That’s right – it’s time to pitch up the tent, break out the marshmallows and grab your supply of nappies. We’re seriously talking about camping with a baby.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Exploring the outdoors and babies usually don’t go together. But it is possible to simply and safely take a baby camping! As well as our 10 top tips, you can find a handy list of baby camping gear to help get your trip started.
10 Tips for Camping with a Baby
1) Bring All the Layers
With temperatures rising to 35°C in some parts of the UK recently, you might think the tent will stay super toasty. But even in hotter weather, it’s likely to feel freezing at night.
When camping with a baby, you need to bring lots and lots of layers to keep your infant warm and cosy.
Light blankets are especially important as you can add or remove them when your baby is too hot or too cold.
2) Baby Wipes Are Everything
Wet wipes aren’t just for baby bottoms!
If you’re feeling especially brave, you might take your baby camping in a non-serviced area. That means no showers or toilets. So, if you don’t have access to facilities with running water, baby wipes are vital for cleaning up those camping messes. Pack as many as you can!
3) Don’t Travel Too Far
If it’s the first time you’re camping with a baby, don’t travel too far from home. Knowing your all your baby bits (and your comfy bed) aren’t a million miles away is a reassuring thought for most parents. Once you have a better idea of what it’s like to take a baby camping, you can go farther afield!
4) Food, Glorious Food
Having the right food for your baby on a camping trip is essential. Simple, on-the-go snacks and meals that are easy to grab will be best when you don’t have many cooking tools.
Babies under six months usually just need milk, so it’s easier if you’re breastfeeding. You might have more of a challenge with bottle-fed babies, because you’ll need to pack boiling and sterilising equipment.
For babies who are older than six months, bring whatever they like to eat! Soft fruit, puréed veggies, chunks of cheese, baby cereal and food jars are some simple ideas. You’ll also need a large cooler with some ice packs to keep everything chilled – and don’t forget bottles of water!
5) Leave Early
Setting up a tent in the dark is a bad idea. Go for an early start, so you’re not fumbling around at night trying to sort your meals and sleeping arrangements. As a result, baby will have a chance to get to know their surroundings.
6) Play Tetris with Your Packing
It’s tempting to overpack when camping with a baby. What if the weather unexpectedly changes? What if baby suddenly needs that teddy bear they haven’t looked at in six months? But don't panic! You must be practical when packing – so make it easy and play a little Tetris in your changing bag.
Firstly, pop the heavier items like food jars at the bottom. Any loose food items can go in zip lock bags to avoid spills. Keep a few extra bags – you’ll find out why later.
Then, roll up baby clothes (don’t fold them) to save on space. No one cares if outfits are crumpled when camping! Finally, keep your baby’s favourite blanket or comfort toy on top, so you can easily grab it if required.
A backpack normally is better than a handbag when taking a baby camping. With two straps, you can ease the weight of all your gear while carrying your little one at the front – good for trekking around!
But what’s even better is a baby backpack, which so much more than your standard rucksack.
They have lots of space and special, designated baby pockets, so it’s easy to carry round all your important baby gear.
8) Keep the Routine
Your baby probably has some kind of schedule. Stick to it! No matter what your routine is, try to keep it the same when camping with a baby.
So if baby usually is fed, changed then rocked to sleep at home, do the same from your tent. This will also help your little one settle into their new environment.
9) Zip Up Your Nappies
Unfortunately, reusable cloth nappies can pose a problem when camping with a baby. If you have no facilities to wash them and no laundrette nearby, you’re going to run out very quickly! You’ll probably need to use disposable nappies for your outdoor adventure. But there’s a problem. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, how are you going to bin them?
You might remember we previously suggested using zip lock bags for food – and we said to bring some extras too. These nifty little bags are ideal for locking away dirty nappies and keeping smells trapped. Put the zipped-up nappies in an additional wet bag, then pop them in the car boot until you find a suitable place to dispose of them.
10) Enjoy Yourself
Camping with a baby sounds like a challenge. But the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and have a great time exploring the outdoors with your little one.
However, if you’re not quite adventure ready yet, check out our baby camping gear checklist below.
Baby Camping Gear Checklist
Our checklist is just baby camping gear – we’ll leave the tents and cooking equipment for the adults! Also, don’t forget to add on any other baby gear you use regularly.
- Loose clothing
- Hats (sun hat and winter hat)
- Light blankets
- Baby sleeping bag
- Nappy sacks
- Nappy rash cream
- Travel changing mat
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitiser
- Baby changing backpack
- Zip lock bags
- Wet bag
- Bottles and sterilising equipment if needed
- Formula if needed
- Simple, baby-friendly snacks
- Jars or easy-to-make meals
- Cooler bag
- Ice packs
- Bottled water
- More zip lock bags!
- Pram or pushchair
- Car seat
- Baby carrier or sling
- Child-friendly insect repellent
- Any medicine your baby requires
- Pop-up sun shade
- Paddling pool
- Favourite toys
- A big picnic blanket for baby to play on