Try these nine (9) tips if you plan winter camping with a baby. They will take the hassle out of your little adventure and make it just as it should be - filled with fun!
PACK UP THE RIGHT CLOTHING
Think "layers" when packing up your baby's clothing. It's easier to add up or take off to suit any change in the weather. And remember essentials like footie-pajamas, mittens, booties (with traction) and a warm hat with a Velcro strap (babies lose a lot of heat from their heads!). You might also want to pack a carrier or sling to keep your baby warm when you carry them on hikes or walks. And of course, diapers, wipes, feeding bottles, baby food, baby seat, toys, pacifiers, blankets, etc.
For yourself, pack up some gloves, mittens, disposable hand warmers, warm socks, insulated jackets, mid-layers, base layers, boots with good traction (for hikes and walks), sunglasses, goggles, hats, sunscreen and personal hygiene items.
GIVE YOUR BABY SOME GOOD SKINCARE
Keep itchy, dry or irritated skin at bay when camping out. Bring along baby-safe lotion and lip balm. Always try out a bit of these skin products on your baby (try them on the wrist) to know if they work for him or her. And don't forget sun protection (even though there is less sunlight it can be just as damaging as in summer!).
When choosing sun protection for your baby, go for products that contain active ingredients like minerals (for sunblocks), zinc oxide and titanium oxide (for sunscreens) - these are less irritating.
CHECK THE TEMPERATURE
When camping out with a baby, you need to be mindful of temperature changes. Fixing a thermometer to your tent can help you keep tabs on the weather so you can, for instance, change your baby's clothing or bedding, particularly at night.
RUN A TRIAL
If you are winter camping newbies, you need to prep up before taking off on your adventure. It will help you adjust so you can have fun. Take time running trials at home with your baby on all the stuff you will be doing when you are winter camping. For instance, try setting up the tent in your backyard or other places at home. You can also try sleeping in it at night with your baby. Check if your baby's sleeping environment is comfy. Does your baby's crib fit in the tent? Does your baby sleep well in the sleeping bag or clothes?
With summer camping, you need not worry about staying warm. You can sit for hours like it's nobody's business. Winter camping is different! You and your baby need to engage in some activities to stay warm. Put your baby in a sling and take a long walk or hike or go sledding (with a tight grip on your bundle of joy!). Amidst all the activity, do make time for you and your baby to have enough rest. Babies who sleep well at night are less likely to be sleepy during the day when you need them to be awake. Lastly, make sure you and your baby are having regular meals and staying hydrated.
PICK A GOOD LOCATION
Research to find winter camping sites with weather conditions that are not too harsh. Check out these camping sites where the cold is manageable for you and your baby. If you are running out of luck finding a suitable location, ask your neighbours, colleagues, family or friends - somebody from your social network must be an experienced camper.
Make friends with one or two campers if you are on a campground (you'll never know when you'll need a helping hand).
USE THE RIGHT TENT
The camping tent is key to your winter camping plans (that's your shelter from the cold). Pick the right tent, and that's fifty percent of your camping preparations done! The ideal tent for camping out in winter is a four-season tent that has been rated highly for cold weather camping. It should be waterproof and be able to lock in heat. Besides, it should have a rainfly, enough ventilation (to lock in moisture and keep out the frost) and space for all of you.
Come along with tarps to cover the tent (even though it's waterproof or has a rainfly) in case of wet weather.
GET YOUR CAMPING EQUIPMENT
Make a list of all equipment and other essentials needed for winter camping. You may be far from home and don't want to leave anything behind. Apart from the tent, your list should include:
- sleeping bags or pads (have one for baby as well)
- headlamps, flashlights and flares
- stove (plus a stove platform and fuel)
- emergency heat blankets
- first aid kit
- pre-charged battery for phone or power bank
- basic tools like an ice axe, knife or multi-tool
- snow chains for car tires
- utensils and cookware (including thermos or water bottles)
- lighters or matches (must be waterproof)
Check off every item on the list just so you have everything covered.
Check out more winter camping essentials from here.
BE CAUTIOUS OF CARBON MONOXIDE
Always keep a lookout for carbon monoxide poisoning. Use stoves, lanterns, heaters and other fuel-burning equipment outside your camper or tent to prevent this. Also, make sure your tailpipes are not clogged with snow since this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
On top of all this, take the necessary precautions for potential health issues (hypothermia, injuries, frostbite, colds and SIDS, which is very common with babies in winter) that can crop up.
- Do not over bundle your baby as this can cause them to overheat, putting them at risk of SIDS.
- Use sleeping pads that are very firm and wide for your baby, and do not stuff them with pillows, toys, etc.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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