Gear & Equipment

The Best Tips on Camping with Babies in 193 Pages

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mom and baby hiking and laughing outdoors camping fun not miserable

Every parent who wants to get more exercise, keep up with their desire for, say, backpacking, or hit that goal to compete in a triathlon (or insert your own goal), wonders how other parents do it. And the big one, especially for first time parents, is as simple as how do you take a baby camping for the first time? The truth is none of us are experts at this business of juggling family responsibilities with our outdoor pursuits. We're all winging it in different ways because our children are dynamic critters with their own personalities, quirks, and soft spots. And so are we.

Eventually we learn that younger children, babies, are far easier to shuttle out of the house to the campsite than that growing kind who walk, dress themselves at their own slow-ass pace, and declare they must go potty in 15-minute intervals of the trip. Before you know it, you're out of the baby phase. And then once you have a handle on the toddler phase, you're staring at a pimply adolescent devouring the food in your kitchen and jockeying for the car keys. Becoming an "expert" at this stuff is kind of laughable. There's no time, there's no consistency.

However, we can thank Jennifer Aist for hammering out the essentials to taking the little ones on over-nighters to the wilderness. Last year, her book Babes in the Woods: Hiking, Camping, Boating with Babies and Young Children came out. If you need some credentials tossed around, it's published by Mountaineers Books (American Alpine Journal ring a bell?) and Aist herself is a mother of four and lifelong outdoors nut. To be quick about it, we bought a copy, read it, and have little reluctance to recommend it.

Let me tell you this: it's reassuringly small. 5"x7" and just 193 pages. Yet it has it all from the basics of clothing, sleeping, dealing with bugs, to an assortment of activities to do with the kids as well as what to do (and what to teach your children about) when a child is lost. Throughout, Aist includes breakouts with classic tips and reminders that you likely already know but just need to be reminded of. For example, t-shirts can be used as bandaging, 7 percent of your body heat escapes through your head, a lot of gear can be rented or borrowed rather than purchased, etc. etc. etc.

Buy at REI >>>


Lia Keller
+7 / 0
# Lia Keller 2011-07-31 02:16
This is my go to gift for outdoorsy parents as a baby shower gift. I pair it with some tiny, smart wool socks and it is a winner!
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0 / 0
# Mark 2011-07-31 18:15
Great idea, Lia.
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