Taking the family camping? Here’s a roundup of some great gear to help make it memorable, entertaining and manageable with young ones.
(1) Potty Training Essentials
If you’re potty training, or recently accomplished this wonderful milestone, you might want to bring along a portable potty. A lot of children aren’t comfortable using the natural environment (nor is it always permitted depending on where you’re camping) and some bathroom facilities might not be work well with young children. We find it very helpful to bring along a potty-kit (with all of the essentials).
Pull-Ups are also a necessity if you’re child newly graduated to underwear or is in the process of becoming fully potty trained. We recommend Pull-Ups because of the easy open sides which are simple to get on and off without worrying about laying a child down. Accidents while camping are not easy to manage (no where to wash bedding, clothes, tent etc) and the smell of urine/feces can attract bugs, wildlife and so forth. Make sure you bring a supply of training pants just in case your child regresses.
To buy: variety of potty options
To buy: Pull-Ups
(2) Portable High Chair options
Eating in the wilderness is exciting, exhilarating and relaxing and children love it. But, if you’re camping with toddlers or infants, you might want a secure place to seat them. There are some great high chair options that make travel much easier. The Kid Co Dine Pod (above) is very lightweight and easily carried from location to location and functions as a stand alone place for young kids. We’ve used it on a beach, in parks, backyards (for BBQs) and camping. A great high-chair option, with similar function is this one by Summer Infant. It has a back to it as well which really gives the illusion of a chair as well as a cup holder.
To buy: Summer Infant high chair
There are also options that can fasten onto the picnic table (above) –if the place you’re camping offers tables at the site. Again, both options are easy to take with you and can work in multiple scenarios. It also gives mom and dad some hands free time.
To buy: Best Buy Guzzie & Gus High Chair
(3) Blow-Up Mattress
Sleeping in a tent is fun and exciting, but it’s not always easy for toddlers or young kids (who are used to sleeping in cribs or toddler beds) to adjust to the open space. A blow up toddler-sized mattress, like this one from Kid Shrunks (Amazon.ca) is a great option because the elevated edging helps to keep them in place. It’s also (obviously) much softer. It has a built in pump so don’t worry about having to blow it up.
To buy: Blow Up Matress
There are also great sleeping pods like this Pea Pod from Kid Co. This convenient travel bed is made of lightweight mesh and the large zipper panel makes access to your child effortless. The bottom of the pod is easily removable for cleaning or packing. The PeaPod also has great features for outdoor use including UV protection and anchor straps. Believe it or not, this handy bed fits inside carry-on size luggage, making it great for trips without having to check bags! When not in use, the PeaPod quickly folds for storage inside its own bag making it perfect for short visits or long trips.
To buy: Kid Co Pod
Kids love walkie-talkies. It’s just a given. Taking them camping is a smart move. With a simple push of a button you can communicate with your kids on your campsite. Let them take one into the tent or trailer and you’re always able to connect. These ones last 9 hours on stand-by and offer 3.5 hours of continuous use. There’s a 500 – two mile range so just double check the details on yours before putting them into use. Note: make sure you have an ample supply of batteries
To buy: Waitee Walkie-Talkies
(5) Ice Cream Ball
Innovative, fun outdoor ideas can help make rainy days in the wilderness a bit more attractive to the family. This Ice Cream Ball from MEC is a great way to entertain the whole family. You simply add some ingredients (cream, sugar and vanilla), ice, rock salt and then toss it around. When you open it, voila! Ice cream. It comes with a recipe book.
To buy: UCO Softshell Ice Cream ball
(6) Stainless Steel Espresso Maker
You can’t leave mom and dad out of the camping essentials equation. For the espresso lovers, here’s a portable option that fits on most camp stoves. It comes in a four-shot or one-shot option, available from Mountain Equipment Co-op.
To buy: Espresso Maker
(7) Table Tennis
Board games are definitely a camping essential, but companies are also coming up with compact, fun games that are ideal for travel. This outside Inside Backpack Table tennis game is a perfect example. We love this one because it transforms your picnic table into a little court. The retractable net fits most tables.
To buy: Table Tennis set
What does your family use while camping (and yes, we know, some of these are quite modern and some people prefer the rustic route)? Let us know and we will share it with the family travel community!