This article about the Best Camping Gear for Babies was written by outdoor enthusiast and baby travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
I love camping with my kids. I’m a huge believer in the power of spending time outdoors with your children, and the sooner you start the better. If you take the time to go hiking and camping with your baby, they will grow into toddlers who love the outdoors, who will turn into big kids who love the outdoors, etc., etc. Obviously, camping with a baby is going to be different than camping before kids, so to help you get started, I’ve prepared a list of baby camping gear you should consider for your trip.
Camping is a memorable experience that you get to share with your entire family. Toss those screens aside, breathe in some fresh air, and take in those surreal sunsets. From the tiniest tot to the oldest member, camping with your family offers time to bond, an opportunity to connect with nature and spend time with those you love the most.
We all learn with experience, so if it’s your first time camping with a baby, start slow and simple with just a few nights out instead of an extended outdoor stay. With each trip, you will learn to understand your baby’s needs and wants a little better. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert on camping with a baby!
As with all types of travel with a baby, preparation is key to success. I hope that my list of essential baby camping gear will help you get the most out of your family camping trip. Read on to get a quick rundown of the baby camping essentials I recommend along with a few tips and tricks for camping with babies sprinkled into the mix.
Essential Baby Gear for Camping
- What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Baby Camping Gear
- My Favorite Camping Gear for Baby
- 1. Portable Fan
- 2. Baby Camping Chair
- 3. Baby Hiking Carrier
- 4. Baby Sleeping Bag
- 5. Pack n’ Play
- 6. Baby Camping Bed
- 7. Blackout Blinds
- 8. Baby Camping Toys
- 9. Pacifiers and Pacifier Clip
- 10. Baby Camping Clothes PLUS Extra Clothes
- 11. Bottles, Disposable Liners & Bottle Warmer
- 12. Washable Bibs
- 13. Snack & Food Necessities
- 14. Diapers
- 15. White Noise Machine
- 16. All Terrain Stroller plus Stroller Shade
- 17. Portable Bathtub & Towel
- 18. Bug Spray
- 19. Mosquito Net
- 20. Sunscreen
- 21. Sun Hat
- 22. Emergency Kit
- 23. Activity Center and Portable Jumper
- Camping Gear for Baby Checklist
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Baby Camping Gear
My Favorite Camping Gear for Baby
Your camp location, the duration of your trip, the weather forecast, and even the age of your baby are all factors that will influence what baby camping gear you pack. With time and experience, your baby camping checklist will only grow, so don’t be afraid to adapt as your little ones’ needs change as quickly as the seasons.
Just a gentle reminder, all family adventures are packed with tears, tantrums, and twists. All of which are sure to be short-lived and quickly forgotten due to the bouts of laughter, unforgettable memories, and happy times.
It’s true! Family camping trips are filled with moments that you’ll remember and recall for the rest of your life, both the good and the bad.
Before making your camping packing list, I recommend you research the campgrounds and facilities well in advance so you can figure out what you’ll need to carry and what can be left behind. Campsites with electricity and restroom facilities are a good start for first-time campers. You may also wish to contact your forest rangers beforehand for a guide list of dos and don’ts to keep your baby safe and happy.
From there, read through my checklist of essential baby camping gear and print off the baby camping checklist at the bottom so you don’t forget anything!
1. Portable Fan
The sweltering summer heat and humidity can make for an uncomfortable and miserable baby. An unhappy baby is usually a loud baby, which will be unpopular around the campsite. My solution for this is the simplest one in the book: the portable fan.
Having a portable fan can cool your baby and help your baby fall asleep on a hot evening! Everyone, both inside and outside your tent will appreciate this.
2. Baby Camping Chair
Feeding a baby is a challenge even at home. From making food as interesting as possible, keeping them in one place for the entirety of the meal to making the meal a fun one – it takes time and effort! Make your job a little easier by investing in a sturdy baby camping chair.
A good baby camping chair that is foldable, stable, and easy to clean is worth bringing and definitely one of the camping with baby essentials.
It’s also a good place to keep your baby contained, if you are busy cooking or dealing with the campfire and can’t keep eyes on your baby the entire time.
3. Baby Hiking Carrier
Camping and hiking go hand in hand, which is why I have included baby carriers for hiking on my list of baby gear for camping. These carriers are designed to provide maximum comfort to both baby and parent, making them one of the essentials for camping with a baby.
For places not as easily accessible by strollers, carriers can make hiking with a baby infinitely easier.
Many backpack carriers offer sufficient space to store anything from water, snacks, and diapers to even toys. Just strap in your little one, and go forth to explore the mysteries of Mother Nature.
4. Baby Sleeping Bag
Babies can’t regulate their body temperature like adults. The best baby sleeping bag is one that is neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.
Like most camping gear, a good baby sleeping bag must be convenient to clean and easy to pack. Take care to avoid hoods, drawstrings, or cord locks that might be dangerous to an infant.
Depending on the expected temperature during your camping trip, the two best options to consider are those offered by Morrison Outdoors or the Baby DeeDee sleeping bag.
5. Pack n’ Play
Now you see me, now you don’t! Babies are known to vanish in the blink of an eye, and while cute in the confines and the safety of your own home, they can leave you scrambling in fear when in the great outdoors! Breathe easy as you go about your day knowing your child is safe and entertained in a secure pack n’ play.
Cover it with a mosquito net to keep them safe from mosquitoes or bring them into your tent to keep them shielded entirely from harsh weather.
6. Baby Camping Bed
A happy baby is a well-rested one. Good quality sleep is important for parents and children alike, and a new environment might prove challenging for your baby to get a good night’s rest.
Portable baby beds are perfect for an all-terrain sleep setup. They are light, comfy, safe, and most importantly, pack away easily. Just make sure you are checking your baby’s temperature, you don’t want your baby to overheat or be too cold.
I got years of use from my versatile KidCo PeaPod Plus travel bed (or a similar option like the Joovy Gloo). These camping beds can be used in a myriad of scenarios, but make sure your baby isn’t getting too hot in it. These baby camping beds are built to last, so you’ll be able to keep using them as toddler camping gear as well.
For camping with infants, using a Munchkin Brica Baby Travel Pod might work best for your family.
7. Blackout Blinds
Most babies need the comfort of their homes and routines to fall asleep. So while camping under a starry night sky may seem heavenly to you, your baby might prefer sleeping in a familiar place instead.
Replicate your baby’s safe sleeping environment with a simple portable “blackout blind” for the windows in your camper. These blackout curtains by Sleepout have suction cups to ensure a nice dark environment for a nice, uninterrupted sleep.
8. Baby Camping Toys
Familiar toys can ease nervous babies, so grab their favorites for the next time you go camping. Here’s my tip when it comes to baby camping toys: the simpler, the better.
Another simple and versatile play toy is a set of stacking cups, which are fantastic for playing in the dirt and water. They are dishwasher safe and easy to store too.
9. Pacifiers and Pacifier Clip
Pacifiers can keep a baby occupied and entertained anywhere, just make sure to pack a few extra. Keep one handy and you won’t have to worry about your teething child again. Attach it to a pacifier clip to prevent it from falling to the ground.
You can also use a clip to secure toys to your baby’s camping chair, stroller or hiking carrier so they aren’t constantly being dropped on the ground!
10. Baby Camping Clothes PLUS Extra Clothes
Expect your baby to get dirty while camping, especially if your baby is mobile! So plenty of extra outfits will be necessary, but at least they are small to pack!
Layering clothing is also essential to keeping your baby’s temperature in check. Beat the heat by taking off a layer, or bundle up when it gets chilly by adding another. While long sleeves and pants might seem a bit drastic for the summer, the benefits are two-fold. They provide both sun protection and discourage mosquitoes from biting your infant.
Get a 10% discount on all Ella’s Wool when you purchase direct from Ella’s Wool with discount code Bacantr2324.
I’m always surprised at how cold it gets in the morning while camping, so don’t forget a hat and mitts for your little one. You might even want to pack a snowsuit and baby rain suit, depending on the weather forecast.
11. Bottles, Disposable Liners & Bottle Warmer
There’s nothing quite like some warm milk to help a baby nod off to sleep, but providing your baby with anything warm when out camping can be challenging. That is, unless you have a baby bottle warmer at your disposal.
Designed to heat up milk quickly and keep it warm for hours, a baby bottle travel warmer is a baby camping necessity. Drop-in liners make life much easier when camping with babies who are still bottle feeding.
12. Washable Bibs
Feeding a baby is a messy business, so a well-packed camper needs a good selection of bibs on hand. You’ll soon find full-sleeve bibs or silicone bibs to be camping essentials for baby, since they can help cut down on outfit changes, thanks to the wide catch-all pocket.
These bibs also wipe clean, so pack only one or two and you’re good for the whole camping trip!
13. Snack & Food Necessities
While exclusively pumping moms will need to pack a manual breast pump, weaned babies require some extra preparation too.
Routines are a fail-safe way to keep your baby happy while camping. Snacks are a good thing to keep on hand including a spill-proof snack container and sippy cups (for older babies). I have written a post full of practical tips for managing baby food while traveling which work equally well for camping!
Here are the best sippy cups for camping.
Other travel baby food items to consider are a travel baby bottle warmer and a baby food warmer. A portable drying rack should be on your list of camping with baby must-haves, as it will make clean up of bottles much easier!
Making quick grocery runs when camping in the woods is out of the question for most parents so make sure to pack more than required.
Disposables are best for camping but need to be carried home to respect the rules of the outdoors by leaving the place as clean as it was when you arrived. This can be achieved by storing smelly disposables in an odor-free bag and packing them away in a bear canister.
15. White Noise Machine
A camping trip with tiny sleep-deprived humans is a surefire way to have you at your wits’ end. Ensure quality sleep for your little one with a white noise machine, especially at a busy campground where other campers are enjoying time by the fire.
While not usually thought of as one of the essentials for camping with baby, a portable sound machine can go a long way in acclimatizing your baby to unfamiliar environments.
Strange noises in the outdoors are a given so drown them out with the help of a portable white noise machine and your infant will feel like they’re back at home in their very own crib.
16. All Terrain Stroller plus Stroller Shade
An all terrain stroller is one of the camping essentials with a baby. These kinds of strollers are perfect for rough surfaces and they make sure your baby has a smooth ride with minimal bumps. You can even achieve mid-day naps with a walk around the campground!
Providing sun safety, privacy, comfort, and a clear view of the world, stroller sun shades are a smart option for campers to pair with their camping strollers. They shield your little one’s delicate skin from more than 95% of harmful UV rays.
17. Portable Bathtub & Towel
Nighttime routines are essential for a good night’s rest and taking a bath is just one of the many steps in a baby’s bedtime routine. This is possible with a portable baby bathtub.
A compact inflatable bathtub or a foldable bathtub are recommended additions to your baby camping essentials. A foldable bathtub can even multi-task as a place to store baby camping toys when not in use!
Once your little one is squeaky clean, wrap them up in a hooded towel to keep them nice and cozy.
18. Bug Spray
Camping 101: Don’t forget the bug spray. The wilderness is home to a lot of magnificent wildlife but it’s also filled to the brim with pests like mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.
Apart from being a pesky nuisance, insects also carry diseases, which is why bug repellent is so important when with little ones. Your camping gear for your baby should always include insect repellent that is specially formulated for children.
Baby-safe bug repellents are recommended only for children older than 6 months. Avoid applying repellent to faces and hands and use lightweight clothing as much as possible over bug repellants.
19. Mosquito Net
A mosquito net for pack n’ plays and strollers are two additional baby items for camping that you should pack. You won’t need to cover your baby in bug repellent if you have a place where your baby can play or nap.
You can find universal mosquito nets for strollers and even one for pack n’ plays.
SPF every day keeps the skin issues at bay. One absolute must-have baby item for camping is a baby sunblock with a minimum of SPF 30.
A spray instead of a cream might be easier for reapplication (every two hours). If your baby has been sweating or playing in the water, increase the frequency of application.
A quick reminder for parents of babies under 6 months, sunscreen is not recommended for younger babies as they are prone to more side effects from the chemicals. Additionally, keep in mind that using a bug spray on top of sunscreen reduces the effectiveness of the sunscreen by up to 33%.
Stroller sun shades and shades for hiking carriers are an excellent way to provide additional sun protection for your baby.
21. Sun Hat
A baby sun hat protects both your child’s skin and eyes from the direct and harsh rays of the sun. But who says you can’t accessorize and have fun with it? Toss a pretty sun hat into your baby camping gear and maybe even get yourself a matching one for that perfect family photo!
22. Emergency Kit
A first aid kit with all your child’s daily medications, colorful band-aids for boo-boos, and a list of important contacts is vital to every camping trip. Pre-programmed contacts in a cell phone can make accessing emergency services in a crisis less stressful.
A long-lasting rechargeable torch, rain covers, and bear spray are good for longer camping trips. In areas with spotty connectivity, bring along a radio, and a map.
23. Activity Center and Portable Jumper
Camping can involve a lot of stimulation for your little one. Wear them out and let them hit the sack naturally by allowing them to bounce to their heart’s content in a portable activity center. If you have some space, this is definitely a useful addition to your camping gear.
The A to Z Adventure Gear play mat is another excellent place to let your baby play while hanging around the campsite.
Buy A to Z Adventure Gear play mat direct and use code BABYCANTRAVEL15 for a discount!
Camping Gear for Baby Checklist
- Portable Fan
- Baby Camping Chair
- Baby Hiking carrier
- All Terrain Stroller
- Baby Sleeping bag
- Pack n’ Play
- Baby Camping Bed
- Blackout Blinds
- Extra Clothes
- Warm Clothes for Layering
- Socks, Hat & Mitts
- Footed PJs
- White Noise Machine
- Portable Bathtub
- Hooded Towels
- Washable bibs
- Bottles & Liners
- Manual Breast Pump
- Snack Cup
- Sippy Cup
- Bottle Drying Rack
- Bottle Warmer
- Snacks/Baby Food
- Baby Camping Toys
- Bug spray
- Sun screen
- Stroller Sun Shade
- Mosquito Net
- Sun Hat
- Portable Bouncer
- Pacifier & Toy Clips
Get a printable Camping with a Baby Checklist of the best baby camping gear to make sure nothing gets left behind!
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.