Weekend Camping: A Family Affair
Family camping is a steadfast tradition in Vermont and throughout many parts of New England. While many visitors frequent the beautiful landscapes of the Northeast seeking refuge from their daily endeavors, some of us actually seek an escape from our escape. Tucked away by the shores of Lake Champlain or in the dense forests of the Northeast Kingdom are hundreds of "weekend camps" - and they're all filled with Vermonters from different areas of the state.
It might seem like a lot to spend an entire weekend with minimal creature-comforts combined with the additional stresses of family members, but it can be done with a dose of preparedness. Whether you're camping with tots, your sister's tots, your husband's parents (and the dog), your cousins, their friends or even just your own parents, there is a way to keep everyone happy and comfortable.
We went straight to the expert source- a seasoned "weekend-family-camper" who has managed everything from new babies to camping abodes packed to the gills with visiting family & friends alike. She still makes it back to the Turtle Fur offices on Mondays. Mom, wife and weekend-camping expert Julie explains how to enjoy the s'mores without melting down yourself and what you'll need to do that.
Camping with Babies: they're awesome; most of the time. Other times, all it takes is one factor of discomfort and suddenly your headphones can't seem to be loud enough. They need a lot of attention and they take up the majority of our list.
The (Baby) List! >>
A Yeti Thermos / on-the-go double-walled container is great to keep bottles warm for baby overnight. We poured hot water in before bed and it kept it the perfect temperature for middle-of-the-night feedings
Infant Pop N' Sit Portable Booster seat to let toddlers join you at the table no matter where your table is! This seat is another lifesaver. It can fold up to pack up easy and is a great way to feed the baby while camping. It even attaches to the campsite picnic table. Oh, and with all the food around, it's easy to clean, too.
Cozy, cuddly fleece for camping keeps baby happy (and therefore, everyone else happy) from morning through noon and into night. This adorable fleece parka from Patagonia is a winner for our weekends, while this baby blanket for camping (and wherever else your adventures take you) from Turtle Fur is the missing link for peaceful nights out in nature for baby. For daytime shenanigans, we prefer this onesie from Columbia.
The Other (Family) List! >>
The Best Bug Candles EVER - these powerful camping candles (called "BUG OUT!") from way out wax are truly outstanding. They're the only ones that we have found that actually work to keep mosquitoes at bay and the gang happy and smiling at dinner time and into the night. As a mom, I particularly like that they are deet-free and the holistic approach that the company takes with their products
Camping Koozies These are a double win, because we put our son's warmed up bottle in one and our beverages in our own. The two layers of fleece within the koozie's composition means it helps to insulate both warm and cold temperatures of drinks - so everyone wins! That's something to cheers about.
Hot Water Bottles with a purpose: sneak one of these in everyone's sleeping bag at night to keep them roasty toasty even after the dew and fog rolls across the mountains in the dark. Can someone say #lifehack?
This big, pre-seasoned skillet will keep everyone complaint-free (at least for a few hours). Put it right on the fire if you want, though we suggest a grate for stability's sake. There's simply nothing like fire friend eggs and bacon for breakfast.
Coffee = sanity. Do not get caught without a cup of morning joe! We learned the hard way that it is not a "good morning" without good coffee at camp for the adults. Now we bring this french press for a share of coffee that brews quickly and deliciously - just add boiling water & presto! Caffeine (and sanity) has arrived.
With this list - you should be as prepared as ever to face the outdoors in total comfort. The only other thing you can add to that list is, of course, some turtle fur beanies for the frosty mornings when you emerge from your tents :) Happy Camping!