We have just recently back from a glorious time camping with our lil T. Not to be half hearted at this kind of shiznit. First, we hit a small family friendly festival in Devon for 3 nights followed by a family camp up for a further 7 nights with some great friends in Dorset’s gorgeous Jurassic Coast.
This is it. 10 days camping with a one year old – True Story.
So I thought what a fantastic excuse to write a little something about camping with a one year old and share some of our pearls of wisdom/learnings.
Glad to say, We have as parents both been awarded our imaginary Brownie Badges of “Camping it up with an ankle biter” good and proper.
First night baby T decides to eat an eton mess melange of floor offerings in the form of duck poo and some discarded Pom Bears (what a delicious mix) I hear you cry. As it was the first night this overly caring mother uses every fine piece of wool and cashmere in the south of England to make the cotbed cosy and comfy for our little nesting hedgehog. Right, she goes to bed. Phew. I crack open the box of wine – we are bleeding camping after all? Boxes of wine I am told can be consumed on an almost daily basis for purely medicinal purposes.
Book of Dad alerts me to the fact that poor lil T has been sick over everything, we clean her up, change the bedsheets – clever Mummy had brought an extra set and borrowed a new sleeping bag of a friendly neighbour. Then followed about 7 more bouts of sick, enough clothes changes to fill 3 bin bags and by the end of it we had run out of sheets and blankets and she was in with us wearing my nighty practically.
Thankfully our brave baby was better in the morning as we were one tent peg from going home to make sure she was near a doctor etc. Book of Dad spent the whole next day down at the launderette – Danny Dippers of Exeter – we thank you. Legend. As there is nothing worse than a tent full of clothes and bedding smelling of sick, righhhhhht? If you actually do think there is anything worse – please do send your answers on a postcard.
After great fun and frivolity at this family friendly festival and tag team raving from Moms and Pops we head to the dreamy campsite Eweleaze Farm on the Jurassic coast for 7 more days of beach, farm animals, fresh cappucinnos, storytime with 14 children and proper got into the camping vibes. I cooked on a dutch oven with great gusto. Rusty Lee or Gordon– would have been proud.
My great mate 2010 suggested we get a shop delivered to the campsite , this meant we had everything we needed including Big Tom for bloody margarets and wet wipes galore delivered straight to the campsite. Thank you Sainsbury’s. Winning. Any small things you can do to make it easier on yourselves is a good idea. This is a holiday after all.
Another tip was to put Baby T in her cot bed and at night when it got slightly chillier put a blanket draped over the top allowing some room for air. The sides are airated but good to still be mindful.
The days were spent chilling, stroking animals, coastal walks, tidying the tent ( an ongoing daily job), sharing lunch or glass of wine and a chat with our mates, beach days and the evenings with roaring log fires and plenty of bants around them. Marshamallow loving. Stargazing. Tabitha loved the freedom of running around, the interaction with other children, getting her feet wet in the sea and generally loved being at one with the elements.
There were 14 children in total. Night times there was group storytelling. The occasional wash in a bucket with an amazing lend from our friends who have a portable shower head. Lots of laughter, chasing, playing, face painting and being silly. One of our 14 had a 5th birthday party which even though the rain was mega and full of fun and games. Just to see them all free was very wonderful to watch. Free and crazy. What else would 14 children be.
To summarise, it’s a great cost effective holiday once you get all the kit. The routine may go out of the window but only for a little while. It is okay, I promise. You can keep elements of routine which can make the wee folk feel safe. I tried to get Tabs into bed at 7 every night and chilling out in the tent from 5pm – so as she got into the zone. With older children I reckon you can be more freestyle.
For what It is worth here are some essential items I think you need for this kind of trip:
Camping – This is an extensive list on the proviso you are not doing a Ray Mears kind of adventure with a bow and arrow and a can of Strongbow but going on a long camp with little people)
A really good air bed ( like the best one you can buy for your money – I like Aerobed)
A duvet with a decent tog
Your own pillows – thank me later
Camp stove and cooking items.
Torch / Headtorch to navigate the compost loo’s.
Games (cards, Frisbee, boules)
A builders bucket/trug – to wash the babies/use as a washing up bowl.
High Chair – we used ours for every meal and if you use the IKEA ones even better as they pack down in a flash.
Get some Ella’s/ healthy baby food stocked up
Fresh fruit or Danon do good fruit pots.
Porridge can be an easy breakfast – add your home brought bits (coconut, raisins, cinnamon powder)
A good sleeping bag
Clothes for every season ( We are in Britain – so bring a wetsuit if you can, lil wellies, puddle suit, swimming costume, hats, gloves, leggings, jumpers, t-shirts – you think I am joking but to have everything the little person wears you feel reassured when it goes from a monsoon to desert weather in an hour).
More bedding than you think you could ever need
More wet wipes than you think you ever could need
Cosy from home – bunny or blanket.
Books from home.
Milk ( however you do it – make sure you have it). Plan how you are going to warm it and it is good to have the conversation the night before who is going to be the milk maid in the morrow.
Dummies ( if you do that)
Crocs – bloody amazing wipe clean camping friendly / style averting foot wear.
General Food/ Luxe things
Dutch Oven ( such a great investment) – lots of one dish meals can be done in these over the open fire. I did a bread and butter brioche pudding and a lasagna and a sweet potato and chickpea curry in mine. Lushness.
We bought a collapsible fire bowl – great to toast marshmallows on and create warmth and to use your Dutch oven on.
Snacks – take more than you think you need – cooking over fire can take longer than you imagine.
Wine/ Booze – very important
Carrier Bags/Rubbish Bags
I love having jars of antipasti around to throw into a risotto or mince dish.
Easy Itsu Noodles are good for lunch. The odd brioche wont hurt either and left over brioche can be turned into a bread and butter pudding with a can of custard.
If you are a coffee nut, a cafetiere and a fresh coffee are a real luxe treat to wake up to especially if you or your fam haven’t slept well.
Eye Mask is a good thing to have.
Mosquito Spray / Citronella Coils
Ear Plugs ( that group of 16 year olds playing Gabba at midnight don’t care you may get up in a hour).
I love my Muji washbag that we can hang up in our tent full of cleansing essentials. It also means that Baby T cant get her little grubby mitts on them.