We had our very first camping trip with kids, it took us long enough considering that my husband and I met while camping and even our handfasting/wedding was a camping festival. The last time we camped I was heavily pregnant with my first but then car seats took over the backseat and we had the logistical challenge of how to fit gear and kids in the car.
We finally overcame that challenge and had a weekend trip to a festival and aside from some mishaps such as our tent frame breaking during setup and having to rig things with duct tape, bungee cords and rope to avoid a 30 minute drive to civilization for a new tent it was a relative success.
The boys had fun and while it was a completely different experience for me, I enjoyed seeing them play in nature, dancing around the fire at drum circle and being kids.
Some things that I learned about camping with kids:
don’t use the old pre-kids packing list or you’ll end up driving 45 minutes to the closest store because you didn’t pack underwear for your 4 year old.
If your car can’t fit a kiddie pool, make sure that your kids tolerate showers or at the very least like to get wet with a hose. That was quite the loud scene for the whole encampment to enjoy after the kids had a tad too much fun playing with dirt.
Two tubes of bubbles from the dollar store that look like lightsabers will provide endless hours of entertainment even after all of the bubble juice is gone and will keep the kids from playing with the dirt and requiring a very loud screaming filled shower.
So aside from needing a new tent and having to train the boys to not act like a shower is medieval torture, I would go camping again.
Have you gone camping with kids? Any tips to share?
Camping in Florida’s May weather while in the third trimester, not for the faint of heart!
It was trying at times but overall it was manageable and some parts were not horrible. I don’t recommend it to women that don’t enjoy/are used to camping though. You really have to appreciate camping to want to stick it out.
What sucked about camping:
– fire ants- I don’t know if being pregnant makes me look sugar coated to ants but those B!+@&#s just loved biting my toes. Even when I made sure I moved my chair to an area with no visible ant hills within a 6 foot radio they still managed to find me and bite me. My husband sitting right next to me was ignored by the ants.
– heat- OMG the HEAT! I already overheat easily thanks to the little furnace that is baby Fox. The first day was in the upper 80’s with a slight breeze, uncomfortable but manageable. The second day we had 97 degrees plus heat index and I was MISERABLE!
– dehydration- Even though I always had a refillable mug with water, I was not drinking fast enough to replenish and ended up dehydrated on Saturday, boo.
– walking uphill- I managed the walking rather well most of the time, our campsite was uphill from most places that we would go to and getting there wasn’t such a problem, it was getting back that became a pain in the rear, or more precisely, hips. Thankfully this is Florida so it’s not quite a hill but there is definitely an incline to be walked and I never did well in that part.
– people- The usual “how are you feeling?” and the “poor thing, this heat must be torture” (thanks for stating the obvious).
By Saturday night the heat exhaustion, dehydration, swelling and general discomfort had taken such a toll on me that I felt like I snapped emotionally so I decided on self imposed isolation to protect people from snappy comebacks that are undeserved when they were just trying to be nice.
– belly rubbers- despite my t-shirt people risked getting their ass kicked and rubbed anyway, some were sneaky about it, as if I wouldn’t notice! The sad realization that I’ve arrived to is that belly rubbers= baby cheek squeezers so poor baby Fox is in trouble when he meets our friends.
– cankles- yep! despite minor swelling I hadn’t really experienced this… until this trip! I actually had rolls on my ankles when bending my foot! My feet were so swollen they wouldn’t fit on any shoes. This has gone down quite a bit but I still have some rather pronounced swelling.
– belly insect bites- besides the ants I wasn’t really bothered by any insects but some flying sucker thought he was getting a 2 for 1 deal by biting my belly. It’s definitely a different type of itching than the stretching skin itch that I have gotten used to.
What helped make the camping experience bearable:
– trolley- thankfully the festival has a golf cart trolley that saved me from having to walk uphill as many times as I otherwise would have.
– misting tent- my favorite place in the whole campsite, really should have set one up at our encampment. Whereas in the past, spending 30 seconds inside the misting tent would have given me chills in 90+ degree weather, this time around spending minutes inside just made me feel like I was melting at a slower rate. I still credit it with preventing me from fainting more than once.
– the breeze- it wasn’t constant but so very much appreciated when it graced me with its touch.
– clouds- not always there but always welcomed the break form the beating sun.
– boppy pillow- Sleeping on the floor was still uncomfortable but not impossible thanks to this pillow.
– the lake- discovered too late that just dipping my feet in the lake made a world of difference with the heat. Didn’t bring bathing suit so I couldn’t jump in.
Things I would do differently now that I know better:
– bring bathing suit- the lake would have then become my favorite place in the campground
– bring camping chair with footrest- no idea why I didn’t bring it this time, it would have greatly helped my swollen feet and made it harder for the ants from Hades to find my toes.
– bring a walking stick- would have made the walk uphill easier and less of a waddle
– bring frozen juiceboxes, popsicles or similar frozen somethings- it would have helped me cool down faster and fight dehydration better than warm water alone
– bring extra clothes- belly snapped the elastic on my skirt the first day and I had to get creative to keep it from falling off completely until I got back to camp. That threw off my whole wardrobe plan as I didn’t bring a lot of extra changes in clothes besides what I thought I needed.
– the drum circle was lame at times but when the beat got good baby would dance to the drums, it was cute.
-“your face hasn’t changed!?“- this one came as a shock, I didn’t know that my face was supposed to change while pregnant.
-“Oh my god you’re fat!“- I heard this more than once from people that hadn’t seen me in 6 months and didn’t know I was pregnant. It really didn’t bother me, I actually found it amusing.
In summary, would I camp again while pregnant? Depends on the weather, definitely not again in this pregnancy as it just gets progressively hotter. I would imagine that camping in January would be a lot more enjoyable.