Adventure, Baby! First Night In A Tent

Since we aren’t exactly experts on taking babies camping, we decided to do gradual introductions for Katrin. We did the rustic cabin/glamping thing, so the next step was an overnight in our tent. This would give us the opportunity to test some of the new equipment we purchased just to accommodate our little adventurer. One of our closest friends invited us to camp out last weekend on her family’s private property, and we were thrilled to accept. Our eldest kid came as well, which was fun because he’s become quite the outdoorsman.

We arrived early Saturday afternoon and set up our new 4P tent! It’s positively palatial compared to the one Mike and I have been using for years (MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2P) but we wanted to make sure it had enough room for all the baby-related gear that we need now. Truthfully a 3P probably would have been enough, maybe, but we really wanted the extra space.

The first time I took Katrin into the tent, she didn’t know what to think. Her concern quickly turned to upset.

It was pretty disheartening, to say the least. Perhaps I had assumed she would love it right from the start. Getting her to nap was nearly impossible, and if I did so much as twitched on the mat next to her, she instantly woke up and cried. I was ready to cry with her at that point.

The upside was that she LOVED being outside. She was absolutely elated to hang out around the fire with everyone, wide eyed and basically totally quiet, just taking it all in.

I decided that the best course of action would be to give her some positive experiences in the tent. So I took her in there each time I needed to feed her, and to play a little bit after diaper changes. Gradually it seemed that she became more comfortable, and by bed time she seemed fairly content being inside.

Overnight was a bit rough. It took a while to sort out the easiest way to nurse her. It also got COLD and she woke up every couple of hours, which in hindsight was probably just because it was unfamiliar. She woke frequently during an overnight in a hotel room recently as well, because she was sleeping in her playpen which is not her regular bed. Regardless, I barely slept because I was worried about her being chilled, despite the fact that her core remained warm the entire time. It was a very long night, and somewhere around 3am I really wanted to pack it in, put her in the truck, and drive home.

When morning finally arrived, I snuggled her in between Mike and I to feed her and warm up her little hands. She liked that a lot. It’s tempting to just co-sleep with her, but it’s really not very safe, and personally I would be awake all night for fear of her being rolled on or smothered. So she has to stay in her own sleep space, outside of being fed or cuddles where I am fully awake to supervise her.

The weather was beautiful on Sunday, and Katrin was in a great mood. She really loves being outdoors, which makes the long night we had totally worth it.

She started to fall asleep with ease in the tent for naps (and more importantly stay asleep even when I moved her).

I would have liked to have seen if she slept better the second night, but as it was, the weekend was an excellent learning experience. I am hoping she remembers that she likes the tent when we take her backpacking next weekend, and I think we will be better prepared for cooler overnight temperatures (really wasn’t expecting that where we were, oops!) in case she actually did get a bit chilly. All things considered, it went very well, and we had a lot of fun with our friends during our first tent-camp of the season!

About the author

Mike & Cal have been backpacking around Alberta for the past decade. This site is where they share trip reports, photos, and tips and tricks for getting outside.


  1. I’m betting the day will come when camping and hiking
    Will be her passion…like her parents
    She will grow up with so many wonderfull stories she will write a great book on introducing others to the funnest adventure in the world!!!

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