Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

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ThankYouJack
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Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by ThankYouJack » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:03 pm

Any recommendations for sleeping bags and other camping / adventure gear a 3 year old may like? I'm thinking starting small (in the yard), have a fire for hot dogs & s'mores would help make the experience enjoyable and fun. Any other recommendations?

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alec
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by alec » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:15 pm

We got a small cheap "tent" from ikea when kids were this old. Then parents gave me their 3 person Coleman tent.
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nisiprius
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by nisiprius » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:23 pm

Our three-year-old grandson LOVES wearing a LED headlamp.
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TallBoy29er
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by TallBoy29er » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:27 pm

I second the headlamp. We even found a dollar store branded one that works great and the kids love.
The other thing we've used the most is a smaller, kids size, collapsible camping chair.

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dratkinson
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by dratkinson » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:04 pm

Headlamps. Outdoorgearlabs.com reviewed ~25 and rated the Petzl Tikkinna* a Best Buy. It's <$20 and has many adult applications.

*Mine was a gift and I keep it in a vest I wear while bicycling. A blinky red bicycle lamp clipped to the headband (back) and I'm ready with headlamp/taillight (marker lights) when I return home after dusk. Don't believe ads that it's >50 lumens as it's closer to 23 lumen (high) and 4 lumen (low). Battery life is decent.

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Headlamp- ... zl-Tikkina
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ThankYouJack
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by ThankYouJack » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:10 pm

Great idea for a head lamp. I already have one along with a number of flashlights, and an LED light stick with USB charger.

I also have 3 tents of varying sizes and a kids camping / beach chair. Maybe I'll try to find a camping book (or kid video) which will get my 3 year excited too.

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:12 pm

Hard to get excited about a sleeping bag.
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nisiprius
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by nisiprius » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:30 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:Hard to get excited about a sleeping bag.
It rather depends what kinds of pictures it has on it and in it, doesn't it?

Disney Frozen Anna and Elsa Slumber-Bag (something about a sleeping bag named "frozen" sounds unappealing, though)

Trains, Planes & Trucks Original Sleeping Bag

Marvel Spiderman Slumber Bag Set

Dinomite Dinosaur Original Sleeping Bag

Besides, it's all part of the great adventure of camping out in the backyard.

Now to tell the truth... my first campouts in the back yard involved some old blankets my mom got out, folded in two, and used big safety pins to pin the edge closed.
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Teague
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by Teague » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:59 pm

Learn a couple of appropriate campfire stories. :happy

Amazon has books, also many can be found online for free.
Last edited by Teague on Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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alec
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by alec » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:03 pm

Teague wrote:Learn a couple of appropriate campfire stories. :happy
Don't forget to send the kids next door for a left handed smoke shifter.
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by Teague » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:04 pm

alec wrote:
Teague wrote:Learn a couple of appropriate campfire stories. :happy
Don't forget to send the kids next door for a left handed smoke shifter.
That one is easy, it was the bacon stretchers that were hard to find!
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ThankYouJack
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by ThankYouJack » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:57 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:Hard to get excited about a sleeping bag.
And your recommendations would be... :D
Teague wrote:Learn a couple of appropriate campfire stories. :happy

Amazon has books, also many can be found online for free.
Good idea, I bet I could find some funny ones that would be enjoyable

frugalfraggle
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by frugalfraggle » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:05 pm

Gear is fun, but I always try to remember the important part is just getting out there. I took my son on his first camping trip when he was 16 months. I started enjoying camping with him when he was closer to 3. Have a blast!

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:26 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:
White Coat Investor wrote:Hard to get excited about a sleeping bag.
And your recommendations would be... :D
Teague wrote:Learn a couple of appropriate campfire stories. :happy

Amazon has books, also many can be found online for free.
Good idea, I bet I could find some funny ones that would be enjoyable
Yes, getting out there is the best. I think the headlamp is a great idea too. Maybe a fishing pole.

I mean, a sleeping bag isn't terrible. It would be worse to buy a pad or a backpack or a raincoat. But I think something more toy like would be better.
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jasper
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by jasper » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:30 pm

Fishing pole
When he got a little older, we got a camelback he loves. And some laminated cards with local birds, reptiles and other animals.
Agree with the headlamp
Grandpa got him a kids leatherman when he was 5. Mom thought it was too much but he carries it everywhere

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by texasdiver » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:35 pm

My kids are well past 3 but we did a lot of camping with them at that age.

Yes to the headlamp or flashlight. My girls also loved some little battery powered lanterns that my wife bought them. Perhaps even more practical because they could sit them on the ground and do stuff in the lantern light. Basically like these: http://www.amazon.com/Superbright-LED-L ... B00ZFREEWS

Honestly at that age the gear is irrelevant. It's the adventure of sleeping outside with dad.

red5
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by red5 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:44 am

My kids are a bit older but not much older and they got excited about getting real backpacking packs and sleeping bags that are rated for low temperatures and compress down real small. But they also enjoy the neat stuff like compasses, lighting, maps/guide books, binos, ... Perhaps bring them on an easy overnight trip at a local state park? Best of luck.

wilked
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by wilked » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:35 am

Agreed on the above. Gear shouldn't be the primary concern.

At 3 they will hike, but will also tire. I have a good hiking backpack I can carry my son in when he tires, good workout for the legs too.

Basically, it's like this - if you are excited about it, they will be excited about it. Find salamanders, slugs, acorns, pretend you are rescuing a stuck squirrel, throw rocks in the stream, and on and on

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by Gleops2 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:49 am

This thread brought back a forgotten memory.....

When my sister and I were young ( 1960's) we were lucky enough to spend summers in the family "camp" or summer home, and that house was a wood frame structure with a front porch.....

It was out in the country.....so it was DARK at night.......!!!

We thought it was the height of cool to "sleep out" on that porch!!!..... If we were able to get permission, we would make "beds" on the porch floor with sheets, and blankets and a pillow, and then "sleep out" ....(that house did not have a washer-Mom had to schlep the laundry to a laundromat-so putting sheets on the floor made more work.....)

We were 8-10 years old. It seems like a million years ago. That house was sold, the memories put away, and when I read this, it all came back..

It didn't matter that we didn't have sleeping bags, it was FUN!!!! And it was a special treat....

There was no TeeVee or radio there either....summer evenings we played Pinochle or Scrabble or sat on the porch and talked.....We also "went for a walk" after dinner each night, talking, and I can still recall identifying flowers growing in the roadside ditches....

So simple times, but so much fun. Kids today don't know what they are missing.....What memories will they share? Staring at a screen all day and night????

Take that 3 year old out in the yard in whatever you can fashion for a tent and sleeping stuff, build a little fire, TALK, toast marshmallows, and enjoy!!!!

I wish I could go back ......

ThankYouJack
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by ThankYouJack » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:21 am

I may bring blankets, but seems like a slightly bigger hassle. My daughter loved playing in my sleeping bag yesterday - crawling in it to the bottom, fake sleeping, zippering it up, just laying back. So I think she'll like her own, but don't want to get a junky one.
wilked wrote:Agreed on the above. Gear shouldn't be the primary concern.

At 3 they will hike, but will also tire. I have a good hiking backpack I can carry my son in when he tires, good workout for the legs too.
I agree about the experience, but if I get a cheap disney type sleeping bag and my daughter is freezing, that won't make for an enjoyable first night out.

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by alex_686 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:39 am

nisiprius wrote:
White Coat Investor wrote:Hard to get excited about a sleeping bag.
It rather depends what kinds of pictures it has on it and in it, doesn't it?

Disney Frozen Anna and Elsa Slumber-Bag (something about a sleeping bag named "frozen" sounds unappealing, though)

Trains, Planes & Trucks Original Sleeping Bag

...

Now to tell the truth... my first campouts in the back yard involved some old blankets my mom got out, folded in two, and used big safety pins to pin the edge closed.
Nah, what you want is a Tauntaun sleeping bag.
http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/bb2e/? ... ping%20bag

On a more serious note,I think White Coat Investor has it right. Start with a small backpack and start filling it slowly. Headlamp. Magnifying glass or field book from a trip to the science museum. etc.

Joe_R95
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by Joe_R95 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:01 am

Camping games like washer toss or ladderball should be fun for a 3 year old. If you're going to a real campground somewhere I've taken several kids that loved geocaching. After dark smores and stories.

goodlifer
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by goodlifer » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am

If you have a daughter, I recommend a portable toilet and tp if you are camping away from home. It would have saved us a lot of heartache and late night trips to a gas station. Girls tend to be very picky about where and how they relieve themselves compared to boys. Depending on the weather, just an air mattress and blankets are more than enough. I saw that Walmart has the Intex mattresses on sale right now. From my experience, Coleman tends to be sturdier than Intex, but you can't beat $7.98 for a single mattress and $13 for a queen. I strongly suggest to air them out for a day or two before using because they can really stink of plastic out of the box. Also be sure to have an air pump if needed. If you decide to buy a sleeping bag, don't buy a cheap one unless you will only camp during the summer. We also have self-inflating pads. They are much more convenient, take up less room than a mattress, and I think they are more comfortable, but I prefer being higher up. Plus, you don't hear, "But what if a big snake comes and eats me?" all night.

I gave our daughter one of those all-in-one survival whistles. She was thrilled to death. The nearby campers were not. We also bring along a can of Rainbow Flame Crystals. They temporarily change the color of the campfire. The more you use, the bigger the effect. Even the adults like it. There are other brand names that do the same thing. Don't buy it from Amazon, they are sky high the last time I looked. We buy from either Walmart when they occasionally sell it, Menards, or a place that sells fireplaces. Home Depot might have it, too.

I found that buying bug repellent wipes were much easier to apply on a kid than the sprays. I saw sunscreen wipes, too. I haven't tried those, though.

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by texasdiver » Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:06 pm

Another fun kid camping item.

Walkie Talkies.

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by dratkinson » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:48 pm

goodlifer wrote:...
I gave our daughter one of those all-in-one survival whistles. She was thrilled to death. The nearby campers were not. ...
Signal whistle. Recall reading reviews of survival whistles. Some are combination (whistle, compass,...), some are louder/larger and require more air... which a child might not be able to produce. Surprisingly a small cheap (~$1) whistle* from HarborFreight did well in testing and is easy to blow (and carry on a key chain).

*The plastic plug can rotate and cause the whistle to stop working. An adult would figure this out and fix it, a child might not. Solution: Drill a small hole through metal into plug and glue a pin (piece of copper wire, or just dried epoxy) in place to prevent rotation. This problem/solution might apply to multiple whistles so check and fix.

The idea is that each parent/child carries a whistle and each has a call (combination of long/short blows: dad calling son,...) to contact the others.

General rule is 3 of anything (whistle blows, gun shots,...) is a distress signal. Might want to practice at home as in some testing reviews, park rangers were not amused.



Signal Mirror. Can teach child to use a mirror to signal for help. Internet instructions available.

A CD has a hole in it, a reflective surface, and can be used to practice so no need to buy a signal mirror. Again, rule is the same, 3 flashes signals distress. The trick is to know how to reliably make 3 flashes on the receiver (search plane overhead, searchers on foot, ...), that's where the instructions come in.

Idea. If child likes signal mirror, might also like project of cutting a CD down (to credit card size) to fit in a wallet.

Can keep a CD stashed above vehicle visor for a car-sized version of same. Just as a CYA.



With flashlight, whistle, and mirror, child can be taught to signal for help day or night if they become lost. Maybe carry all of their stuff (CYA: plus snacks, water,...) in a kid-sized belt pack.
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:33 pm

goodlifer wrote:If you have a daughter, I recommend a portable toilet and tp if you are camping away from home. It would have saved us a lot of heartache and late night trips to a gas station. Girls tend to be very picky about where and how they relieve themselves compared to boys.
That's something our girls learn very, very early on. It seems you need to catch them before they get to be 10 or so. The toilets are still worth it if you're car/boat camping though.
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ddurrett896
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by ddurrett896 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:51 pm

I bought this tent for my honeymoon. Weights 3lbs so easy to backpack with and fits 2 adults but VERY TIGHT!

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Texsport-Broo ... 2/20440109

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by arsenalfan » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:49 pm

Don't judge me, but our 6 & 9yo still love this trick we played on them when they were just starting out:
Cut off the ends of some glow sticks, spread the fluid all around some bushes along a trail at dusk, and look for the fairy dust outside as night comes.
This, coupled with sleeping outside under the Milky Way (the Milky Way was way more cool), will get them hooked.

westcoastinvestor
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by westcoastinvestor » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:44 pm

The glow sticks you can string together to make a necklace or a long chain. Get a whole tube of them. Young kids love camping. Having their friends or other young kids adds to the craziness.

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Watty
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by Watty » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:00 pm

Not as fun as some of the other suggestions but a decent sleeping pad makes a huge difference in tent camping. Most air mattresses are pretty worthless for actually sleeping on.

MrMojoRisin
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by MrMojoRisin » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:05 pm

Go to an Army/Navy Surplus or online and purchase a mess kit with flatware that snaps together.
The best mess kit is the large oval shape one with a two partition lid. When you put the lid on the handle of the pan snaps over the lid to hold everything together. This was the type used by American soldiers in WWII, you can find them online for 9-25 bucks, some with flatware and carrying case.

Let them cook beans and weanies over a small campfire or can or Sterno.....direct supervision suggested. Bacon and eggs are easy to do as well.

They can use it for the rest of their lives or until they lose it.

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by Wings5 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:30 am

Little kids love headlamps in the dark like they love donuts and cake. Excellent buy.

Talk it up like the adventure that it is. "Well, you usually have to be four to camp, but if you are adventurous/brave/etc. enough maybe you can go a year early." Ours fall for that all the time. Take baby steps. Sleeping bag and a headlamp at bedtime in their normal bed, then backyard camping, then ... the world is your oyster.

Tent and sleeping bag are worth-the-money items (sounds like you have a tent, but for others...)

As for a tent, check out the REI branded tents at REI, and get a footprint that matches the tent. I have too many parent friends who say they went camping once, it rained a little, they got soaked, and they will never go again. A decent tent might run $120-$200 at REI, but it will last a decade or more if cared for properly and provide you with plenty of dry memories.

We had success early on with REI kids' sleeping bags and the Eureka or Kelty Grasshopper (I believe that's the name). Decent quality and they have lasted a long time. Let them use them in their beds, unzipped to keep cool. A tent on the ground will feel much different than a sleeping bag on a mattress. For the back yard a cheap twin blowup mattress from WalMart will help them sleep well (a blowdryer, vacuum, or leaf blower will save you from huffing). If you get into camping in state parks and such, a sleeping pad might be a good investment.

Backyard camping items:
-Stuffed animal or blanket will help them sleep
-Stargazing app on iPhone (move the phone around and it tells you what is in that part of the sky)...pointing out the Big Dipper, Mars, etc
-Don't feel like you have to do a campfire or s'mores. A smoke headache and a sugar stomachache is no way to spend a first night camping. Your child's normal lunch or breakfast meal eaten outside or in the tent will be spectacular in their mind.
-Glowsticks to hang in the tent. Or, a caribeaner on the headlamp makes an easy hanging lamp.
-Is there something they are always asking to have in bed? Ours want to read books at bedtime, so they bring 10-20 books and read with the headlamp.
-Night vision goggles....if they aren't scared of what might be around. My sons and I love seeing the wildlife around our campsites.

Our boys came up with cinnamon rolls on a stick over a campfire. Remove the dough from the package, wrap around a stick, hold over the fire, then peel pieces off and dunk in the icing. Still a little messy, but they like them better than s'mores, which they think are gross.

Hiking items:
-Smallest sized CamelBack (or generic brand) is a good toylike idea, but be ready to carry it for junior when hiking. Carrying 16 ounces of water can wear a little one out.
-On hikes we keep it to the youngest one's age in miles, and pack a full meal for each.
-Your kiddo's favorite candy as a reward to keep trying will keep them very motivated
-Good baby carriers for those with toddlers
-Compass...our then 3-year old had no idea how to use it, but loved acting like he knew which direction we were going.
-Safety whistle
-Signal mirror (depending on where you are. Very simple to use but may be bery handy).

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LowER
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by LowER » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:36 am

Glowsticks!

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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by celia » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:39 am

Don't you need a jar for the bugs you catch? Punch some holes in the lid so the air will circulate. Maybe let them out when the "trip" is over(???),ie. you go back inside.
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Re: Camping & "Adventure" Gear for a 3 year old

Post by dratkinson » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:22 am

Can google "camping with kids".
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