Tips and Essential Gear for Camping With Toddlers

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Camping trips can be a lot of fun. You get to make s’mores around a campfire and reconnect with nature. 

The best part about them is you can watch the night sky in silence while the wind washes over you. Although, this is easier said than done when you’re traveling with a toddler. 

Not only will they make quite a mess, but they’re also usually loud. This makes it a bit challenging for parents to sit back and relax. 

Yet, camping can be incredibly beneficial for toddlers. It can help them learn basic survival skills and how to connect with nature. 

So, if you’re looking for tips on how to go camping with toddlers, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll walk you through what you can do to ensure you have a pleasant trip. 

We’ll also cover some activities you can try to keep your baby occupied. 

Planning for a Camping Trip With Toddlers

While camping trips can be incredibly exciting, they’re also a lot of work. You need to pack specific gear and carry it around until you find your campsite.

Adding a toddler to this mix only makes the trip more complicated. Because of that, you need to plan sufficiently. 

This will ensure you have everything you need to keep you and your baby safe. 

There are a few factors you should keep in mind when planning a camping trip. First off, you must take the location into account.

You have to ensure that the area is safe for a child. Even though you’ll be there to protect your kid, toddlers tend to wander around. 

So, stay away from campsites with cliffs or large bodies of water. 

Other than that, you should consider the weather at the campsite. This will help you decide what to pack for your trip. 

If the area is going to be windy, then you’ll need extra jackets and blankets to ensure you stay warm. 

Finally, there are a few safety concerns that you have to think about. These include:

  • Keep the toddler far away from the fire
  • Stay hydrated
  • Be aware that there may be wildlife walking around
  • Dress your toddler in bright clothing to help you find them
  • Give your toddler a whistle to use if they get lost
  • Set boundaries around your campsite to keep your toddler in a safe area

Lastly, it’s important that you sit down with your toddler and have a serious conversation. Talk to them about the dangers of camping and how crucial it is that they stay close to you. 

Just remember, use small words and you may have to repeat yourself a few times before the child gets the message. 

Choosing a Suitable Campsite for Toddlers

 

When picking out a location for your camping trip with a toddler, there are a few aspects to keep in mind. 

Right off the bat, it’s a good idea to check the amenities at the campsite. Some locations offer electricity, hot water, and even Wi-Fi. 

Typically, with camping trips, the more rustic the better. However, when traveling with a child, it’s best to have some emergency services around you. 

Besides that, think about the distance you have to travel. Chances are, as soon as you start hiking, your toddler will ask you to carry them. 

So, you have to pick a location that you can walk to and from in a flash. 

Finally, the weather will play a major role in your choice of location. Most parents prefer to stay away from areas that get too cold at night. 

Packing for a Camping Trip With Toddlers

Now that you have a plan for your camping trip, it’s time to pack. In this section, we’ll go over the essentials you’ll need on your trip. 

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is an essential part of any camping trip. This is especially true if you’re traveling with a toddler. 

Babies have a tendency to fall and scrape their knees. So, you’ll need to ensure you can treat any minor bruises or cuts.

Plus, it’s a good idea to have some antibiotic ointment on hand. 

If you’re not sure what to pack in your first aid kit, check the American Red Cross recommendations

Food

Eating is a major part of any camping trip. That’s because all the exploring will help you work up an appetite. In addition, we all know that toddlers are like bottomless pits when it comes to food. 

For this reason, it’s crucial that you pack enough snacks. Ideally, you want to bring plenty of nutritious food. That includes:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts
  • Crackers

Aside from that, pack a few sandwiches that are easy to eat on the go. A good example of that is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

This will help your baby stay full until you’re ready for dinner. 

Finally, no camping trip is complete without a few sweet treats. Don’t forget to bring chocolate and marshmallows so that you can make s’mores. 

Clothes

After reading the weather forecast, you should have some idea of what clothes to bring. For instance, if you’re traveling in the winter, you’ll need gloves and heavy jackets. 

As a general rule, layers are your friends. That’s because you’ll be able to adjust your outfit based on the weather. 

Other than that, you should take the duration of your trip into account. Toddlers go through clothes pretty quickly. 

That’s especially true when they’re allowed to run into puddles and mud. So, you’ll need to pack quite a few changes of clothes. 

If you’re staying for three days, it’s best to have about 10 or 11 outfit options for your baby. 

Toddler Gear

When traveling with a toddler, there are a few supplies you’ll need to pack. For starters, you’ll need a carrying device. 

A harness or baby backpack should do the trick. You may not need to use it, but it’s better safe than sorry. 

Plus, it may be a good idea to pack a child seat.

Besides that, diapers are incredibly crucial. How much you’ll need to pack will depend on the age of your toddler and their digestion. 

Yet, it’s good practice to bring more diapers than you think you’ll need. 

Lastly, don’t forget to pack a few toys for your child. These will help you keep your baby distracted while you set up camp. 

Skin Protection

Anytime you plan on leaving the house for a long while, you need to protect your skin. First off, sunscreen is your best friend. 

It’ll ensure that you and your toddler are safe from any harmful UV rays

Aside from that, you’ll need bug spray. You never know what kind of critters you’ll run into while camping. 

Since you’re traveling with a toddler, make sure that all the products you use are child-friendly. 

Tips on How to Pack Efficiently and Effectively

Packing for a camping trip can be overwhelming. It feels like you need to bring hundreds of items with you. 

So, to make your life easier, try breaking up your gear into categories. For instance, one bag will hold food while another will carry your toddler gear. 

This will make finding items while you’re on the road a piece of cake. 

Setting up Camp With Toddlers

Setting up Camp With Toddlers

Once you arrive at the location, you’ll need to set up camp. The first thing you should do is grab the child seat and place it firmly on the ground. 

Then, secure your toddler in position using the straps on the seat. This will ensure that your baby can’t run around while you’re busy with other tasks. 

Next, give your toddler a few toys to keep them distracted. Now, you’re ready to set up the camping tent and gear. 

After that, focus on creating a safe sleeping area for your baby. To start off, you’ll need to provide a firm and warm surface for them to sleep on. 

An excellent option for that is a closed-cell sleeping pad

This will ensure that your toddler stays dry and comfortable throughout the night. Plus, the pad can double as a play area during the day.

As you set up the sleeping area, it’s crucial that you keep it away from any dangerous objects. That includes utensils like knives and forks. 

In addition, the sleeping pad should be far away from your campfire. 

Lastly, set up a play area for your toddler. All you’ll need for that is the sleeping mat and a couple of toys. 

Activities for Toddlers While Camping

There are many sources of entertainment you can enjoy when you’re camping with your toddler. In this section, we’ll cover the activities and how you can make them fun for babies. 

Hiking 

Most campers will go on a hike to explore the area around them. They get to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful sights. 

Sadly, toddlers can’t walk for that long. After about half a mile, they’ll start whining about how their feet hurt. 

So, to ensure everyone has fun, be sure to bring a baby carrier. You may also want to pack plenty of snacks.

Fishing 

Fishing can be a relaxing experience, but there’s a lot of waiting involved. Unfortunately, toddlers aren’t exactly known for their patience. 

Because of that, you’ll need to plan a couple of activities to keep your baby entertained. For example, it’s a good idea to bring a coloring book along. 

Other than that, you may bring a book about all the different fish you can catch.

Playing Games

After eating dinner, you’ll be too tired for overly active games. That’s when you can bring out the kid’s toys you brought with you. 

Lay them all out and allow your child to choose what they’d like to do. 

You can also play games using your environment. For instance, “I Spy” is an excellent pastime that doesn’t require much movement. 

Besides that, cloud gazing is an amazing option.

Dealing With Challenges While Camping With Toddlers

There are a few common issues you may face when camping with a toddler. 

For starters, small children have a tendency to throw temper tantrums. Any minor inconvenience can set them off for hours. 

Typically, when this happens at home, ignoring your toddler is an option. However, when you’re camping, that may be dangerous.

So, find out why your child is uncomfortable, and then figure out a way to distract them. While you do that, it’s important that you stay calm and refrain from yelling. 

Other than that, sleep disturbances are quite common in toddlers when they’re out camping. There’s no easy fix for this issue, but you can try a few things. 

These include co-sleeping and setting up a travel crib in your tent. 

Conclusion

If you want to go camping with toddlers, there are a few factors you should consider. For starters, you need a solid plan before you go on the trip. 

Next, it’s crucial that you pack sufficiently for your journey. Other than that, spend a little time figuring out where to set up your camp. 

Lastly, there are many activities you can enjoy with your toddler. These help them connect with nature and can teach them basic survival skills. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start packing for your camping trip with a toddler today!

Claire S. Allen
Claire S. Allen
Hi there! I'm Claire S. Allen, a vibrant Gemini who's as bold as my favorite color, red. I'm a fan of two cool things: strolling the streets in a red jacket and crafting articles that connect with readers. With my warm and friendly personality, Claire is sure to brighten up your day!
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