Camping with a baby is tough. When they’re little lumps who sit happily on a picnic blanket it’s easy. Now that Baby L has opinions on where she sits, what she eats, what she plays with, who picks her up, and everything else it’s hard.
She’s at an awkward stage. At 15 months old, but not quite walking, she is literally in the dirt on every camping trip. What’s more, she’s a great climber and crawler which means I have to constantly make sure she hasn’t gotten into the fire pit. Babies in the outdoors take work and some extra gear. That gear can make a huge difference.
The coolest new baby gear item we’ve tried is the Kidco DinePod. This highchair folds up like a regular camping chair so it’s easy to travel with. When set up, the legs are as sturdy as any restaurant highchair with a buckle for baby. Baby L can eat at any campsite we visit without sitting on my lap and sharing her food with my clothes.
Holding a wiggly almost-toddler while they grab at your plate requires patiently wrestling, readjusting and moving things out of reach. I hate it. It’s so much better to have a KidCo DinePod so both Baby L and I can enjoy meal time. My one complaint is that the push button to fold up the seat gets stuck easily. I’ve had to wrestle the chair closed a few times. It wasn’t pretty.
If you want to get out of camp and on the trail you’ll need a quality baby carrier. Different carriers work better depending on the age of your baby. Tales of a Mountain Mama has extensively tested almost every baby carrier on the market including soft sided options like LILLEbaby and Onya as well as framed carriers from Deuter, Osprey and Kelty.
We use an older version of Kelty’s Pathfinder framed pack mostly, but on quick trips or when we are packing light I’ll wrap Baby L in a Moby Wrap and call it good. We reviewed these more extensively here.
One item we’re excited to try out on our National Park to Park Highway tour is the Kidco PeaPod Plus. The infant travel bed works like a pop up tent. It collapses into a convenient case and comes with a built in sleeping pad. We’ll be attaching the KidCo PeaPod Plus to the tailgate on our trip so Baby L can sleep close to us in the back of the truck, but not on top of us while we’re trying to sleep.
I have a friend who used a KidCo PeaPod nightly to keep her climbing toddler boys from escaping their crib. They zipped them up at night and didn’t have to worry about broken arms or legs from their adventurous boys climbing out. Nice.
The number one baby safety item that has changed my life recently is not one we’ll be taking on our National Park to Park Highway Tour. It’s attached to my house.
One of super climber Baby L’s favorite activities is to climb up and down our stairs at home. With a spiral staircase to our basement and openings between the steps to the upstairs, I am constantly worried she will slip through and fall.
When we asked Kidco to be a sponsor for our National Park to Park Highway Tour, I mentioned that our stair gates at the time consisted of a guitar case and a plastic gate bungeed to the banister. It wasn’t pretty and only 50% effective at keeping Baby L from sneaking up the stairs. Luckily Kidco sent me two Angle Mount Safeway Gates to protect my littlest tot from danger.
The KidCo Angle Mount Safeway Gate is great for non parallel attachment points. The gate hardware allows you to choose the direction the gate will swing and it’s easy to control once installed. The dark wood looks great with our balustrades and the gate itself can handle openings ranging from 27 to 42 inches.
The installation was tricky however, and I’m pretty handy with a drill. The toughest part was making sure I positioned the hinges at the same height on both sides of the stair opening. Kidco sent templates to help with that, but their directions weren’t very clear. Also the top latch comes off easily, especially when older siblings are opening and closing the gates.
With that said, having these KidCo Angle Mount Safeway Gates has changed my life. I’m no longer dropping what I’m doing every second to follow Baby L up the stairs for the twelfth time that day. Now I can control if and when we go up and down stairs. The worry that Baby L will tumble down has been erased from my mind. Plus the gates look great.
Baby safety indoors and out is something all parents have to worry about. Thankfully the right gear can take some of that worry away. Do you go camping with a baby or toddler? What gear has helped in your outdoor adventures? Let me know by leaving a comment!
This post includes affiliate links. I receive a very small commission if you purchase something by clicking through these links. Thank you to our 2016 National Park to Park Highway Tour Sponsors.