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Camping/Hiking with a small child (<1 year)
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Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

Camping/Hiking with a small child (<1 year) on 07/02/2012 08:52:31 MDT Print View

Hi all,
I would like to start introducing my son an wife to outdoors, but have zero experience in being out there with a small kid. I would like to take a few small excursions with a tent into a more or less accessible place where we can get in a car and drive away in case something doesn't go right.

What I'm having trouble with is figuring out the sleeping arrangements for the kid. I have a 2 person tent where we can fit the 3 of us, but I don't know if I should put him in my sleeping bag or if we should put him separately and what kind of sleeping gear to use? I don't want to put him into an over-sized sleeping bag by himself, since it can be dangerous for him. Special sleeping pad for a small kid?

The food we got figured out, the closing it not a problem...

Anyone been out with a child around 1 year of age and have any advice for me?

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Camping/Hiking with a small child (<1 year) on 07/02/2012 09:30:29 MDT Print View

Edited by annapurna on 07/02/2012 09:55:40 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Camping with kids on 07/02/2012 09:33:06 MDT Print View

Taking my oldest daughter backpacking when she was a year old was one of my most rewarding early parenting experiences. It was the first time I felt like I got to share one of my passions with her and see her respond in turn.

For these trips, I typically carried all our gear and my wife carried our daughter in a baby bjorn or Kelty child carrier (a good kid carrier is an essential piece of gear for the first 3-4 years).

My wife and daughter slept together on an oversized thermarest inflatable pad. My daughter slept in one of those fleece sleepers that looks kind of like a zip up sack with arms (not sure what they're called- sleep sack?). She snuggled into my wife's bag if cold.

We did not buy any special gear for sleeping until our next daughter came along and we took her out at 3 months of age. For her we bought a portable foam "crib".

best trip
Best trip ever!

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

hiking with a small child on 07/02/2012 11:00:40 MDT Print View

Great! We actually do have one of those fleece zip-up sleeping sacks, so that sounds good. I will need to get a new air-pad as my Stoic inflatable is not very thick and Thermarest Z-Lite is even thinner.

Since it is getting pretty warm, i may lay out my sleeping bags with full zipper to create some extra padding for the baby and just sleep with the zip open.

I will check out the links too, thanks for the info!

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: Camping/Hiking with a small child (<1 year) on 07/02/2012 11:03:48 MDT Print View

My son turns 1 on the 9th and we've had him out camping 3 trips.

First trip, I'd suggest camping at a place where the car is in sight of the tent. Maybe a Nat'l Park/State Park, or Nat'l Forest. It's not glamorous, but it's a great test run to see how they and you handle it. I know how everyone here feels about campgrounds with 'the unwashed masses' but packing up and several miles out in the middle of the night because of an infant issue would suck. A lot, I think.

If all goes well, move further than the car for next trip.

As far as sleeping gear, A semi-inflatable (TaR ProLite torso) pad is great for a baby. I started camping with mine zipped in an adult size down jacket (no hood, sleeves tucked inside), covered with a fleece throw, between my wife and I for temps in the mid 40's. He slept in a cotton sleeper with a knit beanie on. For next year I'm probably going to purchase a child-sized quilt from Tim at enLIGHTened Equipment. You shouldn't have any issues using a system that doesn't have a hood for them to get their face into.

Edited by COHiker on 07/02/2012 11:05:03 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Camping/Hiking with a small child (<1 year) on 07/02/2012 13:18:03 MDT Print View

Edited by annapurna on 07/02/2012 13:20:49 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Camping/Hiking with a small child (<1 year) on 07/02/2012 17:53:02 MDT Print View

We started at 5 months in a grizzly-infested campsite (Brook's Camp, Katmai National Park) and the diapers, sleeping bags and tent didn't show up. Everyone is very nice to you when you're two flights from the road system with no gear. Thankfully, we'd carried on enough diapers to make it 24 hours until the delayed bags arrived.

We used a "co-sleeper" strapped to the side of the master bed at home so everyone was used to being able to breastfeed through the night, sometimes seemingly with no one fully waking. Similarly while camping, being close to Mom helps a lot and we just brought a baby "snowsuit" of sorts for use as a summer-time sleeping bag. Insulated, with arms, you want the kind with two legs because then they can wear it in the Kelty child carrier. They all unsnap at the seat for diaper changes with minimal exposurr to cold air.

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

Good point on 07/03/2012 09:13:33 MDT Print View

Good point about the suit with legs for the carrier...

I'm actually looking at Deuter carriers at the moment. Know anything about them?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Good point on 07/03/2012 12:27:32 MDT Print View


I just looked at the Deuter carrier on line and it looked substanial but I haven't seen on in person or worn one.

We liked the Kelty although it could have been 3-4 pounds lighter if the fabric was thinner and less heavily padded. It's designed for day hikes and around town more than for thru-hikes.

Some things to look for: You want some storage for around town use - diapers, snacks, change of clothes, etc. When used for backpacking, you (dad) usually carry all the gear while mom carries the kid and kid stuff, IME. But volume is an issue. A carrier that lets mom lash on a sleeping bag helps with the volume problem while not shifting much weight to her.

A number of our trips were with our 2-year-old in the carrier and another "bun in the oven", so she was hiking for 3, while I was packing for 3/4.

Some carriers have sun shades that afix to flexible rods inserted into the carrier. Those are very helpful.

The carrier HAS to stand on its own when set on the ground. You/she need to be able to get things from the pockets, go pee, etc, without having to hold the baby in one arm. Check for how stable that position is while in the store.

This sounds goofy, but do it: Get a little mirror and fasten it on a wristband. Then mom can check if the baby is out of the sun or has spit-up dripping down her back, etc. It is a LOT easier than taking the pack off and potentially waking the baby.

Brett Rasmussen
(ascientist) - MLife

Locale: Grants Pass, Oregon
Re: Good point on 07/05/2012 22:39:57 MDT Print View

I have the Kid Comfort III. It's nice and all. Carries well and nice features, but weight and size are just too much. I would only recommend it if your pushing the upper limits of the weight of the kid you are carrying and will be doing so for a good distance.

Joshua Gray
(coastalhiker) - MLife
Osprey on 07/08/2012 14:10:00 MDT Print View

My wife and I just bought the Osprey Poco Plus for taking out our 10 month old boy. Took him out for the first time today and he loved it. We were basically choosing between the deuter and the osprey and we got the poco plus for about $80 less. It is much lighter and it adjusts quickly for both my wife and I's torso lengths (mine is 21.5 and my wife's is 18.5"). Has plenty of room for his goodies for a day hike/weekend trip in the underneath pocket and the straps are very secure to hold him in. I'll post a few pics later for ya.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Camping/Hiking with a small child (<1 year) on 07/08/2012 21:49:49 MDT Print View

When ours were that young, we kept to fairly warm locales and doubled up on the fleece footy jammies with hoods, which worked well for sleeping. We stuck to car camping and used a porta-crib inside the big car camping tent.