Camping with Baby

By Molly DeFrank

I always scoffed at people who warned me that babies are expensive. Breast-fed babies eat for free, I retorted in my head. When they start on solids, even organic baby food costs like $1 per meal. Those people must garnish their baby’s food with truffle oil and clothe their kids in Dolce and Gabbana. Babies are cheap, cheap, cheap, I thought.

And then I took my baby on vacation.

The hubs and I packed up the little one for Yosemite Valley last weekend. But unlike our pre-baby camping adventures, this trip proved complicated and expensive from the start.

My Southern California upbringing convinced me that humans simply cannot survive temperatures below 60 degrees. “Well, I would hate for Selah to get hypothermia in our tent at night from the arctic 50-degree cold. I need to buy her a few extra layers of warmth.” So $100 later, I left Target, my cart brimming with long-sleeved onesies, baby thermal socks and tiny fleece pullovers galore. I was momentarily satisfied.

But then my motherly mind began to race. “Do bears prefer eating baby humans to adult humans? Maybe we should get a bigger tent… I wonder if they make tents with padlock doors…” I turned to my husband and declared, “That’s it. We’re renting an RV.” And so, $900 later, we set out for Yosemite.

The trip was more fun than I could have imagined. It was almost exactly the same as camping without a baby. Except for the waking up at 6am part. And except for not being able to eat dinner at the Ahwahnee. And except for being limited to hikes under 1.5 miles on paved walkways only. And there wasn’t any time for lounging around. Hmm. I suppose camping with a little one is different.

But as we strolled around the Valley, surrounded by views of majestic waterfalls, Half Dome and dramatic cliffs, I began to see the place in a new light. I started to think about the many family vacations we’ll have before Selah’s grown. I wondered what would go through her mind as she processed the magnificent creation the world has to offer.

At 9 months old, she was slightly more focused on the rubber ducky we purchased for her at the Yosemite Village General Store, but the idea of introducing her to the world around her, and the excitement she’ll experience when she swims in the ocean or meets Mickey Mouse for the first time was enough to make me want to take out a second mortgage just so that we can take her to Disney World.

Okay, maybe babies are expensive.

You might also like


  1. Phil Tretheway says

    We to Yosemite camping with friends this weekend as well. Next year definitely bringing my 2yr old boy, to share the wonders with him.

  2. palotay says

    Try it with a 2 1/2 month-old with colic and a 21 month-old who spiked a 104 degree fever. Even at the Awahnee, that was a nightmare. Loved your article Molly!

  3. Linda says

    Great article! Fun to read and oh so true too!

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.