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The Best Packing List For Car Camping With A Baby

The Complete Infant Tent Camping Packing List

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Our infant tent camping packing list is everything you need to successfully camp with your baby! Here is the Infant Car Camping List for downloading and printing. It’s a free, printable PDF!

The infant car camping packing list should be used in addition to the Car Camping Packing List.


Nervous to go camping with your baby? Don’t be! Other than feeling like you have to pack the entire house, it’s not really that different from being at home with your baby. Babies need a lot of stuff for camping, but you can do this! Camping with a baby is an awesome experience for the whole family.

So many people have asked us how we went camping with an infant. The simple answer is we packed the car and left. When you have a baby, you know that they don’t always sleep well and doing anything is a gamble. Camping with a baby is not that much more difficult than being at home once you have all of the right gear packed.

Here is our complete tent camping infant checklist for taking your baby camping:


Infant Sleeping Gear:

Let’s start with the part that will be the most different from home, getting your infant to sleep in the tent. Our little guy was normally a good sleeper as a baby, but the first night we took him camping he popped his first tooth. We had a great time anyway, but that first night was a struggle. You should attempt to keep your infant’s sleep routine as similar to home as possible, while being flexible. Pack the same books you usually read, use the same night light you do at home and try to have their camp sleeping routine set up as close as possible to their home routine. Introducing too many different variables will make it more difficult on everyone.

Infant sleeping on pillow in tent
Just before he went into the Pack n Play
  • Pack n Play

We loved using the Pack n Play when our guy was little. It kept him contained and he was used to sleeping in it so it really helped with a sense of familiarity. If you’re going to bring a pack n play or other infant sleep cot, be sure to get a tent that is rated for 2 more people than you have. We bring a 6 person tent for the 3 of us and it’s amazing.

  • Blanket

We always lined the pack n play mattress with a fleece blanket that we tucked the edges under. Please follow your pediatrician’s advice for the best bedding for your infant. You also can use a blanket for just about anything. Fold it up to use as a pillow during feeding times, spread it out for a diaper change area, or put it down on the ground for a cleaner crawling area. We barely took the baby anywhere without packing a blanket.

  • Wearable Blanket
wearable blanket for infants

Infants are too small for normal sleeping bags, so we used sleep sacks. Our little guy loved his wearable blanket and it kept him so comfy cozy all night. These sleep sacks are amazing for preventing your baby from scooting out from under a blanket and getting cold while camping.

  • Wearable Sleeping Bag
Little Mo Baby Sleeping Bag

Since they don’t make baby sleeping bags, the other option is a wearable sleeping bag for infants at least 6 months of age. Little Mo sleeping bags are highly rated in the camping community. If you’re worried that it’s going to get cold at night, you’ll want to have the Little Mo packed.

  • Sleeping Mat

If you’re camping in cooler weather, we’d recommend putting a sleeping mat under the baby. Again, please check all current safety guides for infant sleeping. You can get a foldable mat , or you can get a roll up mat and fold them in half to fit in the Pack n Play. Either way make sure you don’t get an inflatable mat, as it’s not safe for infants to sleep on inflated surfaces, and they won’t stay folded nicely anyway.

  • Pillow

If your baby is old enough to sleep on a pillow, bring that. Our son had a thin stuffed kitty that he used as a pillow and it helped keep his head insulated from the ground and warm. This kitty pillow still gets packed for camping trips now that he’s a preschooler. Stay within current safety guidelines for infant sleep.

  • White Noise/Music

When our little guy was a baby, he was used to falling asleep with the white noise machine that came with the Pack n Play, so we made sure to bring that along. I did laugh when I turned on the nature sounds while he was literally sleeping in a tent in the woods, but you want to do whatever you can to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep, right?

  • Night Light

Wireless night light for camping

We used these night lights from the day our son was born, so we made sure to bring them with on camping trips. They’re an awesome light for the baby’s room already and they work perfectly in a tent when you don’t want to wake everyone up with a super bright lantern or headlamp. These also change colors, so you can set it to something easy on the eyes like red for night time feedings or diaper changes. They’re so awesome and versatile they were on the packing list for the hospital when he was born!

  • Baby Monitor

I bought a battery powered baby monitor but honestly didn’t end up using it. We were never more than 20 feet from the tent, so any noise the kiddo was making we could hear. If you do want to bring a battery operated baby monitor with you camping, make sure that it’s fully battery powered, and this is the only fully battery operated baby monitor I could find. Most baby monitors require the base in the infant’s room be plugged in, but advertise as “battery operated” because the parent unit can be unplugged for a while.

If you want to use your standard baby monitor while camping, you can try a USB battery and a converter cable. You should try this out in your house to see if it works before trying it out in the wild. The good news is that you won’t have to run the monitor all night, just a few hours after the baby goes to sleep and you’re sitting by the fire. After that you’ll all be in the same tent.

  • Pacifier

Our guy wasn’t a big fan of a pacifier, but if your kiddo is, have several handy. It’s bad enough searching for a dropped pacifier in the baby’s room, it’s even worse when you’re trying to not wake up the entire tent. Have a few spares packed.

  • Stuffed Animals

If your tiny critter snuggles a stuffed animal, be sure to bring it along! The smell and comfort of home will go a long way to soothe your little one.


Baby Camping Clothes:

We usually over pack clothes, but we bring along outfits for each day, and then 2 more, especially with infants. I bring 2 sets of lighter pajamas and 2 sets of warmer pajamas. After that I’d practically fill the rest of the bag with socks. You cannot have too many socks. Layer them up to avoid cold feet, we even put them on our little guy’s hands as mittens one chilly night. He slept so toasty.

  • T-shirts/Onsies
  • Pants & shorts
  • Sweatshirt
  • Pajamas

If we’re going to be gone 2 nights I pack at least 3 pair of pajamas. 2 light weight and 1 heavier pair. You can always layer the light weight ones.

When Tiny Critter was little, I didn’t pack any camping specific baby clothes. That kind of thing is VERY expensive and we all know babies grow like weeds and those special baby camping clothes will be too small in 3 months. Just bring some durable and comfortable clothes and your kiddo will be a happy camper.

  • Socks
Baby in tent, wearing sleep sack and socks as mittens
Socks as mittens!

Socks take up hardly any space and are so important to keeping your little one warm. They easily become mittens.

  • Jacket
  • Mittens

Socks can be used in place of mittens, and I can’t imagine many people are camping in really, really cold weather with little ones.

  • Rain gear

If you have a newborn, then you don’t need this. But if you have a little one who is trying to walk, then splashing in puddles at the campsite is great fun and a rainsuit is the perfect thing to keep them mostly dry.

  • Shoes

If your little one is trying out walking, shoes are really important. Slippers and crib shoes are really cute at home, but protect those little baby feet from sharp rocks and sticks.

  • Sun Hat

I love a good sun hat so I don’t always have to coat the little guy in sun screen. (Or Scun Screen as he used to call it)

  • Warm Hat

There is always a use for a warm hat. I hardly ever leave home without one.

  • Swimsuits
  • Drool Bibs

Out little guy was a drool machine for about 6 months. Drool bibs were a real outfit saver.

  • Sunglasses

 Feeding Your Baby While Camping:

  • Bottles

I’ve heard people suggest to bring a whole day’s worth of bottles when camping with a baby so you always have a clean one, and I think that’s a bit much. I’ve already admitted I over pack socks, so I’m not going to fill the rest of the car up with bottles. We would bring 3 bottles when camping with our baby. When we camp we wash dishes after every meal anyway, so washing a bottle quick isn’t a big deal.

  • Milk

If you’re pumping and bottle feeding, bring extra pumped milk if you have some. Camping with a baby can disrupt your pumping schedule and output, so bring a little extra so you’re not attached to your breast pump all weekend trying to obtain every last drop.

  • Formula

If your little one is formula fed, be sure to bring enough to last the trip plus some. Things get spilled and kiddos suddenly eat more when they’ve been out in fresh air for a few days.

  • Water from Home
Slightly yellow campground water
Typical Campground Water

If your little one is drinking water or if you’re formula feeding, packing some water from home is a good idea. Occasionally campground water has a strong taste and that might not sit well with your tiny critter. I would usually bring a gallon of water from our house.

  • Boppy Pillow

If you use one at home, bring it with. It’s a backsaver for middle of the night feeding sessions in the tent. Our first trip I didn’t bring it because I figured I’d use both of our pillows at feeding time. That worked well until night time, when Daddy Critter was already using his pillow. It’s also nice for helping your little one sit up outside or do tummy time.

  • Burp Cloths

Our first tent camping trip with Tiny Critter we went through so many burp cloths. He was just at an age where he was spitting up constantly. Eventually he grew out of it, but we went through so many for a few months. Be prepared.

  • Highchair
Child in portable camping highchair near picnic table

If your baby is big enough to sit up, this camping highchair is amazing. Our little guy loved it, he was at a perfect height for sitting near us at the picnic table and you can hose the whole thing off when you get home! You’ll love having one. Check out our top picks for other camping chair options.

  • Bumbo

An alternative to the camping high chair. We used the bumbo when our guy was really little and fed him while he was (highly supervised) on top of the campsite table. Once he got bigger, we upgraded to the camping highchair.

  • Wipes

This is on the checklist several times. I used baby wipes for everything, and pretty much still do. Spilled formula on your phone? Dirty hands from pounding tent stakes? Feeling a little stinky but don’t want to take a full shower? Baby wipes to the rescue! Our child has been out of diapers for a few years and we still have a pack of wipes in each car.

  • Pump and Supplies
Manual Breast Pump

If you’re pumping, bring your breast pump, all your supplies, including extra bags, valves and filters, because you just know one of those parts is going to clog or get dropped in the dirt if you don’t have a back up. I’ve also heard good things about a manual pump for trips like this, but I never used one myself. Make sure you have a battery source or a charging cord that can run off of the car. You don’t want to be suck pumping in the public bathroom building because that’s the only outlet available.

  • Pouches

If your little one is old enough to be eating actual food, baby food in pouches should be your go-to camping meal. They’re super portable and come in all kinds of flavors. Momma Critter was even known to have one now and then as a snack during a night time feeding.

  • Teething Crackers

These are fun for little ones just learning to chew, and since babies usually make a giant mess with them, where better to eat them than the great outdoors? Our little guy loved the broccoli puffs and these teething crackers.

  • Spoon & Fork
  • Plate & Bowl
  • Sippy Cup

As with the teething crackers above, why not let your little one practice with silverware outside? A little spilled applesauce is no big deal at a campsite.

  • Water Bottle
Kid's purple, pink, green and blue water bottles

When you’re outside you need to make sure everyone is well hydrated. You’ll love these water bottles for the kiddos. Our Tiny Critter used them pretty early on, and we still have most of the same ones, even 3+ years later. They’re really durable and have a nice looped handle so you can hook them on a stroller or baby carrier.


Camping Play Time:

  • Big blanket/rug

You’ll want a place for your little one to be able to move and explore without getting a face full of dirt. Our first tent camping trip we brought an old comforter, the second trip an awesome Auntie brought a large ourdoor rug for our little guy. It’s the perfect place to have some tummy time, play with a few toys or sticks without having to crawl over rocks.

  • Books

Camping doesn’t have to be high adventure all the time. Down time is good too. Bring a few of your little one’s favorite books and have a nice story time in the shade. Bringing books about camping is fun too!

  • Teething Toys

We arrived at the campsite with an 8 month old who had no teeth and left 2 days later with a drooly creature who had the nubs of 2 teeth coming through. You never know when those next teeth are going to come through, so have something for your baby to chew on that’s not a stick.

  • Cars/Rolling Toys

Cars and other rolling toys are just made to be pushed through the grass and dirt at a campsite. It’s super awesome fun and a great way for your little one to explore their surroundings.

  • Shovel & Pail

Babies aren’t great diggers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to try. Having a little bucket can be handy for many other reasons and it’s an easy to pack toy.

  • Wipes

Again with the wipes, yes. Wipe down toys once they’ve been drug through the dirt to save your little one a mouth full of sand.

If there is a lake or a pool at your campsite, bring some stuff to play with!


Toiletries:

  • Hand Sanitizer

For your hands, not your baby’s. This is essential for before feedings, after diaper changes and in a pinch it can be used as a fire starter.

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Babywash
  • Comb & Brush
  • Lotion

This stuff all has self evident uses, you don’t need me to list why you’d need these things, right?

  • Nail Clipper/File

We once forgot to bring the baby nail clippers and had to trim a tiny toe nail with someone’s giant, adult sized toe-nail clipper. We all survived, but it was a little nerve wracking. Better to just bring the smaller ones. Those baby nails grow like weeds and are crazy sharp.

  • Aquaphor/Vaseline

Aquaphor has many, many uses. Chapped lips, chafing, soothing minor scrapes and burns, fixing the start of diaper rash, I’ve even used it as an adult on the start of a blister. We no longer leave home without it, especially not camping.

  • Booger Wipes

Somehow babies always seem to have a snotty nose at the worst times. Our guy has sensitive skin and even gentle baby wipes were too much for his tiny nose. Booger wipes are just cloths and saline, so they’re perfect for tiny noses and eyes without the sting.

  • Towels

If you go swimming or choose to give your baby a bath, have a towel packed. Babies can get covered in dirt quick and rinsing them off in the camp sink you already have packed is super easy.


Electronics:

  • Pump Charger
  • Monitor Charger
  • Night Light Charger
  • White Noise Charger
  • Extra Batteries

Bring the chargers for every electronic device you have. Don’t trust that the batteries will last the trip, bring more. If you’re like us, the devices you have for your kids seem to eat up batteries and it’s somehow worse when you’re camping.

We also highly recommend a power bank, like the Jackery brand. They will keep everything charged up and in working order, all trip long. They can power a lot of useful baby camping gear like fans, breast pumps, phones and white noise machines.


Diapers and Bathroom Stuff:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Rash Cream

Bring the standard amount of diapers you use at home, bring at least an extra day’s worth of diapers. We ran out once and were forced to use whatever brand we could scrounge up at the dollar store because that was the closest thing within 20 miles to the campground. We made it, but I would have rather had the brand we knew and trusted.

If you use different diapers for overnights, bring the standard amount of overnight diapers plus 1 extra per night you’ll be there. For a 3 night trip, bring 6 overnight diapers.

  • Diaper Garbage Bags

We literally put dirty diapers in baggies that are designed for dog poop. They’re small and hold 2-3 diapers depending on the size, and most of them are scent blocking, so you won’t stink out the whole campsite. Normal trash bags will also work, you just need something to hold dirty diapers.

  • Changing Pad

We automatically had one of these in the diaper bag, and it came in handy for cushioning tailgate and picnic table diaper changes. You can get by with a folded up blanket or towel though.

  • Swim Diaper
Fish patterned swim diaper

If you’re going to go swimming, have the right kind of swim diaper. Regular diapers explode and leak icky goo that’s not good for pools or lakes. We loved the reusable swim diapers for camping trips. You don’t have to worry about not having enough or the right size.

First Aid/Medications:

  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen

Again with the teething story, but I still think our tent smells vaguely of liquid Tylenol. Up until that night our baby hadn’t ever needed it and I’m so glad we brought it. Even if he did fight us and turn his head at the last minute causing me to spray everything in the tent with sticky, berry-flavored medication.

  • Breastfeeding needs

You know what you need, this is just a reminder to not forget any creams, supplements or drinks you use to keep your supply up and running and your gear in working order.

  • Prescription Meds

If your babe takes prescription meds, don’t forget to pack them.

Outdoor Baby Transport:

  • Wagon

If you have more than one kid, this is a fun option to go on walks down the campground roads and flatter trails.

  • Stroller

We brought the stroller when our guy was under one year, but only used it once or twice. We were used to holding him or letting him crawl around, but other people we were camping with wanted to take him on a longer walk, so it was perfect. Bring it at least the first time and then judge if you need it next time. We were going to switch from the big jogging stroller to an umbrella stroller eventually, but our guy had to be up and walking as much as he possibly could, so we just stopped bringing a stroller at all.

  • Baby Carrier
Baby in an Osprey Poco Kid carrier backpack

We have the Osprey Poco and LOVE it. You can read the review here. We brought this on every camping trip and always used it. Daddy critter likes to explore and this kept the Tiny Critter safe on some of the more rugged hikes and we hiked while he napped in it more than once. You will not regret getting one for your child, it’s so comfortable and versatile.

Other Baby Camping Gear:

  • Dog Fence
Playpen for small dogs

Our awesome Auntie brought one of these fences for her puppy, and it worked really well for our bringing our newly crawling baby camping as well. We ended up putting it around one side of the campfire to keep them both further away from the fire if either of them made it past the adult supervision. I highly recommend getting a fence like this when you have an older infant or young toddler.

  • Screen Tent

We have this screen tent and it’s amazing as a large playpen. It’s awesome shade in the sun, holds up to rain without issue and even kept us warmer on a chilly day by blocking the wind. Tiny Critter loves playing in it whether we’re camping or not.

  • Shade for Pack N Play

If you want your little one to nap outside, or you just want to block a little more light for the afternoon nap a shade system might be a good idea. I’ve read that you can use a fitted sheet, but be sure that it’s not going to slip and fall onto your little one while they nap.

Once you have the proper gear packed for camping with your infant, you can go enjoy nature with your baby. Babies are portable, you can take them anywhere, including campsites! Use our checklist, and grab your baby and have fun!

Did we miss something that you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments!

Now go print the checklist, pack the car, grab your family and go scurry around!

Happy Camping!

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