Holy eff. Camping with a 13.5-month-old is a lot of work!
We tried to take her backcountry camping on Canada Day weekend and it ended as the weekend from hell. Blog post coming soon on THAT adventure.
First, you’re trying to get everything packed up and they start pulling it all back out again. I know in their precious little minds they’re trying to “help” but it’s really creating more work for mom and dad.
Second, there are MANY stops along the way. Snack time, diaper changes, stretching the legs. What should have been a 2 hour drive, easily turns into 4 hours.
Third, all of the extra gear! We bring so much more stuff with us to make camping with a toddler a bit easier. A fold-up high chair, extra blankets, toys, comforts/lovies, breast pump. SO. MUCH. STUFF.
Alright, I have to be honest.
Camping with a baby or toddler is AMAZING. All that stuff above is annoying, but to watch a little person discover nature is so heartwarming and exciting.
AND SO WORTH IT.
People always said to me when they knew I was pregnant, that watching your baby through their eyes is one of the most rewarding things. I can believe it now.
We spent 30 minutes at a bench peeling decaying wood. She was so interested and I could see how she would discover that wood grain is in layers.
She played with the Algonquin Park newspaper for like 20 minutes discovering the sound and texture of the paper and how it rips apart.
We did a lot of walking around the campsite. Laps and laps and then stopping to pick up sticks and peel lichen and moss off rocks.
She spent time looking out over the lake with Daddy Bear watching canoeists paddle by and saying “Hi” and waving to every. single. one.
In the morning, we watched her dad take the food barrel down from a tree to get our breakfast out. I loved watching her learn how to backcountry camp with Mommy Bear and Daddy Bear.
I LOVED putting her to bed in the tent! So cozy in there.
After a long day of playing hard around the campsite, not going down for a nap and then going to bed early, it was now time for mom and dad to have a few drinks around the fire. It was some much-needed time for us. We hadn’t sat around a campfire, just the two of us, since our canoe trip in Quetico in 2017!!!!!
We just had such a wonderful time. We went swimming in Kiosk Lake, went for a hike along the railbed behind our campsite.
We had some great dinners of campfire quesadillas and pizza!
To top all of this off, we heard Algonquin wolves howling at night and barred owls!
You should TOTALLY take your toddler or baby backcountry camping! Yes it was a lot of work, but to watch my little baby explore nature and get to know the ins and outs of camping is worth every single moment I tell her to not put something in her mouth.
I told her that a lot. But that’s how babies learn.