Overnight camping with Toddler and Baby
Hi all, I am a mum to a 3 year old hiking mad toddler and an 8month baby girl. My toddler has been hounding me to do an overnight camp on one of our hikes. I've had quite a bit of tramping experience in the past before kids and we've done alot of tramps since but is mainly just me and my girls as my husband works alot. Has anyone had any experience with two littlies by yourself, safety concerns? Logistical concerns? Also does anyone know of a good easy track to try for this? 2hrs in would be a Max I think for our first time if we did it. Thanks muchly!
Greetings. Where abouts in the country are you? (Will help with track/hut suggestions). Have done an overnighter with one 3 year old which was not too bad. Good luck with two!
It's certainly do-able. You don't mention a partner - but I have to say that I strongly recommend additional adult support (human-pack-horse plus backup). If you can get another adult or two to go with you then you are well set to cover any speed-bumps. You don't want to be caught as a solo-adult with a sick or injured child. Do: Choose a groomed trail. Start early. Allow contingency. Be willing to rest. Have a plan for carrying when little legs get tired. Be willing to plow in energy by asking questions, singing and playing games. Bring bribe-sweets. Don't: Choose a root-and-mud route. Near Wellington there are a few options: - Turere Lodge - Atiwhakatu
Mt Somers, Pinnacles and Packhorse are good as they don't involve crossing rivers. These huts need to be book online which guarantees you bunks. Hawdon Hut involves river crossing so not practical with 2 littlies. Same goes for Pinchgut but if you do have a second person, these huts are feasible destinations but you can't book them.
If you've done lots of tramps to huts with the two children then you'll have a pretty good idea of what the extra requirements will be for a camping trip. The biggie is needing to carry a tent and sleeping mats as well as all the stuff you need for a hut-based trip. Or have your trips with the kids been day trips? (just re-read your post and not sure). If you've not gone overnight before I'd try going to a hut first - when you've got a baby carrier you're pretty limited on how much other gear you can fit in, and hut trips need less gear. We've done half a dozen hut based trips with our kids. Our first trip was with our very mobile 14 month old who walked 2kms. Our first trip with two kids was when they were 16 months and almost 4 (Rod Donald); on our most recent trip they were 3 and 5 years (Woolshed Creek). We also go car-based camping each summer, but are yet to do a camping tramping trip. Apart from my first hut trip, which I did with the Chch Trailbabies group (so not with hubby, but not alone either), there have always been 2 adults along. I would highly suggest taking another adult or going with a group, especially if your 8 month old is mobile (tracks and huts are not baby-proofed!), and to cover any injury or illness scenario. If you're near Chch then Rod Donald hut is a great starter (about 2km to hut). Packhorse (4km) and Woolshed Creek are also pretty short and easy and close to town.
My friend recently took her 4 and 6 year olds to Pinnacles hut on the Mt Somers track, she said that the track was a lot harder for the kids than she had realised it would be. Also quite hard to get the kids to sleep in the hut as there is no separate bunkroom. Mt Somers = Woolshed Creek :-)
Thank you for your comments. Yes safety is number one and being alone with them if there is an injury would be a major issue. I am in Northland, so far my research has found that probably Peach Cove at Whangarei heads might be the most suitae which would probably take us about an 1 1/2 to 2hrs walk with breaks which I see as doable for us. My husband is working alot so it's often just us, but maybe I need to advertise for another pair of hands on the trip as a backup. Wish I was in chch for the trailbabies group! Sounds amazing!! Thanks all!
Maybe look to set up your own trailbabies group... or at least ask around everyone you know and put notices up at kindy etc. There may be people out there who would love to but don't know where to start, or who used to tramp and haven't gotten around to doing it with their kids yet. I think the Chch Trailbabies group started by putting up some notices at the entrance to some popular day walks near Christchurch. A few families started going together and it grew from there (although is kind of dormant at the moment as far as I am aware). Or can you wait for the times when your husband has 2 consecutive days off? You don't need to go that often for it to be worthwhile - we have only been managing 1 or 2 trips a year and (although I would like to go more!) that is OK for us at the moment.
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