How NOT to camp with a baby


This morning we decided to ditch our hotel, buy a $27 tent from Walmart and hike out into the wilderness.

“I’m going to write a blog about how to camp with a baby,” said me.

“That’s nice,” said Jono.

And off we went.

But as it turns out, I am not going to tell you how to camp with a baby, I am going to tell you how NOT to camp with a baby.

Of all the times we’ve done it, and nailed it, today was not one of them. Today was an epic fail.

But I am going to lay it out bare for you, because I’m not going to pretend traveling with a baby is always easy.

So here you go. Welcome to the shit show.

I love hiking and I love camping. But camping – not glamping.

I never really understood glamping. If you want all the comforts of a hotel, stay in a hotel. Why spend hours dragging all the contents from inside outside only to then spend hours dragging the items from outside back inside?

You’re not really camping. You are staying in a hotel with no walls. But hey, each to their own.

When I camp, I camp basic. Just a tent, a sleeping bag and a pillow if I remember it. I’m not messing around with blow up mattresses, air beds or any of that crap. If I want a bed, I’ll stay home. I also usually only take ridiculous food like snacks or sausages that I can stab on a stick from the ground and hold over a fire. Because camping.

But babies don’t do basic. So I also purchased a gas stove to heat baby bottles while living off the land, and remembered appropriate bedding so she would be comfortable, and it was time to go.

I asked Jono if he wanted to check the stove before we left incase it didn’t work.

“Well then I’d just build a fire.” Ok, caveman. So we go.

We drive two hours along the amazing Hawaiian coast to the Pololu Valley. Upon arriving we discover the lid has come off the water bottle, it’s leaked all through the car and we are down to enough water for Ivy only.

This was sign number one but we missed it.

We hike 45 minutes down into the valley, tip toe across rocks being beaten by Hawaii sized waves, trample deep into the woods and pick a spot for our tent.

It’s beautiful.

It looks like Mother Nature couldn’t decide exactly what she wanted to paint, so she painted it all.

A black sand beach being greeted by giant waves, mountains, a valley and a lush rainforest all tucked in gently and surrounded by silent woodlands. It looks like hobbits live here.

Once our home for the night is made, we hike a little further, play by the ocean for a while and then head back to the tent.

I squish a mosquito that lands on Ivy’s head and I cover her in more baby bug spray.

Jono suddenly informs me of a Dengue fever outbreak.

I feel like the waves just grew into a tsumani and knocked me flat.

“What?! Here?”

“Didn’t you see the warning signs?”

“Obviously not.”

And now I’m freaking out and staring at Ivy like she’s going to fall violently ill any second.

“You booked the health insurance right?”

“I thought you did.”

Ivy is hungry. We’ll feed her and then deal with this, except the stove doesn’t work.

I am scanning the air for bugs like a crazy person while Jono has returned to his caveman instincts and is trying to start a fire.

I lock Ivy in the tent and sit in front of her like a ninja who is going to karate chop any mosquito that tries to fly past me.

I think all Canadians have lumberjack blood. He reappears with a box full of wood – I don’t know where he found a box – and builds a fire and heats a bottle.

While the bottle is boiling, we are discussing if it is best to head home.

“Ok, so we don’t need this anymore.”

Jono goes to throw away my new pan set because it’s easier than packing it away and he’s mad he spilt most of our remaining water.

“Hey, keep that.”

We are going camping again tomorrow and we’ll need it.

“Laura, I’ll give you $7.”

“Would that be $7 USD or Canadian? Because there’s a differ…”

He picks up the pot and it’s burning hot. Weird because it has been boiling water on an open fire. He burns himself, lights his temper and throws the pan into the air.

I’m really not getting my $7 or my pan set.

We’re still deciding whether it’s a good idea to gamble with mosquitos and the fire. The sky looks heavy. If it rains we can’t heat a bottle and Ivy goes hungry.

Once night falls we can’t leave. Our $3 flashlights are not going to lead us back out.

So here we are, deep in the woods with infested mosquitos, no health insurance, a gamble it won’t rain so we can feed Ives because the stove is broken, and our confidence is slowly deflating.

We decide the parental thing to do would be leave and Jono begins adjusting the straps on the baby carrier. Suddenly he slips, his fist goes flying into the air and comes into direct contact with my face.

We have a burnt hand and a black eye. We need to get the fuck out of here.

So we hike back up and out of the valley.

About 45 minutes later, we’re back at the top. I’m struggling to take in air, everything is heavy. My chest burns and my legs ache. I can’t believe I missed a warning sign but I still can’t find it.

“Where’s the warning sign?”

“What?” Jono is preoccupied with Ives.

“The sign that warns about Dengue fever. I want to read it, where is it?”

“Oh it’s not here. It’s on the other side of Hawaii. Where we went on the first day.”

“On. The. Other. Side?”

Now I am back in the comfort of my hotel, a big fat hypocrite with an American sized wine and American sized McDonalds.

Because bigger really is better.

Come with us x 

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