Sleeping arrangements for toddlers

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mntnbomber

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For those of you who have camped with your little ones, what sleeping arrangements have you found to work best?
Our 2-1/2 year old twins sleep in cribs at home, and we usually take 2 portacribs when we travel, but they are too big even for our large tent.
 

Boostpowered

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I chose to not have kids so i may be biased, but if i were in your situation id either not take them or wean em off the crib especially if the can walk. My parents always made me carry my own load when we went hiking/camping in 1985 when i was 3 years old at big bend np or in broken bow. I was already out of diapers and self pottytrained at that point though so your mileage may be varied. Back to the question are there any portable cribs you could take with you? Maybe a small kid tent inside your tent with blankets stuffed in it. In a pinch a large enough cardboard box with blankets,towels or anything soft would probably do.
 

mntnbomber

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I chose to not have kids so i may be biased, but if i were in your situation id either not take them or wean em off the crib especially if the can walk. My parents always made me carry my own load when we went hiking/camping in 1985 when i was 3 years old at big bend np or in broken bow. I was already out of diapers and self pottytrained at that point though so your mileage may be varied. Back to the question are there any portable cribs you could take with you? Maybe a small kid tent inside your tent with blankets stuffed in it. In a pinch a large enough cardboard box with blankets,towels or anything soft would probably do.
Thanks anyways.

I was hoping to hear from someone who has actually done it. I’ve got a lot of ideas, but just wanted to see what has worked for others.
 

Sean's #1 Pop

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4 Kids now grown -- 5 grandkids, including one with Autism who's considered fundamentally handicapped and goes camping with us ---- guess I'm qualified to drop 2 cents (at least in my own mind).....

Our kids shared tents with my wife and I from day one (almost literally -- my youngest son was 6 weeks old on his first trip -- now 25 years) . Once they started wanting their own tents we kept them close in, kinda wagon train style in a semi circle until they had enough sense to stay out of intentional trouble and understood where we could be found in a pinch. Close enough for their independence balanced by our peace of mind. All of our kids, and most of our grandkids had their own tents by the time they were 7-8 years old. Sleeping arrangements are simple, got them used to sleeping bags at home and made camping fun to ensure it's something they wanted to do. Little-little ones were placed on a padded mat with rolled beach towels under the bedding edges. Forms a rough bolster crib that munchkins who aren't at the climber stage make noises getting over. Does Not need to be huge, just enough to keep rollers from throwing their legs on your face. Bonus points since they can't just roll off the pad and everything packs away easy. Placed that set-up between my wife and I and there was no escape for wanna-be independent forest explorers!!! At 2 1/2 years old -- I suspect the only thing keeping yours in a crib is their belief that the crib walls are impregnable and they have no escape. For those who needed some form of nightlight, just give a kid a glow stick and they can conquer the world.

If your a newbie to "outdoor parenting" and have reservations about letting the little ones run like the wild beasts they are I suggest trying it all out in "camp backyard" or by living room camping before you go 6 miles from a paved road. A four person tent fits in the living room if you move the furniture and just try it out. You won't get it perfect before you go -- BUT DEFINITELY GO!!!!! Kids in the wild are an absolute wonder to be marveled at. You will learn about yourself as a parent, they will view you differently and the family will build experiences together that cannot be found on the Wii, or at Soccer, or Karate, or after school programs, or play dates -- you probably get the point. Following a day of freedom roaming a huge world of trees, sand dunes, rocks, bunny's, bugs and streams they will likely sleep so soundly that you could leave them on the hood of the car with no fear of them waking up! :smirk:

Even at their young age -- you will learn to trust their judgement and maybe even look through their eyes at a brand new world. You will learn to trust YOU, and to let the wild things roam (yes, I'm referring to the munchkins).
 

BlueRidge150

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The only "camping" with my three year old was just in the backyard. I guess its my way of easing him into actually going somewhere camping, and to test the waters / "shake down run". He's been sleeping in the tent in the back yard several times for the last year or so, so since he was two. The first couple times we did this it was below freezing, and he used one of my old sleeping bags, and slept on a twin blow up mattress. These nights made for very poor sleep for me because I kept waking up to make sure he did not fall off the blow up mattress, and of course just about each time I found him sleeping on the cold ground (inside the sleeping bag).

The weather warmed up, so I got him a cheap/simple Academy warm weather sleeping bag. During these warmer experiences he slept on one of our older ¾ length thermarest self inflating sleeping pads. I discovered these lengths are perfect for the little fellas, and i'm very glad I didn't toss them during a previous spring cleaning. He did pretty good during these nights. but still rolled off the sleeping pad. When this kid sleeps, he ends up all over his bed throughout the night.

For Christmas, Santa is bring him his own cold weather bag. A Big Agnes sleeping bag that has built in sleeve for a sleeping pad, so they little ones can't roll of their pads. I'm interested to see how this works out. Little Red 15°

He absolutely loves camping in the backyard, and used to love riding in the Osprey child carrier but his younger one year old brother has taken that over, and he now has to carry his own weight.

Last year I felt limited with outdoor activities with the little ones because we were not equipped for the cold. They, and we, lacked quality cold weather outdoor clothing, and equipment. Santa is remedying that as well, and I'm hoping all four of us (me, wife, 3 year old, one year old ) will be doing a lot more camping and outdoor activities after the holidays.

... also just to add, we use a Gazelle T4 tent. So far this thing has been amazing. I love how quick it is to set up, especially when my sons so excited about getting in it, and running around. I couldn't imagine the stress of putting poles together and setting up a tent with little kids running around too.
 

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We used a Pack-n-Play. I am not sure if that counts the same as a portable crib or not. It was smaller than a crib and didn't seem to take up too much space in our tent. I don't think it was any wider than an adult sleeping bag.

When our tent got good and flooded during a rain storm he was the only one who stayed dry. The legs of the Pack-n-Play kept him elevated above the flood.

ETA: The Bride says if the Pack-n-Play is too big just buy a bigger tent. Because as soon as you graduate those little ones out of the Pack-n-Play Lord only knows where you are going to find them the next morning. We would go sleep 5 in a row and wake up 4 in a row with one across the feet of all the rest of us. Yes, that is the voice of experience. It's all good.
 
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Billiebob

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Not to be an alarmist and most parents never need to think of this but security is all that counts.
Animals are only looking for easy prey. Keep them close.
 
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mntnbomber

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This is all solid advice and just what I was looking for.
Yes, the pack-n-play is the portable crib i was talking about. And maybe we do just need a bigger tent haha. We do also have some mini tents/sleeping pods Im going to have the girls start sleeping in them in our house. One of the twins does not like being in it, the other loves it. So maybe we'll use one pack-n-play and one sleeping pod.
 

RideFlyDiveJeep

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We have an inflatable bed that has "rails" on the sides for our 3.5y/o. Works well packs small. But if you are really strapped for room, cause you have 2 toddlerrs, we've used a blanket rolled up like a rail and put them between us. As an infant we have used a Brica fold n go bassinet. We have friends with 2 toddlers that use the disco kid bunk beds.
 

slomatt

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For the first couple of trips when my kid was under 3 we brought an inflatable travel bed with side bolsters to keep her "contained". Since then she's had her own inflatable camping pad and my wife and I put her between the two of us.

The issue we ran into is that like most kids she is a very active sleeper. On one of the first trips the temps got into the high 30s at night, and we knew she would probably not stay in a sleeping bag, so we layered her up with warm clothes and covered her bag with a down blanket. I had to re-tuck her in a few times during the night but it worked out.
 
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TravisC

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my son is 2 1/2 years old also. he also sleeps and naps in his crib. when we camp we have a rooftop tent that's 6'x8' when set up. he sleeps in between us and have not had an issue with getting him to go to sleep at his normal bedtime at 8 or getting him to go back to his crib when we get back home. have you tried having them just sleep with you?
 
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Billiebob

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Not to be an alarmist and most parents never need to think of this but security is all that counts.
Animals are only looking for easy prey. Keep them close.
THIS ^^^^ absolurely.

we too often think camping is just a backyard BBQ, and it is, but it is in the wild.
a baby, a child is literally easy prey for a fox. wolf, cougar. Healthy mature animals will avoid humans, but an injured or unhealthy wild animal will risk human contact for an easy meal and a child alone, asleep in a tent is as easy as it gets.
 
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Trail_pilot

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not a thing wrong with reviving old threads
times change but the topic is always relevant
I have a 1-1/2 year old that we have been taking camping since about 4 months old. He has more stuff than we do ( including his own camp chair.) Our tent is big enough that we have it split into his side with the portable crib, all his toys and cloths and stuff, and our side with our air mattress and clothes piled in a corner lol.
Lucky for us he seems to enjoy sleeping in a tent and loves to be outside.