I’ve been doing some research on making camping and backpacking with a baby go as smoothly as possible. I couldn’t believe some of the stories I found of people taking trips with their young ones. Like this long-distance trip with a 3-month-old, or this month-long arctic trip.

After sifting through more information and ideas than I ever dreamed I’d find on the subject, we made a list and did a test-pack.

We managed to fit all the extra gear in our packs, and by taking turns carrying Little Roamer, a backpacking trip should be doable. We’re planning one for later this year, but for now, we’re going to see how LR handles a car-camping trip with some of the luxuries of home.

For our first trip we headed to West Virginia and the New River. Because of traffic we didn’t make it all the way to our destination, and we had to find a camping spot a little closer.

We ended up at Tygart Lake State Park. From what we saw driving through, it’s a beautiful park. There are cabins to rent and a good amount of tent and RV sites. We did have a problem with raccoons at night, so put all food in your car. We missed Ajay’s food when we were cleaning up, and they took it, bag and all.

In spite of our critter problem, the first night camping with LR went wonderfully. He loved being in the tent, and he loved being outside looking at the trees. He slept all night, and woke up happy and ready to go.


The next day, we packed up and moved on. We stopped for lunch at an overlook above Summerville Lake.

After seeing this beautiful lake and the cliffs that surround it, we hope to go back with the kayaks.

Next, a stop at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park and a steep hike down to Pillow Rock on the Upper Gauley River.

Finally, we made it to the New River where we checked out the bridge and wound our way down to river level and eventually to a camp area. Camping is free in designated areas along the river. We were in the Brooklyn camping area. Just a warning: there is a train running on the opposite side of the river, and we heard it a few times during the night. It didn’t seem to bother LR though – he slept right through.

The hardest part of the whole experience was getting LR to slow down and go to sleep, because he was having so much fun. So, I’d say it was a smashing success!