This past weekend, I took my kid’s camping for the first time. My husband and I used to go camping all the time before we had our son, but we never ended up going with him as a baby. After we had the twins, the idea of three children under three in a tent who are not potty trained and do not sleep through the night was very daunting.
Now, Jack is almost five and Eva and Marie are almost three. We decided that they are a good age to start camping because they are pretty good at listening when we ask them something, are (mostly) potty trained (Eva!!!) and they sleep through the night now.
Earlier this year, I started looking for sleeping bags for the kids. Being in Canada and close to the mountains, I wanted a sleeping bag that was rated below zero for the cold nights that we have. If you wake up freezing in the middle of the night, camping is not really fun. I have to say, I struggled to find an affordable bag for them that was rated. But, I lucked out and a sleeping bag that fit my criteria at Mountain Warehouse. The sleeping bags I bought are called Summit Mini Square Sleeping Bags. They are child-sized and are rated to minus fifteen degrees Celsius for extream weather. The comfort temperature is zero to five degrees Celcius. Plus, they were on sale! Yay! Jack, Eva, and Marie loved the sleeping bags and I was happy that if the temperature was to drop below freezing at night, they wouldn’t freeze.
The location we decided to go for our first camping trip was called Kinbrook Island. It is only an hour and a half away from Calgary, so it was a nice short drive and was a nice spot for families. We liked that everything was clean and that there were a couple nice parks for the kids to play at. The campground also has a beach, and while it has a pretty even combination of rocks and sand, we still really liked it. The campground and beach were not overwhelmingly full, and we had a great day playing around in our site and at the beach. The lake is open to boats and fishing as well, so if you like spending time on the water, this is a great place for that too.
One of the best things, in my opinion, about camping is that because the kids are spending the entire day outside, they crash hard when it is bedtime. Eva and Marie were asking to go to bed at 6 p.m. (we made them stay up until close to seven.) and Jack was in bed before eight.
I’m pleased to say that the overall experience of our first camping trip was really positive. All three children slept through the night, with the exception of us taking them for their nighttime bathroom breaks so that they wouldn’t pee in their sleeping bags. It took a while for the girls to go back to sleep after we got them up, but they stayed in bed and were quiet, so I count that as a win.
The downside was that the kids woke up just before six, and since we ran out of firewood and the kids were ready to go, we were packed up and ready to leave by 7:20 a.m. It was okay because we had a bunch of stuff to do at home, but it would have been nice to stay for a bit longer. Or sleep in. One day…
Lessons learned on this trip? Pack more wood and bring a stove to cook on instead of depending on the campfire (so we don’t have to waste wood). Next time I will also put the kids in sweaters after their nighttime pees so that they can be warmer when they wake up in the morning.
This trip was a test run for future camping trips, and I am happy to say that we will definitely be going again this summer. I’ll let you know where we end up next time!