Home Checklists and Printables Packing List for Camping with Babies, Toddlers and Young Children

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!


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Nanci August 31, 2019 - 11:38 pm

I liked the idea of Travel dining booster, my kid is only one year old and it’s taught to have dinner keeping her on my lap.

Jennifer Lantz September 25, 2014 - 8:11 am

Great ideas! We’re planning a trip with our 1 and 3 year old in a few weeks, and are a little concerned about it getting cool at night (high 40s, low 50s). Tell me more about the tent-in-a-tent concept. That sounds great for the one year old in her playard! Thanks!

Hollie M. Coleman May 26, 2014 - 3:40 am

Thnk you for this timely article.We were planning a family picnic with my 1 yr old. It’s her first outing and I am really nervous about taking her. So I was searching through the nest for all kinds of packing and travelling tips. Thank you so much for these tips. The problem is that I don’t know if we have enough storage facilies for our trip to Toronto to carry all these things. Anyways thanx for sharing…

Bronwyn Joy May 22, 2014 - 11:59 pm

Oh! Another good use for an unmatched sock!

Bronwyn Joy May 20, 2014 - 11:08 pm

Good list – duly pinned. I’d momentarily forgotten what a great tool a butterfly net or fish net can be. Will have to dig ours out and head for the creek!

Shelly Rivoli May 22, 2014 - 7:44 pm

Yes, Bronwyn, butterfly net doubles for fish net in most circumstances! But when in a pinch… I’ve seen a sock work pretty well! 😉 Have fun.

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