Camping with Baby Guide & Gear Recommendations
Having a child should never stop you from doing what you love most in life—if anything, a little one only enhances the experience.
If you love being outdoors, take your baby along! Camping with a baby isn’t nearly as challenging as you might think.
First experiences are often what we look forward to most as parents, and watching your child’s expression as they take in their first waterfall or deer is a memory you’ll always treasure.
If you’re ready to bring your baby along for the next camping trip, read this guide and learn how to make your camping trip a smashing success.
If you're looking for specific tips, use the links below and jump straight to your must-know section:
Advice for Camping with a Baby
If you’re backpacking or camping over the weekend, preparation is key.
Don’t stress! You aren’t going to be the first person to take their baby camping and you certainly won’t be the last. There’s a plethora of baby camping gear that you can bring along to prevent tumultuous situations, and keep your baby comfortable the whole time.
Don’t put your bucket list to the side. Try to do all of the same typical camping activities you would without your baby. There are plenty of ways you can still go fishing and hiking with a little bit of creativity—and the right gear.
Expose your child to the wonders of nature. You shouldn’t be afraid to let your baby get out into the wild and experience the great outdoors for the first time.
Relax—you’re on vacation and you should remember to treat your camping experience like a getaway (kids or no kids). Don’t let the stress of preparation and setting up camp take away from your experience and bliss. Bringing your child camping should be a fun and positive experience.
Location, location, location. Consider your location carefully. Camping closer to home means a shorter drive to the campsite, and offers convenience in case your trip doesn’t go exactly according to plan.
Camping with a Baby in Cold Weather
Whether you’ve been a parent for a month or a year, you know how important it is to bring everything you could possibly need with you.
If you want to keep your little bundle of joy warm and happy while you’re camping in cold weather, there are a few things you’ll need:
Warm clothes: Make sure you bring along extra thick socks, mittens, and a cap for your child in addition to the obvious articles of clothing like jackets and pants. Make sure you bring layers for your baby or toddler so they don’t overheat.
Small blankets: Swaddling your baby with a blanket is a great way to keep them warm and help them get to sleep at night.
Baby camping bed: Bring along a portable travel crib for your baby. You might be tempted to allow the baby to sleep with you in your bed, but it’s much safer to keep them next to you in a space of their own.
As long as you provide your child with plenty of layers and a warm crib, you shouldn’t have a problem taking them camping in colder months.
Camping with your Baby in Hot Weather
If you live in a warmer climate or plan on camping in one, here’s a quick list of what you will need to bring in addition to our checklist:
Sun protection: Too much sun exposure can seriously damage your child’s skin if you’re not careful. Your baby will need shade from the sun; it’s best to set up an outdoor portable crib in the shade or get one with a baby shade from the sun cover. Be sure to bring along plenty of sunscreen and a hat for your baby as well.
Mosquito protection: Summertime means mosquitos—especially if you’re camping out in the mountains. If you would rather not cover your infant in bug spray, consider bringing along a mosquito net for the crib.
Portable fan: You don’t want your baby to overheat in their portable crib or your tent. Consider bringing along a portable fan (battery powered or solar) that you can pack up with the rest of your gear.
Aloe Vera: If by accident your little one catches a little more sunshine than you intended, you’ll be grateful that you can provide them with some instant relief. Make sure you bring Aloe Vera along with your first aid kit.
Summer is the ideal time to go camping because the weather is warm. However, it can still get pretty cold at night; make sure that you are bringing plenty of warm clothes along for the chillier evenings spent around the campfire.
Sleeping in a Tent with Your Baby
It’s important that you set up a separate space for your baby inside your tent. You don’t want to roll over in the middle of the night and accidentally hurt them in your sleep. Another risk that comes with sharing your bed with your child is overheating them.
The ground will absorb a huge amount of your baby’s heat if you aren’t careful. Bring a large tent that you can fit a travel crib or bassinet inside so you don’t have to worry about their warmth while they sleep. Swaddle your child in a blanket to keep them safe from smothering themselves in loose blankets.
Baby Camping Checklist
In addition to the standard list of gear that you will need for camping, there are some special items that should be added to the list as well.
Babies require a little bit of extra preparation—even if it’s just a quick trip to the grocery store. Here’s a list of essentials that you should consider bringing along:
Wipes and towels: Two-year-olds are notorious mess makers. Avoiding a stage five chocolate meltdown from a s’more means bringing along plenty of wet wipes and paper towels.
Baby carrier: If you plan on hiking with your baby, you will need a way to carry your baby and keep your arms free. Backpack carriers are especially useful for long hikes because they can shade your child while you walk.
Camping chair: It’s never a bad idea to bring along a camping chair for your baby with strap-in features. A portable high-chair is the perfect solution for when it’s time to eat or you’re sitting by the fire and you want to keep them out of harm’s way.
Baby food: If you’re breastfeeding your little one, planning out food for your child will be easy. However, if your child is drinking formula or switching to baby food, a little more planning is required. Bring a small cooler with ice for any jars of baby food, and a small pot to heat water if your child is drinking formula.
Toys and Other Forms of Distraction: This won’t be the case for all infants, but being in an unfamiliar environment may be stressful for your bundle of joy. If all of the sights and sounds of nature are too overwhelming for your child, you will be grateful that you brought a few creature comforts along from home to soothe the experience.
Water sanitizer: During longer camping trips, your baby is probably going to need a bath. There are a number of harmful waterborne pathogens even in “clean” drinking water at your campsite.
While many of the items on this list might not seem essential, when you’re up on the mountain and the closest store is miles away, they become necessities.
When putting together a list of items to bring, remember that it’s always better to have something you don’t need than not have something you do.
If camping and spending time in nature is your passion, don’t let your newborn or toddler slow you down. There’s plenty of ways to incorporate your child into any camping trip with just a few extra steps and a little extra camping gear. For all of your travel crib and bassinet needs, Guava Family can help.