The camping season is up and running!
Undoubtedly, camping with toddlers is one of the cheapest and most fun ways to travel. From one point of view, you don’t need a lot of things to be taken. But on the other hand, once you get more experience in camping, you realize there are some quite handy and important tools to consider, especially when it comes down to traveling with babies, toddlers, and kids. Check our camping checklist with kids below. There are a few absolutely critical and truly fabulous kids camping essentials that you should know about.
If you are planning your first trip camping with a toddler, download our free interactive travel packing list with a detailed camping checklist for family holidays.
In this article, we’d rather discuss what camping stuff for kids you shall consider. For your ease of use, we have split them into ten categories, including but not limited to camping bed for kids and sleeping equipment, camping supplies for kids and eating utensils, appropriate camping clothes for kids and transport, bath and toiletries, child’s safety, camping accessories for kids, and other Smart essentials. You can click through the menu below and choose what you want to focus on more.
Besides, we have created two amazing articles showing and sharing the best kids camping toys and camping books for kids.
- Kids’ Camping Toys & Games
- Camping books
Camping sleeping equipment for babies, toddlers, and kids
Good sleep is our necessity and so this type of camping gear for kids is worth giving a thought to. Nowadays, there are quite a few children’s camping beds on the market that will let your child sleep throughout the night and actually enjoy it. What could be better than waking up in nature breathing the fresh air?
Travel cots, bunk beds, and camp beds for kids
Our favorites are travel camping cots. They are quite reliable and stable. Another good thing about them is that some models are folding so well that you can optimize a lot of space. Plus, if you have got two children, there are portable and mobile camping bunk beds.
Baby and toddler travel beds and snuggle pods
You have got some fantastic camping gear for babies and young toddlers too. These little toddler travel beds are portable, foldable, and inflatable. We love the fact that they are very compact and are suitable for any type of travel. Another great feature of the toddler travel bed is that it has a safety bumper that doesn’t let your child roll far away from you.
Camping airbeds, inflatable sleeping pads, and air mattresses
There is one more option to make your children cozy in a tent by getting airbeds and sleeping pads. Based on our experience airbeds tend to deflate after some time, so you will need to buy another one. This is why we prefer sleeping pads or camping mats with foil. However, kids’ camping mattress is extremely comfortable and popular among little campers.
Self-inflatable mattresses for kids
To be honest, self-inflatable mattresses or so-called SIM are not only good for kids but adults as well. The pneumatic valve quickly and reliably inflates the sleeping mat saving you time and lung power. It takes around half a minute to make it ready, and the feel is no different from the bed at home. You can now sleep even on roots or rocks with comfort.
As we said, camping with toddlers is an absolute pleasure nowadays!
Sleeping bags and pads for kids
If you have to choose only one of the items above, sleeping bags are absolute family camping must-haves. And there is a huge variety of them. Different fabrics, bright colors, and glowing sleeping bags will enlighten your entire tent. There are also Duvalay luxury memory foam sleeping pads and duvets, and sleeping bags with attached sleeves both for babies and toddlers.
Kids camping blankets and pillows
Frankly speaking, it should be enough to have a tent, a bed, and a sleeping bag to sleep in. You don’t want your child to sweat at night. However, a camping blanket is a nice edition. First of all, they are soft, warm, and comfy. You can use them everywhere: in a car, outdoors, and indoors. Our favorite is travel packable down. The best is to wrap around your camping blanket to get out of the tent in the morning or enjoy late evening fire camps and marshmallows.
Note: Kids camping blanket shall be breathable, light, preferably fleece.
If your bed or air mattress does not include a built-in pillow, we have prepared a few suggestions for you.
Kids eating utensils for camping
Camping dishes and dinnerware for kids
Eating utensils are of great importance when you go camping. In fact, nowadays, there are so many incredibly unique, compact, and completely collapsible products that won’t only save you some space, but also will have a good impact on the environment. In a long run, it saves your money too.
Our personal favorite is the “Sea to Summit” brand which produces a variety of collapsible dishes. Everything starts from simple cups and bowls to kettles and food storage containers.
Kid’s water bottles
Another important thing for all-purpose uses when camping with toddlers is a water bottle. There are also some cool collapsible options or cute add-ons, such as a keychain. Stay always hydrated!
Kid’s camping chairs and portable highchairs
Have you ever seen kids’ camping chairs? They are adorable. We were hesitant to get one until we saw one in practice. The good thing about small size camping chairs is that they are a good fit for your child’s bottom. They will feel more comfortable sitting on it eating. Plus, it makes your child feel more important.
Another good item to have if you go camping with a baby is a portable highchair. They are good anywhere you go. We particularly like the booster seats with a baby tray. The fabric can be easily washed in a washing machine. Plus, there is small storage on the back.
For parents who love travel light, we recommend a portable baby safety harness chair accessory. This is a fabulous invention suitable for all kids, especially for the ones who never stay still. We used to take it everywhere including the places where kid’s highchairs are not commonly available.
Baby bottle & pacifier sterilizers and breast milk coolers bags
A bottle sterilizer is an essential baby camping gear for the ones who bottle-feed their children. The below recommendations are portable and can be used while you are traveling. Baby bottle sterilizers are a good investment as you can get good use of them on a daily basis anywhere you are.
And of course, insulated breast milk cooler bags preferably with an ice pack can’t be forgotten.
Picnic blankets for camping
Picnic blankets are a nice addition when you go camping with toddlers. Normally, you would like to sit and have fun at a campfire cooking your own meals. When you travel with kids, picnic blankets give you more space for movement and playing with children.
Other fun eating utensils for camping
There are three more fun, unique and important camping essentials with kids that we would like to introduce. If you have found a campsite where campfires are allowed, telescoping skewers or better, marshmallow roasting sticks are the best for all types of food, including fillet, steaks, sausages, and of course, marshmallows.
Besides, it is so nice to treat yourself to a cup of hot fresh and nicely made coffee or tea in the morning while kids are still asleep. The travel press will do this job nicely.
Finally, for ice cream lovers, travel and compact ice cream maker will make your day. And it is so fun rolling, shaking, and playing with the ball along the way.
Camping clothes for kids
The fact is that you don’t need a lot of clothes when you go camping with toddlers. Appropriate clothing is what you wish to have. We recommend considering the below must-have clothing pieces for camping.
Kids’ raincoats and toddlers’ coveralls
Depending on your children’s age, get a waterproof hooded raincoat or one-piece rain suit. The latter is our favorite because this is the easiest way to stay calm watching your child swimming in the puddles. Again, age is the clue. But who doesn’t want to have some fun in the dirt while still young?
Kids’ appropriate shoewear for camping
When we go camping, rain is a regular phenomenon, so a pair of good waterproof wellies is what you all need.
Another type of shoewear to consider for hiking and camping purposes is anti-collision non-slip outdoor trekking shoes.
- Avoid any sort of running-type shirts or leggings made from 100% polyester
- You should not wear anything underneath that will make you cold. Instead, wear something that will keep you warm, such as merino baselayers. They are thin, close to skin fit, and extremely comfy.
Merino wool provides a soft touch, regulates your body temperature, and naturally resists any odor. Another great fact is that it dries very quickly.
Since children are always on a move, it would be a great choice to get two pairs of base layers (top and bottom).
- Don’t forget to download our FREE travel packing list with the details on what to bring for camping.
Don’t underestimate the choice of socks. Here is how to keep your feet warm while skiing.
Pick merino wool socks!
Of course, you would like to have a few pairs of socks for your little one. We recommend considering the following two types:
- Heat holders – comfier and softer from the inside, will hold as much heat but are not resistant to sweat. These types of socks are good for low movement activities, e.g. when you have to spend lots of hours playing or walking in the forest.
- Ski mountain boot socks are good for camping too, especially if you are planning to hike or trek. The advantage of this type of socks is that they are designed for mountain skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. The difference with the heat holders is that they do not hold as much heat but they are resistant to sweat.
- Both options should have an over calf height.
Alternatively, check these options below:
Camping hats and boonies
Wearing a sun hat is an absolute must for a child. It is also a good way to let your toddler get used to wearing headwear because inevitably helmets will follow.
Our ideal pick is when toddler hats cover the neck too.
Read More: Kids’ helmets
Bandanas, neck gaiters, and camping backpacks
Here are the final ideas about what to wear when camping with toddlers. Neck gaiters are quite cool for children of all ages and do help a lot when it’s chilly outside. Backpacks are quite useful for all the exploration kits and camping toys for toddlers.
Read More: Kids’ Camping Toys & Games
Transport types to use when camping with toddlers
Hiking carriers and baby carriers
For more mature campers and hikers, a hiking carrier is an absolute must. However, if you are camping, hiking, or trekking with a younger child, such as a baby or toddler, it would be quite comfortable taking a baby carrier with you. We have prepared some beautiful articles for you to make sure you have got the right information.
- Hiking carriers
- Baby carriers
Kids’ wagons are great and must be included in a camping checklist with kids. You can put camping gear for children including all of your kids. They are suitable for any road trip and leisure types, such as beach or festival. We have seen lots of people decorating wagons by adding rain covers, color lights, books, toys, sheets, and pillows to make their kids 100% comfortable. Kids’ wagons are great for night-outs but also they can be used to carry the gear.
Read More: Choose the Best Wagon for Kids
All-terrain strollers are strollers with big wheels. Generally speaking, these are four-wheeled or three-wheeled strollers with one large wheel in front and two in the back. The wheels of the best all-terrain strollers are usually rubber and filled with air to ensure a smooth ride and avoid bumpiness. So, it can be easily called an “off-road stroller” because the best all-terrain strollers are specifically designed to be the best:
- Walking stroller
- Stroller for the beach
- Stroller for hiking
- Trail stroller
On top of that, the suspension system is essential because it helps to stroll over tough terrains.
OUR BEST PICKS:
Read more: All-terrain strollers
It seems there are no limitations anymore. If you are a bike lover and have a family, there is a huge variety of all kinds of bike carriers for kids. Depending on your child’s age, the number of children you have, and the type of adventure you go on, you are free to choose from a number of baby carriers for bikes and different bike attachments for children.
Here are just a few, but we have made a thorough and detailed overview of all kinds of bike carriers for kids here.
Read More: Bike Carriers For Kids
- Take a look at the whole category dedicated to different types of bike carriers and bike seats.
Bath and toiletries
This is one of my favorite sections because, honestly, there have been some extraordinarily beautiful, and smart things invented to make your journey unforgettably comfortable.
Portable Potty & Bentonite Clay
Portable potties can easily be one of the greatest camping necessities for toddlers. First of all, this is a great invention for the ones who potty train their children because these portable potties look like a small version of a toilet and can be used anywhere in the house. Also, it is a fantastic addition if you travel to places where toilets are hard to find, such as camping, beaches or Asia, for example.
Tip & Trick: Bentonite clay is absolutely great to remove sand or mud from your feet!
Portable head shower and bath
For additional comfort consider these portable head showers. They can be used for camping sites with no toilet or shower facilities. Another good idea is to take a tiny baby shower head, especially if you are taking a foldable portable bath with you. It can be placed in any bathtub anywhere you are and is great to use at home too. The advantage of the portable baby shower head is the gentle stream and easy maneuvering.
As for the bath when camping with toddlers, our best suggestion is to choose a completely foldable and portable bath to minimize the space needed. Please find our comprehensive article explaining different types of baths and supports for babies and toddlers.
Here are some recommendations:
Our favorite type of towel is microfibre that we take everywhere we go, including hiking, camping, and traveling abroad. Microfibre towels are super thin, light, do not take up any space, dry up fast, and no dirt, mud, or sand stick onto them.
Bagail microfibre towel is extraordinary. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes. Plus, it has a zipper pocket in one of the towel corners to keep your phone or keys safe.
Portable diaper changing pad and diaper bag refills
A portable diaper changing pad is what every parent needs when going out with their baby. It is super light, portable, and has everything you need. Plus, it protects your child from germs and bacteria.
When you go on a road trip, diaper bags are really useful helping reduce the odor. This is because they are lightly scented with lavender and infused with baking soda. It is good to use these bags at home for safe, effective, and natural odor elimination.
Other toiletries ideas
One of the most useful camping items for kids is a waterproof dry sack. It is also good for hiking or kayaking. This will keep any of your items or gear dry. We love Frelaxy because it provides five packs of different sizes starting from 3L to 20L.
Another brilliant invention is a travel laundry bag. The size is big enough to hold three to four loads of laundry, but the bag itself protects you from an unpleasant smell. And colors are pretty cool too.
Finally, the last great item to consider is a portable and waterproof toiletry bag. There is also one special for kids.
Safety and protection are number one when we are talking about toddler essentials. Here are the items that we feel are a must-to-have to protect your children.
Also, don’t forget about mosquitos! Please, consider getting a repellent bracelet for kids and mosquito spray.
There is also another kind of safety. When you are camping in the woods, it is important to stay close to each other. But things may go wrong. Make sure you and your child have survival whistles. This will help you to stay safe and confident.
Camping accessories for kids
Now the fun part begins!
But if you would like to know more about toddler camping toys, games, and activities, click on our special article below.
Kids’ head torches and lanterns
Head torches are a must for anyone who goes camping, and there are absolutely adorable options for kids too. Lanterns and glow sticks are another way of making camping fun and memmorable.
Camper explorer sets and other important tools
Every child in their lifetime should have one of the camper explorer sets. And it does not necessarily mean that you should go camping. However, if you do, it makes things more interesting. Some of the kits have a little plastic container for insects. Make sure you will have a fantastic day out with your children and learn a lot about nature.
But please note that these camper explorer kits are quite basic, so the tools are rather basic. If you are an ardent amateur who loves exploring nature, you should get professional tools to work with.
And of course, once you are out on an exploring journey, grab a field guide diary to make sure you capture every bit of our beautiful nature.
Finally, consider taking a kid’s camera on this journey. It would be so nice to print photos and paste them right next to their observation in the field guide diary. These cameras are sturdy enough and protected from falling. Personally tested.
Can you imagine how much fun it would be if you had walkie-talkies with you? I reckon never ever your kids would wish to leave the campsite.
We are avid readers. There is no night without a bedtime story or reading during the day. What can be better than introducing books about camping?
Take a look at our special article about camping books.
Read More: Camping books
Finally, hammocks are relaxing. Honestly, there is nothing better than staying in a hammock for the whole day reading camping books and using skewers to cook delicious sausages and marshmallows.
Other smart items for camping
There are some miscellaneous items that we think may be of great interest.
Solar generator lightning systems
Eco-worthy solar panels are our future and worth considering when you are traveling for a long time. Nowadays, it is quite a good solution for campervans too. But there are other interesting options, such as small portable solar chargers.
We fell in love with solar inflatable light. Simple design and very practical in use light can be inflated in seconds. The light on the back will show the battery level. The beauty of this light is that it is super compact, light like a feather, and completely waterproof. It can float too, so great for night fishing or evening kayaking.
Mini projector for outdoors and portable screen with stand
Personally, we do not support a lot of screen time, we are more book lovers. However, if you are out with families and friends, it may be nice to have a movie night with BBQ and marshmallows.
Finally, paracord, extra tent pegs, and carabiner clips never seem to be enough when camping with toddlers. There is always something to hang and tent pegs tend to break or get lost quite easily. The paracord is quite a multi-purpose use item for camping. It is used as a tent cord to set up tents, and safely secure or hang heavy items such as kayaks and ladders. You can use it as a clothesline, fish line, pet leash, for securing hammock, bundling items (firewood), boot lace replacement, safety rope in emergency situations, and more.
We hope we covered it all. Leave your comments below and have an incredibly fantastic time camping with your family!
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Also, check out:
- Kids’ Camping Toys & Games
- Beach Essentials For Kids
- What To Pack For A Ski Trip And Snow Fun
- Flying With An Infant On Lap: 15 Workable Tips For Long-Haul Flights
- Dealing With Baby Jet Lag and Adjusting Fast To A New Time Zone
- 16 Best Bathtubs for Babies, Bath Seats for 6-Month-Old & Bath Supports
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