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20 Toddler Camping Essentials

Camping is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. Whether it’s to take some well-earned time off from work or to build memories, we love special getaways like this!

But we know what you’re thinking. The open-air, no electronics, and a different environment – it might all seem daunting when you have a toddler in tow. As usual, the right plan and the right tools are what will help you make the most of your family camping trip with the least worries.

The key is to start slow. Every family vacation works differently so you need to know what works for you and your toddler. Think of what you need for a small weekend away and then work towards longer vacations so that you can learn from experience and make each trip a memorable one.

Apart from the itinerary itself, you will need to arm yourself with some of the best toddler camping gear as well as toddler camping hacks to ensure a comfortable trip. And if you’re wondering how to plan the coolest ever camping trip with your tiny tot, then look no further. 

camping with toddlers

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Toddler Camping Gear

When planning your family camping trip, you’ll need to consider a range of things. Healthy snacks, fun activities, and excited yet exhausted kids, not to mention the weather and other logistics are only naming a few. Our quick tips on toddler camping essentials that you must have before embarking on this new adventure will help get you started. 

Silicone Bowls/Plate

Silicone bowls and plates are one of the most important toddler camping essentials that you’ll need to carry. Baby-safe utensils like these are not only easy to clean, but also perfect for little hands to use. 

Make sure to opt for 100% food-grade and BPA-free materials and don’t forget to bring them along on all your trips with your toddler.

Utensils

snack cup and sippy cups - essential baby camping gear for meal times

Spoons, forks, sippy cups – you name it. Your toddler’s everyday utensils are must-haves for camping with toddlers

Along with silicone plates and bowls, be sure to pack high-quality “chewtensils” that your toddler can use. Packing travel sippy cups and food warmers is also an amazing idea that will save you a lot of hassle. They’ll help you keep a check on whether your child is sufficiently hydrated or not and to serve them quality home food even on the go. 

Spill-Proof Cups & Snacks

Snacking is a big part of your toddler’s everyday routine. Your toddler camping gear is basically incomplete without a reliable stock of snackables that your child can feast on at any time of the day. 

From spill-proof snack cups and containers filled with fruit to yogurt pouches, cheerios, and string cheese, there’s plenty that you can pack ahead. We highly recommend charting out a meal plan and packing your toddler’s snacks in easy spill-proof cups and travel containers that are specifically made to be used on the go.

Collapsible boxes, stackable jars for mini bites, and tiny little Bento boxes with the simplest toddler travel snacks are your ultimate saving grace.

A camping trip out in the great outdoors becomes a lot simpler when you’re equipped to deal with every hunger pang and craving. Happy toddler means happy parents, and we’re sure you’ll love the time that this will give you to sit back and relax. 

toddler holding one of the best toddler snack cups

Bib

The truth is, feeding your kids can be messy. Especially when on vacation, clean-up is the last thing you want to have to worry about. Here’s where the good ol’ bib comes in. 

Quick wash bibs are essentials for camping with toddlers, and you have a wide variety to choose from, be it silicone bibs, water-resistant bibs, or even full-sleeve ones.

Completely hassle-free, you’ll simply need to wipe clean and that’s all. No fussing over stains and spots, allowing you to let your toddler have the time of their life as they learn from and play with their food. 

Activities and Toys 

As your toddler gets older, he or she will need to be kept engaged during your trip. Thankfully, toddlers love to explore and play with just about anything!

Involve the whole family in imaginative camping activities for toddlers and games to strike up some wholesome fun. You can do everything from painting rocks to discovering vibrant birds and insects with them. Bring along an automatic bubble maker and there’s no end to the fun you’ll have as a family.

toddler and father bird watching - perfect camping activity for toddlers

Alternatively, you could even bring their balance bikes and three-wheeled scooters with you and let them ride around the area as you watch for some quieter moments of respite. 

Time spent outdoors and away from screens is uniquely entertaining and refreshing for toddlers and parents.

Hiking Carrier

For parents who like to hike, a hiking carrier should be the topmost item on their checklist of essentials to carry. They’re like backpacks and ensure the safety of your kids while allowing you to relax and take in the beautiful scenery around you. 

toddlers sitting in hiking backpack carriers for toddlers

Carry your toddlers around in a comfortable seat of their own as you and your partner explore the great outdoors. These hiking carriers offer a protective cover from sun and rain and often have extra storage to pack hiking gear in. Some even have pillows for them to rest their heads and come with a water storage bladder for you (and them) to sip on to stay hydrated. 

Adjustable and safe, carriers ensure proper airflow between your back and your toddler, making it an an excellent addition to your camping trip with a toddler. 

Toddler Camping Chair

Portable camping chairs for toddlers are super-effective at making up for the absence of high chairs.

There’s a camping chairs for babies and toddlers that you can explore to pick out the one that suits you best. While most come with removable snack trays and spots to keep their sippy cups, there are also some that are more outdoorsy and sturdy.

smores when camping with toddlers

Snug and comfortable, these durable chairs have no trouble staying balanced on rugged terrain. You’ll especially like them when you need your toddler to stay put while getting dinner ready.

Toddler Camping Bed

A happy and well-rested toddler can enjoy a grand camping adventure with the least amount of fussing. But getting a toddler to sleep well can be quite the task. 

Toddler travel beds are a brilliant solution to get your toddler to sleep on time by providing them with some homey comfort. Portable and made to use when camping, some of them are even inflatable for easy storage!

The best part is that an inflatable toddler bed can easily transition from travel to camping, making an well worthwhile purchase.

Camping with toddler

Portable Tub

While bath time outdoors may seem stressful, you can expect your toddler to get filthy playing outside all day.

Portable bathtubs are the smartest ways to incorporate your toddler’s bath time into your trip. Often inflatable or foldable, an inflatable tub for toddlers is lightweight and takes up very little space in your camping gear. Plus it’s one more fun activity for your toddler to help fill the day!

parent hack for bathing a baby when camping

Toddler Sleeping Bag

Toddlers tend to move about and throw off their blankets when they sleep. This makes keeping them warm and toasty all throughout the night a challenge when outdoors.

A toddler sleeping bag is the perfect solution! Not only do they guarantee a good night’s sleep, but they also keep your toddler warm in any weather. 

Toddler on chair in Big Mo 20 Sleeping Bag for Toddlers Camping

Some have snaps to adjust the size, while others have foldover handcuffs or removable sleeves to regulate your toddler’s temperature. There’s some excellent toddler sleeping bag options depending on what type of temperatures you expect while camping.

Easy to store and equally easy to use, you’ll love this addition to your list of toddler camping gear!

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Hiking Shoes / Toddler Hiking Gear

Who says that hiking is only for grown-ups?

Hiking with your child can be an extremely rewarding event. Each trail you tread will be well worth it, and with a million stops along the way, you will even have plenty of time to take in all the tiniest of details with your toddler. With these hiking with toddler tips, set out on your own mini-exploration with your toddler and let them discover nature in all its glory.

Baldwin Trail is one of the short hikes in Sedona

Even if you plan on having your carrier on you, it’s only natural that your toddler will want to step out and walk around on their own at some point. That’s why it makes sense to get them their first pair of hiking shoes if you are planning to take your toddler on some trails with you.

When camping with toddlers, gear goes a long way. With sturdy yet well-cushioned shoes, your little one will have the balance and confidence needed to try and climb over small rocks and make the most of the trip. Just make sure they have some time to practice at your local park or in your backyard before using them out in the wilderness so they can get used to how they feel.

Picking out hiking backpacks for your soon-to-be big boys and girls is not a bad idea as well. It’s a great way to encourage taking responsibility and give them a sense of purpose while at it. 

toddler hiking backpack

Browse through and pick up some of the best toddler hiking gear so that your child can safely let their imaginations run wild. 

Travel Potty

Potty emergencies are real and scrambling in search of a toilet for your newly potty-trained toddler can be a challenge when outdoors. Pit toilets can also be scary for little ones. Put this worry to rest with a portable travel potty

A travel potty another camping essential with toddlers that is fairly straightforward to operate and doesn’t require too much lugging around – just what you need while traveling with your toddler.

Choose a travel potty that is standalone and easy to sit on, allowing you to place your toddler on the seat and not need to hold them the entire time.

Sunscreen

Your child’s skin is precious and sensitive. To avoid the harmful effects of UV rays, pack baby-safe sunscreen for your toddler with an SPF of 30 to 50.  This one is simply a must-include in your list of the best camping gear for toddlers.

Child getting sunscreen

Keep in mind that it is not advised to use sunscreen on babies who are 6-month-olds or younger, but is perfectly fine to apply liberally on toddlers. Reapply from time to time and you’ll be protecting them from burns and unnecessary tans, while also letting them roam free without the constant fussing. 

Insect Repellant

Insect repellent is an important item to add to your handy list of essential toddler camping gear. Carry some that is organic and baby-safe or look into essential oils if you want to steer clear of the chemicals. Natural citronella, lemongrass, cedarwood, and peppermint are some options that you can explore to keep the insects away. 

Apply the insect repellent carefully and keep your toddler safe from the bugs and mosquitoes at you campsite. For added protection and comfort, consider carrying mosquito nets as well. 

Diapers/Wipes

When out in the woods, you need to be prepared for every situation, and diapers are number one when it comes to keeping toddlers clean and comfortable. It’s always better to have extra than too few so pack as many as you can fit. 

Make sure to also carry a set of wipes. They’ll not only help to clean your toddler, but they’re also useful in wiping dirty hands, sticky faces, and unclean surfaces. 

The diapers you choose will depend on your little one’s comfort and the facilities available. Disposables need to be carried home to respect the rules of the outdoors by leaving the place as clean as it was when you arrived. Achieve this by storing smelly disposables in an odor-free bag and packing them away in a bear canister. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, will require more frequent changes and washing.

Sun Hat

Pack a sun hat for your toddler to protect their skin and eyes from the sun. It’s the perfect accessory for all the pictures you’re bound to take on your trip too!

Some of these sun hats even include neck flaps to offer your toddler some added protection from the harsh rays. With this on, you’ll be able to let your child have fun in the sun without worrying about sunburn. 

Toddler in front of hiking sign wearing blue wide brim toddler sun hat

First Aid Kit

One of the prime things to include while packing your toddler camping essentials is a first aid kit. It’s not only crucial for your child, but for you as well. Make sure to pack one with baby bandages, ointments, and other medicines that your child may need. 

Make sure you also carry a list of important contacts and pre-program some of them on your cell phone to make accessing emergency services in a crisis less stressful. 

A long-lasting rechargeable torch, rain covers, and bear spray are a good idea for longer camping trips. Bring along a satellite communicator, and a map to remain accessible in areas with spotty connectivity. 

Rain Suit

When you’re outdoors you never know how the weather may change. A sudden downpour can happen anytime. Toss in a hooded rain suit with your other camping essentials for toddlers and you be prepared to handle whatever mother nature throws your way.

Look for suits that come with elastic cuffs and are sealed at the seams for the best protection. Adjustable waists and hoods are also practical features that make sure your toddler is well covered. 

Books for Bedtime Routine

As we went over earlier, toddlers are happiest when their routines are kept intact. Even when on vacation, try to follow through on all your everyday rituals together like reading before bedtime and good night snuggles.

Bring along a couple of their favorite books and spend some quality time with your little munchkin. Consider packing some that are related to the adventures you are having during your camping trip together to help them recall their action-packed day.

Blackout Blinds 

Travel blackout blinds can useful for blocking out the sun when camping in a trailer. It’s a lifesaver when trying to get toddlers to sleep on those long summer evenings. This simple hack creates a soothing atmosphere during bedtime and replicates the feeling of being at home with barely any effort.

zipping upTravel bag for Sleepout - best blackout curtain

You can choose from different kinds of portable blackout blinds – easy-to-carry foldable ones with suction cups or travel crib covers (only use as per the manufacturers recommendation and ensure they are suitable for outdoor use). Effortless to use, they’re also great space savers and fit into the tiniest spaces with ease. 

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Toddler Camping Essentials