Camping With A Baby And Toddlers

The s’mores. The wonder on little faces tromping through the forest. The sheer glee of getting filthy. These are the joys of camping with little ones. Camping with small kids is guaranteed to make lifelong memories. The very first time camping with kids can be a little intimidating—even for seasoned campers. You’ll have to plan for certain things if you’re camping with a baby or camping with toddlers and some things you’ll need to do differently than normal. But trust us, with a little extra planning and following these tips for camping with kids, it’ll all be worth it.

Choosing the Right Spot for Camping With Small Kids

Location, location, location. When you’re camping with your kids, be choosy about finding the right campsite. Campsites can vary a lot, with some individual sites packed close together and others fairly far apart. Some camping areas feature showers and playgrounds, while others provide a small fire pit and a rustic shared outhouse. There are hike-in only campsites and campsites made for car camping or RVs. Think about what kind of experience you want while camping with small kids, from noise to amenities to landscape, and what camping items for kids you’ll need to bring will help you choose your campsite.

If you’re camping with a baby, you’ll need a place to dispose of dirty diapers, and you’ll probably want access to running, potable water. If you’re camping with toddlers, think about the many trips to the potty you’re likely to make, and take the toilet situation into account. You might also want to look for a campsite with picnic tables for snack and activity time without an elaborate setup process. (A travel organizer can make this extra easy.) It can also be helpful to camp closer to home on your first time camping with toddlers in case someone ends up feeling ill. Think about your goals for the experience when you choose your campsite to set yourself up for a successful camping trip.

Bringing the Right Camping Items for Kids

Camping with small kids is a little different because you’ll need some more specialized gear. That doesn’t mean you have to disassemble your entire nursery and bring it with you. Trust us when we tell you that certain camping items for kids will make the entire experience a whole lot easier. If you’ll be camping with a baby, think about where the baby will sleep and eat, a clean place for diaper changes, and easy ways to keep Baby safe and contained. If you’ll be camping with toddlers, you can get away with fewer specialized items. Here’s what we suggest considering for camping with small kids. (Luckily, most items can be reused for travel ,too).

  • A portable crib: A portable crib or playpen makes sleeping and contained playing a whole lot easier. It’ll also help keep precious toys from getting as filthy.
  • A portable seat: Helpful for mealtimes, sitting around the fire, and any other time you need your little one to be stationary. Look for a seat that’s easily wiped down.
  • A carrier: If you plan to hike, spend time by the water, or do anything requiring carrying your kiddo with you, a carrier will save your arms and your back.
  • A waterproof blanket, tarp, or play mat: Bring something waterproof to spread out on the ground for playing safely or setting up diaper changes.
  • A cooler: You’ll likely bring a cooler for food. An extra one may be essential for storing formula or pumped breast milk. Consider bringing a travel bottle warmer, too, to make your life easier.
  • Warm layers: It gets cold at night. Temps dip even on hot summer days. Keep your kids warm with sleep sacks for babies and warm footie jammies for toddlers. Just make sure you’ll still have access for 3 am diaper changes or emergency midnight outhouse visits. (Better yet, bring a portable potty!)
  • Insect repellent: Look for an insect repellent recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and apply it safely and regularly to help prevent insect bites.
  • A thorough first aid kid: Bring a full first aid kit with assorted bandages, antiseptic, tweezers, antihistamine, pain reliever/fever reducer, sting and bite wipes, gauze, and butterfly closures.
  • All the wet wipes: Kids are messy. So is parenting®. Especially when you’re camping. Wet wipes (or reusable wipes to wet as needed) will help you clean up the aftermath of playing in a dirt pile or the unstoppable stickiness of post-s’more hands. A travel wipe warmer makes it all even easier.

Practice Before Camping with Small Kids

It’s helpful to practice your camping routines before you get to figure out what you’ll need (and what you won’t). Set up your tent ahead of time and make sure you can fit everything inside, including the portable crib and the air mattress that’ll save your back. Teach older kids how to climb in and out of the tent, and teach them any camping etiquette (like leaving shoes by the tent flap). Rehearse making meals the way you will while camping, with minimal water access and just one pot and cutting board. Practice cleaning your cooking and eating supplies with a small tub of water and a single sponge. Get your kids used to sleeping in a new place by having a living room or backyard campout.

 Life happens everywhere®, and at Prince Lionheart, we know the importance of being open to the best moments in life, wherever they appear. Embrace the chaos of nature while camping with small kids. Even camping with a baby is totally doable as long as you prepare ahead of time and remember that getting a little messy is okay. Whether this is your first time camping with toddlers or going camping for the very first time, remember: Bravery is inside all of us.® Just follow these tips for camping with kids and have a blast.