What to expect when camping with your children and/or pets

Camping with little ones is so much fun, but it also comes with its challenges. From dealing with their nap and bedtime routines on the road, them adjusting to sleeping arrangements in the RV to things like teething or sickness while traveling. Not to mention potty training! Then add pets and their possible issues. It certainly never gets boring!

I think the most amount of gear I pack for anyone is for Jennie, followed by the dogs. I always travel with at least three extra days of clothing for her because, well, she’s a toddler. They get messy as soon as you turn our back on them! But, that’s a part of having fun and making memories on the road!

So, if you’re considering to go camping with your children and they’re anywhere between baby and pre-potty trained toddler, you are going to want to bring A LOT of diapers. Because for some reason it feels like we went through almost twice as many diapers as we were at home. We also never travel without things like infant/children Motrin, Ibuprofen, cough medicine (we love Zarbees), rubbing alcohol and Benadryl. Because chances are that you’ll need at least one of them. And don’t forget the bandaids! Those are just the bare necessities you should have on hand, besides the foods and snacks.

Things that happened to us was stuff like Jennie working on not one but eight teeth while on our 5 week vacation in 2017. We went through our ibuprofen we brought along from home and then some. The poor little thing didn’t catch a teething break for months back then. On top of that we dealt with extreme temperatures due to a heat wave and our generator ran basically 24/7, which didn’t help with Jennie’s sleep on the road. Most of the nights she ended up sleeping with us, which didn’t help my sleep either haha! At least daddy, who did all of the driving, got to sleep! Thankfully this was just a phase with the poor sleeping for Miss Jennie, mostly due to the teething, I’m sure.

How did this not wake him up?!

We still had to deal with the heat outside and planned our outings not only around her nap time but also the hourly temperatures. Depending on where you go, you’ll need to make sure to know what to expect weather wise ahead of time, it will make everything so much easier during the trip! Hiking and exploring in mid to late morning as well as late afternoon worked best for us. Not just for Jennie but also for the dogs. It was important make sure the ground we intended to hike on wasn’t too hot for them and there was enough shade. A foldable water bowl for them as well as extra water was also always packed. Oh, and the Benadryl. NEVER camp without it if you have pets. Our three girls were quite inquisitive on our big trip, like most dogs are. And on one particular occasion they got into something that caused an allergic reaction/irritation on all three dogs. But Echo, our special baby, had it worst because her skin was sensitive to begin with. All I can say is that I was so happy we had an extra bottle of Benadryl for just them. We were in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception and no town nearby when this happened. Thankfully after two doses she almost looked like her normal self again. But it took a full 24 hrs for the swelling to go away completely.

Now, don’t let this scare you away from going camping with your two and four legged family members!! I am telling you all those things so that you know of the things that can happen and can take them in stride, being prepared for them and know what to expect. Every single camping trip was fantastic in its own way, no matter where we went. Because the most important thing is to always make the best of every situation.

Part of that is that you’ll also want to prepare yourself for rainy days, or days where it is simply too hot to be outside. If you’re a family that can be entertained by TV with movies etc, great! Jennie gets bored with TV fast and we always travel with a handful of toys she picks out herself. Something I always pack are laminated activity sheets (homeschool supplies for preschool), paper and crayons & watercolor, plastic table cloth for crafts, glue, craft paper, popsicle/craft sticks, pompoms, pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes etc. Whatever it takes to keep her happy and entertained when weathered out works for us. And it is fun for the grown ups, too!

Back to dog supplies before I finish up! We found that crib mattresses for our Great Danes work really well in the camper. Our old rig had a jackknife couch that we let the dogs have, and that was perfect. But we don’t have that option in our new one, so we had to get a little creative wit the space we have. The sheets for them are easy to wash and we also have an array of doggie blankets and towels we travel with. Other things you should think of are plenty of waste bags, maybe an extra leash or two, tie out cables/leashes, a crate (if it fits), brushes, clippers, shampoo and pet wipes. That’s our standard “suitcase’ our pups travel with, minus the crates because they’re just too darn big for our rig!

So, I hope this little article will be helpful to you. Feel free to share!

Below are a few snapshots from traveling with Jennie and the dogs. Wonderful memories were made alongside of messes, even though someone got sick here or there, it was only a short period of time and then we turned it around and made something good out of it. I hope you enjoy your next camping trip, or maybe it will be your first!

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