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Ep. 71 Sweet Sleep While Family Camping with Tara Sliwkanich

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Is figuring out sleep arrangements for a whole family keeping you from diving into camping? Have you camped with kids, but sleeping was a disaster? Or, do you simply need to upgrade your sleep plan for tent time? Today, Tara Sliwkanich, who calls her family casual campers, gives so many helpful tips to let go of sleep expectations, but still be prepared for it all!

Her last episode – Episode 47, How To Enjoy a Road Trip:

Disclaimer: Tara Sliwkanich is not a baby sleep expert. Please always do your own further research and talk to your care providers if you have any questions/concerns.  

Baby Sleep While Camping: 

  • NOT safe for babies to sleep on air mattress or air-filled sleeping pad (baby needs to be on a closed cell, hard pad only)
  • For baby’s under 1-year-old, no loose blankets or pillows

Sleep Space Options for Baby: 

  • KidCo Pea Pod – designed for baby’s 1-year-old and up (Sleeping pad is attached underneath, so no risk of baby rolling into sleeping pad or it covering their face) –
  • Moses Wicker Basinette
  • Travel Basinette
  • Pack N Play (large tent required)

What Else You Need to Think About for Babies: 

Weather-Appropriate Clothing:  

  • Merino wool or synthetic base layers, so it’s moisture-wicking
  • Fleece mid-layer
  • 2 Tog. sleep sac
  • Morrison Outdoors Sleeping Bag (rated sleep safe for kids; good to minus 7 degrees Celsius) –
  • Babies = one more layer than adults. Check back of neck for temperature

Diaper Disposal: 

  • Soiled diapers should not be left in tent, even in the middle of the night 
  • Soiled diapers go in a bear-safe garbage, in a car if front-country camping, or in a bear hang if backcountry camping 
  • Reminder to leave no trace, take out everything you brought in 
  • Do not leave anything scented in tent, because it can attract wildlife [Check episode 15, Wildlife Safety While Camping – ]


  • Practise side-lying or cross-legged cradle hold breastfeeding positions

Safe Space for Baby During Set-Up/Cooking: 

  • Babywear 
  • Bumbo multi-seat with tray –
  • Travel high chair
  • Foldable camping high chair
  • Keep eyes on them and within arms-reach
  • Toddlers can be given tasks to help

First Aid Kit: 

Also mentioned: Gloo tent for daytime SPF coverage – 

Expectations on Sleep: 

  • Embrace later bed times
  • Go with the sun
  • Have more cuddles
  • Find fun things to do in the tent with the adults (bring a little light)
  • Have your coffee ready in the morning!
  • Practise at home first
  • Keep trying!! You don’t need to be a hardcore camper to be a camping family

Other Recommendations: 

Follow Tara: 

IG: @tsliwk


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Today’s Host: @adriannaadventures & @laurenrodycheberle from @kidswhoexplore
Production: @kpmediaproductions. Music: @michaelferraro_music