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Camping with a Baby (12 Essential Items You’ll Need to Take)




happy parents inside a camping van with their young one

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You and your partner might have an extreme love of camping and want your precious baby to experience it with you. But what do you need to pack to go camping with a baby?

The following is a list of 12 essential items you will need to bring with you to help your baby enjoy their camping trip, and make your trip as easy and stress-free as possible. 

If you want to bring your baby camping, but you need a refresher on essentials for yourself, check out the complete beginner’s guide.

mom with baby inside a tent with a wonderful view

1. Family-Sized Tent

If you’re used to sleeping in a lightweight, two-person tent, you might want to upgrade to a much larger tent. Consider a 6-person to 8-person tent for camping with your baby.

Babies are going to come with a lot more gear, and you’ll be thankful you have somewhere dry to keep everything. 

If your baby sleeps by themselves, you’ll even have enough space for a portable play yard. There are a few play yards available that have an insert that sits on top that your baby can sleep in that’s a little more comfortable. 

2. Play Yard

Regalo My Play Deluxe
  • PERFECT FIT: The nylon bottom provides protection from rough surfaces. The My Play Deluxe 8-panel measures 62 inches wide and 26 inches tall. Patented easy fit, one-time adjustment system
  • FULL COVERAGE CANOPY: Full ventilating mosquito mesh on one side and a UV protected polyester on the other it creates a safe and shaded play area. Fold and go design for easy use and storage
  • PORTABLE INDOOR/OUTDOOR AND LIGHTWEIGHT: Designed with a simple fold and go deign. Easy to set up and take down within seconds. Water resistant for indoor and outdoor use

Play yards are one of the most recommended essential items to bring with you while camping with a baby. Sure, they are bulky, but they are multi-purpose and will give your arms a break when you need to clean up. 

Don’t believe they are multi-purpose? Check out these uses: 

  • Crib
  • Bug shelter
  • Safe play area
  • Indoor and outdoor nap area
  • Babysitter
  • Keeps all of baby’s toys clean and in one spot

3. Bug Protection

It’s highly recommended that you do not use DEET products on babies. In fact, it’s safer to avoid bug sprays in general. 

Instead, you can use a baby bug suit which will protect your baby’s sensitive skin from pesky mosquitos. 

The play yard can also be used to protect your baby from bugs. The sides of the play yard are already the perfect mesh size to keep bugs out, but by bringing a small fitted sheet to put over the top of the play yard, you can stop bugs from entering completely. 

You also won’t have to worry about your baby crawling into grassy areas that might have ticks or hornet nests because they’ll be sitting up higher in a play yard away from dangerous areas. 

camping with a baby

4. Sun Protection

Sunscreen, like bug spray , isn’t recommended for babies. Instead, you should make sure you pack a hat, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing for your little one. 

One of the best ways to keep the sun off your baby is to shade your campsite. Tarps, umbrellas, and shaded areas are a great place to start. However, tarps are sometimes difficult to set up, umbrellas are a weird shape that takes up valuable space in your car, and not all campsites are shaded. 

In comes the play yard again! Because they are relatively lightweight and easy to set up, you can move them around your campsite into shaded areas throughout the day. Paired with the fitted sheet on top, your baby’s skin is much less likely to burn.

5. Plenty of Layers

The smallest temperature change can result in your baby becoming too hot or too cold.  To keep your baby the most comfortable, bring plenty of layers so you can add or remove them to keep your baby at the perfect temperature. 

6. Baby’s Comfort Items

mom and her baby playing inside camp

There are so many things this could include, but think about what helps them cope at home. Is it a blankie? A special stuffed animal? It could even be a story at bedtime to keep a routine. 

Whatever their comfort item is, bring it! You’re taking your baby to a new place with new smells, and new sounds. They will want something that reminds them of home. And it might even be easier to calm them when they start crying late at night before they wake up your neighbours. 

7. Diaper Bag

Your diaper bag  is going to be the most important item you bring camping, but you have to make sure you pack enough of everything. 

Before you go camping, keep track of how many diapers and wipes you use daily. Use this number to pack accordingly, adding 15% more for emergencies. 

If your baby is formula-fed, do the same thing. Pack enough formula to cover your camping trip, but pack extra! Being outside in the open air all day will likely leave your little one hungrier than usual. 

8. Baby Carrier

Baby carriers, especially back carriers are extremely important to have with you.

Whether you need to do some cooking, packing up, going for a walk, or hiking your favourite locations, you’ll need an easy way to carry your baby. 

dad carrying his baby on a carrier near a cliff slope

You might think carrying them around in your arms will suffice, it won’t. You’ll need your hands free around camp for just about everything: cooking, cleaning, adding wood to the fire, and setting up chairs.

And while you’re out walking your arms will get tired! Not to mention, if you trip over a root your response won’t be to hold your baby closer; you’ll throw your arms out to catch your balance.

9. First Aid Kit

You should always have a first aid kit  in your camping gear anyway, but when camping with a baby there are a few things you should add. 

Any medication your baby needs should be in there. This also includes any Infant Tylenol of Benedryl. 

You should also include a nasal aspirator, cotton balls (instead of cotton swabs), and baby nail clippers in your first aid kit if you haven’t already. 

10. Dimmable Lamp

This is especially important if your baby sleeps with a nightlight at home. Having a dimmable lamp makes it more comforting for your baby when they wake up in the middle of the night and don’t know where they are. 

This will also make it easier for you when you are trying to feed them in the middle of the night. You won’t need to trip over anything, you can find your formula or bottles, and find a comfortable spot to feed. 

11. Baby Jumper

There are a couple of types of baby jumpers you could bring. 

The first is one that you can attach to a tree. You might already have a jumper that attaches to a door at home, and this can easily be manipulated to fit a tree branch.

The only downside to this is some sites don’t have tall trees with thick enough branches to support any weight. 

The second option is a portable baby jumper; ones that you can move without needing to set them up multiple times. 

These are great options for keeping your baby off the ground while also keeping them entertained. There are so many new things to look at in nature, and babies are natural explorers, so putting them on the ground can be dangerous if you’re preoccupied. 

In a baby jumper, they can look at everything without trying to put things in their mouths. 

Jolly Jumper – Stand for Jumpers and Rockers
  • JUMP & PLAY – Create cherished memories as you watch baby jump for joy with complete freedom of movement.
  • 75 YEARS – Parents have trusted Jolly Jumper to help their infants improve balance, develop coordination and strengthen muscles for over 75 years.
  • SAFETY & SUPPORT – The saddle seat is designed to firmly support baby’s spine, ensuring correct, upright posture during exercise.

12. Folding Highchair 

This one is more of a luxury than an essential, but it’s on here to make your life a little easier. 

A folding high chair will take up much less space in your car saving space for more important things for your camping trip. 

Having a folding highchair over a clamp-on camping highchair means your baby has a clean place to eat whether you have a picnic table at the site or not. This also makes it easier for you to eat, especially if you’re camping alone. You can feed your baby while you eat!

Wrapping It Up

The most important things you can bring for your baby while camping will keep them comfortable, fed, and safe. Everything else is a luxury. 

If you’re worried about bringing your baby on a camping trip, don’t be. Babies have been carried on trails and sleeping outside for thousands of years. By bringing the things on this list, you are more than prepared for your first camping trip with your baby. 

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