When Kyle and I first starting camping, it was so simple- grab some clothes, toothbrushes, some food, and hit the road. The first time we went camping with Ellie, I was so overwhelmed! I searched the internet for what we would need, and didn’t find much. I thought, “we must be the only ones crazy enough to go camping with a baby!” So I overthought, over-packed, and worried more than I needed to. After several camping trips with her, its now just as easy to pack and head out as it was before. You really don’t need as much as you think. Aside from the obvious clothes, diapers, food, and toys, these are my top five items that got us through our first season camping with a baby.
This seat has proven to be absolutely invaluable as a traveling family. Not only have we used it while camping, but we have attended a few weddings and parties where we have used this. The tray comes off for cleaning, but also so that it can go right up to the table when your baby turns into a toddler and wants to eat at the table. It folds up nicely and comes with a travel bag for easy transport. The compact folding design makes this absolutely perfect for camping.
Once Ellie became mobile, she wanted to crawl all over our campsite and eat everything she could get her hands on. While we definitely believe in letting little ones explore freely as often as possible, we did need a safe place for her while we did things like cook, or start a fire. This playard is almost too good to be true. It is extremely easy to assemble compared to a pack n play, a larger play space, and the compact size and carrying case make it extremely portable. Space is a valuable commodity when camping with a baby, and this takes up very little.
A quality carrier is essential for hikes and even just walks around the campground with a baby. When you are also walking two dogs, pushing a stroller is difficult. Ellie also really loves to sleep in a carrier. There are many options out there, but we have loved our Ergo 360. It is easy to use, can be used in 4 different positions (front, back, hip, and forward facing), and is affordable compared to other soft structured carriers. I also keep a ring sling for quick ups and walks, but for longer hikes we use our Ergo.
Even if you don’t use a white noise machine at home, I highly recommend grabbing this one for camping. There will be so many new sounds at a campground that your baby is not used to, and this will help drown those out so your baby can sleep. We love this one because it can plug in, or run on batteries. Its perfect for when you don’t have electrical hook ups. It’s also very, very affordable!
While the playard above gives us a safe place to set Ellie outside, it doesn’t exactly fit inside the camper. This jumper is great because it folds up very compact. As you can tell, space saving is a top priority when camping with a baby! Ellie loved this jumper, and it was great to be able to prep food or clean up without worrying about her dumping the dog water bowl out, or eating the cat food.
I hope that after reading this post, you feel better prepared for your first camping trip with your new little one. We firmly believe that love of the outdoors starts early on, and there is no better learning experience than exploring nature. Stay tuned for a free printable checklist of necessities for your first trip! I will help you to not over pack like we did. Feel free to comment with any other products you’ve found useful while camping with your baby!