Are you expecting or do you have a baby or toddler and are afraid of what it will be like camping with them? There is no need to fear, camping with a baby can be fun when you are prepared and have the right gear. It also teaches them early on how to travel well so you can continue to have many adventures as they grow.
I have three kids and have camped with them all since they were 6 weeks old. Looking back, it was actually a lot easier to camp while they were babies because they slept so much and had no choice but to go with the flow. Best of all they now have so much gear available to make things easier. Here are some tips and recommended products to make your trips more enjoyable.
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If you have a newborn, obviously one of the things they will be doing most is eating. We recommend when traveling to stop every 2-4 hours to give them a break from the carseat and to feed and change them on their normal schedule.
Once you have arrived at the campsite, feeding older babies and toddlers is simple in this Baby Delight Go With Me Chair which is a camping chair that also has a highchair attachment. This was given to us a gift when our third child was born and we use it all of the time. We love it has a detachable sunshade and is designed with safety features in mind like a latch that doesn’t pinch and it doesn’t tip. We love to use this at snack time. The highchair feature is detachable so it is easy to clean.
Another option which is great for mealtime is the Chicco Hook On Chair which is great to have on hand to attach to the picnic table at your campsite. Your baby will love being able to sit at the table with everyone and share a meal. We loved using this with our 2nd child and will be getting other one this time around. We do not recommend this for inside RV because they are usually too thin and not sturdy enough to hold the weight.
Other Mealtime Items We Recommend:
When we had kids we wanted to keep doing the activities we enjoyed but having to get a babysitter can be difficult while on the road. My husband and I decided we would just take them with us.
Our kids have hiked and biked with us as babies and toddlers and we all have fun. I find that is important to do this if you have older children as well, because it will keep them busy and the baby will just be along for the ride. Most likely they will fall asleep while they are in a carrier. If not point out different plants, animals, and colors to them to keep them engaged while exploring the outdoors.
Tips For Playtime
Keep a bin of toys in your camper, they will seem new to your child and keep them more entertained then the toys they always play with at home
Keep things simple and take them for a stroll around the campground or to the playground
Let them explore the outdoors
Don’t be afraid to let them get dirty
Playtime Items We Recommend:
To make sure your baby or toddler is a happy camper, it is important for them to get enough sleep. Some tips on how to get your child to sleep better in a unfamiliar place is to have them use the bassinet or portable bed they will be sleeping in the camper in your home so it becomes a familiar space for them. Bring a favorite blanket or lovey. If they are having difficulty sleeping due to the noise, try a sound machine. When all else fails take them for a long walk around the campground in their stroller.
Nap Time Items We Recommend:
One tip we can give when having little ones in a RV is to make sure you baby proof as you would your home. Unfortunately, from experience we have found you can not trust the screen door to hold the weight of your baby or toddler. They can easily push it open, causing them to fall out the door. We know it’s not possible to always keep the storm door shut so invest in a baby gate for your door.
Luckily my husband is handy so he made this custom one out of an old screen door frame. Our son, Logan, is not impressed by his jail, lol but it keeps him safe!
We like to let our little one play on the awning rug with his toys. So another habit that is good to get into is to folding up the steps to the door when you are outside, that prevents babies & toddlers from climbing up the steps and again prevents an unnecessary fall. It doesn’t seem to matter how closely you watch your kids they move quick and always seem to find everything they are supposed to stay away from.
Keep Them Protected From the Elements
Use mosquito netting for strollers and pack n’ plays when outdoors
Once old enough, use an all natural sunscreen and bug repellent
Protect them from the sun when on the beach with a sunshade
Place a gate around the firepit or keep them inside or in a pack n’ play when having a campfire
Safety Items We Recommend:
I hope theses tips will help you have a great camping trip with your family. It may seem like a lot of work to pack up the gear but it is so worth it and so much easier to travel in an RV then trying to go to a hotel. For more tips on traveling with kids, read Vacationing with Kids in an RV. Have you taken your first trip with baby yet? What is your favorite tip or gear when camping with your infant?
Did you know that there are websites (i.e. RVshare, Outdoorsy) that easily allow you to rent out your RV when it’s not in use? I know I meet a lot of people that complain that they just don’t get to camp enough. If that’s the case for you, this is a great way for you to make money from your RV. You can use the money to pay the payments on your camper or save for your next trip. Here’s what you need to know:
We recently started renting out our travel trailer on RVshare and have good experiences so I wanted to share what we learned. First of all for those that don’t know, RVshare is a website where you can list your RV for free for prospective renters to view. Renters will contact you through the site via email requesting a quote or more information on renting your RV for their chosen dates.
Features insurance coverage, ID verification of renters, and Roadside assistance which gives us peace of mind when renting.
Quick online deposits through Stripe made directly to your bank account within days of rental.
Able to decline a request at any time if you don’t feel comfortable renting to that person or the location they are going.
You are able to update your calendar to block off any dates you will be using the RV for personal trips or are unavailable to rent.
Allows you to meet new people and show them how fun the RV Life can be.
It can take a lot of time to communicate with prospective renters that don’t follow through with renting.
Takes a lot of time to clean and prep the camper for each rental.
Time to meet renters or deliver.
There is a chance damage could be done to your camper.
If you have the extra time to commit to vetting inquiries, cleaning, and delivering the RV, then this could be a good fit for you. I would also add that our current camper is not our dream camper so if something were to happen to it, we would be upset, but not devastated. If you have put your blood, sweat and tears in remodeling your RV or feel like it could not be easily replaced if it were to get damaged or even totaled, then you may not want to pursue this venture.
How to Have Successful Rentals
Are you ready to try out renting your RV? Here some of our recommendations on how to make your listing great so that you can get your camper rented often and with minimal stress.
1. Make it an All Inclusive Experience
Renters don’t want to be nickel and dimed to death and they don’t want to have to bring all of their blankets, towels, and kitchen products from home. You want to include amenities similar to that of a cabin or motel. Include bedding, towels, kitchen supplies, and cookware for the interior. Also include everything they would need to tow and set-up the camper if needed. Check our free printable Inventory List we use to restock the camper in between rentals and our personal trips. We also provide the list to our renters prior to their arrival so they know what they should pack.
2. Make Sure Your Camper is Clean and Everything is Functioning Properly
I cannot stress this enough! Would you want to go into a dirty hotel room or stay somewhere where the A/C is broken? Of course not! Renters are paying good money to rent your RV and you should make sure it is in tip top shape. Extensively clean the interior and exterior prior to each rental and do a thorough walk through to make sure everything is in working order. Our RV Opening Checklist may help you determine what items should be examined.
3. Create a Quality Listing
In order for your listing to get viewed and therefore get rentals, you will want to make it detailed and include the following
Features/amenities of your RV
What items are included
Include measurements and weight of RV
What type of vehicle is needed to tow
Take photos with good lighting
Make sure there are multiple photos of each room and exterior from different angles
If the listing is descriptive and pictures show all aspects of the camper, it will make sure that the renters have no surprises when they pick up the camper for their trip. You can check out our RVshare listing here.
4. Respond Promptly to Inquiries
Renters are often reaching out to multiple owners at one time, trying to secure an RV for their trip. In this day and age, people expect an immediate response, so being the first to respond with concise answers to all of their questions, may just get you the “job.”
5. Make Sure Renters Have all of the Essentials
Prior to arriving make sure you renters know all applicable information needed to have a good trip. Confirm they have a tow vehicle that is able to handle your travel trailer or fifth wheel (if applicable). Also make sure they book a campsite that will fit your RV by providing them with the total length and width of RV and remind them where slides are located if any. If the renters are new to driving an RV make sure to advise them that there may be certain roads, bridges, and tunnels they can not take due to the size of the rig, so they can plan their route accordingly. We recommend our renters use the Copilot app for driving directions.
When your renters arrive to pick-up or when you are dropping off, make sure they have everything they need to have a successful trip.
Give them a thorough walk through of the RV
Show them how to work electronics, stove, hook-ups, etc.
If they will be driving the RV, make sure to give them a test drive to answer any questions they have prior to departure.
Have them fill out all necessary RVshare paperwork
Make sure they have keys, registration, and insurance documentation
Provide them with instructional videos or a manual on how to work everything
Give them your contact information and provide them with instructions in case of an emergency
6. Give the Renter a Warm Welcome
Consider leaving a welcome basket, hand written note, or small gift to thank them for choosing your camper to rent. My favorite things to include are s’mores kits with gourmet marshmallows, or if we know they have small children a small basket of activities like coloring books, travel games, glow sticks, and bubbles. You can also share your favorite podcasts or blogs for them to have a great trip like our Tips to Have a Successful RV Roadtrip with Kids. I want our renters to experience the best trip and love camping as much as I do!
Other Tips & Tricks
Get a GPS unit to track your RV when it is being rented.
Keep an open line of communication with your renters.
If a renter has a question or problem when out with your camper, offer assistance right away, customer service is so important.
So are you ready to start renting out your RV? I’ll be honest, it took me a year to warm up to the idea. I created my listing last summer but never made it live until this year but I am so glad I did. Do you want to learn more about renting your RV? Check outRVsharefor more information. If you are looking for other ways to make money from your RV, check out what other RV Entrepreneurs are doing.
Have rented your RV? I would love to know your experiences, good or bad, comment below.
One of the things I love about owning a subscription box, is being able to connect with other small business owners. I especially like to support small businesses that love the RV life. Even better if they run their business out of their our RV while they travel full-time.
I connected with Gravel Trading Co. through Instagram. They had reached out to me because they were launching a new company that sold outdoor and camping apparel that encourages the RV lifestyle. I viewed their website and fell in love with the colors and sayings of the shirts they designed. My favorite was the I’m a Hot Mess t-shirt which described my 5 year old daughters camping style to a tee (no pun intended). Originally, the color of this particular tee was black, red, and gray, but shortly after contacting the shop, they uploaded pink and purple options so that I could purchase it for my daughter. She loves the shirt and has gotten so many compliments from it!
I also purchased a sweatshirt for myself. The items are made on Bella Canvas shirts which are very high quality. From my experience they run true to size and the sweatshirts are so soft!
As I had experienced myself, the owners of Gravel Trading Co are open to requests for variations of their products.
“We are able to put our designs on many other items by request. If you are looking for a particular color shirt or altered design, a coffee mug or tote bag, please ask and we can show you what we have available.”
How the Company Got Started
One of the unique things we love about The Gravel Trading Co. is that it is owned by a couple that travels in their RV full-time with their 2 children. They started the company because when they were preparing to go full time they couldn’t find enough original shirts. They wanted to put something out there that spoke to fellow RV travelers and supported the RV lifestyle.
“We gave it serious consideration when we relocated in 2015 but ultimately bought a home. In late 2017 we decided to buy a rig and travel and were able to begin that journey in September 2018. We have since traveled about 10,000 miles through 20+ states.”
The Davies family favorite Campground was Disney Fort Wilderness, which I hear from a lot of campers. This is definitely a campground on my bucket list! I also saw on their Instagram feed that while in Orlando they got to join a meet-up with Marc & Tricia from Keep Your Daydream, how cool is that?!
For a more tranquil spot, they loved their campsite boondocking at Kingman Wash on Lake Mead. Only was 3 miles from the Hoover Dam.
I’m always looking for the best camping products. I asked the owners of Gravel Trading Co what item can they not live without while camping. Their answer was their 22″ Blackstone griddle. Am I the only one that hasn’t tried one yet?!
The owners of the Gravel Trading Co. inspire me and I am so glad to have met them. They are such a pleasure to do business with and although we weren’t able to include their awesome shirts in are box yet, there is an amazing promo included in our Summer Box 50% off any item in their shop! Subscribe to Out of the Box Camping to get the promo code.
We love to support fellow travelers and small businesses. Do you have a business that has a RV related product or do you run your business out of your RV? We would love to learn more about you, comment below!