Besides the tent, a good toddler camping bed is the most important thing to buy when going on a family camping trip. There are a ton of portable bed options, so which one is right for you?
What to Look for in Camping Beds for Toddlers
Getting a good night’s sleep can make or break your camping trip, that makes packing the right toddler camping bed very important.
All kids have unique sleep preferences and needs. The perfect camping bed for your kid depends on the dimensions of the tent, the kid’s weight and age.
Also, take into account what sort of surface your tent will be pitched on. If you’re camping on hard terrain, then a thick foam pad would be best. If you’re sleeping on softer surfaces like grass, then an inflatable mattress will work just fine. Cots work best on firm flat surfaces and may not stay stable on uneven ground.
Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping for the best toddler camping beds.
Before shopping for portable camping beds, consider your budget. Little kids outgrow camping gear quickly, so if you’re getting a small bed or cot, it’s best to buy a cheaper one or get it on sale.
If you’re going to buy something that your child can grow into, then it’s easier to spend a little more money on something they may use for 10+ years.
Portability is an important features of a kid’s camping bed. An inflatable camping mattress will fold down smaller than even the best camping cot.
If you’re doing a lot of set up and take down, like portaging or camping during a long road trip, then portability is going to be essential. If you have a long-term or seasonal site, then portability may not be as big of a deal.
The best camping bed will have it’s own carry bag to make it a breeze to pack up and take with.
Most camping beds for toddlers and up are a similar size, so when looking at sizes, it’s often thickness that matters. While kids are often able to sleep in strange positions and situations, it’s important to give them insulation from the cold ground.
As kids get older, they’ll likely need a thicker camping pad to keep them comfortable.
We started Tiny Critter out with the Pack n play and he slept in that until he was 3. Then when he was 4 he used Momma Critterz ExPed SynMat for good insulation from the ground or a standard Intex inflatable toddler bed, depending on the weather.
So you don’t really have to look for toddler specific beds, just make sure your child’s weight doesn’t surpass the weight range for their camping bed.
There are many different styles of toddler camping beds.
Inflatable mattresses work in a wide variety of situations. Pods or portable cribs keep your toddler more contained and a cot will keep your kids cooler in hot weather. A foam pad is probably the warmest option if you’re camping in cold weather.
Inflatable mattresses are a popular and practical way of sleeping in a tent, but a big issue with them is air leakage and popping. Toddlers love to explore and jump, so make sure that you get a durable mattress that will withstand a little bouncing.
Even when you buy a durable air mattress, it’s best to know how to fix a small leak. Find out how to patch punctures and ensure that patch kits come with the bed or buy them separately.
Also, consider how you need to inflate the air mattress. Check out whether it comes with a built-in pump, or if you need to bring your own hand or electric pump.
Be aware that in colder weather, the air inside an inflatable bed is the same as the ambient air temperature. You can easily help this by placing a mattress topper or a blanket on the bed’s surface AND a blanket or foam pads underneath. This is in addition to a sleeping bag.
You might also consider a pod or portable cribs. The advantage is your child is more contained and easier to keep in arm’s reach for middle of the night feedings or diaper changes.
Camping pods usually have an additional mesh cover to prevent bug bites while keeping your child contained. They’re lightweight and a bit like an immediate pop-up tent for your kid. In addition, these sleeping pods for kids usually have a thin padded mattress that protects from the cold ground.
A portable crib is what Tiny Critter slept in for a long time. He was contained and when he was old enough we wrapped a fleece blanket over the thin floor of the pack n play for extra warmth.
There are many benefits to using a camping cot. It’s like a portable bed so hopefully your child will sleep through the night better.
A cot is a popular choice for kids because there’s no risk of deflation. Cots are also faster to set up than air mattresses and are often more lightweight than bulky air mattresses.
In hot weather cots can help you sleep cooler because of potential airflow underneath them. Be aware of the air flow issue in the winter and add a sleeping mat to the top of the cot for added warmth.
A foam mattress is considered one of the easiest options because it needs no setting up. They don’t need inflating or assembling and you don’t have to worry about not having batteries for your pump.
You can also choose from different levels of thickness depending on the weather and type of ground you’ll be sleeping on. A closed cell foam mattress is going to be the warmest option, and you can even combine it with an inflatable bed or cot for extra comfort and warmth.
Best Toddler Camping Beds
Getting good sleep while camping often sets up how well the next day goes, so getting enough sleep is important for a good camping trip. In an unfamiliar and strange place, a comfortable sleeping area can be just what your child needs to rest and relax.
Check out our favorite portable toddler beds.
- Versatile-use as a bunk, a sitting bench or two single cots. Assembled dimensions: 36 inches (H) x 39.5 inches (W) x 34 inches (D)
- Modular, portable, compact, ultra-strong for indoor and outdoor use
- High Grade polyester sleeping deck provides a true contoured comfort with no middle brace-no mattress required
- Frame is manufactured from anti-rust, powder coated steel and each cot has a weight tolerance of up to 200 LBS
- No tool assembly, all parts are packed and stored in 2 convenient, zippered, polyester bags for easy storage and transportation-2 bags included
We see this toddler bed suggested all the time by other campers with kids. Seasoned campers say this is the best toddler travel bed.
It’s the most versatile toddler travel bed because it can transform from two single cots into a couch or bunkbed.
Each travel cot can hold 200 pounds and the legs are designed to not dig into your tent floor. Each cot comes with it’s own travel bag so if you just need one cot, you can only bring one cot.
The Disc o Bed has a full canvas sleeping area for easy cleaning and comes in 7 awesome colors!
Each cot has it’s own side pocket for storage that easily holds a book, headlamp, water bottle and more! Your kids will love this camping bed!
Dimensions for sleeping: Single: 62″ (L) x 28″ (W) x 9.5″ (H)
Bunkbed: 62″ (L) x 28″ (W) x 32″ (H)
Dimensions for storing: 32.5″ x 15″ x 3.5″
Weight of bed: 36 pounds
Weight limit: 200 pounds
Pros: No middle bar to dig into your back, easy clean materials. Several color choices!
Cons: Heavy and has no side bed rails to prevent young toddlers from sliding off.
- CONVENIENT: No set up required. This cot’s simple fold and go system is quick and easy to use.
- DURABLE: Made with an all steel frame that is light-weight and will hold up to 75 pounds.Cleans up quickly with a damp cloth and soap
- COMFORT: This cot has a large 48”L x 24”W x 9”H sleep surface with full canvas sleeping area and includes a fitted sheet for added comfort.
- TRAVEL: Light weight for travel. This cot folds down to 9”L x 8”W x 24”H.
- FOR USE: Great for naptime, sleep-overs, vacations, pre-school, playtime etc.
This portable toddler bed is a great option for helping your toddler sleep great. The cot has a canvas sleep area and comes with its own fitted sheet.
The Regalo My Cot sets up quickly and is light weight making it perfect for your next camping adventure. You can add your own sleeping mat on top for added comfort.
This is a standard portable cot and will work well for both camping adventures and sleep overs.
Dimensions for sleeping: 48” (L) x 24” (W) x 9” (H)
Dimensions for storing: 9” (L) x 8” (W) x 24” (H).
Weight of bed: 6.25 pounds
Weight limit: 75 pounds
Pros: Folds down small, lightweight.
Cons: No carry bag. Included sheet is a bit rough. Middle support bar that may dig in.
- HOME, GRANDMA'S, CAMPING OR VACATION - hiccapop's anytime-anywhere travel toddler bed is for modern families on the go. The Original hiccapop inflatable toddler bed is lightweight, portable and offers...
- ONLY 4-BUMPER KIDS TRAVEL BED - UNMATCHED QUALITY & DURABILITY - 4-bumper protection for maximum safety. hiccapop’s inlay-enforced vinyl is 40% thicker than its nearest competitor, making it...
- TRANSITIONAL BED - Kids cannot sleep in adult beds before they are 24 months old, yet most outgrow a crib at 18 months. So what do you do during those awkward 6 months? The hiccapop kids air mattress...
- INFLATES IN UNDER 30 SECONDS - Fits all standard crib sheets and blankets. When it’s time to stow, simply fold, roll and go.
- EXTRA TALL - EXTRA LONG BED RAIL BUMPERS FOR ADDED SAFETY - Our toddler blow up mattress has sides that are 25% taller & 25% longer than nearest competitor. BPA, phthalate and lead free. EXCEEDS ALL...
This is another highly recommended bed by our camping friends.
The Hiccapop Toddler Travel Bed is made to withstand even the most restless sleeper. The vinyl is 30 percent thicker than its competitors, so it easily prevents punctures.
Inflatable bed rails on all 4 sides help keep your child and their slippery sleeping bag on the air mattress.
The bed features strengthened air valve that prevents air leakage and it fits standard crib sheets, which is amazing. Sleeping on their own regular crib sheet that smells like home will for sure help your toddler get good sleep.
If you don’t use a sheet, the mattress has soft flocking to help prevent squeaky noises and sliding around on the mat.
Hiccapop has an XL travel bag and an included electric air pump. In addition, the bed comes with a lifetime guarantee and reviewers say they’ve received replacements even years later if something wears out.
Dimensions for sleeping: 49″ (L) x 26″ (W)
With bumpers: 62″ (L) x 39″ (W) x 12″ (H)
Dimensions for storing: 15″ (L) x 14″ (W) x 4″ (H)
Weight of bed: 8 pounds
Weight limit: 310 pounds
Pros: Bumpers on all 4 sides, crib sheets fit well. Flocked sleep surface, comes with a storage bag and electric pump. BPA, phthalate free vinyl.
Cons: Not for use under 18 months
- The perfect airbed for kids with soft, plush sleeping surface in two fun and exciting colors it will come in handy for sleepovers, nap time and travel, without sacrificing comfort and convenience
- Ages 3 to 10 years
- For indoor use only
- Includes carry bag & repair patch
- Dimensions 34.5" x 62" x 7".Material:PVC 98%, Rayon 2%
Whether camping or having nap time away from home, the cozy air mattress will ensure your toddler gets their much-needed rest. Intex is the brand of air mattress that we’ve used and trusted for over 20 years of camping.
This is our go-to travel bed. Tiny critter sleeps on this air mattress when we go camping in warm weather and don’t have to worry about insulating him from the ground.
It comes with a carry bag and a repair kit, but this is the cheapest toddler air mattress on our list and when we get holes in ours (usually after several years) we retire it and get a new one.
There are no bumpers on this bed, so if your child rolls a lot while sleeping this may not be the best choice.
Dimensions for sleeping: 62″ (L) x 34.5″ (W) x 7″ (H)
Dimensions for storing: 10″ (L) x 9″ (W) x 3.5″ (H)
Weight of bed: 4 lbs
Weight limit: 100 lbs
Pros: Inexpensive, comes with carry bag.
Cons: Suggested for 3+ years old, does NOT come with a pump.
- Folds for Travel – This portable travel toddler bumper mat folds simply for easy traveling, plus you can conveniently store some items inside. Perfect for use at daycare, Grandma's house, hotels,...
- Local and Safe – We are an American company and have been trusted by parents for over a decade. Our portable toddler mat is patented and has been safety tested and meets all US industry standards.
- Cozy and Convenient – The mat features a durable outer material plus a soft cozy velour inside to create an attractive sleep environment for your little one. The mat cover is machine washable, and...
- Size – The mat with bumpers measures 25"x14.5"x27" when folded, and 54"x25"x7" when open. The bumpers are 7" high on the outside, and 4.5" high on the inside. The mat is 49"x20".
- Trust – We back every purchase and stand behind every Milliard order.
This camping toddler bed unfolds easily in a few seconds. You and your toddler can also sleep calmer thanks to the included bumpers that are made of soft material and help to protect your baby from falling from the bed.
It doesn’t fold down very far, but all of your kid’s sleeping accessories can be stored inside like stuffed animals, pillow, sleeping bag, books, lantern, baby monitor etc.
This Toddler Travel Nap Mat is a soft safe spot for young kids to relax. The bed comes with a machine washable cover and an extra washable fitted sheet to save you time.
Dimensions for sleeping: 49″ (L) x 20″ (W) x 3″(H)
With Bumpers: 55″ (L) x 26″ (W) x 7″ (H)
Dimensions for storing: 25″ (L) x 14.5″ (W) x 7″ (H)
Weight of bed: 10 pounds
Weight limit: No weight limit
Pros: Can be used by children 18 months and up, washable sheet and cover included.
Cons: Doesn’t pack too small.
- Portable travel lets your child sleep soundly just about anywhere adventure has taken you
- Designed with lightweight mesh, which allows for air flow and acts as an insect screen during outdoor use
- UV protected, adjustable sun screens; Anchor straps provide security while in use; Ideal for children between the ages of 6 motnhs to 3 years old
- Micro-lite sleeping pad removes for easy cleaning; Includes carry bag for compact storage and portability
- Extra-large zipper panel allows for easy access; Dimensions, open (L x W x H): 46 x 28 x 18 inches; Dimensions, bag (L x W x H): 16.5 x 3 x 16.5 inches
This KidCo Pea Pod is like getting your toddler their own little tent! It keeps them secure and has mesh sides for to keep bugs out while allowing for good air flow.
You can either leave it zipped up or open the flap for easy access during middle of the night diaper changes or feedings.
The Pea Pod has a small inner mattress, but you may want to insulate underneath with a sleeping pad if you’re going to be camping in colder weather.
This cute little pod folds down very compact and has it’s own travel bag for superior portability.
The top is tent material making this a nice shady spot for outdoor play or naps for young toddlers.
Dimensions for sleeping: 46″ (L) x 28″ (W) x 18″ (H)
Dimensions for storing: 16.5 ” Circular, 3″ (W)
Weight of bed: 3 lbs
Weight limit: No weight limit
Pros: Suggested for 12 months to 3 years, lifetime warranty. Carry bag.
Cons: If your child won’t like being contained, they may flip the pod over.
- Folding feet and wheels allow for a 20% more compact fold than the average playard, making it easy to store and carry
- Mesh storage pouch for keeping baby's essentials, including wipes and toys, right on playard
- Convenient carrying bag for no-fuss travel and storage
- Signature Graco push-button fold makes folding your playard quick and hassle-free
- Handy wheels add convenience as the playard can be easily positioned anywhere
Tiny Critter slept in his Pack n Play from his first camping trip at 8 months old all the way to him being a rambunctious toddler at 3.5. He loved sleeping in it anywhere, Grandparent’s house, Aunt’s house, at the cabin, in the tent, he loved it.
He got the best sleep while camping in this bed. When he was older we padded the floor of it with a fleece blanket and put foam puzzle pieces under it for extra warmth.
The Pack n Play kept him, his bedding and all his stuffed animals well contained all night.
In our opinion this is one of the best camping beds as it can go anywhere and be used for sleeping, napping or playing. Some campers put a fitted sheet on the top fro shade while their little one is playing outside.
Dimensions for sleeping: 39.5″ (L) x 28.25″ (W) x 29″ (H)
Dimensions for storing: 29″ (L) x 11″ (W) x 11″ (H)
Weight of bed: 19 lbs
Weight limit: 30 lbs
Pros: Perfect for younger children, water resistant sleeping pad.
Cons: Low weight limit, large size when folded up
Why Do You Need A Toddler Camping Bed?
Just because toddlers can fall asleep on a pile of books or a mountain of stuffed animals doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep their comfort in mind when taking kids camping.
The first time Momma Critter’s family went camping, she and her sister slept on inflatable pool floats, and their sleeping bags slid right off of them all night. They also had an inflated pillow area that made sleeping on our actual pillows very tricky.
So it’s best to actually buy air mattresses or portable camping beds that are made for tent camping. Your toddler will sleep better and we all know that when the kids sleep better, everyone sleeps better.
Parents who are interested in camping beds for kids should consider size, weight, cost and portability.
Kids grow fast, and replacing beds at each age might be expensive for many parents. So, choose a portable camping bed that will grow with your baby.
We hope this helped you find the best toddler travel beds for camping, get one that works for you and go scurry around!
I’m Molly Foss, aka Momma Critter. I’ve been camping since I was 9 years old and I always wanted to be Robin Hood and live in the forest when I grew up. I’m excited to share my love of camping with my son as he grows up. My favorite thing to do while camping is roast marshmallows over the fire.