A friend of mine, Laura, told me she was pregnant last summer while we were on vacation. I was excited for my closest adventure friend when she got pregnant.
But a bit sad for myself as well. In other words, you probably wouldn’t be able to go skiing and surfing in the same day anymore.
Cowboy camping backpack is a style of camping where backpackers forgo pitching a tent and just sleep under the stars (or whatever is overhead).
It was soon followed by a surge of joy, as Laura would have an adorable little human being for the first time that I would be able to help introduce to all sorts of adventures. The first backpacking trip for Corbin was only a few months after his birth in February.
The following tips are based on our late-summer adventure.
What to Know Before You Go Backpacking with Babies
Many kids prefer hiking over driving, so choose a hike that doesn’t require too much driving. From Corbin’s house, we picked a hike that was approximately 1.5 hours away.
Decide what distance is comfortable for you when hiking. Just get out there and introduce your kid to the real world for just one night; there is no shame in going a mile and out!
The decision was made to do a loop since we thought it would be fun. The first day we hiked 3.5 miles to our camp at a beautiful alpine lake, followed by a layover day for drying diapers, and the last day was a 4.5-mile hike out.
The trail went really well for Corbin and he fell asleep pretty much every time. It was fun to play peek-a-boo with him along the way as the scenery changed.
Corbin should be followed after he had stopped being a fragile newborn and had started crawling, walking, and eating solid food.
Because Laura breastfeeds, his mama was the only source of food, except what she carried in her body. Despite the fact that mom needs to stay hydrated, you saved a lot of weight and time.
It couldn’t have been more perfect that we caught the age at just the right time. Despite being 6 months old and almost crawling, Corbin was extremely happy to be carried.
Depending on your kid’s development and the weather, we decided the best age range is between 4 and 8 months.
The plan was to visit Washington in mid-September, hoping for some of that beautiful late-fall weather between rainstorms the region is known for. The sunlight would be abundant, the heat would be reduced, and the bugs would be fewer. On all fronts, we were able to hit the mark perfectly!
What to Bring Backpacking with Babies
1. A PARTNER AND LIGHTWEIGHT GEAR
Sharing the load is easier when you have two parents, or a friend, with you on the trip. It is advisable to bring a light tent, freeze-dried food, and lightweight sleeping gear. We saved both weight and space in our packs by using Therm-a-Rest sleeping bags and NeoAir sleeping pads.
All of Laura and Griffin’s equipment was carried by them. Besides sleeping bags and sleeping pads, Laura carried a stove, water and baby clothes, which added up to about 25 pounds.
His pack weighed approximately 45 pounds and contained the tent, fuel, food, water, and diapers. The camera was my child of burden along with my tent, food, and camping gear.
Since Corbin can’t carry anything like us adults, reducing weight in other places is as important as shedding weight on the trip.
2. A FRONT CARRIER
The couple decided to carry Corbin in an Ergobaby while Laura held Gryphon in her arms. They chose this one because it is one with the ability to be carried either outwards or inwards.
In order to even let him, nurse, while hiking. As a result of this, Laura and Gryphon were able to carry gear in their backpacks and trade-off with Corbin for gear.
3. BABY MEDICAL KIT
While backpacking with a baby, you may need to make changes to your medical kit. We packed baby Benadryl as a precaution since hornet activity is high in the northwest in late fall.
Corbin’s parents were probably more concerned about him getting stung for the first time. You might want to have your child allergy tested before backpacking if you have bee allergies in your family.
Despite seeing a lot of bees, they did not cause any problems for us. Then, as Laura said, “We cannot live in fear, or we will do nothing! ”
Some Other Important Considerations
1. SLEEPING WITH YOUR BABY
Considering Laura, Corbin and Gryphon sleep together at home (they share a bed), camping was not much different for them. Laura’s bag was Corbin’s bed for the night.
It was her biggest concern at first that there was all that down nearby the baby’s face, but it turned out the bag was only partially zippered, so she could cover both of them up to just above their naval.
It was necessary to use a warmer sleeping bag because the bag was only partially zipped up.
Corbin was dressed in several layers of warm clothing and his hat was kept on unsuccessfully while he slept. During breastfeeding (about every two hours), Laura wore a tight-fitting, long-sleeved wool top.
Laura didn’t sleep very well the first night they slept this way because she was paranoid that the sleeping bag would cover his face, but by sleeping on her side she was able to clamp the bag down using her top arm.
When sleeping on your side like this, it is definitely more comfortable to sleep on a thicker pad like the NeoAir Topo LuxeWhen sleeping on your side like this, it is definitely more comfortable to sleep on a thicker pad like the NeoAir Topo Luxe.
2. THE DIAPER SITUATION
Having to carry a full diaper for multiple days becomes too much if you’re out for multiple days. There can be a problem with leaving no trace in the backcountry when you are hiking.
When it comes to baby diapers, there is no way for you to just bury them in the woods. It was decided by Laura and Griffin that cloth diapers were the best option.
In addition to being washed and boiled, they can also be dried on a line. Because we had fewer diapers than we would have liked.
Corbin spent most of our layover day naked in the grass or on the beach waiting for them to dry. There’s no better time than now to get your buns out in the sun!
It is not uncommon for Corbin to use cloth diapers at home, but he does not use them at night. Disposables are known to be more absorbent, so there is a need to change them fewer times at night.
In order to accommodate this, we took along two disposable diapers that were designed to last 12 hours each (one for each night).
There was one night when we failed to use one which led to a wet bag, cold night air, and a baby having to be changed outside. The disposable diapers are definitely something we would bring again if the need arose.
3. DITCH THE TOYS FOR NATURE
There are many healthy and readily available options, including sticks and lumps of moss. Plastic camping plates and packaged food, such as energy bars, were also popular toys.
There is something about Corbin that just loves water. In front of our camp, there was a small waterfall that was completely mesmerizing for him and it was so beautiful. There were many creeks that we crossed and he had to stare at them all at the same time.