Camping with a Baby – best tricks and tips

I feel there are three categories of people: those who love camping, those who tolerate camping, and those who would rather shove a flaming hot s’more stick in their eyeball than voluntarily camp. I’m a life-long lover of camping and I’m doing my damndest to pass this love onto my three kids, even if camping with small children means I’m always yelling, “Don’t put that in your mouth!” My guess is that if you’re considering camping with a baby then maybe you already like doing it and, like me, you want to make it part of your family’s summer traditions. Yeah!

The first time I camped with a baby I was a very nervous Nelly, but it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Camping is kind of a pain in the ass and so is having a baby, so I didn’t really feel like it was that big of a deal, in the end. For the sake of this post, let’s assume you’re going car camping with your babe. That is, you’re packing up the car with supplies and driving up to your tent site. So what do you need to bring? What should you avoid? Pull up a folding chair, my friend. You’ve come to the right campfire.

Courtesy of Laura Hamilton
Courtesy of Laura Hamilton



Pack all the typical stuff you need for baby, but bring double. No, I’m not kidding. Bring extra diapers, wipes, food, and changes of clothes. I am constantly amazed by how quickly my kids get dirty and/or wet when we camp. And their appetites are voracious! (All that fresh air, right? It has the same effect on appetite for beer. I digress…)

Your baby’s life while camping will look remarkably similar to her life at home: play, sleep, and eat. So all you have to do is figure out a way to make all these things happen while in the great outdoors.

Here’s a detailed list on what you can bring (you can download it here.) You don’t have to bring it all – I just wanted to get stuff on your radar.


Right off the bat when you pull up to your campsite you’re going to want to unload and set up your tent and get everything unpacked. And then you will immediately realize there is nowhere to put your baby down because you’re in the forest and the ground is covered in rocks and sticks oh fuck, why am I here. Your baby needs a safe place to chill.

Throwing your baby into a carrier is a great option, though I’m not sure how easily you’ll be able to set up a tent while front-carrying. If your baby is tiny you can just plop baby in his bucket car seat and put him wherever. Or, set up your pack n’play and put an elastic sheet or mosquito net over the top to prevent bugs and leaves from getting into it.

(The links and images below are clickable if you want to know where to find them.)


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