Camping with littles

On our most recent weekend we decided to brave the forest for our first ever family camping trip. My first actual tent camping trip (shocking, I know!) Aside from my husband who is a SGT in the Army I leaned on him to ensure that we were prepared for the night. Even though in hindsight army “camping” and family camping are worlds apart ha!

We opted to stay in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. I learned that it was close to a lake which was a must for us  – It was less than 5 minutes from Woods Canyon Lake in Payson, Arizona. I also wanted to go camping with the kids in an actual forest and take advantage of the cooler temps but, not be stuck in the car for an entire day just to escape the valley. The location was great, the camping site was nice and clean. I highly recommend it!


Our trip went fairly smooth considering we have a 2 1/2 year-old and a 9 month-old. Let’s just say my expectations and goals were pretty low since we knew that everyone was out of their comfort zone. I just wanted everyone to have fun.

What did we learn?

  1. Our 9 month-old who typically is a great sleeper didn’t enjoy sleeping in a tent. Nothing was familiar to him, even with his normal blankets, etc. The only way we could get him to sleep was driving him around in his car seat.  Thankful to my husband for taking one for the team and letting me sleep for a bit! —- Next time, we talked about opting for a small pack n play for the tent to give him more of that sense of home.


  1.  Camping still can be fun without a fire. In Arizona there are an abundance of fire restrictions presently due to the horrible drought. We still were able to enjoy hot dogs and a warm breakfast. We got a little single burner which worked great!
  2. Our toddler just wanted to walk around and play in the dirt. I loved watching him with the eagerness to go out and just explore his surroundings.
  3. Get rid of any expectations and remove the stress by any means. We have 2 small kids and are in a different environment. Enjoy the fresh air, and just roll with the mishaps. Its apart of the experience.
  4. Once, the littles went to sleep my husband and I sat outside the tent and enjoyed the quiet while staring at the stars. It was beautiful. Then our 20 minutes of quiet was over when the kids started crying. HA, I am happy we were able to still a moment for him and I to enjoy the experience together.

Published by Brittany Donnelly

I'm Brittany Donnelly; curator and author of I am officially a stay-at-home now, formerly a technical project manager. I am a mom of 2 and a proud Army wife with a love for hiking and traveling. Our home base is now Virginia. I have a passion for travel and adventure and want to inspire all of you to get out and see the world with your families.

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