Before I begin, let me preface by saying I am not a camper. I am also not an expert and what works for us might not work for all. These are just some tips I have used that helps us.
So my husband is a camper. He always has been. He loves to camp and would go by himself because I wouldn’t go with him. Now that we have a kid, we have gone by ourselves, with friends who do not have kids, and with other families. I am trying to learn to enjoy and love it but I don’t like being uncomfortable and I do not sleep while I camp. I am also not a packer. Meaning, I pack light. I have never been one of those moms who has everything and the kitchen sink with them(I would love to be that mom, it just is not me). So very minimalist packer with a toddler? Can it been done? Yes.
Here are my tips and must haves:
-Toys that are only played with during camp trips. So we have a blow-up beach ball that only comes out during camping trips so it is special and fun to play with.
-Easy to make food. We like Mountain House Foods.
-Water bottle for each person. We personally love the Kid Camelbak bottle for our son like this one.
-Self-Inflating Air Mat for me. I cannot find my exact one but there are tons on Amazon.
-Headlamps/flashlight/lantern. I suggest one light per person.
-If you have 3 people, get a 6 person tent. Then you have enough room for your gear and the people.
-Fun toys for night like Glow in the dark Balloons, or glow sticks.
-Take a toddler led hike and let them explore.
-Always pack an extra outfit just in case they have too much fun in the woods.
-I try to pick a campsite with some shade and water hookup just for emergency water.
-Trail map so that you can plan your exploration.
-Check to see if they have a Park program. Like maybe they have a Jr. Park Ranger program or maybe a Ranger is showing animal tracks. If you go to the National Parks, they have a Passport book to collect stamps from each park.
-Bring a bag for wet clothes (if you go camping at a lake or beach).
-Bring trash bags.
-You might have to go to sleep early, as in when your kid goes so that they actually sleep.
Everything I pack for me and my son fits in one little duffel bag. We each have our own sleeping bag and we pack a cooler for milk, extra water and adult beverages. We also take our dog so we make sure to bring him an inflatable bowl and some food.
I feel like I am missing a lot and I most likely am. That also explains my camping habits too.