for night after the sun’s warmth fades and the cold winds start blowing. Sunblock (preferably of the skin-friendly variety) was another necessity, which we marinated in from sunrise to sunset.

Aside from all the other sundry camp gear, cooking supplies, firewood, food, first aid kit (stocked with baby essentials, such as Infant Tylenol), etc., we also brought a hiking backpack for the wee one and a portable playpen—the latter which we never touched. (Next time I will bring a tarp or blanket for playing on instead. Note to self.).

I wish I had taken a photo of our packed-to-the-gills Prius with a full-sized Thule cargo carrier on top, also packed full. Gone are the days of packing light, at least for a while. I’m also a little embarrassed that I’m now longingly eyeing those ginormous family-sized tents that I maybe, possibly used to make fun of back in my carefree childless days. Oh, how the tables have turned.

Although the nights were a little cold (in the mid 40s, which is pretty extreme for us SoCal city slickers), we had a wonderful time and Orion loved spending so much time out in nature. As a former country girl, I’m determined that my children are passionate about spending time outside and have an intimate relationship with nature. Orion is very much an outdoor baby, so I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Nature Deficit Disorder with this one.

And who wouldn’t want to get outside and feast their eyes upon these lovely sights? I mean, really.

My only complaint is that when we got back to the city, Orion didn’t want to go inside the house. A weekend out in the wild apparently turned the boy a bit feral but he’s acting a bit more domesticated now after a cozy night in his own bed.

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