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Packing List for Camping with Babies, Toddlers and Young Children

by Shelly Rivoli

Are you looking forward to (or with minor trepidation toward) an upcoming camping trip with a baby, toddler, or young children?

Here is one of the Packing Lists included in  Travels with Babyto help you with extra items–on top of the most expected–to help make your trip as easy and enjoyable as possible. (This post contains affiliate links – thanks for supporting this site with your click-throughs!)

Camping with babies, toddlers, and little kids? Fun stuff--when you're prepared! Read on for extras that can make all the difference.
Camping with babies, toddlers, and little kids? Fun stuff–when you’re prepared! Read on for extras that can make all the difference. (Above: Our first time tent camping in Yosemite National Park.)

Packing List for Camping with Babies, Toddlers, and Young Children

Here are some helpful items to pack for camping with a baby or toddler, and also preschoolers.

1. Mosquito repellent, including a DEET-free variety for babies or those who prefer it.



2. Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces for a nightlight in the tent (and to attach to your free-range child in the evening)

3. Hands-free headlamp or wearable light such as the Beam N Read

4. Travel bed or bassinet to create a “tent within a tent” in colder regions (see recommended travel beds here)

5. Camp kitchen kit with bowls, spoons, and cups for your new addition(s)

6. Easy-prep meal in case rain rules out cooking in your campsite (e.g., extra sandwich fixings, bagels, cereal, pre-cooked pasta)

The roadtrip-ready Ciao! Baby portable high chair weighs in at just 8 lbs. and packs into its own travel bag.

7. Travel dining booster (preferably with tray) for baby meal times in camp or portable high chair

8. Thermos (with hot water) for keeping a “midnight feeding” or early morning bottle warm and ready in your tent

9. Water reservoir with tap with plenty of drinking water (see the one we bring here)

10. Warm hats for the whole family

11. Sun hats for the whole family (see Anatomy of a Great Travel Hat for Kids for help)

12. Two thermal suits for babies (backup in case one gets wet)

13. Swim suits for the whole family and swim diapers if needed (see ideas for infants and toddlers here)

14. Child-size swim vest or infant life jacket (where appropriate, see our favorite swim vest here)

15. Bucket and scoop for frogging or “crawdadding”

16. Butterfly net and bug house

17. Toy dump trucks, sand toys, garden tools

18. Pop-up sun tent for entertainment or shade by the lake

19. Portable training potty (if currently using at home)

20. Anti-itch cream in case of bug bites or rashes (add to Travel Kit, pg. 61)

21. Children’s antihistamine in case of bee sting or other allergic reaction (ask pediatrician for advice and current dosage for your child).

You've come a long way, baby--since that first edition!
Camping with babies, toddlers, and young children? Let’s go!

If you’d like more help planning your family camping trips, be sure to check out the section on Camping Trips in Chapter 2, which includes:

  • advice on deciding where to go camping and where to stay,
  • what to bring,
  • what to avoid, and more–
  • including tips for back-country camping with babies and toddlers!

Want more ideas and inspiration for camping in California? Check out pins to some of our family’s favorite California camping and road-tripping destinations on my Pinterest boards. And hang on there… these posts may also help!

You might also like:

Before You Go: Tips for Camping with a Baby or Toddler

Pack This! The best camping fence for toddlers

Eleven DEET-Free Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites

How to Plan Your Best Vacation with Baby

Best Baby Travel Beds, Play Yards, and Portable Bassinets

Ten Things to Do Before You Leave Home (checklist)

Don’t miss our guides to National Parks vacations at Family Travel 411!

national parks vacation guides at FamilyTravel411.com


Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks

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Curious about this content? See my editorial disclosure here.

(Excerpt from Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Travel with Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler2nd edition. An earlier version of this post was published May 19, 2014.)

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