Our checklist for camping with a baby is everything you need to successfully camp with your baby!
Here is the Baby Camping Checklist for downloading and printing. It’s a free, printable PDF!
The Complete Infant Tent Camping Packing List
The baby camping packing list should be used in addition to the Car Camping Packing List.
- The Complete Infant Tent Camping Packing List
- Infant Sleeping Gear
- Baby Camping Clothes
- Feeding Your Baby While Camping
- Baby Bathroom Essentials
- Camping Play Time
- Other Baby Camping Gear
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! If it’s your first time camping ever, go easy on yourself and set low expectations.
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.
You might want to try camping in the backyard before you go out with your infant to make sure you’ve thought of everything you want to pack.
Here is our complete baby camping 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. 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.
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.
Baby Sleeping Area
When you’re new to camping with a baby, it’s intimidating to think of how to create the best infant sleep area inside your tent. It’s actually quite simple, try to stick with what you do at home as closely as possible.
Pack n Play
We loved using the Pack n Play when our guy was little. It kept him contained in the tent 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.
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.
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.
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.
Baby Sleeping Comfort
The biggest worry new campers have is how to keep the baby warm in the tent. These are the suggestions we used when camping with our infant and he was toasty warm all night!
We always lined the pack n play mattress with a fleece blanket that we tucked the edges under. We barely took the baby anywhere without packing a blanket and we probably packed 3 extra when we took the baby camping.
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.
Infants are too small for normal sleeping bags, so we used sleep sacks. Our little guy loved his wearable blanket and it kept him 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
Since they don’t make baby sleeping bags, the other option is a wearable sleeping bag for infants at least 6 months of age. This is an amazing option for your little one to stay warm while sleeping in the tent.
Little Mo sleeping bags are highly rated in the baby camping community. If you’re worried that it’s going to get cold at night, you’ll want to have the Little Mo packed.
Baby Sleep Extras
When it comes to getting a baby to sleep in a tent, do the same things you do at home. Making the tent feel as familiar as possible is the goal.
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.
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.
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?
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! You definitely want this light on your baby camping checklist.
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.
There is now an awesome baby monitor that’s purpose built for camping! The Roar Outdoor Baby Monitor is our go-to for people who want a baby monitor while camping. Both sides are battery operated and USB rechargeable.
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.
Baby Camping Clothes
When Tiny Critter was little, I didn’t pack any camping specific baby clothes or really any other baby camping gear. Baby specific camping clothes are 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.
Camping with babies can be messy and dirty, but that’s part of the fun!
When taking the baby camping we usually over pack clothes, but we bring along outfits for each day, and then 2 more, especially with infants. You never know when they’re going to spit up or have a complete diaper blowout.
Whatever your baby normally wears around the house, bring that. THis isn’t the time for “cute outfits” this is the time for functional clothing that you won’t care about if it gets full of dirt.
Pants & Shorts
We usually camp in the summer so we brought a lot of shorts for our baby. Pants are also a great option if you have a blowout and need something warm for pajamas.
Little kids running around a campsite in sweatshirts always gives me warm fuzzies. You can’t go wrong with a nice thick sweatshirt for your baby to keep them warm in the cool evening air.
I bring 2 sets of lighter pajamas and 2 sets of warmer pajamas. You can always layer the lightweight ones.
When you’re camping with a baby they probably don’t need hiking boots yet, but they should have proper footwear.
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.
Socks take up hardly any space and are so important to keeping your little one warm. They easily become mittens.
If your baby 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.
Just get sold close-toed shoes for your baby and you’ll be good to go.
You do NOT need specific hiking boots for your baby.
Inclement Weather Clothes
If you’re planning on camping even if the weather isn’t perfect, that’s awesome! Be sure you have clothes packed for your baby too!
Be sure to bring your baby a jacket as layers are really important for keeping your baby comfortable when camping. You can also use wearable sleep sacks for extra warmth if it gets chilly during the day.
If you’re camping in cold weather, bring actual mittens for your baby.
Socks can be used in a pinch, but you’ll want actual waterproof mittens when outside.
If you have a newborn, then you don’t need this. But if you have a little one who is trying to crawl or walk, then splashing in puddles at the campsite is great fun and a rain suit is the perfect thing to keep them mostly dry.
I love a good sun hat so I don’t always have to coat the little guy in sunscreen. (Or Scun Screen as he used to call it)
There is always a use for a warm hat. I hardly ever leave home without one.
Warm hats are the easiest way to help keep your baby warm when camping in colder weather.
If you’re going to be camping near a beach, or pool, be sure to bring a swimsuit for your baby so everyone can cool off in hot weather.
We usually just used a swim diaper and a sun blocking rash guard when my son was little.
Out little guy was a drool machine for about 6 months. Drool bibs were a real outfit saver.
Our son loved sunglasses and when you’re camping with a baby, they spend a lot of time outside. Protect their eyes with some good baby sunglasses.
Feeding Your Baby While Camping
Be sure to pack extra snacks and food for you baby if they’re old enough for snacks. If not, plan to have extra milk or formula on hand, as having your baby out in the fresh air seems to make them eat more than they do at home.
Milk and Drinks
If you’re camping with a newborn or infant you’ll need to have a plan for breastfeeding or bottle feeding. We did a combination of both, so we had to bring all of the gear.
If you’re pumping and bottle feeding, bring extra pumped breast 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.
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. Having 3 means that you can quickly grab an extra if one falls into the dirt.
If your little one is formula fed, be sure to bring enough to last the trip plus at least 2 extra bottles per day. Things get spilled and kiddos suddenly eat more when they’ve been out in fresh air for a few days.
Water from Home
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.
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.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby while camping, bring the extra accessories to make it a success.
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.
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. When you’re camping with babies, or anyone really, it’s best to be prepared.
If your baby is big enough to sit up, packing a camping high chair 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. Eating with both hands before your food gets cold is an experience every parent needs to treat themselves to.
Check out our top picks for other amazing camping chair options.
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.
This is on the checklist several times. I used baby wipes for everything while camping, 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
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.
Food and Snacks
If your little one is experimenting with food, be sure to bring some snacks and easy to eat food for your infant. Being outside seems to make everyone more hungry.
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.
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 teething crackers.
As with the teething crackers above, why not let your little one practice with plates and silverware outside? A little spilled applesauce is no big deal at a campsite.
- Spoon & Fork
- Plate & Bowl
- Sippy Cup
Baby Bathroom Essentials
Babies eat, sleep and poop, so be sure to bring all of the bathroom stuff you use at home.
Diapering While Camping
Everyone is different, some like to use disposable diapers and some use cloth diapers. It doesn’t matter which way you go, you just need to make sure you bring enough diapers for the trip.
“How many diapers should be bring camping with our baby?”
Bring the standard amount of diapers you use at home, and then 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, we would bring 6 overnight diapers.
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 having the right size.
If they pee, it’s no big deal, if they poop, knock the poop into a toilet, porta-potty or carefully dug hole, and wash the diaper out. Good to go!
Diapers aren’t the only thing you need for taking care of your baby while camping. Be sure to pack all of the normal bathroom gear you use at home.
Yes, baby wipes are on the list already but this is the time you NEED to bring the wipes.
Diaper Rash Cream
Having diaper rash cream is always a good idea. You never know when a bad case of diaper rash will crop up and it’s best to take care of that ASAP.
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.
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.
Another thing to think about is tent floor padding for middle of the night diaper changes.
You never know what kind of odd things will happen while camping and it’s best to always be prepared with first aid and medications.
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 medicine 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.
If this happens to you, you should learn how to clean your tent from formula spills, spit up, medication mishaps or diaper blow-outs.
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.
When you’re making a baby camping list don’t forget things you need for yourself!
If you or your baby takes prescription meds, don’t forget to pack them. This includes creams for rashes or eczema, nebulizers and ear or eye drops.
If you’re not going to use a rash guard or other sun blocking clothing, be sure to bring sunscreen.
Bath Time While Camping
You might need to give your baby a bath while you’re camping. You’ll want to pack the following:
Baby Soap is an important thing to bring camping. My son’s sensitive skin did best with gentle soap.
Comb & Brush
If your baby has crazy fly away hair, having a comb and brush is a great option.
My son’s dry skin needed lotion often, especially after bath time.
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.
Don’t forget other hygiene items you’ll need when camping with a baby.
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.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Rest assured that your baby will likely eat dirt while camping. Be sure to bring their toothbrush to get the grit out of their mouth.
Nail Clipper or Nail 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.
Those baby nails grow like weeds and are crazy sharp. Better to just bring the smaller nail clippers.
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. It’s added to the regular list as well as the baby camping checklist.
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.
Camping Play Time
Play time is just as important for infants as it is for older kids. Make sure to have ways to include your baby in camping play time!
When you bring a baby camping the whole point is to let them explore nature, right? You’ll want a place for your little one to be able to move and explore without getting a face full of dirt.
Big Blanket/ Outdoor Rug
Our first tent camping trip we brought an old comforter, the second trip an awesome Auntie brought a large outdoor 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.
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.
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.
Babies and toddlers love splashing around in the water. If you can find a lake, a small stream or a campground pool, throw them in their swim diaper and splash around!
If there is a lake or a pool at your campsite, bring some toys to play with! Babies love splashing in the water and filling up buckets over and over again.
Grab your baby a lifejacket so they can have fun in the pool or on the boat too!
Tent Play Time
If the weather turns rainy, you’ll want a few infant friendly activities for inside the tent.
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!
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.
We like to unplug as much as possible, but when you’re camping with a baby there is only so much unplugging you can do.
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.
- Breast Pump Charger
- Baby Monitor Charger
- Night Light Charger
- White Noise Charger
- Extra Batteries
Power Bank or Generator
We also highly recommend a power bank, like the Jackery brand. They will keep everything charged up and in working order, all trip long.
Portable generators can power a lot of other baby camping gear like fans, breast pumps, phones, baby monitors and white noise machines.
Other Baby Camping Gear
This is all the extra stuff that not everyone needs to pack for camping with a baby. But the times we brought this gear we were happier for it.
Outdoor Baby Transport
It’s always a good idea to have a way to transport your infant while you’re camping. We used our framed carrier, a wagon and the stroller while camping with our baby.
I cannot say enough good things about having a baby backpack carrier.
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.
We have the Osprey Poco Plus and LOVE it.
You will not regret getting the Osprey Poco for your child, it’s so comfortable and versatile.
If you have more than one kid, this is a fun option to go on walks down the campground roads and flatter trails.
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.
Your baby will need to have the freedom to safely explore their surroundings or be contained to one area. This is the gear we used to accomplish this while camping.
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.
We have this Clam 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.
- SPACIOUS CANOPY SHELTER: 12.5 x 12.5-foot canopy, 7.8 feet at center height; Accommodates up to 8 people or can fit a picnic table and a few camp chairs.
- ADAPTABLE SHELTER: Heavy-duty removable floor and built-in wind panels that roll up, down, and zip on the sides.
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 on our baby camping checklist 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!
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.