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Advise for camping with 2 infants
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JeffRobenolt
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:06 pm    Post subject: Advise for camping with 2 infants Reply with quote

The Van is going to be ready this year for some camping.

I have a 1 year old and 1 due in March. How do you camp with infants?

Any advice or tips for me?

Thanks Jeff
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Spinal Tap
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No advise from me, no offspring here, but good on ya for breaking them in early! Laughing
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1621
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on the children, and it's good to see you're taking them out early. One recommendation is to use the bench seat as a "crib" of sorts. If you lay it out flat and then fold the bottom portion up until it clicks (as if you were putting the seat back upright) it will remain in that position and create a walled section for the little guy/gals to flop around without falling off.

I'm also a huge proponent for the Vanagon cot made by Gary Lee in Canada. Yeah, it costs a few bills, but well worth the expense if you plan on keeping and using your Westy as a family vehicle for a while. Just search Child Cot from the main page and you'll find some information. Use it every time we go out with our three kids.
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deprivation
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mrs. Deprivation and I are trying for a child this spring and we have been pondering how we'll set up the Westy for infant/toddler camping.

There is a child's "cot" that is available for the Type2 Westy that some have adapted to the Vanagon. A guy down the street from me takes his chirruns camping. The baby sleeps on the turned-around passenger seat and the older ones sleep upstairs. Mom and dad sleep downstairs and drink a lot.

Let us know what you find.
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koolmoe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got three chil'ins, but haven't camped yet. Youngest is 2.
I may well get the cot others mention and retro fit it into Savannah's cabin for the youngest to sleep in. The two eldest boys can sleep in the pop-up with Ma/Pa downstairs.

OTOH, the eldest is a teen and likely won't want to share with his 6 y/old brother, so he may well be allowed to just setup his own tent beside the camper (given proper camping situation, like not when there's a teen hottie in the next campsite making eyes at him!).

IF not the cot, then maybe the driver's seat... I dunno, youngest is kinda too big for that.
We have a collapsable crib that fits, with some room to spare, between the folded-down bench and the front seat. We could use that for the infant, but then the dog must sleep outside Wink
Plus, she's kinda big for the crib too.

If nothing else, she can sleep next to Mrs. KM.

For you, with a baby that small, we'd almost surely sleep with the baby attached to Mom's boob with the 1 y/old in a portable crib between the front and back seats. No one upstairs but popped for access and storage.
KM
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regis101
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We didn't hesitate to drag them out into the woods.

We used one of the expandable gate thingy's at the side sliding door. Big people access is through the front doors or just open the gate. We were able to reach over the gate to grab a kid if needed.

We also had one of the collapsable play pens. Can be bulky but served its purpose. Didn't use it much.

They slept downstairs with momma until I felt they were of an age as not to fall off the upstairs loft. Now it works out the Ray (7) and I sleep upstairs with our heads facing the rear. Was a bit smothering at first but safer.
Amy (5) and wifey sleep downstairs.

Don't forget the red wagon. In the end, a large blanket does just fine spread out on the ground.

Enjoy the time. They do grow fast. Amazing what a little food and drink does to them.
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is a great post. I will have my first child (baby girl) this April and can't stop thinking about how to setup the van, the trip logistics, and the places to go, keep those posts coming!

One little trick I learned here in The Samba is that if you have a westy you can set up the rear bench as a box for the kids to stay contained. I haven't tried it yet. I think you need to fold down the seat to the bed position and then raise up the part of the bench where you usually sit your butt so that it comes up as a sort of wall. Sorry for the vague description, English is not my first languaje.
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krimpoo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great question...we drove while she was pregnant and also had a 7 month old sister in the back. Drove from vancouver b.c. to florida and back taking the extra long way down the coast and across texas/french quarter etc.

Here is my advice...IF YOUR DOING HIGHWAY DRIVING AND YOU PULL OVER AT A REST STOP FOR THE NIGHT...don't.


The big rigs/cars blasting by (even from far away) will wake the kid.


awake kid = awake mom = awake you



Oh...and when it's really dark in the rockies don't park 10 feet from a railroad track without knowing it. When the train went by at 4:00 a.m. i thought we were all gonna die. The heart races thinking about it now 10 years later.
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krimpoo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh one other thing.


We used to do it in a 79 bay and it didn't have shoulder straps in the back. Once the kids are out of car seats its not only illegal but just plain stupid to not have your kids strapped in properly. We had a special titanium plate made that hooked up to the rear hatch latch to bolt to the car seats.

Maybe the newer westy's have shoulder straps but we didn't so the van had to be sold until they got older.


Point being...if ya don't have shoulder straps travel now while they are still in car seats.
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ranchero
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bring a bear bait holder....
[img]
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iSUtJFXukOjFnXuz2-EXTA?feat=directlink
[/img]

Seriously, a portable crib is a great thing. Kids seem to like the security it provides and mom and dad can share a beer or three without worrying about junior.

As my son has gotten older (6 now) we set up a tent that he can bring all his found treasures into and if all else fails, give him a few legos and he's set in there for hours.

Kids that start camping early seem to have no problem with it. We started ours tent camping at about 6 months (this pic is at about 10 months). It is second nature to him. He loves camping, even when it is well below freezing like last week at the Great Sand Dunes.[/img][/code]
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Last edited by ranchero on Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't remember ever having any real problems taking the kids along. You just have to plan on taking a while longer to get where you are going. There will almost always be extra stops and delays. On longer trips remember that all towns have a playground somewhere. You can sleep or stretch your legs while to kids burn off their energy.
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Neo-Nomad
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same with us... we never stopped camping... not when I was preggo and not when they joined the fam. Two boys... perfect!

We took them both camping before they were two months old and never stopped.

As far as sleeping, when it was just one babe, he slept with us on the bottom, because I nursed and that way I never had to get up (same at home Smile). Once the 2nd came along, he slept on the bottom with me and big bro (3 at the time) slept upstairs with daddy.

Now at 8 and 5 they are fully capable of taking charge upstairs... like little monkeys, from 3 yrs on they are up and down, up and down. We made a little step thing for them, and there you go.

By all means, if climate permits, take them all the time. Kids should never know anything else. My mom and dad raised me in a vw bus and it ruined me! Smile

I agree with the pack 'n play... they are good for late nights around a campfire when your young'un begins to eat pine straw, large bugs, etc. and never seems tired! At 8+ months until you have a full on toddler, it's a camper's friend...

Don't wait. Take 'em asap!
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:22 pm    Post subject: FOUR VITAL WORDS Reply with quote

FOUR VITAL WORDS:

Infant-
Safe
Mosquito
Repellent

The little ones don't know about mosquitos, what to do about them, and the unspeakable little !%!%@! b*tches will eat them ALIVE.

My parents took me camping when I was three. To THIS DAY one of my oldest memories is being one itchy mass from the bites. And the little unspeakables still have a particular fondness for me.

What with West Nile, these days, yet another reason to remember this very basic, vital fact.

Best!
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morymob
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leave with a good sitter.
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conrad1468
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

congrats on the kids..

we have an 84 westy. we first went camping with out son when he was 6 months old. we had a good time. we pulled out the bed in the back and he played on it or we have a pack and play we played in outside. usually he was taking naps and hanging out.

we did buy a mesitoe net for the the pack and play. it helped on the bug control. we also had a fire going all evening to keep the bugs away.

for sleeping arangements i sleep on top and the wife and kid sleep downstairs and the dog sleeps on the floor with a good fluffy bed..

now he's 2 years old and when we go camping he runs around like a maniac and plays in the dirt... we always go to state parks where there is electric and nice bathrooms and plus they let dogs go there... we haven't rustic camped yet..

i would say go and have some fun. the old the kids get the more fun it is.
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vanagonforever
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

krimpoo wrote:
Maybe the newer westy's have shoulder straps but we didn't so the van had to be sold until they got older.


My first child is due any day now so I've also been trying to figure out how the camping can continue. I solved the rear shoulder strap issue by just installing the kits that GoWesty sells. They are expensive and I hear that the parts are directly from a Jetta but I didn't want to take any chances so I just shelled out for the kits. They are really easy to install and the directions are great. You do have to cut your rear cabinet twice to install the driver's side strap but it isn't that big of a deal. The whole job takes maybe an hour to do both sides and no drilling into the body is required. The kit uses factory mounting points and factory seat belts so the whole assembly seems quite legit and safe to me.

The main reason that I wanted to go ahead and get the shoulder straps is that I figure the front and rear seats are fairly far from each other. While our son is really little it may make life a lot easier for my wife to sit back there with him while we are driving. I kind of like her as well Razz so I wanted to make sure she was going to be safe riding back there with him. Plus I will be ready to go as soon as he grows out of his car seat.
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations!!!!

Camping with little kids is easy when they're infants, difficult when they're 12 months to two years, then a blast after that. From 1-2 years old, mine both wanted to put everything in their mouths. Pinecones, gravel, etc. We had to stay on them constantly.

The Pack-n-Play is indispensable; on a GL without the middle seat or a weekender without the cooler unit, it fits perfectly behind the front seats and is good for hanging out outdoors. Here's Lindsey several years back working on Vanagon #2 at A-Basin:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The upper bunk is a bit scary until they're 3 or 4; I like to be up there with them, especially for afternoon mountain naps:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


If you have girls, invest in a small chemical toilet. My two are not real happy with camp toilets, gas station toilets, etc., and the chem toilet is the perfect size for them. It's a lifesaver.

Also, on the rare occasion that you have an outdoor birthday party and it rains like hell, forcing all of the kids into the carport, your Vanagon can be an excellent spot to unwrap gifts:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Good Luck!
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GBA 88West LA
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have three boys and i always bring a big six person tent... if the significant other doesnt mind, keep the fam in the dub at nite and you get the tent or in my case 2 of my kids are older 11& 5 and sometimes they want the tent, if we have power i throw a couple cots and i portable dvd player & the kids have that at nite or if it rains... which gives me more room in the van. either way a tent is handy, remember tarp, wet family is bad.... for infants they do have tiny, tiny cribs? that fold up & fit when opened where your rear table would be we usually take that out when the kids are with us, oh yeah dont forget the aspirin and any meds, or supllies the kids will need..of the grid camping? or powered? cause elctricity goes along way for comfort so plan accordingly with ext cords and lighting....with kids id stay on the grid if possible keep the headache factor lower
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jnesta
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ditto on the back seat up to make a box/ playpen idea - works well.

I've seen a couple homemade boards that fit the gap between the upper bunk and front of the pop-top area, leaving no room for the little ones to fall through. If you run a heater in the "downstairs" nothing gets up there then, but 1 adult and 1 kid up top is much safer that way. Plus, your pillow won't fall down! Some people make these to sell and call them "pillow boards", but they generally don't go far enough forward to prevent an accident.

A stoller for a little one is great - big one with the tray front are a pain to pack but great for feeding, riding around and just plain sitting - plus built in sun shade is nice too. Again, a pain to pack but worth it.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These backpacks are fantastic for little kids, too. They're trapped in there so you can go hiking without having to chase or push a stroller...

http://www.kelty.com/kelty/kids.php?cat=48

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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