6 Tips for Camping With Baby

Expert tips, advice and gear to remove the guesswork

Essential gear, tips and advice for taking your little one into the Great Outdoors. 

Have you ever considered camping with baby?

Perhaps it's important to first look at how you define camping: “Glamping” in a heated/air conditioned cabin with running water and a bathroom or backwoods hiking into a secluded, pristine location?

My husband and I love camping, and we fall in the middle of these two extremes. We prefer state parks with showers and a parking spot nearby for easy access to our car. Our campsite is our home-base for hiking, kayaking and exploring.

But as much as we love being outside, we do not relish the additional work of carrying the copious amounts of gear needed to camp with our young daughter.

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No matter how you characterize it, camping will look a bit different than it did before you had kids. Flexibility and preparation are key, as well as compromise.

If you are a nature lover (braver than my husband and I) and entertaining the idea of taking your baby camping, let me take some to the guess work out of it. I have searched the internet for the top tips and advice that if I had read, I may have been willing to give it a go myself.

6 Tips For Camping With a Baby

1. Consider a Trial Run

The first time you take your baby camping, consider a trial run. By staying close to home you can pack up and be in your own bed in a relatively short amount of time should it all go south.

2. Before They Can Move

As a camping-with-kids rookie, think about taking your child even before they are crawling or walking. Of course it can be done when they are on the move, but while baby is less mobile and more content to take in their surroundings from your lap, it’s one less thing to worry about.

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3. Pack It All

As you plan your first trip, pack anything and everything you think you may need. Or at minimum, know where the nearest store is located in case of emergencies. Pack extra diapers and wipes as well as extra clothes for baby. Remember to bring the gear that makes you comfortable and makes life easier like your nursing pillow.

Think through your normal routines and how you will adapt to your camping location. Bringing a Pack N’ Play provides a bed for baby as well as a safe and clean environment to play during the day. Don’t forget a first aid kit, sunscreen and bug spray.

4. Be Aware of Baby's Temperature

One of the most important things you need to be constantly aware of is baby’s temperature. Not being able to regulate their own body temperature and the variances of temperature in the woods makes it challenging and requires hyper-vigilance. Have plenty of layers for nighttime sleep and make sure he doesn’t get overheated sleeping in the tent during the day.

5. Maintain Naptimes & Bedtimes

Keep naps and bedtimes as close to normal as possible, but also be willing to flex. If baby sleeps well in a backpack, consider taking a hike during her normal naptime. Additionally, normal sleep training methods may need to be suspended while camping. Comforting or feeding baby in the middle of the night will help to get everyone back to sleep with little disruption for the neighbors.

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6. Meet Your Neighbors

And speaking of neighbors, it’s a good idea to meet those camping nearby and let them know you have a first time camper with you. They will be more likely to be gracious and understanding of the occasional nocturnal disturbance.

I think personality plays a big part in what you can endure as a parent, right? But I also think that becoming a parent can challenge your personality for the better sometimes, getting you to realize you can do more than you thought you could do.

So with some careful preparation, a little bravery, and an adventurous spirit, you can enjoy introducing your littlest camper to a favorite summertime activity.

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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