How to

How to Plan a Camping Trip With a Baby



You can still go camping, even if you have a young baby. In fact, it’s a good idea to introduce your baby to the outdoors as early as possible – especially if you plan on family camping trips in the future.


  • 1. Pack lots of baby wipes. Babies get dirty on camping trips.
  • 2. Bring a large plastic or canvas tablecloth or drop cloth  this will make a play area cleaner and safer.
  • 3. Consider a portable playpen, even if you don’t use one at home; this is great for keeping your baby clean and out of trouble while you build a fire or cook nearby. Some also double as porta-cribs.
  • 4. Consider using prepared rather than powdered formula � it’s easier to keep sterile. If you’re breast-feeding, you won’t need any special supplies.
  • 5. Bring clothes that you can layer on your baby to provide extra warmth if necessary.
  • 6. If your baby sleeps with you at home, he can sleep with you on a camping trip. Just make sure that he is positioned safely, with no risk of heavy sleeping bags or blankets covering his face.
  • 7. Pack a good supply of waterproof or Zip-loc plastic bags; these are great for used diapers and other garbage, especially if you will need to carry your garbage with you.
    8. Bring a battery-operated baby monitor; this means you don’t have to go to bed at the same time as your baby.
    9. Bring a first aid kit containing any medications and supplies your baby may need.
    10. Remember to pack your sling (for tiny babies) or baby backpack (for babies who can hold their heads up) if you will be walking or hiking.


  • Baby socks can double as mittens to keep tiny hands warm.
  • Bring a large piece of mosquito netting to drape over the playpen, if you use one. This will help to keep your baby bug-free.
  • Throw in a bottle of hand sanitizer this is great for quick cleanups when running water isn’t available.


  • Remember that some sunscreens aren’t safe to use on babies younger than 6 months old. If you are concerned, ask your pediatrician, or just bring a large sun hat for your baby, and keep his limbs covered.
  • If you plan to do some serious hiking, remember that your center of balance is different when you are carrying a baby. Be careful, especially on steep trails.
  • If you are bottle-feeding your baby, make sure your supplies are sterile, and that any open cans or bottles of mixed formula are kept cool.

 Get Your Toddler to Fall Asleep in a Tent

It’s hard enough to get toddlers to go to sleep at home, but it can be even more challenging in a tent. Here are some hints for a peaceful, low-stress bedtime routine while camping.

1. Try to simulate your toddler’s home sleeping environment as much as possible – bring familiar bedding or a favorite toy.
2. Bring an extra blanket to muffle the rustling noise of the bag, if your child will be using a sleeping bag.
3. Keep his or her sleeping area close to yours – it can be scary to wake up alone in a strange place.
4. Dress your toddler warmly, including his or her hands and feet.
5. Keep a spill-proof cup of water nearby, in case he or she needs a drink in the night.
6. Stick to a fairly normal bedtime routine – bath (if possible), snack, story, brushing teeth and then bed (or whatever you do at home).
7. Add some white noise to the sleeping area, if the campground is noisy. Use a battery-operated fan or radio static at low volume.
8. Add some glow-in-the-dark strips or stickers to the inside of your tent – these will act as a comforting night-light if your child wakes up.
  • Bring a battery-operated baby monitor so that you can stay up later than your toddler.
  • Lots of fresh air and activity will help little ones get to sleep – it may not be as difficult as you expect.
  • If your child tends to wander, be sure to put a bell or other noisemaker at the entrance to your tent.
  • Don’t forget the potty. If your child is potty-trained and may need to go in the night, keep the portable potty nearby. Avoid long, scary trips to bathrooms or outhouses.
Kathryn Vercillo

The author Kathryn Vercillo

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